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BRAVE NEW PHILIPPINES
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AseanAffairs Magazine July - August 2010
CONTENT • BEYOND ASEAN 
• ASEAN BAZAAR • ASEAN TALK
ASEAN AVIATION • INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN MONEY • OPINION
• ASEAN TRAVELLER • INDIA IN SPOTLIGHT

New Philippines President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino wins in a landslide election and promises to end poverty and fight corruption.

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Q: There is a recommendation that the incoming administration should enact policies to enable the Philippines to have a knowledge-based economy. What’s your response?

A: We need to add two years to the 10-year education cycle, which is among the shortest in the region. We need to build a proper preschool system and make it accessible to more of our children, particularly those from lower income groups.We need to commit more resources to train more teachers and build more classrooms. We need to widen access to education and improve the quality of that education. As we improve our basic education system, we must also enhance our higher education.
Too many students graduate with skills that are currently not in demand and too many jobs are unfilled because there are not enough people with the skill sets required to fill those positions. All of this will require a commitment of resources and political will that I am prepared to spend.
Before we can put a knowledge-based economy in place, there are many things that must first be done, beginning with basic education. Math and science scores of Filipino students have deteriorated in relation to our Asean neighbors. The first task, therefore, is to strengthen basic education.

 

Q: There are some critics who see your election victory as signaling the return of the oligarchy, and there are others who believe you are much more open to alternative policies to guide the country’s economy than most of the previous leaders. Please share your thoughts on these differing views.

A: There is something fundamentally wrong with an economy that can grow continuously for a decade while the number of people living in poverty has actually increased. Access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity must be widened, but this will take time. A sustained program of conditional cash transfers,

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