New User Join AA Premium

Asean Affairs

Premium – Just for you, all ASEAN information at your fingertips in one place. Why waste time searching Plus exclusive interviews, columns just for our Subscribers

India in Spotlight



The new Philippines president describes his plans for his new administration to Asean Affairs.

Q: What are your top priorities as the new President of the Philippines?

A: The Aquino administration will prioritize the following goals: First, eradicate corruption in the government and ensure that taxes are spent properly; Second, generate jobs so that working abroad will no longer be a necessity to survive but merely an option;Third, reform the justice system to ensure speedy prosecutions and to enable the poor to have access to a fair trial; Fourth, provide universal basic education that is up to par with the international standard to enable the Filipino to compete globally; and fifth, provide universal health care to all Filipinos.

Q: What are the policies of the previous administration, business or otherwise, that your new government will continue to pursue, and why?

A: The Aquino administration will only continue programs of the previous administration that are in line with the platform we have set forth during the campaign. Any deviant programs and policies will be reformulated to fit the general direction of the government’s plan of action.
I plan to continue the poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) such as Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan - Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) which has proven to be effective in improving the welfare of the poor especially in the rural areas. I plan to continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the improvement of the tax collection efficiency measures being undertaken by the Department of Finance (DOF).......

Biography of Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III
Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III was elected the 15th president of the Philippines and was officially proclaimed the winner of the 2010 national election on June 9, by the Congress of the Philippines.

He was born Feb. 8, 1960. His parents were former President Corazon Aquino and former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. Prior to his election he served as a congressman in the Philippine House of Representatives from 1998 to 2007. He was barred from seeking re-election and so ran as a senator in 2007 and served in that role, until he assumed the presidency.

Following the death of his mother on Aug. 1, 2009, many in the Philippines began calling on him to run for the presidency.
He is executive vice president of the Liberal Party, is the first bachelor to serve as president and the second president to abstain from drinking alcohol.

He was born in Manila and graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a bachelor’s degree in economics 1981 and joined his family in their exile in the United States. He returned to the Philippines in 1983 shortly after the assassination of his

father on Aug. 21, 1983 and held several positions in the private sector. In 1998, he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and won.He would serve as congressman of the 2nd District of Tarlac until 2007.

In his nine years in the Lower House, Noynoy focused on the fiscal role of a legislator. He felt that there were already too many laws, and good ones at that, but they seemingly lacked proper implementation. He concentrated on crafting laws that would help create opportunity rather than impose additional burdens on those who are already disadvantaged.

In November 2004, he became Deputy House Speaker of Luzon, but he relinquished the post when he joined leaders of the Liberal Party (LP) in calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the height of the “Hello Garci” scandal. In May 2007, he ran for senator and won, placing sixth in the national elections. He chaired the Senate Committee on Local Government, and was also the vice-chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In his letter from prison many years ago, Ninoy said to Noynoy, “Son, the ball is now in your hands.” Information in this biography was obtained from the Office of the President and other sources.

Q: How important is it for you to choose between the Presidential Palace and your home in the West Triangle? Why would you prefer one to the other? 

However, due to security concerns, I was advised by my Presidential Security Group to live closer to work. I would most probably move in the “Bahay Pangarap” within the month of July. Bahay Pangarap is a one-bedroom residence within the palace compound.
I prefer to live somewhere else other than the Presidential Palace primarily because I want to be closer to the people I serve. The last thing I would like to be is a leader who is detached and aloof from the concerns of his constituents. Living in West Triangle or any residence other than the Presidential Palace is a gesture I would like to make to show that I am one with the people.

Q: What are your plans to boost the economy? Why shouldn’t you introduce new taxes as suggested by your predecessor?

A: The Aquino administration will level the playing field for businesses, streamline our business processes, support small and medium enterprises that employ the majority of Filipinos, and craft sound industrial policies that target the Philippines’ comparative advantages. As such, lowering the cost of doing business is the key to helping our industries grow, increasing investments and employing more people through the creation of jobs.

These jobs will come from industries such as tourism, IT, and agribusiness. In addition, training and skills development programs will be made available to enhance the abilities of our workers and make them more employable both locally and abroad.

To increase revenues, the government will plug revenue leakages by having competent and trustworthy tax collectors and broadening the tax base. We will target raising the tax collection efficiency rate by at least 2 percent from the present 12 to 13. Two percentage points translates to P 150 billion in new revenue without raising taxes. We can collect more taxes at the BIR and higher duties at Customs if we seriously clamp down on tax evasion and smuggling.

Q: There is a recommendation that the incoming administration should enact policies to enable the Philippines to have a knowledge-based economy. What’s your response?

A: Before we can put a knowledge-based economy in place, there are many things that must first be done, beginning with basic education. Math and science scores of Filipino students have deteriorated in relation to our Asean neighbors. The first task, therefore, is to strengthen basic education.

We need to add two years to the 10-year education cycle, which is among the shortest in the region. We need to build a proper preschool system and make it accessible to more of our children, particularly those from lower income groups.

We need to commit more resources to train more teachers and build more classrooms. We need to widen access to education and improve the quality of that education. As we improve our basic education system, we must also enhance our higher education.

Too many students graduate with skills that are currently not in demand and too many jobs are unfilled because there are not enough people with the skill sets required to fill those positions.All of this will require a commitment of resources and political will that I am prepared to spend.

Q: There are some critics who see your election victory as signaling the return of the oligarchy, and there are others who believe you are much more open to alternative policies to guide the country’s economy than most of the previous leaders. Please share your thoughts on these differing views.

A: There is something fundamentally wrong with an economy that can grow continuously for a decade while the number of people living in poverty has actually increased. Access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity must be widened, but this will take time. A sustained program of conditional cash transfers, like Brazil’s Bolsa Familia, must be put in place in the meantime. If we can put this in place, if we can raise more people out of poverty and give them the power to demand what society owes them, then the question of a return of an oligarchy will be rendered moot and academic.

Q: Please also comment on the single market the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) plans to launch in 2015, and the impact you expect from it.

A: The benefits of lower tariffs under a single Asean market are undeniable: for consumers, lower prices and greater choice. For producers, bigger markets and greater profits. But we must also acknowledge the costs: unemployment in sectors that fail to compete, and the difficulties faced by small producers in agriculture. Previous governments have played up the benefits but disregarded the costs. A greater effort must be made to recognize and deal with the costs in a manner that does not violate our commitments to our Asean neighbors.

Login AseanAffairs Premium
Log in AA Premium

Log in AA Premium



Forgot Password?

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Special | Features | News | Magazine | Events | TV | Press Release | Advertise With us

Our Products | Work with us | Terms of Use | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Shipping/Delivery Policy


Time Media

Version 5.0
Copyright © 2007-2011 TIME INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT ENTERPRISES CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Bangkok, Thailand