Friday, September 24, 2010


State Secretary Hillary Clinton urged the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to work harder to create better living opportunities so Filipinos don’t have to go abroad to have a better life.

“I know how smart the Filipino are. I know how hard they work,” Secretary Clinton said at the signing ceremonies for the $434 million Compact agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York last night.

But she noted “Too many of them feel that they can not progress in their own country. Too many of them feel that the elite in business and politics basically call the shots.”

“There’s not much room for someone who’s hardworking but not connected. Too many of them believe that even if they get the best education they can, that there won’t be an opportunity for them and so they take that education and help build someone else’s economy, very often here in the United States,” Secretary Clinton observed.

President Aquino said the MCC Compact grant – intended to fight poverty and corruption in the Philippines – was “no ordinary aid agreement.”

He described it as “a solemn agreement covenanted by its two entities in a common objective.”

The $434 million will be spent for three projects to build a modern highway that would cut through the poorest villages of Eastern Visayas; boost a barangay-based self-help program to provide livelihood in depressed communities across the archipelago; and enhance the capabilities of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to identify and prosecute tax cheats.

“All the aid, all the assistance in the world would be meaningless if it ended up stolen or misspent,” President Aquino admitted.


The Compact agreement with the Philippines has been ready since late last year but the MCC decided to wait for the outcome of last May’s elections.

They made it clear they wanted the new administration to commit first to MCC goals, especially after the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo flunked the all-important corruption test year after year.

“If the American people through their government can commit resources to their friends; their friend, owe it to those pledging assistance and to themselves to be worthy stewards of what they will receive,” President Aquino declared.

Secretary Clinton said the Compact grant “has the potential for assisting in the transformation that President Aquino has spoken of”.

“My visit to the United States has a key objective – to inform investors that the Philippines is indeed open for business – not the under-the-table kind, but the legitimate kind; not the kind of business that thrives in corrupt deal-making, but which thrives because of sensible and enforceable and fair contracts,” President Aquino averred.

He stressed his administration is “committed to not just a fair, but a square deal for all”.

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