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01 April 2016

PHILADELPHIA, PA — “The Philippine growth narrative is not only one of good governance, competitiveness, and productivity, but also of a development that is centered on people. And investing in people likewise means investing in their healthcare and well-being.”

These were the main themes of the Keynote Speech delivered by Minister Jose Victor V. Chan-Gonzaga, the Philippine Embassy’s Economic Officer, on behalf of Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. at the Diplomat in Residence Program of La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 31 March 2016.

During his presentation, Minister Chan-Gonzaga described the economic transformation of the Philippines, which is due largely to the good governance program implemented by President Aquino and the economic reforms undertaken by his Administration.

“It is undeniable that the Aquino Administration’s good governance agenda is indeed bearing fruit. And the confidence of investors and our robust economic partnerships with key economies, such as the United States, constitute the solid foundations upon which our economic managers continue to promote the Philippines as fully open for business,” the Embassy official said.

However, he noted that aside from focusing on exceptional economic performance, inclusive growth also became a paramount objective of Philippine national economic policy. He further explained how the government devoted much of the resources generated from the economic boom and savings from corruption to investing in the Filipino people. From 2010 to 2015, the social welfare and development budget increased seven-fold, the education budget doubled, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) budget increased by 84%. Investing in the Philippines’ healthcare system is also a vital element in the government’s effort to make growth more inclusive for the Aquino administration.

“President Aquino and his economic managers, in pursuing inclusive growth and investing in the Filipino, empowered our people to become greater participants and stakeholders in growing the Philippine economy,” Minister Chan-Gonzaga emphasized.

Minister Chan-Gonzaga represented Ambassador Cuisia, who was selected as the featured speaker of the Diplomat in Residence Program, which has been running at La Salle University for over twenty years. The Program provides an opportunity for foreign diplomats based in the United States to speak to the students and faculty of the University either on general topics about the countries they represent or on specific issues.

The Embassy’s presentation was part of a series of panels and lectures that the University organized around the theme Development and Public Health in the Philippines. The week’s discussions included a presentation on the Barnabite Fathers’ Heart to Heart Project of providing mobile clinics to the Archdiocese of Manila. The Philippine program started on 29 March with a panel on development and public health, featuring La Salle University faculty from the Departments of Economics and Nursing; and Fr. Robert Kosek of the Barnabite Fathers who is in charge of the Manila clinic project.

The Program was co-sponsored by the University Office of Mission, Religion Department and Philosophy Department. La Salle University is a private, co-educational, Roman Catholic university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named for St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, the university was founded in 1863.

In a statement issued after the presentation, Ambassador Cuisia expressed satisfaction with the interest of the participants in the Philippines, and on the issues of public health and development.

“The interest in the Philippines of the faculty and students of La Salle also clearly reaffirm the vitality of the Philippine-American relationship, the 70th year anniversary of which we celebrate this year, and we hope this friendship will only deepen and strengthen in the years ahead,” Ambassador Cuisia said. ###