OUTGOING President Benigno S. Aquino III trumpeted the gains under his term in an interview with the New York Times.
Aquino boasted that 4.6 million households now live better lives and about 300,000 high school graduates are assured of a better future, thanks in part to his government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.
The President likewise told New York Times’ Javier Hernandez at Malacanang that the worsening traffic situation in the metropolis only “indicates the intense economic activity that is happening.”
Aquino took a dig at those who had made it an occupation to criticize his administration instead of lending a hand.
“There was a camp in the campaign that said we are the silent majority; perhaps, a lot of the criticism came from the noisier ones who had an occupation in terms of criticizing us rather than just helping us,” he said.
“How do you actually move from a situation of poverty to that which you are able to take care of your basic needs? To us, it has been all of these investments in education, in the CCT, in the health insurance, in increasing infrastructure spending, and doing all of these things without increasing any tax except the sin tax,” he said.
He also boasted of the high economic growth during his six years in office as well as the lower unemployment rate and increased membership with the health insurance program.
Duterte a patriot
Asked about Duterte’s policies in addressing the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China, the President said he supposed that Duterte is a patriot and “he will do what is best for our country.”
Earlier, presidential communications operations office secretary Sonny Coloma Jr said the incoming administration should get their facts straight regarding the West Philippine Sea.
“It’s the prerogative of the incoming President to seek and obtain complete and accurate information on matters of national interest, especially on foreign policy,” Coloma said in a statement.
Aquino also cited what he considers the Filipino people’s change of mindset as one of his greatest achievements from being hopeless to “now thinking that there are no limits to what our aspirations should be and can be” as his greatest achievement as president.
The President said he is hoping that the people will demand more from the incoming administration, claiming that his government has already laid the “stepping stone to even greater heights.”
“Hopefully, our people will continue to be engaged and will demand of those who’ll replace us even more than what we have produced,” he said. “‘Cause those that succeed us will have less problems than what we have when we started.”
“They will make the job of governing, if not a lot easier, definitely easier than what we found,” the President added.
Aquino said noted that the Philippine economy grew by 6.9 percent in the first quarter of the year, the highest since 2013.
Aquino said he will leave office on June 30, the same day incoming President Duterte will take his oath of office, knowing that his administration has made considerable investments to reduce poverty.