MANILA - One of President Benigno Aquino III's spokesmen has admitted that the current administration is continuing some of the projects of the previous President, but maintained that Aquino is not engaged in credit-grabbing.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma was asked by a reporter during Tuesday's briefing if the Aquno administration is engaged in credit-grabbing projects launched during the Arroyo administration.
"Ang mahalaga dito ay 'yung maihatid ang mga serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan at hindi naman mahalaga kung sino ang bida. Normal at regular sa daloy ng pamamahala, sa kasaysayan ng pamamahala na merong mga proyekto 'yung mga nakaraan na ipagpapatuloy ng kasalukuyan," Coloma said.
In his speech before the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, Aquino claimed successes in government's programs to run after tax evaders and smugglers, which began with the Arroyo administration.
Just last week, the President approved 7 major infrastructure projects for implementation.
"Kung tutuusin naman, kung sino talaga ang naumpishan, madali namang malaman 'yon eh dahil meron namang talaan. 'Yun namang sa kasalukuyang administrasyon ang pwede nating gawing batayan ay 'yung Philippine Development Plan na matutunghayan natin sa website ng NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority). Para nga sa maraming mga proyektong 'yan, 'di ba, ang importanteng tanong ay 'yung 'bakit ngayon lang?'" Coloma said.
Still, Coloma refused to distinguish which specific projects began under either the Arroyo or Aquino administrations.
"Ang importante dito tunghayan natin 'yung PDP, ano. Alin ba doon ang... Kasi 'yung PDP 'yon ang talagang report card ng Aquino administration. 'Yung mga nakaraan, ano, na natapos during the current administration -- isang halimbawang alam ko Skyway -- o panahon pa ni President (Fidel) Ramos naumpisahan 'yan. Wala tayong inaagawan ng kredito dito, ano, at sinasabi ko nga hindi mahalaga para sa kasalukuyang administrasyon 'yung pag-claim ng credit."
The approval of projects in the last 2 years of the Aquino administration also fueled observations that the projects could be used to prop up the administration's standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.
Coloma, however, denied this. "The government resources are being used in the campaign to ensure sustainable and long-term economic growth, as well as inclusive growth, in accordance with the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan. The President and the government have a mandate to uphold, and the term of office is from 30 June 2010 to 30 June 2016, and there is urgency in implementing the programs that will bring about inclusive growth."
The Aquino administration has touted gains in the economy, which it said were the result of reforms in governance.
When he first assumed office in 2010, Aquino's economic managers told a House hearing that they inherited a stable economy from their predecessor, whom the chief executive had publicly criticized for corruption.
But Coloma pointed out that even Arroyo began to reform the system of congressional insertions -- which in the past was exploited to allow pork barrel funds to be inserted into the budget.
"'Yung sinasabi mong insertions, wala na 'yan sa bokabularyo ng kasalukuyan dahil even in her last year of office, President Arroyo already said na wala nang ipapatupad na insertion na walang clearly identified na funding source. Doon naman sa Aquino administration, totally abolished 'yung concept of insertion dahil nagkasundo ang ehekutibo at lehislatura na kung ano lamang ang budget na iniharap ng executive as the National Expenditure Program, 'yon lamang ang pwedeng repasuhin o pag-aralan ng Kamara at ng Senado," he said.