MANILA, Philippines – Two years after being elected into office, President Benigno Aquino III said he has become less pessimistic because of the changes he is seeing under his administration.
Speaking to Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, Aquino said he is very careful when he has to use his authority especially when firing people that he himself picked for a position.
“I am very careful when I use it. Mostly, what I feel is disappointment when I get to that point. I say I am sorry but the trust is no longer there,” he told Ressa.
Asked what has changed about him after 2 years in office, he said: “I am less pessimistic. When I was in the Senate…there were instances when you thought you were Don Quixote tilting at the windmills.”
He said that taking on the mantle of the presidency has allowed him to get like-minded individuals who want to effect genuine change in the country.
He also recalled a conversation he had with Budget Secretary Butch Abad, where he said: “I have no problem with the moral victory but it would be nice to taste the complete victory from time to time.”
“I have full responsibility for everything that this government does. We don’t have to tolerate the status quo,” he added.
Aquino said one problem that sometimes keeps him awake at night is the continuing unrest in nations where overseas Filipinos are working. He noted that in some countries, a Philippine embassy has only about a staff of 20 to serve 50,000 OFWs.
He also challenged the thinking that some countries should isolate themselves to stop being affected by global economic woes.
“The fear is going into it – are we in the same frame of mind that led to the Great Depression? When you thought you could isolate yourself from everybody else?”
“This is a period of time when we should listen to lessons of history. We are more connected now than then.”