‘Youthful, upbeat’ rites mark Aquino’s 1st year | Inquirer News

‘Youthful, upbeat’ rites mark Aquino’s 1st year

PRESIDENT AQUINO’S QUOTE OF THE YEAR. “From what I understand of what former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said, I am different from her. And because she said that, I should thank her. That is the biggest compliment anybody can get—that I am her complete opposite.” The many faces of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III are chronicled above by Inquirer photographers throughout his first year in office.

Exactly a year after he was sworn into office, President Benigno Aquino III is just as determined to push his promise of reforms and is expected to rally the people, including the opposition, to continue to back him and his programs, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

But Malacañang also said that even if it was seeking support from the opposition, it had not wavered in its stand of “reconciliation with justice” with its political rivals, including the camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


A “youthful, festive and upbeat” celebration is planned today (Thursday), with the President launching the “Pilipinas Natin” (Our Philippines) campaign at the Philippine Sports Arena (formerly Ultra) in Pasig City.


PH development plan

The event is “about revisiting the vision and renewing the commitment” made by Mr. Aquino to the people, Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) told reporters at a briefing. He said at least 8,000 members of youth groups and other sectoral organizations as well as representatives of political parties were expected to attend.

The Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016), which contains the Aquino administration’s vision of governance, will also be launched at the same event and “will be explained in detail in the next few weeks by members of the Cabinet,” Coloma said.

Earlier today (Thursday), Mr. Aquino will sign into law the bill deferring the August elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to May 2013, in time with the midterm polls.

The passage of the bill is considered a political victory for Mr. Aquino not only because he received Congress’ support but also because he was given time to institute needed reforms in the impoverished region.

Reawakened sense of wrong


“Pilipinas Natin” is “both a call and a challenge,” PCOO Undersecretary Jose Mari Oquinena said at the briefing.

“It is a call to take part in nation-building, a call for bayanihan, but at the same time a challenge for solidarity,” Oquinena said.

“This will also test the maturity of each and every Filipino. Are we mature enough to cross those lines that divide us and say, Hey, makiisa naman tayo kasi Pilipinas Natin naman ito lahat (let’s unite because it’s Our Philippines, after all)?” he said.

He added that Thursday’s event would see “the excitement, the passion of the people, especially the young,” to work with the President and the general public.

Coloma said the launch was “a milestone event” for Mr. Aquino, which was why the administration was “reaffirming” its commitment to the people and seeking their support.

“And because we are marking his first year of office, the President thought of having this discussion with the people to share with them his thoughts and ideas, in the hope that through this process, we will also generate feedback,” Coloma said.

Asked if the call for support was extended to the opposition as well, Coloma said it was for “all the sectors wanting to contribute their share in helping the country grow to benefit the people.”

Asked how Malacañang could expect cooperation from the opposition when it was pursuing cases against the Arroyo camp, Coloma pointed out that the No. 1 item in the administration’s vision was “a reawakened sense of right and wrong through the living examples of our highest leaders.”

He said this was why it was important “for justice to prevail and to correct wrongs.”

“As we undertake these processes, we continue to call on all those who want to join and contribute to nation-building,” he said.

Democratic discourse

Coloma underscored the importance of “reconciliation with justice” when asked if reconciliation efforts between the administration and Arroyo’s camp would be in keeping with the “Pilipinas Natin” call for unity.

He said neither the President nor the administration had an “agenda to quarrel [with] and engage in tirades with anyone,” and described the administration’s engagement with the opposition as “all in the spirit of democratic discourse.”

On the other hand, it is impossible to just “sweep things under the rug,” Coloma said, adding:

“That is not in our mind because the President and his administration are determined to keep his promise of change to the people.

“The President is as determined as he was one year ago to lead the country toward the fruition of the vision that was initiated with the social contract and that is now embodied in the Philippine Development Plan.”

Coloma said the people would hear from Mr. Aquino “the significant changes” that had occurred in his first year in office.

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“He will also point to the way forward and renew his call for support from the citizenry,” Coloma said.

TAGS: Laws, Malacañang

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