Aquino inauguration shades of Obama's - US ambassador

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Jul 01 2010 03:46 PM | Updated as of Jul 01 2010 11:46 PM

US hopes for end to ‘lagay is my guy’

MANILA, Philippines - United States Ambassador Harry Thomas, Jr. said President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s inauguration Tuesday reminded him of when US President Barack Obama was put in office.

In an interview on ANC’s Headstart on Thursday, Thomas described the June 30 transfer of power as “gorgeous, inspiring.”

“It reminded me of when I went to President Obama’s inauguration. Young presidents wanted hope, change, and the excitement of the people to see the peaceful transfer of democracy…,” he said.

He was touched most especially when Aquino told Filipinos, “Kayo ang boss ko!”

“When he said, what Obama said, that the people are his boss, that he works for the people--that really reminded me of being home. It was so gratifying,” he said.

‘Lagay is my guy’

Thomas said the speech was so encouraging in the sense that Aquino called for an end to corruption, red tape.

“We were very encouraged yesterday when President Noynoy said that the Philippines is open for business, that he’s going to end corruption, that he wants to see international business community here, that we’ll find a level playing field,” he said.

Such new beginnings have spurred businesses, especially those in the US, to take notice of the Philippines once again, he said.

Thomas, who has learned a lot about the Filipino language in his short stay here, said “lagay is my guy” (bribe is my guy) is one he has heard every so often.

“I think the international business community is concerned with red tape and corruption. They say ‘lagay is my guy’…I think the important thing is you have a new president who promised the Filipino he’s going to end corruption and I believe him,” he said.

The US will hold its end of the deal by working with Aquino, he said.

“We want to come here and help especially in renewable energy, biofuels, wind power, solar power where the Philippines is a leader. That is what is going to attract not only the American businesses, but other business around the world.”

Asked if the US has already invited Aquino to visit Washington, he said “we have to wait and see. I hope that President Aquino will go to the US early and we hope that he will get to meet all of Americans who have interests in businesses, academics and NGO opportunities…”

He said “all Americans know the Aquino name.” The Aquino family stayed in the US when the late President Marcos allowed opposition leader Ninoy Aquino to seek medical treatment in the US. The family stayed there from 1980 to 1983.

Ninoy Aquino was assassinated at the Manila International Airport after he returned to Manila on August 21, 1983.