Aquino: Good governance will be my legacy

Natashya Gutierrez

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The President also talks about his plans after his term, including his dream of writing a book

GOOD GOVERNANCE. President Benigno Aquino III says his legacy will be the change in attitude among Filipinos brought forth by his administration. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – As President Benigno Aquino III enters the final years of his term, he shared what he thinks has been his biggest accomplishments.

On top of the list, which, he said, would likely be his legacy, was good governance.

“We said ‘good governance is good economics’ to the 4.1 million families benefiting from the CCT (conditional cash transfer). If somebody decides ‘Those of you have the least ability to impact your own lives, we will remove this, in effect, this crutch, this aid to you… and they will have a voice, they have been empowered,” Aquino said on Friday, December 5, at a gathering with media.

He said the attitude fostered by his administration will be his lasting impact.

“When you have the students talking about better quality education, more opportunities for everyone…You name the particular sector of society, and they are demanding of government that which government should be doing to begin with, then I think that will be the legacy,” he said.

“Instead of before, of merely just accepting what is, they are now demanding what should be a normal right. Then, if we have been able to transform them into that, then I think it was all worth it.”

Focusing on youth, Aquino also said the desire of the new generation to stay or return to the Philippines and to use their talents here rather than abroad, makes him happy.

“When you see the renewed optimism and the attitude that is different in our people, it seems nothing is impossible. That, I think, brings out our greatness as a nation from the time we stepped into office when there was massive cynicism where the primary goal was how to leave the Philippines,” he said, to now, there is talk “about the young coming back home. That, again, makes us all happy and makes all of this worthwhile.”

Asked about his happiest moments in his presidency, Aquino also mentioned the successes of the economy make him proud.

“When you look at the economy, when you have all of those credit ratings upgrades. [Getting] the investment grade status would be one of them. When we started out, we said there would be an improvement of lives and the economy really has to improve and it has to be very inclusive,” he said.

He mentioned the 2.5 million Filipinos the government has lifted out of poverty and the 1.6 million new jobs created in manufacturing.

Writing a book

Aquino also shared his plans after his presidency.

He said he would take at least a year off just to “relax and recharge and recover from all the tensions, turmoil, concerns over the past 6 years.” 

“[I’ll be] going back to Times, staying in my own bed in my own house and relishing [it]…and perhaps looking forward to the following day when I don’t have to wake up too early. I can laze around and get used to living in Times again. Then perhaps visit the neighborhood… the supermarket and the fast food joints all around,” he said.

Aquino also disclosed his dream of writing a book “to share the experiences,” and help institutionalize the lessons from his administration.

The President, however, emphasized that focusing on the youth would still be his priority.

“More importantly, we’d really want to interact with the youth and really help shape the next generation so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. And exactly what form? I’m not exactly sure at this point in time. We are concerned with today’s issues,” he said. –

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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.