The President discusses the Philippine economy, the battle against corruption and the 2010 Manila bus hostage crisis
As part of CNN's special week of coverage, ‘Eye On The Philippines', this week ‘Talk Asia' hears from President Benigno S. Aquino III. CNN correspondent Anna Coren sits down with President Aquino at the Malacañan Palace for a rare and in-depth interview in which he discusses both the opportunities and challenges currently facing the Philippines.
Please find excerpts from the interview with President Benigno S. Aquino III below. The full interview transcript will be available upon request after the first airing of the show.
‘CNN's Talk Asia' must be credited for any use of this material.
ON THE BATTLE AGAINST CORRUPTION
President Aquino: "We are winning, but we are not stopping the efforts though. We have already cases pending, even against my predecessor.... We are trying to expedite the cases so that there is certainty that there is conviction and jail time for people who have violated [the] laws. The problem was, nobody was charged, let alone convicted previously, and that sustained all of the endemic corruption that we have had to deal with."
"Now, we believe that the cases we filed are proper, are well evidenced, are supported by evidence, and that there will be conviction at the end of the process."
ON THE 2010 MANILA BUS HOSTAGE CRISIS
President Aquino: "Of course in hindsight it could have been handled better. But given the situation, you know not to relive the moment, but you had a guy who... was not a terrorist, he wasn't there to inflict terror on anybody. In fact before we even started negotiating with him, there were two hostages that had gotten released. And up until the early evening, it seemed to be just a question of meeting minimum demands and it would have been settled peacefully."
"We pride ourselves on our hospitality and things like that should not happen to our guests. So we have instituted quite a number of measures, both in terms of police and security forces but also with regards to the judicial system."
ON THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMY
President Aquino: "Definitely we have been making progress... I started out in public service in 1998 after the Asian Financial Crisis of '97 and the constant [phrase] was ‘we don't have money, we don't have money, we don't have money'. Now last year we were being criticized that we had the money and we were not spending it quickly enough. And I think that's such a turnaround from roughly a year, a year and a half ago."
ON OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS
President Aquino: "The focus of my administration is if somebody decides to work abroad then it has to be from choice as opposed to necessity... That's why the investment is on education, that's why we're investing in infrastructure, that's why we are going on all these campaigns to attract investors to come back in."
"We are striving to get them the opportunities here. But again, if we can have...my dream, my personal dream is that if they are here, then we don't have issues about what happens to the nuclear family down the line. Especially both parents are gone. If they are here they can positively contribute to our economy."
Highlights of the ‘Talk Asia' interview with President Benigno S. Aquino III will be available online at www.cnn.com/talkasia.
Airtimes: Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei
Friday, May 4 at 1730
Saturday, May 5 at 2000
Sunday, May 6 at 1830 and 1330
Monday, May 7 at 0830
Tuesday, May 8 at 1530
Thursday, May 10 at 1230
* CNN International is a 24-hour news channel which reacts to live events and breaking news. Therefore, program schedules are subject to change at short notice. For more information, please visit http://www.cnnasiapacific.com/
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- Ends -
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