SAN FRANCISCO, California – President Aquino is bringing home $2.4 billion in investment commitments from three companies.
Speaking at the Mission Dolores Church in San Francisco on Sunday, Mr. Aquino said he hoped the investments would be the start of renewed confidence in the Philippines.
The $434-million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corp. will also be a big help when infused into the economy, he added.
Mr. Aquino said operations would be expanded and new businesses established in the country. The complete details would be revealed upon his arrival in Manila, he said.
The President said his goal of generating more than 10,000 jobs had also been achieved. The companies involved in this would make the announcements at the appropriate time, he added.
Filipinos warmly welcomed Mr. Aquino at the Mission Dolores Church.
“In Church where we are taught to be humble, I’m sorry (for my) lack of a little humility, but we will be bringing home not less than $2.7 billion in new investments,” Mr. Aquino said.
“We have had meetings covering the sectors power generation consumer products, business and knowledge processing, process outsourcing, healthcare, garments and leather goods and that we feel is just the start.
“In a meeting sponsored by the Citigroup in New York, we were expecting a crowd of potential investors numbering 60, we got over a hundred and undoubtedly most of them will indeed see the Philippines as a good place to do business.”
Mr. Aquino said the $2.8 billion, including the MCC grant would make a lot of difference in the Philippine economy.
“We have made the most out of this visit – and without a big and bloated delegation spending lavishly along the way,” he said.
“We are optimistic about the business proposals from our meetings with different companies, which will boost trade and economic relations between the US and the Philippines.
“The employment they will generate and the additional tax that they will contribute to the public purse will redound to improving living standards for our fellow citizens.
“All the proposals we came up with before visiting, and all the support we received during our trip are geared towards one solitary goal: a Philippines free of hunger, ignorance and poverty.”
Mr. Aquino said he heard Mass at the Mission Dolores Church to meet with the Filipino congregation.
“We are here today because of our shared love and faith: love of country and faith in God,” he said.
“These attributes unite Filipinos regardless of geographical boundaries. The Church has always been a home of faith for everyone.
“But for Filipinos, especially those abroad, it has been the sanctuary for all of us Filipinos, it has been the sanctuary from which all of us draw strength. Going to Church not only brings us closer to God, but it also brings us closer to home.
“As we sing, pray and talk to God, we are reminded of the things we miss back in the Philippines, and we are reminded of the reasons why we are indeed proud to be Filipinos.”
Mr. Aquino said he was quite reluctant to visit the US because foreign travels were expensive, and that he needs to focus on reforms at home.
However, his economic managers assured him that a trip to the US would be extremely beneficial to the economy, he added.
Mr. Aquino said he came to the US to generate support from foreign leaders and entice investments, create jobs for Filipinos and to improve the business climate in the Philippines.
“We traveled here to carry forward every Filipino’s dream for a prosperous nation,” he said.
“And I am happy to share with you the news that we are returning home with very substantial commitments.
“We are now in the stage of revitalizing our nation. Time and again, we have proven to the world that if united, nothing is impossible for us Filipinos.
“Our burning sense of communal responsibility has instilled hope where there was once despair, and together, we are fostering trust in our public institutions once more.”
Mr. Aquino called on Filipinos to be steadfast in their commitment to God’s will to have a better home built on the foundation that would endure a sense of service to the people.
“May I ask further, and here I will be a little thick faced, please pray for me and for the entire nation as we move forward to forge a future worthy of our children,” he said.
“Let us keep working to stay on the straight path, where peace and progress and prosperity await us all.”
Mr. Aquino said it was heartwarming to see Filipinos everywhere waiting to see him and show their support.
“And I have one chat (with a group of young people), they kept on saying, we are one and one we are,” he said.
“And if I may end, if we continue at that path, where we are responsible for our countrymen, and for our brothers and sisters there is no way to go but up then towards a very bright and no longer a promising but a realize good future for us.”
Aurea Calica, Philippine Star