Speech of President Corazon Aquino for the Members of the Filipino-Canadian Community

Her Excellency Corazon C. Aquino
President of the Philippines
For the Members of the Filipino-Canadian Community

[Delivered on November 4, 1989]


Citing the economic and political gains of the country after the revolution, President Aquino does not fail to stress that Filipinos here and abroad can be very potent forces in national development. This can be done by way of investing in the Philippines, spreading good words about it, patronizing Philippine-made products, contributing to the Philippine Fund, and by being loyal to the nation they are very much a part of.

I am privileged to be the first Philippine president to visit Canada. And I am very happy to be able to share this privileged moment with my fellow Filipinos.

I came to reaffirm and, if at all possible considering the help that Canada has given us, to further strengthen the relationship between our two countries.

But I came also to be with you and to tell you, from one who is guiding our country, how things are really going over there.

For those who fled the country because of the indignity of living without rights and without freedom, your country is again what it was – the showcase of democracy in Asia. Only, I think, it is even better, because we don’t take our liberties for granted anymore. I think we have a more vigilant and concerned citizenry so that what happened before will not be repeated. No tyrant will again abuse our ignorance and imprison our spirit.

The insurgency situation has improved tremendously. Your Armed Forces are now the people’s armed forces. They have captured virtually the entire top leadership of the Communist Party and driven insurgent forces out of their old strongholds in the rural areas. It is not the end of that problem, yet. But we are way past the beginning of the end of it.

The economy has improved tremendously. I won’t give you anymore statistics than this, that from the negative 4% in 1985, which means the economy was shrinking, we attained a GNP of 6.7% in just three years. That is remarkable, when you consider that we were able to do it despite the fact that nearly half our taxes are taken away to service our foreign and domestic debts. It is like running on one leg and still going fast. Unemployment has dropped significantly.

A well-known American investment group, Merrill Lynch, predicts that the Philippine economy will be one of the best performers in the 1990s. We stand on the threshold of becoming a Newly Industrialized Country in the coming decade.

Filipinos, here and abroad, are a very potent force. They can help make this development take place sooner – by investing in the Philippines or simply by spreading the word among potential Canadian investors that something good is dawning in the Pacific and it is our country. Wouldn’t they like to be a part of it?

Hindi po kaila na handa kayong tumugon sa napapanahong hamon sa pagpapaunlad ng ating bansa. Kaya’t nais ko pong pagtibayin ang inyong pagmamalasakit sa ating mga kababayan, at ang inyong pagnanasang tumulong sa kaunlaran at kasaganaan ng ating bayan.

Umaasa po kami na kahit malayo kayo ay hindi ito hadlang sa inyong pakikiisa at pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan. Maraming pamamaraan ang naitatag na upang maipatupad ang mga makabayang layunin ninyo:

  • Lumahok sa Philippine Fund na kung saan kayo at maging mga dayuhang kaibigan o kakilala ninyo ay maaaring mamuhunan at kumita. Ang Philippine Fund ay ilulunsad ko sa New York sa ikawalo ng Nobyembre.
  • Tangkilikin ang ating sariling produkto na, dahil sa husay ng ating mga kababayan, ay nahahanay na sa mga natatangi sa buong mundo.
  • Dalawin po ninyo ang ating bayan. Marahil hindi pa po ninyo nalilibot ang magagandang pook nito na kasalukuyang umaakit sa mga maraming dayuhan. Kung hinahangaan ng iba bakit hindi tayo pa?
  • Mamuhunan sa ibat-ibang kalakal sa inyong mga lalawigan o nayon sa pamamagitan ng inyong mga kaibigan o kamag-anak.

Sa mga usaping ito, mayroon po tayong Commission on Filipino Overseas na handang tumulong sa inyo.

Sa tulong ninyo at sa aming pagsusumikap, darating ang panahon na buong karangalang ihahayag natin ang ating sariling kasaganahan bilang isang bansa. Sa panahong iyon, marahil nararapat nang bumalik kayo sa ating bayan upang manirahan dito magpakailan man. Mabuhay tayong lahat!

Maraming salamat.

Source: Presidential Museum and Library

Aquino, C. C. (1989). Speeches of President Corazon C. Aquino : August – December  1989. [Manila : Office of the President of the Philippines].