MANILA, Philippines — World Bank President Jim Yong Kim praised the achievements of the Aquino administration and even spoke in Filipino to say how so many things have changed including the large number of Korean tourists in the country.
“I’m very happy to be back in Manila. It has been 30 years since my last visit when I was working on my Phd dissertation. The city and country has changed so much over that time,” Kim said during the Daylight Dialogue forum in Malacañang Palace Tuesday.
“(Back then) it seemed I was the only Korean in town. Ang daming nagbago, ang dami nang Koreano (So many things have changed, so many Koreans),” he added.
Kim said that the Philippines has made “notable gains” which the World Bank can share with the rest of the world so they can learn vital lessons of the Aquino administration.
“Around the world, the spread of information technology is converging with grassroot movement for transparency, accountability, and citizen empowerment. Under your leadership President Aquino, the Philippines is absolutely in the forefront of this transformation,” Kim said.
“You’ve doubled government budgets to social services and made performance informed budgeting the norm. Citizens increasingly see the Conditional Cash Transfer as instrument to realize their rights to education and healthcare,” he said.
Kim also praised how the government streamlined business regulation in order to bring down the cost of doing business which also reduced opportunities for corruption.
“Your open data initiative has reinforced accountability in all levels of government. For example, the PH is now using electronic procurement technology to encourage citizens to be observers in all stages of the bidding process,” Kim said.
“Your commitment to transparency is a beacon for the nations of East Asia and beyond. The World Bank’s governance global practice team is here to learn from your achievements and help you accomplish even more. We will work with you to identify and implement practical solutions for your government’s toughest challenges,” he said.
Kim assured Aquino of the World Bank’s support saying that there is still so much that needs to be done in the country including recovery in areas devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”
“The physical scars remain visible and nothing can replace the storm’s cost in human lives. When I met people in Leyte, I encountered not bitterness but resilience. I see the spirit of solidarity and a determination to look forward rather than back,” Kim said.
“Their attitude reinforced my conviction that when ordinary people unite we can overcome any obstacle,” he said.
Kim also noted how the more than 400 Filipinos working for the World Bank group, which is the sixth largest nationality group, have contributed so much to their organization.
“Mr. President, this Korean believes in you and in this country’s very promising future,” Kim said.