President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said the new year is critical to his administration's crusade of ensuring long-term progress and good governance, and urged Filipinos to be discerning in choosing their leaders and lawmakers in the May 2013 elections.
"Ang 2013 ay kritikal na yugto sa ating krusada ng pangmatagalang kaunlaran at tuwid na pamamahala. Ngayong bagong taon, mas maigting na pagkakaisa ang kailangan. Umaasa akong magiging mapanuri ang taumbayan sa pagkilatis ng mga itatalagang pinuno," Aquino said in his New Year's message
Aquino, who started his term two years ago with the anti-corruption drive “Daang Matuwid,” appealed to his countrymen's conscience to pave the way for good governance.
"Kaya naman mahalaga ang ating paninindigan at pagtitimbang kung saang direksyon tutungo ang ating bansa: Sabay-sabay ba tayong sasagwan patungo sa landas kung saan nangingibabaw ang kapakanan ng Pilipino? O hahayaan lang natin na muling matangay ang Pilipinas sa mga daluyong ng panlalamang, pagkakanya-kanya’t kurapsyon?" he added.
Aquino also called on Filipinos to unite and continue showing their spirit of bayanihan to meet the challenges of 2013.
While 2012 had been full of challenges and triumphs, the Filipinos' will to right what is wrong had prevailed, the President noted.
"Ang aking hiling ngayong 2013: ituloy lang natin ang bayanihan. Kapit-bisig tayong humakbang tungo sa maliwanag at masaganang kinabukasan ng ating bayan," he said.
Challenges, triumphs of 2012
Aquino said 2012 had been full of triumphs over challenges, noting many had tried but failed to block his administration's reforms.
He cited reforms that led to rice self-sufficiency, such that the country can now aim to export rice by 2013.
He also cited reforms in the education system that he said will soon address a shortage of 66,800 classrooms.
On the economy, he said the Philippines, once referred to as the “Sick Man of Asia,” has attracted many investors and earned the confidence of the business sector.
"At mukhang magpapatuloy ang ganitong kompiyansa ng mundo sa atin: ang 7.1 percent na pag-angat ng GDP nitong third quarter, ay higit sa inaasahang target ng mga dalubhasa, at siyang pinakamataas sa buong Timog Silangang Asya," he said.
Aquino also cited the all-time highs in the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2012.
According to PSE data, the PSEi gained 33 percent for the whole of 2012 and in the process achieved all-time highs 38 times.
On the other hand, he cited gains in the peace process, where the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a framework peace pact that promises to replace the Autonomous Regionin Muslim Mindanao with a Bangsamoro political entity.
He likewise noted the electrification of many towns under his watch.
Aquino also cited the passage of historic laws, and righting the scales of justice.
Even in the face of disasters, he cited the preparedness and bayanihan spirit of Filipinos in dealing with tragedies.
"Pinapatunayan natin sa buong mundo: basta’t handa tayong gawin ang tama’t magsakripisyo para sa ating kapwa; basta’t sumasagwan tayo nang sabay sa ngalan ng sambayanan; walang pangarap na hindi kayang abutin ang ating bansa," he said.
"Simula lamang po ito. Sa totoo lang po, ang kaisa-isang limitasyon sa tayog ng ating mararating ay ang ating ambisyon. Nasa pagtutulungan at tiwala natin sa isa’t isa ang susi ng tagumpay," he added. —KG/VS, GMA News