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MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has given President Benigno S. Aquino III a passing grade in the first two years of his administration, which was confronted by many challenges such as the Scarborough Shoal, peace and order in Mindanao and impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
”The first two years of President Aquino was okay. He studied carefully the problems like the impeachment, Scarborough and Mindanao that confronted his administration,” Enrile said on Sunday.
The veteran lawmaker said the country’s economy is performing well based on the stable exchange rate, inflation and interest rate.
Enrile noted the sluggish employment creation but he blamed it to the diminishing economy of some developed countries, including some members of the European Union.
”These countries face economic problems that affect our export industry,” the 88-year-old senator from Cagayan province stressed.
He said the government will eventually improve job creation as more big private companies started to join the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) programs through construction of more infrastructures throughout the country.
”Perhaps, underspending is part of the strategy but government must create more infrastructure projects to create more jobs opportunities. The economy will improve if the government will spend,” Enrile said.
Enrile also commended the government for addressing graft and corruption, especially in the implementation of infrastructure projects.
”I think the government is studying carefully all the contracts because corruption is the main concern of this administration, but we need to spend also. If people involved will commit any wrongdoing, then punish them,” he said.
Enrile said the impeachment of Corona only showed that the government is serious in stamping out corruption.
”At least, it is a mark of the effort of the government to really stamp out corruption. The impeachment will have a very important impact on the conduct of government people in the performance of their functions and in rendering service to the public,” he stressed.
Enrile is expecting President Aquino to mention the economic gains of his administration in his State-of-the- Nation Address or SONA this month.
The Senate President reiterated his stand to change the economic structure of the country by amending the Constitution.
”We have to open the country to foreign investments. That’s the way to hasten the economic vibrancy of the country,” Enrile explained.
”If you will notice, we have many billionaires in our country but only few of them are on top. They have big transactions but only little amount went to the national treasury. The rich are getting richer but what is left to those who have no jobs?,” he added.
Enrile said the Philippines is being left behind by its neighbors in Asia because of the economic provision in the Constitution that prohibit foreign investors from having full control of their business in the country.