Philippine President Benigno Aquino talks with ABC7


ABC7's Cheryl Jennings obtained an exclusive interview with the President about his dreams for his country's future. President Aquino says, "The Philippines is open for business."

The newly-elected president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino the Third, visited the Silicon Valley on a mission to lift his country out of poverty and into peace and prosperity. President Aquino went to the San Jose Fairmont for the first ever "Philippine Development Forum" sponsored by the Ayala Foundation.

The forum brought together leaders in education, science and technology to improve the lives of the poor in the Philippines.

"Close to 10 percent of our people are outside of the country. They leave because there are no job opportunities. It's not a question of greener pastures, but rather the only pasture," Aquino explained.

President Aquino is carrying on the legacy of his parents. His father was a beloved leader who was assassinated in 1983. His mother, Corizon Aquino, became president and led a people's revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1987.

"My parents sought nothing less and died for nothing less than democracy, peace and prosperity. I am blessed by this legacy. I shall carry the torch forward," he said at his inauguration.

"When we go home, we will tell people a lot of investments are come our way," he added.

The Chairman of the Ayala Foundation, Dado Banatao said, "The community is ecstatic that he's stopping here before he goes back."

"We are now seeing an outpouring of Filipinos who became successful here, not only in the Bay Area, but throughout the U.S., who are coming out to say, we are here to help," said San Francisco Consul General of the Philippines, Marciano Paynor, Jr.

Security is tight around President Aquino. He's been targeted by a gunman before, just like his father.

Cheryl Jennings: You've already been shot at. Still have the bullet?

President Aquino: In my neck, and pieces of shrapnel that make metal detectors go crazy. We get it from our parents though. My mother would say, "If it's your time, it's your time." So, long as there is positive change for our people, then it would be worth it and have meaning.

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