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Philippine president to focus on inclusive growth in last 2 years of his term
Publication Date : 29-06-2014
Marking his fourth year in office on Monday, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III believes that a change in attitude toward government is one of his biggest achievements, according to a Palace official.
Elected to office by 15 million Filipinos saddened by his mother’s recent death, Aquino took his oath as the country’s 15th President on June 30, 2010.
“The President has been asked that question. For him, the change in attitude is a big deal,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told state-run dzRB radio.
From the apathy that he said marked the years before Aquino took over from the Arroyo administration in 2010, Lacierda claimed Filipinos had become more hopeful during the past four years.
“Now, it’s possible for them to believe that everything is possible, anything is possible. We’ve seen the change in our countrymen,” he said. There has been a “rising appreciation” for government, he said.
According to Lacierda, the President would focus on making economic growth more inclusive in the last two years of his term.
“Our advocacy, our belief is that we would like to have inclusive growth for all, and so, we would like to make sure that as we leave—as the President leaves after 2016—he has laid the foundation for an economy that will provide equitable growth for all,” he said.
“What we want to instill in our countrymen is that ‘let’s not go back anymore to where we were before.’ We have elevated the level of governance. People expect better from the government,” he said.
Still, the Palace is leaving it to historians and political analysts to judge Aquino’s legacy, Lacierda said.
“History, I believe, will judge what would be the President’s biggest achievement. In the meantime, we still have two more years to go, and every year there will always be achievements and it will be up to the historians and the political analysts to decide for themselves what would be the single biggest achievement of this administration,” he said.
Lacierda was not that forthcoming about what accomplishments of the past 12 months the President would be reporting in his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 28.
“Let’s just wait for his State of the Nation Address,” he said.
But based on what issues that come out of the Palace public affairs and communications mill in the past year, people can make out the bare bones of what the President will likely claim in his report on July 28.
Aquino last year ordered the abolition of the pork barrel Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the 2014 national budget following the discovery of the scandalous misuse and theft of P10 billion in rural development funds.
Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and several officials have been indicted for plunder and graft over the scam.
The President also presided over the signing of a peace agreement with Moro rebels that will see the creation of a new, autonomous Bangsamoro region in southern Philippines, drawing international praise.
But Aquino has not been spared criticism over disclosures that the executive department suspiciously distributed additional pork barrel funds to senators under the questionable Disbursement Acceleration Program soon after the Senate convicted ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012 for dishonesty in the disclosure of his assets.