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Aquino marks 56th birthday

Riding high on his accomplishments in the final year of his presidency, President Aquino will celebrate his 56th birthday today, which also falls on Chinese New Year’s Day.

President Benigno Aquino III delivers his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) during the joint session of the 16th Congress inside the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Monday, July 27, 2015. (KJ ROSALES)Without a steady romantic date, the President is expected to spend his special day with family and friends.

A Palace source said the President will host a small birthday gathering at Bahay Pangarap on Monday evening. His family, Cabinet members and other allies are expected to attend the birthday affair.

As of press time, the President has no official public engagements for his birthday, according to Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

“I have no details yet. It’s a non-working holiday,” Coloma said in a text message when asked about the President’s birthday plans.

As for his wish for his boss, Coloma said: “I wish him continued good health and a seamless transition into the post-presidency phase.”

The President marks his birthday this year amid a string of accomplishments of his administration, including the country’s economic resurgence and return of transparency and accountability in government. In his recent public speeches, Aquino has taken pride of these gains of his reform agenda since 2010 and has pushed for the continuity of the “Daang Matuwid” in the upcoming elections.

Despite criticisms about his leadership in the Mamasapano encounter, Yolanda tragedy, among others, President Aquino is still popular among Filipinos as public trust and approval with his administration remains stable.

Aquino, who will end his six-year term this June, has endorsed his friend, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, to be his successor.

In his 55th birthday last year, the President stayed out of public sight and decided to spend private time with his family. At the time, Aquino confronted the biggest political crisis of his presidency after a bungled police operation in Mindanao. (Genalyn Kabiling)