MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino is continuing some of the beneficial programs started by his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, but with a big difference, Budget Secretary Butch Abad said Monday.
Speaking to ANC’s Headstart, Abad admitted that the Aquino administration continued some of the better programs started under the Arroyo presidency such as the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program and PhilHealth coverage for the country’s poorest.
“It’s not about starting from or continuing. If it is a good program, whatever administration, I think it is incumbent upon any administration to continue them. We recognize that. I’m sure they picked that up from other governments too and decided since they are effective, we should do them. We don’t see any reason why if they are effective and good programs, why they should not be continued,” he said.
Abad said the big difference between President Aquino and his predecessor is that good programs have been continued without the usual corruption that hampered the programs under the Arroyo administration.
He said President Aquino expanded the coverage of Arroyo’s programs: from less than a million families under the CCT program to 3.8 million by next year, and from 60% to 85% covered by Philhealth.
“We have been able to continue them in a way that there [are] very little leakages in the money being spent,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abad also countered Prof. Randy David’s claim that the “daang matuwid” drive of President Aquino is more of a “moralistic rather than a strategically oriented administration.”
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, also noted that he is interested to hear President Aquino’s “clear vision of where we are heading.”
“Well, I don’t know what they are looking for kasi ang hinahanap ng taumbayan sa [Presidente] linisn yung gobyerno, siguradihun natin na ang mga importanteng serbisyo sa edukasyon, sa pabahay, kalusugan maibigay at gusto natin ng trabaho kaya palawakin natin ang ekonomiya. In each of those points, we have made dramatic advances,” Abad said.
Abad listed several of Aquino’s achievements in the past 2 years including 8 credit ratings upgrades, several record-breaking performances of the stock market, renewed investor confidence in the Philippines and cleaning up the bureaucracy and corruption.
He said: “The President always says I want to hand this over to a new administration where I could say that things are much, much better off than when we took over.”