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For Filipinos, family is everything and the future of our children is sacred. That is why I invested so much time and effort in rejuvenating our education system. I met with teachers and other educators to get a first-hand look at the improvements that we need to make. I listened to what these fine public servants had to say, and in response to their advice, I increased the country’s total budget for education by nearly four times: from P 6.6 Billion in 2000 to P 24.3 Billion in 2010 when I stepped down. Those funds went into the following critical areas of educational spending:
· We built 100,000 new classrooms, more than the three previous administrations combined.
· We supported one in every two private high school students—atotal of 1.2 million students–with the GASTPE financial voucher program.
· In 2009 alone, we doubled TESDA’s budget.
I often said during my Administration that we need to continue translating our economic and fiscal achievements into real benefits for the people. We must continue to invest in what I like to call the three “E’s” of the Economy, Environment and Education. These include such pro-poor programs as enhancing access to healthcare, food, housing and education, as well as job creation. They are central to lifting our nation up.
No nation can aspire to become modern without protecting its environment.
On my watch as President, the country’s forest cover increased from 5.39 million hectares in 2001 to 7.17 million hectares by 2009. And we registered 40 projects abroad to reduce greenhouse gases—the sixth largest number of such projects among all countries.
A president must work harder than everyone else. And no matter what he thinks he was elected to do — even if that includes running after alleged offenders in the past — he must not neglect the bread and butter issues that preoccupy most of our people most of the time: keeping prices down, creating more jobs, providing basic services, securing the peace, pursuing the high economic growth that is the only way to vault our country into the ranks of developed economies.
Good management begins with planning ahead, not pointing fingers and blaming others after the fact. It means spelling out your vision quickly and clearly so your team grasps their mission at once and immediately starts to execute it.
Now that President Aquino’s term is ending, people look back on his achievements and his administration’s contribution to the whole Filipino nation. One of his critics, the Former President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo, once made her own assessment of P-Noy’s performance back in 2012.
These are some of the things she said during an interview in 2012:
“The momentum inherited by President Aquino was already slowing down, and despite his initial brief honeymoon period, he has simply not replaced my legacy with new ideas and actions of his own.”
Indeed, it’s so easy to claim achievements that have already been accomplished by others, and take credit for what is there when the one who did the work has gone. Just make sure she is forgotten, or, if remembered, vilified.”
Below is an excerpt of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s nine-page essay criticizing President Benigno Aquino III for disparaging her before the bar of public opinion. She titled the essay, “It’s The Economy Student” with Aquino being one of her students at Ateneo de Manila University where she used to teach economics.
I am alarmed that the pace of infrastructure build-out has slowed dramatically under this Administration, with some projects even being canceled outright for no good reason—such as the earlier-noted flood control projects in Central Luzon—and our country being sued by investors. At a time when we should be wooing their money, we are inviting litigation from them instead. This kind of flip-flopping may help explain the tepid investor response to the Administration’s flagship public-private partnership (PPP) program, where only one project has been awarded after all of eighteen months.
The current Administration originally fixated on the single goal of achieving self-sufficiency in rice by 2013. I too wanted to achieve rice self-sufficiency, but I knew the odds were tough. Since the Spanish period, we’ve been importing rice. While we may know how to grow rice well, topography doesn’t always cooperate. Nature did not gift us with a mighty Mekong River like Thailand and Vietnam, with their vast and naturally fertile river delta plains. Nature instead put our islands ahead of our neighbors in the path of typhoons from the Pacific. So historically we’ve had to import 10% of our rice, and so I took care to keep our goals for agriculture wide-ranging and diversified.
It's The Economy Student!
(I wrote this article on and off in my spare time during my house recuperation, re-hospitalization and hospital detention from October to December 2011.)
The economy I turned over
When I stepped down from the Presidency in June 2010, I was able to turn over to the next Administration a new Philippines with a 7.9% growth rate. That growth rate capped 38 quarters of uninterrupted economic growth despite escalating global oil and food prices, two world recessions, Central and West Asian wars, mega-storms and virulent global epidemics. Our country had just weathered with flying colors the worst planet-wide economic downturn since
the Great Depression of 1930. As two-thirds of the world’s economies contracted, we were one of the few that managed positive growth.
The politics of division
In the last year and a half, I have noted with sadness the increasing vacuum of leadership, vision, energy, and execution in managing our economic affairs. The gains achieved by previous administrations – mine included – are being squandered in an obsessive pursuit of political warfare meant to blacken the past and conceal the dark corners of the present dispensation.
Our dream of growth
Our mainstream commitment to growth enables the country to tap the opportunities of the 21st century. In line with this, during my time we promoted fast-growing industries where high-value jobs are most plentiful.
One of them is information and communication technology or ICT, particularly the outsourcing of knowledge and business processes. My Administration developed the call center industry almost from scratch: in June 2010 there were half a million call center and BPO workers, from less than 5,000 when I took office. It was mainly for them that we built our fifth, virtual super-region: the so-called “cyber corridor”, the nationwide backbone for our call centers and BPO industry which rely on constant advances in IT and the essentially zero cost of additional bandwidth.