Philippine president portrays bright future for Filipinos, despite great difficulties

00:29, July 27, 2010      

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III delivers his first State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives in Manila July 26, 2010. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

Philippine President Aquino said on Monday that he is banking on "public-private partnerships" to fund the priority programs of a government faced with a "massive" budget deficit.

In his first State of the Nation Address which clocked 36 minutes, the President said that his "new and creative approach" would solve the "dearth in funds" that he has inherited from the previous government.

"No matter how massive the deficit is, I am heartened because many have already expressed renewed interest and confidence in the Philippines. Our solution: public-private partnerships," he said.

Aquino said the government has not signed any contracts yet, but he expects that "ongoing talks with interested investors will yield fruitful outcomes."

This includes the proposed construction of an expressway from Manila to Cagayan Valleypassing through Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Nueva Vizcayasolely at the private partner's expense.

He also revealed a proposal to lease the Navy headquarters along Roxas Boulevard and the Naval Station in Fort Bonifacio.

"They will take care of the funding necessary to transfer the Navy Headquarters to Camp Aguinaldo. Immediately, we will be given 100 million dollars. Furthermore, they will give us a portion of their profits from their businesses that would occupy the land they will rent. In short, we will meet our needs without spending, and we will also earn," he said.

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