Remarks With Manila Radio Host Mo Twister

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
University of St. Tomas
Manila, Philippines
November 13, 2009

QUESTION: We have a huge election coming up in May, and it’s supposed to be – it’s kind of as exciting for us, as it was for you guys in your last election. We have 47 million registered voters – that’s well over 50 percent, we have 3 million newly registered voters – a lot of that the youth. So can you give us advice on say, some voting tips? Especially for the young people who are going to be voting for the first time, you know, this is kind of like an exciting moment. What key qualities should we be looking for in a president to help us turn this country around from, you know, something that you might be noticing?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that the importance of the electoral process here in the Philippines cannot be overstated. You have a democracy. It is a democracy that is critical to any progress that you want to make. So the more people who participate, the more likely that the outcome will reflect the needs of the people. And I think young people in particular should be excited about this. This is an opportunity for change. Obviously, President Obama campaigned successfully on a slogan of change, and I think that there’s a tremendous chance now for the people in the Philippines, particularly the young people, to demand the kind of change that you’re looking for. That’s what elections should be about. It shouldn’t just be a ritual. It should be a real contest, a real debate.

And I hope that you use modern technology. I know this is a very texting nation. And you can do a lot with the new technology to get people involved, to have the kind of meetings and events that bring people together, trying to get town halls where you get to question the candidates – everything you can think of that you believe works in other places.

And then finally, I know you’re going to be moving toward automated voting, and people could really use help in learning how to use this new voting form. And young people, particularly at a university like where we are today, can be helping to mentor and guide voters in how to make sure that they understand the new technology.

QUESTION: Now, you brought up that we are at the university. We’re at the University of Santo Tomas, which is considered probably one of the best, or if not the best, medical learning institution in our country. The thing is though, Secretary, many of our graduates in the medical field, they head to the U.S. and other first world nations to practice. Now, you’ve probably seen this in the large population of Filipino nurses in the hospitals. My question is: Do you think the United States and countries alike should be – I don’t know if the right term is obliged, but to give support to our education system, for scholarships, infrastructure, for nursing schools, since it directly benefits the American public?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that’s a really interesting question, Mo. I would like to see Filipino doctors and nurses be able to stay here in the Philippines and contribute to the health and well-being of the people here. There are some ways that we can assist, and we have in the past with the education system with institution building, and I will look into that.

But ultimately, what we should hope for is that you don’t export so many of your people.


SECRETARY CLINTON: The biggest export out of the Philippines are the people of the Philippines. And everywhere they go, they are successful. They are not only successful doctors and nurses, but business people and serving in every kind of job in every walk of life. And I think it’s important to look for ways that you can be sure that the people you train and educate here stay here.

QUESTION: Right. What do you think the world would be like if the United States took a less proactive role in world affairs? I mean, if you isolated yourself a little bit, do you think it would be a lot more dangerous out there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do. I do. I think it’s a challenging question because certainly we have a lot of challenges at home that we need to address, particularly the economic ones. But it seems that the United States, if we are not involved, people want us involved; and if we’re involved, they say, oh, well, you shouldn’t be involved, except if we aren’t, then they want us back. So I think there’s an expectation that we will be involved in political activities around the world, and I think we’re going to do our best to try to be helpful.

QUESTION: Do you feel though sometimes you guys are underappreciated for that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re not looking for any pats on the back or appreciation. We like to solve problems. We like to see results. We want to help people help themselves. I do think that oftentimes people are – they view the United States as an easy target. They can criticize us, but then behind the scenes they’re saying but don’t stop your aid, don’t stop your --

QUESTION: Right, right.

SECRETARY CLINTON: -- military cooperation, don’t stop helping us in natural disasters. But then they go out in public again and criticize us. So I understand how that plays.

QUESTION: I got you. Just one last question here about the job. How difficult is it to concentrate on one world problem to another? I mean, is it like Monday Middle East, Tuesday China, Wednesday North Korea, Thursday Russia, and Friday something else, Africa maybe? That must keep your head spinning.

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is pretty overwhelming. There is – it’s a big world out there. And as you were just talking, there seems to be an expectation that the United States is going to be involved everywhere. And we’re doing the best we can. I think it’s fair to say we inherited a lot of problems that we’re trying to untangle, and the challenge of doing that is a 24/7 job. But it’s exciting and it’s an incredible honor to be representing the United States and the Obama Administration.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the show here. Mrs. Clinton, even if most of us will never completely understand the ins and outs of your job, we do appreciate the empowerment and the hope that you and President Obama bring to the world. And it’s my personal opinion, but I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that, and thank you for caring beyond your borders. Appreciate it very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, thank you, Mo. And I really wish you well. I mean, you’re a very impressive young man with an excellent interview technique. And I just think that the young people of the Philippines are really the future, and I encourage and urge you to be involved in the political process, to get active in this next election, act as though your future really depended on it, because it does.

QUESTION: Thank you. We appreciate it very much.


PRN: 2009/T15-15