(Note from MindaNews: This is the official transcript of President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech, released by the Presidential News Desk of the Presidential Communications Office)
Presidential Communications Office
Presidential News Desk
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
DURING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY RECEPTION
OF THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
[Delivered at ADB Auditorium, ADB Headquarters, Mandaluyong City | 21 February 2017]
Salamat po. Kindly sit down.
Mr. Nakao, President of the Asian Development—Kindly sit down. Please.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; President Fidel V. Ramos, I always read your column and sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s good [laughter] it’s all good; excellencies and members of the diplomatic corps; Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; Secretary Carlos V. Dominguez III, Secretary of Finance; members of the House of Representatives, nandito ba sila? Wala ko nakita… Oh, yes ma’am. Only two. They are not interested in money anyway [laughter]; members of the… Mr. Prime Minister Cesar Virata, sir good afternoon; Mr. Paul Dominguez; Mr. Woochong Um, the ADB Secretary; the Asian Development Bank Board of Directors; management and staff; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I am not into reading speeches but because of the crowd, I have to be prim and proper [laughter] not to be casting cuss words and epithets. But really, it’s part of my make-up. Better read a prepared speech, it’s all-courteous, the words there are very diplomatic and civil.
And I would say since establishment, the ADB has been helping developing member countries in their efforts to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people. It has extended 267 billion dollars in financial assistance since 1966.
In the areas of infrastructure, environment, and education among others, our country is truly fortunate that ADB has decided to establish its headquarters in Manila.
This has not only allowed us to secure needed development assistance but also vital employment and technical and information transfers throughout the years.
For its part, the Philippines has received more than 16 billion dollars from ADB in the form of loans and grants. About a billion dollars more have also been released in the form of loans and investments to private Philippine companies.
These have made the ADB the one of the largest official development assistance partners of the Philippines. For all of these, you have the gratitude of the entire Filipino people. [applause]
I particularly look forward to the next round of release of the 4.22 billion dollars in loans and 9.3 million dollars in technical assistance from ADB in the next three years. These will be of help in realizing important development initiatives.
Rest assured that the Philippine government would redouble its effort to foster economic growth and reduce poverty.
In line with this, government is pushing for a simpler, fairer and more efficient tax collection and lower rates and a broader base. We are also working on increasing infrastructure spending to 7.4 of the GDP by 2022.
Government will also solicit the participation of private partners in certain aspects of our infrastructure development initiatives.
We will also be funding free irrigation, free education in state universities and colleges, and universal health care.
Together with the local governments, we are also streamlining business registration and processes, providing support for targeted sectors and intensifying the war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption. [applause]
I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that there will be no corruption in my term. You have my word. [applause]
It is my hope that ADB will continue to lend its support for the country accelerate its development efforts. With the ADB’s help, I am confident that we will be able to lift more of our people from poverty, expand the economy by about 50 percent in real terms, and make the Philippines hopefully, I pray, an upper middle class income economy in 2022.
May the ADB continue to be an important partner for development for the Philippines, the entire East Asia and the Pacific.
May it remain a catalyst for change and a force of progress in the years to come.
There’s a… do you have something on the table? It says here, “I would like to invite of you all to raise your glass to toast the ADB.”
Mabuhay ang ADB!
Congratulations and I wish you more success in the years to come.