Aquino on New Year: Let’s stay united

Natashya Gutierrez

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With two and a half years left in his term, the President encourages Filipinos to continue rallying behind his 'tuwid na daan' for the country to achieve permanent reforms.

UNITY. President Benigno Aquino III asks Filipinos to remain united in 2014. File photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – With two and a half years left in his term, President Benigno Aquino III welcomes the New Year with a rallying cry for Filipinos: Let’s stay united.

In a statement released on Monday, December 30, Aquino said the country is coming closer to the future it desires. He hailed his government’s accomplishments in 2013, and expressed confidence that reforms will be continuous and permanent if Filipinos continue to work together.

Kayo ang aming mga Boss ang nagkukumpas ng direksyong ating tatahakin. Magpatuloy lang po tayo sa pagkakapit-bisig, mula sa kabataang umaasang makaambag at dumamay sa paghubog ng mas magandang lipunan hanggang sa mga nakakatanda na may obligasyong magpamana ng maunlad na kinabukasan sa susunod na henerasyon. Ang pakikiambag ng bawat isa ang susi sa pag-abot natin sa ating mga mithiin,” he said.

(You, our Boss, determine the direction we will take. Let us just continue to help each other, from the youth who hope to participate and shape a better society, to the elders who have an obligation to leave a bright future for the next generation. The cooperation of each one is the key to reaching our goals).

Aquino encouraged Filipinos to continue following his administration’s “tuwid na daan” (straight and narrow path) toward progress and gave assurances his government is willing to listen to the concerns of the people.

Lagi lang po tayong pumanig sa tama at sa ating kapwa. Manatili tayo sa panig ng katwiran, katapatan at pananagutan; at sagarin ang bawat pagkakataon para sa ikabubuti ng kapakanan ng mas nakakarami. Tayo lang din po ang magtatakda ng sarili nating mga limitasyon. Bukas po ang ating isip at handa tayong laging makinig sa mga makabuluhang mungkahi upang mas mapalawak at maging pangmatagalan ang ating reporma,” he said.

(Let’s always side with what is right. Let us stay with what is just, honest and accountable, and maximize every opportunity to benefit the most people. We are the only ones who can dictate our own imitations. Out minds are open and we are ready to listen to productive opinions in order to advance and make permanent our reforms).

Aquino also alluded to the challenges of 2013, specifically the consecutive calamities that hit the country. He said while there will likely be more disasters to test the nation, “the strength of our bayanihan will prosper.”

In a separate statement, Vice President Jejomar Binay echoed Aquino’s theme of working together, adding “2013 has given us opportunities to show our unity as a nation.”

“In overcoming tragedies, we proved to the world that Filipinos are indeed a resilient people. We have shown the strength of our resolve – whatever the situation we face, no matter how dire, the Filipino spirit cannot be broken,” he said.

“As we welcome the new year, let us continue to work as one. Together, we will enter 2014 with a renewed sense of hope as we look ahead to a better Philippines.”


Aquino also cited what he considered his administration’s successes in the past year, including:

* increased global confidence in the country’s anti-corruption campaign, which helped the economy, as seen in the 29-notch rise of the Philippines in the Transparency International Corruption Index over the past 3 years from 134th place in 2010 to 105th in 2013;

cases filed against lawmakers and individuals who abused the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the implementation of new mechanisms to increase accountability;

– highest GDP growth in Southeast Asia and new investment grade statuses from the top 3 credit rating agencies in the world;

– synchronization of the ARMM elections with the national polls and a relatively peaceful midterm elections;

– signed annex on power sharing of Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Aside from these, Aquino also praised the Training for Work Scholarship Program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. This allowed 576,748 to graduate between July 2010 to November 2013. Because of this, he said 62.4% of graduates in 2012 found a job, compared to 28.5% from 2006 to 2008.

Malinaw po, dahil sa mas maayos na pamamalakad, natitibag na ang mga huling balwarte ng katiwalian; at patuloy tayong nakakapaglatag ng pagkakataon para sa ating mga kababayan,” he said.

(It’s clear, because of the right leadership, we are uprooting the final vestiges of corruption and we continue to provide more opportunities for our countrymen).

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.