Benigno Aquino, the Philippine president, announced his plans for military expansion in his State of the Nation Address last Monday. The Wall Street Journal reports Mr. Aquino speaking in his mother tongue, chronicling his achievements two years into his tenure as president.
Mr. Aquino urged lawmakers to pass a proposed Armed Forces modernization bill that will add 75 million pesos (US$1.8 billion) to military expenditure for the next five years, to acquire more boats, choppers, personnel carriers, aircrafts and cannons. He pointed out that the country is not preparing for a war over disputed territories in the South China Sea. However, when the president touched on the much-awaited topic of the disputes with China, he stated that the territories are “rightfully ours”.
The President highlighted his anti-corruption agenda, which he said would help boost economic growth and create over three million jobs. The Philippines recently received credit rating upgrades making it one of Asia’s top performers.
Mr. Aquino said that he will develop infrastructure – roads, train rails, and airports – to boost the country’s tourism. He also urged Congress to pass proposed amendments to the ‘sin tax’, that would lessen vices while generating more revenues for social services.