Noy on exit: Nothing to fear, worry about

Noy on exit: Nothing to fear, worry about

MANILA, Philippines – With little over a month remaining before stepping down from office, President Aquino said yesterday he is not worried about leaving his “bosses” as he is about to relinquish his post to his successor, Rodrigo Duterte.

“I will be leaving my office as someone who remained true to his bosses: the Filipino people. Today – perhaps the last time I will be facing many of you as president – I tell you: it has been a distinct honor to have worked with you, and to have served my countrymen,” he said.

Near the end of his six-year term, “I have no cause for fear or worry,” Aquino said.

“I will be leaving behind a citizenry ready to work with able, trustworthy partners like the Millennium Challenge Corporation,” he added.

Aquino said he is proud to have made the Philippines’ mark in the Asian region as a resilient economy amid continued uncertainties in the international community.

“I will be leaving behind a Philippines renowned for its economic resilience and for its commitment to inclusivity,” Aquino said in his speech yesterday at the closing event of the National Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact held at Malacañang.

Aquino said he is also proud about the event.

“This gathering takes on special meaning for me: it has, in a way, allowed me to come full circle. We signed the MCC compact a few months after I took my oath of office; we witness its end today, as my own covenant with our people is coming to an end,” he said.

At the same time, Aquino said he is grateful for the promise he has fulfilled about inclusive growth for all – poor, middle class and elite alike – and about the rosy prospects for the local economy, not to mention the cultural change his daang matuwid (straight path) policy instilled in the bureaucracy.

“Perhaps more importantly, there has also been a significant change in attitude. Now, our people are empowered to participate, to speak out and to demand good governance and true service from all succeeding administrations,” Aquino stressed.

“It is because of our fellow Filipinos that we have transformed our country. This is not only a literal transformation of governance that empowers our people so that inclusive growth becomes more and more a reality,” he added.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said all Duterte has to do is build on the solid economic foundations that President Aquino laid out in his six years in office.

“It is now up to the next administration to build on the gains we have recently achieved – so that they may further redound to our nation’s improvement, for the benefit of generations to come,” Lacierda said.

“Peers in the international community have acknowledged our progress – the most recent of which is the country’s impressive 6.9 percent gross domestic product growth for the first quarter of 2016,” he added.

“This is above market expectations, and is higher than the GDP recorded last quarter (6.5 percent) and also during the first quarter of 2015 (5 percent),” Lacierda said, comparing the latest figures released by the National Economic and Development Authority.

As it is, Manila’s economy is now Asia’s “fastest growing” – followed by China’s 6.7 percent and Vietnam’s 5.5 percent, he said.

“President Aquino has often articulated this administration’s guiding principle: to leave the country in a far better state than when he first found it,” Lacierda said.

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