MANILA, Philippines – With just 43 days until he relinquishes the highest post in the land, President Benigno Aquino III said he can hold his head up high at the end of his term, confident that he was leaving the country in a much better shape than it was 6 years ago.
Aquino made the statement in his speech at the ceremonial enactment of Republic Act 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall on Wednesday, May 18.
“Sa darating na ika-30 ng Hunyo, pagpalo ng alas-12 ng tanghali, matiwasay tayong makakababa sa puwesto, makakalingon nang taas-noo sa sambayanang Pilipino, at mata sa matang masasabi: ‘Tumotoo ako sa inyo. Tumupad ako sa mandatong kaloob ng aking mga Boss,'” he said.
(On June 30, at 12 noon, I can calmly step down, look back, and look the Filipino people in the eye and say: “I was true to you. I delivered on the mandate given by my Bosses.”)
“Tunay nating maipapamana sa susunod na henerasyon ang isang Pilipinas na di hamak na mas maganda kaysa atin pong dinatnan; at nagawa natin ito, dahil nagtulungan tayo, inangat natin ang isa’t isa, at inuna natin ang ating kapwa at bayan, bago ang sariling kapakakan,” he added.
(We can truly bequeath to the next generation a Philippines that is undoubtedly much better than when we came in, and we accomplished this because we worked together, we raised each other up, and we put others and our nation first, before our own welfare.)
Under the Aquino administration, the Philippine economy grew to become one of the best performers in the region, turning the perennial “Sick Man of Asia” into – in Aquino’s own words and echoed by analysts at home and abroad – the “Darling of Asia.”
Poverty incidence in the Philippines also eased to a “record low” of 26.3% in the first semester of 2015 – the lowest since 2006.
Aquino had heralded these achievements in seeking continuity through administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. But voters chose otherwise, citing government’s failure to act swiftly on problems especially of ordinary Filipinos in Metro Manila, such as the glitches of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) and traffic congestion, among other things.
It was one of many goodbyes the Chief Executive is expected to make in his remaining public engagements as his term nears its end.
“Hanggang sa huli po: Isang karangalan para sa isang Noynoy Aquino ang makapaglingkod sa isang dakilang lahi, sa aking mga Boss; sa inyo, ang sambayanang Pilipino (Until the end: It is an honor for a Noynoy Aquino to serve a noble race, my Bosses; you, the Filipino people),” he said.
In a news briefing on Tuesday, May 17, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the new administration “will find a strengthened bureaucracy that is steeped in the principles of good management as well as open and transparent and accountable transactions with the general public.”
He said the Aquino administration had worked “towards bequeathing or transferring to the next administration a government workforce and a government that is more capable, that is more responsive and that will be more effective in delivering essential services to our people.”
Life after Malacañang
Aquino had said many times that he planned to have a quiet private life after he steps down, beginning with a much-deserved vacation, before continuing to pursue his advocacies.
Coloma reiterated this in the Tuesday briefing, when asked about Aquino’s plans after his term.
“Nangunguna doon sa kanyang nais gawin ay ‘yung magpahinga at magbakasyon. At binabanggit din naman niya ‘yung kanyang nakita sa kanyang yumaong ina, si President Cory Aquino, na pagkatapos ng panunungkulan ay patuloy na naging [aktibo] na lumahok sa ating mga democratic processes,” Coloma said.
(First of all, he will rest and go on vacation. And he had also said that he had seen what his late mother, President Cory Aquino, had done after her term ended – she continued to actively participate in our democratic processes.)
Coloma said Mrs Aquino also supported the advocacy of civil society groups and non-governmental organizations involved in helping micro- and small-and-medium enterprises.
Responding to questions, Coloma said Aquino would be ready to give his inputs, if asked, by the new administration. – Rappler.com