Rallies nation to gain goal in his govt’s last years
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Monday likened the coming year to the crucial last two minutes of a basketball game, and urged the public to stop wasting time and rally behind him so that he could realize his vision for the country in his remaining three years.
The Philippines was entering a “righteous journey” as “a country with a shared vision,” Mr. Aquino said.
“We’ve shown remarkable strength amid overlapping challenges,” he said in Filipino in a New Year’s message.
Aquino once again pointed to the economic growth under his administration and attributed this to his “unrelenting efforts” against corruption.
He noted that the Philippines has moved up in the Transparency International Corruption Index from 134th in 2010 to 105th in 2013.
He added that the country is about to bring “ultimate justice” to those who abused the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
“We have also continued in laying the mechanism to ensure that public money will be used for public welfare alone,” Aquino said.
Through his administration’s good governance, Aquino said, the country has posted the highest growth in gross domestic product in Southeast Asia.
“For the first time, we have achieved investment grade status from three of the top credit ratings agencies in the world. Because of this, we have achieved lower interest rates for the money borrowed and more businessmen are attracted to invest in the country,” he said.
He also cited the government’s progress toward signing a final peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to end decades of insurrection by Muslim rebels.
Aquino also credited the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for training more than half a million Filipinos from 2010 to 2013, and said the number of them who were able to land a job rose from only 28.5 percent in 2006 to 64.4 percent in 2012.
“Like a basketball game, we know that challenges abound until the last minute while we are nearing the goal,” Aquino said.
He appealed to the public, particularly the youth, to continue supporting the government.
“We know that there are still many forms of challenges ahead that will test the strength of our country. Let us always prove to them that our ‘Bayanihan’ will prevail.”
The Palace on Monday said the country had achieved progress despite several natural and man-made disasters this year.
“It has been a year of challenges not only for the administration but also for the Filipino people—another year where our collective commitment to persevere and to stand shoulder to shoulder enabled us to overcome the trials set before us, thus making the world admire and respect us all the more,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte Saturday on a government radio.