In this deeply polarized country of ours, what is said about most political figures, living or dead, should not be fully accepted as gospel truth. Admirers will idolize; detractors will demonize. The following are excerpts from an article on President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III written by a Japanese man, Motoo Konishi, who served at the World Bank as Country Director for the Philippines from 2012 to 2016, almost the same period covered by the Aquino administration.
âThoughts on Aquino Leadership and Administration:
âAs we read and hear the outpouring of gratitude to President Benigno S Aquino III, highlighting his accomplishments and virtues, I wanted to write a bit about everything the World Bank has learned from President Aquino.
âOn governance and corruption: The Philippines was one of the eight founding members of the Open Government Partnership, a global partnership between government and civil society aimed at promoting transparent, inclusive and participatory governance; Anti-corruption efforts within the DPWH reduced the cost of large domestic contracts by 25-30% (largely through the elimination of payments for corruption); tax revenue rose from less than 12% of GDP (one of the lowest in the region) to over 15%, including the adoption of the sin tax, and using multilateral banks to create the huge fiscal space that the current administration is using to borrow to finance the heavy cost of spending related to Covid-19. The improvement has been so impressive that the World Bank has held conferences for heads of tax authorities in the region on how it has been accomplished. Support to DBM on bottom-up budgeting to allocate more resources to rural and poverty reduction programs and budget reform and transparency. Breakthrough work on the Bangsamoro peace process and the organic law. And of course, most importantly, the pursuit of good governance has led to one of the fastest economic growth rates in the world, rivaling that of China.
âOn Climate Change and Natural Disasters: The Bank, AfDB and JICA were able to help NEDA put together the Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction Plan in less than six months after the typhoon and have provided billions of dollars in funding. ‘help in a few months (again a new record for the Bank). A complete change in the world of disaster reconstruction planning and it has now set a new global standard in disaster response. In addition, to reduce and alleviate the financial burden caused by natural disasters, the DOF asked the World Bank to create a whole new disaster risk finance and insurance program (now a new product line offered to the World Bank). global scale by the World Bank).
âBy improving the quality of growth and lifting the whole country from the bottom up, the Aquino administration has expanded the program to provide universal health insurance coverage; doubled the number of families covered by the conditional cash transfer program, which lifted 7.7 million Filipinos out of poverty (the largest and one of the best-run such programs in the world). And almost tripling the budget for social services (education, health and DSWD – unprecedented increase in social services in the world) …
âIn my 35 years at the World Bank, I have worked with presidents and ministers in over thirty countries. But the four years as Country Director for the Philippines have been the most difficult, impressive and rewarding due to Aquino’s leadership and administration.
âWe have witnessed and appreciated the difficulty and effort required to stabilize and return a country that was in a downward spiral. We have also seen firsthand the solidarity and shared vision that are needed to put a country on the path to real growth. We were inspired to work for a president and a cabinet that truly strives to eradicate poverty and provide a better future for its citizens. And we all know this is due to the President’s unwavering dedication to the Filipino people, improving their lives, and reclaiming the Philippines’ position as a nation to be proud of and one that will succeed and excel in Asia. .
âDear President Aquino, on behalf of all the staff of the World Bank who worked in the Philippines during your administration, it has been a true honor and privilege to serve you. Well done for the pride you brought to the Filipino people.
âMay you rest in peace and thank you for the dedication and sacrifice you have made for this great country. “
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