PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has cautioned the public against falling prey into the trap set by “pretenders” who are out to destroy what his administration has started as he reminded them to choose the right path as they approach the “crossroads,” a subtle reference to the 2016 elections.
“Sa muling pagharap ng sambayanan sa sangandaan, piliin nating muli ang landas ng malasakit at katuwiran; Pumanig tayo sa tama, at umiwas sa mga mapagsamantala. Napakaganda na po talaga ng ating nasimulan; ang mga mithiin na dati-rati ay hindi natin magawang pangarapin, ngayon, isa-isa na nating nararating,” the president said in his televised New Year’s Day message that is littered with political undertones.
He reminded all Filipinos that despite the achievements gained by the government since he came into power, there remains a “few who watch our every move and waiting for the chance to pounce and bring us back to the old ways.”
“Sa pagpasok natin sa ikalimang taon ng ating pamahalaan, tiwala akong malinaw na sa inyo kung sino ang mga tunay na kakampi ng taumbayan, at kung sino ang nagpapanggap lang. Ngayong napipitas na natin ang positibong bunga ng pagtahak sa tuwid na landas, mga Boss, lilihis pa ba tayo?” he asked.
“Mga Boss, patuloy sana tayong maging mapanuri at mapagmat–yag,” Aquino added.
The president vowed that as he enters his last year in office, his promise of “permanent change” will be delivered.
In the first part of his message, Aquino recalled the challenges that his government had to endure in the past years, including attempts to pull him down.
“Basta’t nakatutok tayo sa iisang direksyon, basta’t magkakapit-bisig tayong humahakbang, walang makakapigil sa pag-abot natin sa ating mga pangarap,” he stressed.
He again boasted of the 21 positive credit rating actions that the country earned from respected credit rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s.
“Ano po ba ang ibig-sabihin nito para sa mga Pilipino? Mas murang mahihiram ng gobyerno ang pondo para sa mga programa’t proyekto; mas naeengganyo ang mga negosyanteng maglagak ng puhunan sa bansa, at mas mabilis nating maihahatid ang mga benepisyo sa ating mga kababayan,” he explained.
Aquino also cited the eight Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects that were sealed from December 2011 to present with the combined cost of P127 billion.
This, he said, has surpassed the six PPP projects that were “solicited” by the past three administrations.
Aquino also harped on the successes of the Education department’s K to 12 program and the addressing of the backlogs in school buildings, teachers and books.
In terms of job generation, he said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) has trained 672,258 scholars under the Training-for-Work Scholarship Program.
In relation to this, he said the expanded Conditional Cash Transfer Program will ensure that thousands more will graduate from high school and become part of the “demographic sweet spot” in the labor sector.
He said previous studies have shown that high school graduates earn 40 percent more than those who only finished elementary education.