Foreign leaders respect Philippines’s good governance – Noy

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – It only took the administration of President Aquino for foreign leaders to respect the Philippines – which used to be the “Sick Man of Asia” – after the government laid out the principles of good governance, according to the interior secretary.

Speaking before governors during a meeting of the League of Provinces at the Century Park Hotel in Manila yesterday, Aquino said he could relate to the anecdote shared by Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento on how foreign leaders treated Filipinos shabbily.

“There was a time when state leaders would even treat us like we were beggars. Now they are asking me how I was able to spur our growth and economy,” he said.

“And I told them: good governance is good economics,” he added.

Sarmiento told the President the story of foreign immigration agents doubting the purpose of his travel.

Aquino said he experienced the same thing, and on the national level, unlike Sarmiento who was a former mayor in Samar province. “And I told Mel, we are in the same situation.”

Sarmiento cracked a joke that when he was still a local chief executive, he envied other local officials from other countries that every time they are invited to a conference abroad they easily pass the immigration process.

His foreign counterparts had always been “welcomed,” but when his turn at the immigration desk came, the agent would always look at his passport, visa and match this with his face, repeat the process, then check the watch list.

Sarmiento also recalled the final common query: “What is the purpose of your visit?” to which he would reply, “I was invited to this conference.”

The immigration agent would then make a follow up: “Do you have proof?”

He would then be forced to go over his files and show the official invitation.

Sarmiento also vividly remembers how the 100 pieces of business cards he brought remained intact, as nobody would exchange cards with him, probably out of fear he might solicit for fire trucks or ambulance.

In the same meeting with the governors, Aquino reminded local executives that the government does not need to make promises since they have delivered much in terms of massive infrastructure projects across the country.

Aquino endorsed the candidacy of Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II before the governors.

He asked the governors to help Roxas continue the daang matuwid policy of his administration.

Aquino said he endorsed Roxas and his runningmate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo because he can personally guarantee that both will continue the reforms he initiated in government.

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