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09 July 2015 – Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras hosted a private meeting with the delegates of the 4th Filipino-American Youth Leadership Program to brief them on the general policy thrusts of the Aquino administration.

The dialogue with the Cabinet Secretary gave the delegates the opportunity to learn about the core values and visions of this government and the framework within which the visions are translated into implementable programs and projects.

The Cabinet Secretary emphasized that the country’s top priorities are job generation and investing in Filipinos, especially the poor. From efforts to ensure that investments reach those in the poverty line, to investing in programs such as the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, he underscored the government’s efforts to elevate the lives of the poorest of the poor.

"The President is willing to invest in people and the poor. If the poor is struggling to feed themselves and make ends meet, how do we expect the poor to think of anything else?"

Sec. Almendras highlighted the transformative nature of the Aquino administration’s policies saying, "Where we are allowed, we change the structure to avoid corruption. We believe in changing structures, processes and people."

He cited that the Philippines has come a long way from being the sick man of Asia to being lauded as the “darling of investors” with steady increases in the GDP and the decrease in poverty from 29% to 22%.

During the discussion, delegates asked questions about existing political challenges, measures to improve transparency through technology, and efforts to institutionalize the transformative reforms initiated by President Aquino.

Angelo Ignacio, a Marketing Specialist for World Vision from Seattle, Washington, said, “you mentioned that someday you will see the outcome of what you’ve invested your time in while in office - this really stuck with me. Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive and to stay passionate and be willing to still continue to do our work. It is the belief that someday your output and your outcome will in fact bear fruits that carries you through. We look forward to seeing the fruits of your investment grow and we hope to be able to contribute to the Philippines’ progress.”

Secretary Almendras told the delegates, "I like the idea that you have chosen to lead the Philippines, that you have not given up. That is why I am here with you today. You guys have the opportunity to see the Philippines grow and you are in an environment to share it to the rest of the world."

As parting advice to the delegates, Secretary Almendras said, "To whom much is given, much is required. That is the challenge for you. You have the wonderful gift of choices. Some of the poorest people in this country I have met do not have choices and the desperation is apparent. My one advice to you is perseverance. Make the right choices and then it is easier to persevere."

Philippine Airlines, Ayala Corporation, Chevron Holdings, Chevron Philippines, Chevron Malampaya, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Philamlife, and SGV and Co. join PHINMA as the corporate sponsors of the 4thFYLPRO. END