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The “Daang Matuwid” journey has come to an end.
After six years of championing reforms to address poverty and corruption, President Aquino will bow out from office on June 30 with a mix of accomplishments and some letdowns.
The country’s bachelor leader will pass the reigns of power to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte during a historic ceremony in Malacañang. The tough-talking Davao City mayor, who got more than 16 million votes on a promise to combat illegal drugs and other crimes, will take the oath at noon to become the country’s 16th president.
“It has been an honor to serve the Filipino nation. I will leave behind a country that is better, more progressive and peaceful than when we found it,” the President said in Filipino in a recent public address.
Days before leaving the office, the outgoing President had often listed strong economic growth, greater accountability in government, improved social services, among his successes.
The country has cast off its old reputation as the “Sick Man of Asia” with the economy growing an average of 6.2 percent in the past six years and renewed investor confidence.
Aquino also overcome opposition to pass landmark legislations such as higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco products as well as the reproductive health law. The government’s cash subsidy program has reached 4.6 million poor families while health care program covers more than 93 million Filipinos.
“I hope we really move on from success to success. I hope we don’t have a regression to the bad times that this country has had,” the President said.
When asked about his greatest achievement, Aquino often said it was the transformation in the attitude of the people.
If there were resignation, dejection and apathy before, many people have become caring and active partners in nation-building.
The Aquino administration however had its share of challenges and setbacks that included the alleged slow government response to the devastation left by typhoon “Yolanda.” (Genalyn D. Kabiling)