MANILA - President Benigno Aquino believes that his administration's track record by the time he steps down in 2016 will be the record to beat for his successor.
"If there is a singular legacy that I am leaving and sana, ano, masanay ang kababayan natin na ito ang kaya ng gobyernong pinapatakbo ng matino," he said. "Kung sinuman ang susunod po sa atin, siyempre ito iyong --- kumbaga ito iyong platform, ito iyong base kung saan siya maguumpisa."
"Kung kami ang nagtanim, iba ang mag-aani, okay iyon; pero mas mataas na iyong antas na pagmumulan niya kaya siguro naman pwedeng asahan ng taumbayan na mas malayo pa ang mararating niya,” he said.
In his earlier speech in Iloilo on Friday, Aquino urged voters not to veer away from his "Daang Matuwid" in 2016.
“Baka naman pag-alis ko ng 2016, bumalik tayo sa dati, magre-repeat tayo nung lagim para bumalik sa liwanag. Huwag na ho. Dire-diretso na tayo sa liwanag, di po ba?” he said.
Aquino also said “Dalawang taon na lamang po ang bibilangin at kakailanganin na naman nating pumili ng magpapatuloy sa ating mga nasimulan. Huwag na po sana tayong lumihis. Kung magkakawatak-watak tayo ay hindi natin tuluyang makakamit ang ating kolektibong mga hangarin."
On the first day of his 5th year in office, Aquino stood by his campaign platform of "Daang Matuwid," crediting it for the reforms in the Philippine Air Force as it marked its 67th anniversary on Tuesday.
The chief executive in his speech paid tribute to the Air Force’s achievements through the years despite limited equipment.
He noted what he claimed was the sad state of the Air Force when he assumed office, saying airmen had to pay for their own uniforms.
“Nakakalungkot nga pong isipin ang estado ng Air Force na ating dinatnan: Ang dating tinitingala bilang isa sa pinakamalakas na hukbong himpapawid sa Asya, tila hindi na naka-take-off dahil sa maraming dekada ng katiwalian, panlalamang, at kakulangan ng pansin. Tila ba sinalamin ng kalagayan ng Air Force ang malubhang estado ng ating lipunan dahil sa baluktot na pamamahala," he said.
He also paid tribute to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and previous Air Force leaders for pursuing reforms. “Malinaw po, sa tuwid na daan, ang hangad natin: Itama ang maling pamamalakad upang muli nating maabot ang matatayog na tagumpay na tatak ng ating Hukbong Himpapawid.”
Aquino also cited his reforms in other areas. "A lot of the things na na-accomplish within I think we’d be able to do and baka parang gasgas na plaka at sirang plaka na, ano. For instance, I think the clearest example are the schools."
"In 2011 for instance, merong budget na 8,300 classrooms ang capacity ng budget ng DepEd and by the time of the SONA there were only 18 made," he said. "Maski nandiyan iyong pera parang napakahirap gawin iyung dapat gawin."
"Eventually that number became 66,800. And as you know, we finished that last year. So iyong impossible has been accomplished and we have had the wherewithal now to support the K-12 program, which will need more classrooms, teachers, desks," he said.
"I managed to go on the TPLEX up to Carmen Rosales. I understand it’s open or will be open this year up to Urdaneta. Iyong before I step down, there will be one connector for the NLEX and SLEX operational already," Aquino said. Iyung a lot of the airports, iyung Laguindingan, for instance, will have pati iyong night flying capabilities and actually ang haba ng listahan, ano, what will happen."
"Siguro the thoughts are, nagumpisa tayo, mamanahin natin lahat ng problema, wala iyong wherewithal, wala iyong kakayahan para ayusin itong mga problemang ito at kung babalikan natin ang nakalipas na apat na taon medyo marami-rami na rin yata tayong na-accomplish na hindi natin akalain na mangyayari," he said.
The Air Force anniversary was marked with a colorful air show. Outstanding members of the Air Force were also recorgnized.
On Monday, Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda expressed belief government has a lot left to do -- and some of these may not be finished by the time Aquino steps down in 2016.
Lacierda refused to do a self-rating of the administration. “It’s kind of self-serving for us to rate ourselves."
"I think what you would like to see is that whether we are—we continue to pursue a policy of governance that would benefit all. A policy of—set of policies that would truly strive to reduce poverty, increase its social safety nets, improve its social programs, giving access to the poorest of the poor in terms of education, health. These are the main concerns, basic concerns of the people," he said. "And we continue to pursue all these goals, making sure that we alleviate poverty, and all the other concerns that most Filipinos and every Filipino would be concerned with. “
Lacierda explained that 4 years into power, President Aquino’s campaign promises---contained in his 2010 social contract---remain to be finished. "A number of them are ongoing. For instance, I can tell you that CCT (conditional cash transfer), we started with 800,000 families or family beneficiaries. We are now at 4.4—the target right now is 4.4 million households."
So far, Aquino’s anti-corruption drive has netted the detention of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on plunder and electoral sabotage raps, the ouster of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona for his failure to declare his true wealth, the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez after she was impeached for entering into an allegedly flawed plea bargaining agreement with a military comptroller.
In recent weeks, plunder cases were also filed at the Sandiganbayan against 3 incumbent senators—Bong Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Jinggoy Estrada over the pork barrel scam allegedly perpetrated by Janet Lim Napoles.
Most of those charged are not Palace allies.
In terms of governance, the Aquino administration has claimed credit for the passage of controversial measures like the Reproductive Health and Sin Tax laws but has so far been unable to pass a Freedom of Information Law, which watchdogs claim would be a potent weapon in ensuring government transparency.
Aquino has also yet to get his allies to approve a Bangsamoro Basic Law that will institutionalize the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that will end the decades old secessionist movement in Mindanao.
For the CAB alone, his spokesman would welcome a Nobel peace prize nomination—though he emphasizes that the government is not soliciting such a nomination.
His administration also just signed an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States to allow the latter to have access to Philippine military bases amid rising maritime tensions with China.
The Philippine military remains mismatched with China, as Manila is still implementing a modernization program.
On the other hand, the Philippines has been hailed as a rising economy, but this has been tempered by high unemployment rates.
Aside from this, the Aquino administration's infrastructure investments have been slow, and thus many of these won’t be finished by June 30, 2016-- the end of his constitutional 6-year term.