Aquino ‘at work’ on 53rd birthdayBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino will mark his 53rd birthday at work.
As in the past two years, the President will celebrate his birthday working, but his spokespersons could not say yet whether this will be in Malacañang or out of town.
“By indications it will be, as usual, a working birthday for the President,” Undersecretary Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said over government radio.
Aquino, a bachelor, is marking his birthday on Friday, four days ahead of the official start of the campaign period where he’s expected to barnstorm with the Team PNoy’s senatorial candidates in the run-up to the midterm elections in May.
The President marked his birthday last year visiting Dumaguete City, one of the areas hit by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake.
The President has said he works even during the holidays. He admitted being so fixated on effecting “transformational changes that will stick” during his six-year watch that he hardly has time for relaxation.
But every day, he makes it a point to listen for an hour to his stereo equipment, and reads magazines on military history, stereo equipment, cars and guns to entertain himself, since at work he reads and signs piles of papers. On weekends, he goes target-shooting with members of the Presidential Security Group as part of their training.
Before hitting the campaign trail with the candidates, the President is scheduled to fly to Davao Tuesday to attend the Philippine Development Forum, where the country’s global development partners would join government leaders, civil society leaders and stakeholders in tacking urgent development issues unique to the Philippines, according to Valte.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad underscored the importance of the forum in “fine-tuning” the development agenda for the Philippines, and drawing up strategies for the allocation of resources and knowledge.
Abad said the forum would be crucial in “bridging” the administration’s socio-economic agenda with the development partners’ goals.
“We’re looking forward to nurturing a more focused and coordinated relationship with them, so we can seamlessly confront our most pressing development challenges in the country while facilitating growth and reform,” he said in a statement.
Abad said Davao was picked as venue for the conference to drive home the Aquino administration’s goal of boosting Mindanao’s growth capacity and invigorating the region’s agri-fishery and tourism industries.
“With the Philippine economy performing very well, we need to ensure that the gains we’ve made will actually be felt by all Filipinos. Together with our development partners, we can work toward creating more growth dividends for Mindanao, thus empowering the region and giving it ample room for socio-economic progress,” he said.