Six years into Presidency, Benigno Aquino III has surely impacted the Philippines in any way possible. He has been the highest political leader, the representative and the ‘voice’ of the Filipinos all over the world. 2010 Elections has given him the power to manage and control the fate of the beloved country until mid-2016. Looking back, what has he really done for the country? What are the things he made possible which can truly be called as his ‘own legacy’? What are the things that will be forever engraved in this country’s history as a product of his Presidency? Check this out!
Stabilized economic growth!
One of the defining moments in PNoy’s term as a President was the very good economic growth of the country. From 2010 to his last minutes in 2016 the Philippines has achieved a growth rate of more or less 6.2%, one which depicted the Philippines as the fastest growing economy in Asia. In a study done by the experts, this growth did not just happen overnight. It took a long process and very detailed series of preparation. The previous Arroyo administration has prepared the groundwork and all the necessary ingredients, while the Aquino Administration has set the proper mechanisms to make it work successfully (i.e., macroeconomic fundamentals, national budget, etc.). In other words, PNoy has made the conditions conducive for economic growth; as what World Bank senior economist for the Philippines, Karl Kendrick Chua have said, “Aquino administration provided the environment conducive to nurturing the economy by, among others, boosting revenue collection by around 1.6% of GDP “simply by improving systems.” One of the tangible solution PNoy has done to improve the system was to decrease the ‘global risk perception of the Philippines. To attract more potential investors and foreign companies, he made sure that the Philippines is a good and a ‘safe’ playground.
Another big bite of the Aquino Administration was the way they paid attention to the educational needs and status of the country. As one would remember, PNoy during his election campaigns in 2010 has mentioned 10 big promises related to education in the Philippines. According to a detailed report by Rappler, these are: 12-year basic education cycle, universal pre-schooling for all, madaris education as a sub-system within the education system, technical-vocational education system as an alternative stream in senior high school, every child a reader by Grade 1, science and math proficiency, assistance to private schools as essential partners in basic education, medium of instruction rationalized, quality textbooks, and, covenant with local governments to build more schools. These are the 10 promises that he wished to address when he was still campaigning to get the position of Presidency. Now, let us look at it one by one to see if any of these reforms were brought to life. To make sure that these will actually happen, PNoy mandated the Department of Education to use these 10 agendas as the main guiding document of the institution. To achieve no. 1 agenda, PNoy institutionalized K-12 Program; an educational program which requires 12 years of basic education to every student (7 years of primary of education and 5 years of secondary education through junior and senior high). Although this reform was strongly opposed by many constituents, it still pushed through, and has been branded as one of the major ‘game changers’ of the Aquino Administration. Agendas No. 2 and 5, the promotion of kindergarten schooling to everyone also was a legacy of PNoy. It has again created some opposition but it still pushed through. Agenda No.3 on the other hand, gained some recognition for being a possible effective tool in increase employment rate in the country. Agenda No. 7 which is about aiding private schools gained a lot of controversies and opposition because PNoy just seemed to be pushing for the ‘privatization’ of education; instead of funding the more deserving public schools, he went to fund the private schools. Despite all these oppositions and appreciations, it cannot be denied that the Aquino Administration has indeed impacted the educational institutions of the Philippines; and it is something that he will surely take merit for.
On the previously mentioned growth rate, PNoy has acknowledged the fact that one of the major contributor is the Overseas Filipino Worker’s sector. He has appreciated the work done by the OFWs and treats their remittances as a major contribution to the country’s stabilizing economic status. During his campaign period, he outrightly said that ‘working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity’. However, during his term as the country’s President, he has institutionalized several programs which made working abroad a lot easier, that enticed many Filipinos to work abroad rather than stay in the country. He mandated the major agencies involved like Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO), and even the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to really do its best to cater to the needs of the concerned citizens. These agencies’ repatriation efforts, and other migration processes and services were all improved during the term of PNoy. However, despite all these, there are still some bad sides like the many controversies regarding the state of OFWs (i..e., Mary Jane’s trial, BOC’s scandal about Balikbayan boxes, Tanim-bala scandal, etc.)