His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
For the New Year, 2015
[Released on December 30, 2014]
A promising future beckons for us all as we near the fifth year of daang matuwid and open yet another chapter in our journey towards the fulfillment of our collective aspirations. The previous year was a fortunate time for us, marked by notable milestones and achievements across many facets of our society. Back in 2013, we secured investment grade status from the three most prominent credit ratings agencies in the world. In 2014, we sustained this upward trajectory as, last May, Standard & Poors gave us another ratings upgrade, followed by Moody’s this November. These have made the Philippines a more attractive destination for investments and tourists, both of which have seen significant increases last year, creating jobs and stimulating the economy.
These gains have provided us the wherewithal to fund vital measures like the Expanded Conditional Cash Transfer Program, which now covers beneficiaries with children up to 18 years old, and meets our backlog in books, chairs, and classrooms. We have also expanded initiatives like the Tech-Voc Education and Training and Work for Scholarship Programs, ensuring that our people can maximize the opportunities made available at this critical juncture in our history when we reach our demographic sweet spot and realize the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. With the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro last March, genuine, lasting peace in Mindanao is finally at hand, opening the floodgates for tourism and investments to the island. We expect development to further hasten once the Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed.
We have also made strides in terms of disaster preparedness, with both the national and local governments performing better this year. We saw this in action when Mayon Volcano erupted and Typhoon Ruby came to our shores. Learning from past experiences, we prevented a drastic loss of lives and property, earning the praise and admiration of the international community. I want to thank our front-liners, first-responders, volunteers, and partners from the private sector, whose contributions, preparations, and response to these calamities made this achievement possible.
Indeed, by putting our trust in each other, by doing our share, and by remaining steadfast on the straight and righteous path, we have ushered in a new and transformed Philippines. Now that we are approaching the final year of my administration, every step, every contribution becomes more crucial in our quest to create a more inclusive future. With the guidance of the Almighty, and with the help of every Filipino, I am certain that we will achieve the lasting change that we all long for.
A joyful and meaningful new year to all.
(Sgd.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
1 January 2015
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