MANILA, Philippines --- The year 2012 has been a good year for the Philippines and 2013 is likely to be even better.
Thus declared President Benigno S. Aquino III as he expressed satisfaction on the overall performance of the country for the whole year.
Among the accomplishments tallied by the President in 2012 were the country’s impressive economic growth, the historic preliminary peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the passage of the sin tax reform and reproductive health measures.
The President, who also kept a high approval rating for the year, is hopeful of another good year in 2013, saying that “nothing is impossible” to a united Filipino nation.
Backed up by sound fiscal management and public support, the President takes pride that the domestic economy has been transformed from being the sick man of Asia into one of the new tigers of the global economy. “2012 was an auspicious year for our economy, our government, and our society,” the President said in his New Year message.
“Indeed, our economy is one of the most dynamic in the world—growing even stronger and more resilient as reforms are instituted,” the President said.
He said 2012 was also the year when public confidence was restored in the institutions and law violators were held accountable, alluding to the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona on his failure to declare his true wealth, and the detention of former President Gloria Arroyo on plunder charges. These, the President said, “have injected renewed vigor in our political system.”
The President said the framework deal with the MILF, which seeks to create a Bangsamoro region by 2016, is the “seedbed of a final lasting peace in Mindanao.” Aquino is also ending the year 2012 with history-making legislative records following the passage of the sin tax reform, reproductive health, and anti-enforced disappearance laws which no President before him was able to enact.
He also lauded Congress for upholding the “will of the people” when it passed the bill on higher excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products as well as the bill on responsible parenthood. Unlike the enactment of the sin tax measure in the Palace, the RH law was enacted without fanfare. “People have become elevated to the level of real issues that affect tangible realities,” the President said. Other measures signed into law by the President before the end of the year were the 2013 national budget and the extension of the Armed Forces modernization program.
The string of achievements, however, should not just be a cause for celebration but “motivate us to work even harder,” according to the President. His government intends to protect these gains and create more opportunities for development in 2013.
“The entire world has begun to train their spotlight on us. Let us prove to them: we are not yet done, we have more to show, and we will build even greater things on top of the foundations we have already laid down,” the President said in his remarks at the anniversary rites of the PSE early December.
Although 2012 was the “best year for the Philippines in a long time,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda also acknowledged that more things need to be done in the New Year. Lacierda said the administration intends to sustain the country’s economic growth and make sure such gain is felt by all sectors.