Discussions With President Corazon C. Aquino of the
Reagan. It was truly a pleasure to welcome and meet today with Philippine President
Corazon Aquino. Her courage and her commitment to
democracy, mirroring those same qualities in the Filipino people, have inspired
the world, and it's been an honor to have her as our guest. President Aquino and I discussed her strenuous efforts to bolster the
democratic institutions of her country and to ensure its security and
strengthen its economy. And I assured her that all
have been trying times in the
President Aquino's efforts, however, well-armed
Communist guerrillas remain a threat to democracy in the
our discussion today, President Aquino reaffirmed her
belief that free enterprise is the surest path to development, the surest
method of opening the door of opportunity and advancement to all her people.
Her government stands for free trade and is encouraging private investment. She
knows in the long run nothing would better serve the Filipino people than
unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit and putting the creative and
economy-building power of the marketplace to work. As one might surmise, after
hearing this, I'm bullish on the
also considered ways in which the
the meantime, I will continue to ask Congress for appropriate levels of
economic and military assistance above and beyond existing
one last thought: Today governments, businesses, financial institutions, and
individuals are dealing with a new kind of government in the
Aquino and I reaffirmed the commitment of our two
peoples to the ideals which so many Americans and Filipinos have given their
lives, and we also reaffirm the bonds of friendship and affection between the
President Aquino. Thank you, President Reagan. This has been an opportunity to get to know each other, to explore common issues together. Above all, though, I can say that for my part the most important aspect has been the chance to meet each other.
are both politicians who set great store on face-to-face encounters. Government-to-government
contacts have their proper place, yet when the leadership of a country changes
in such a dramatic fashion, as happened in the
From this meeting today both our governments will go out with a clear sense of priorities, with a recognition that we must both work hard to strengthen the bonds between us. I hope we have set the tone and direction for a new relationship. By recovering our democracy, we Filipinos have recovered our self-confidence and pride and hence our ability to deal with our major ally on an equal footing. This is the only basis for a relationship between friends, and I think we were able to start on that agenda today. I was able to explain to President Reagan the problems we have inherited, all of them rooted in a devastated economy. I was also able to outline to him what we are doing to set things right. I am gratified that President Reagan understands and supports what we are trying to do.
As you know, we have placed our faith in the private sector as the stimulus of growth. I also briefed the President on the wide range of reforms we have embarked on to resolve our difficulties. A new constitution is in the final stages of drafting. There will be a referendum on it followed by elections early next year. We are carrying out a long-overdue program of military reform. Within this context of an economic reconstruction, political rebuilding, and military reform, we can combat our remaining problem: the insurgency. As you know, we are pursuing a political approach, but this is backed by the military option. In all these areas of rebuilding, I hope we can count on American support and understanding.
But most important, reform is being done in a new environment of freedom, human rights, and democracy. So, as today's discussions showed, we have a lot of values in common again. We admire freedom and hard work in just the way you do. For two countries who have a faith in God, in freedom, in the family, and in democratic values, we should allow nothing to come in the way of an ever-growing friendship. Today was a good beginning, and I thank you all for it.
Note: President Reagan spoke
at at the South Portico of
the White House. Earlier, the two Presidents met in the Oval Office and then
attended a luncheon in the Residence. Following the Presidents' remarks,
Secretary of the Treasury James A. Baker III and Philippine Minister of Finance
Jaime Ongpin signed an agreement providing for $100