MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – What does President Benigno Aquino III have in common with Jay Z and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un?
They are all on Time Magazine’s 2013 list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”
Aquino landed on the magazine’s list, falling under the “Leaders” category.
In an article posted on Time.com on Thursday, April 18, the magazine praised the Philippine president for steering the economy, and taking a stand on controversial issues in his country and the region.
“In a country of nicknames, Filipinos proudly call their President PNoy – a pun on the word they use for themselves: Pinoy. For his courage, however, he really should have the pet name the family gave his eldest sister Maria Elena: Ballsy,” wrote Time’s Howard Chua-Eoan.
Time cited economic gains under the Aquino administration and Aquino’s support for the reproductive health law, as well as his position on the territorial dispute with China.
“The sputtering economy stabilized and became hot. Aquino pushed through a reproductive-rights law that many said was impossible in the fervently Catholic nation. Most important, he became the face of the regional confrontation with Beijing over its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea. It is a brave stance, the long-term consequences still unknown.”
Under Aquino’s presidency, the Philippine economy grew by 6.6% in 2012 amid a global slowdown, the stock market reached record highs, and the Philippines recently earned investment grade status.
Aquino pushed for the passage of the reproductive health law – what is described as a birth control measure – despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
He also took a strong stand on the Philippines’ claim to territories disputed by China. The Philippines raised its territorial dispute claims against China before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
While Aquino has been criticized for riding on his parents’ name, Time said the President came into his own.
“His father was the Philippines’ most famous political martyr, his mother its most beloved President. Benigno (“Noynoy”) Aquino III inherited that legacy and boosted by national mourning at the death of Corazon Aquino in August 2009, won the presidency in 2010.”
“President Aquino quickly began making his own name.”
In a statement, Aquino’s spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said it was the first time the President appeared on the list.
“The article is a recognition of the true grit which characterizes his leadership, and the optimism, dynamism and renewed pride which has restored the standing of our nation in the eyes of Filipinos and the world.”
“We take pride in how the ideas of good governance and inclusive growth that are the major thrusts of the Aquino presidency resonate not just with Filipinos but with the entire world. This is especially relevant today, as countries all over are trying to become more inclusive economically, politically, and even culturally, President Aquino is already doing it in the Philippines,” Lacierda added.
Aquino joined other influential leaders on the list: US President Barack Obama, South Korea’s first female president Park Geun-hye, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pope Francis, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, and other world leaders.
Also on the list were influential personalities Time categorized as Titans, Pioneers, Icons, and Artists. View the full list here.
The list will be published on the magazine’s April 29 issue. It is the 10th edition of the Time 100.
Aquino was on the cover of the magazine’s Asia Edition in 2010 when he was running for president. The magazine then carried the story: “The Next Aquino: Can Noynoy Save the Philippines?”
The President’s late mother was also featured several times on Time, with the magazine naming her “Woman of the Year” for 1986, the year of the EDSA People Power Revolution.
In his piece “Listing Under the Influence,” Time contributor Joel Stein said he asked people involved with and named to the Time 100 to explain the rationale for the choices.
“I contacted Bill James, who invented modern baseball statistics and was named to the Time 100 in 2006. He had no idea, ‘I think there is something inherently arbitrary in the practice.’”
Stein said some personalities in past lists proved to be influential while others were not so.
“The Time 100 tells a pretty good story of how the world seems at the time. Time, it turns out, just changes a lot. Which is why, my analysis shows, we’re going to start putting out a daily Time 100. I know a guy with a staff of 30 people who can do the job. They are going to be pretty excited about this paper thing,’” he quipped. – Rappler.com