Palace official sums up accomplishments of Aquino government in six years

Few days before leaving office, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr summed up the major accomplishments of the Aquino administration in the last six years.

Among the major accomplishments is the change on the perception of other countries on the Philippines with regards to corruption, Coloma said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan on Saturday.

He said that for instance, the Economic Freedom Index in 2010, the Philippines was ranked at 115. In 2015 the country was at 70th place.

“Doon sa Global Competitiveness Index ng World Economic Forum ng 2010 ay no. 85 tayo; 2015 no. 47, kaya halos kalahati ang nilampasan natin,” he said in the interview.

He added that in the Global Enabling Trade Index of the World Economic Forum, from rank 92 in 2010, the Philippines jumped to rank 64 in 2015.

“Kaya makikita natin sa iba’t ibang larangan, sa pananaw ng daigdig ay malaki na ang naiangat ng ating bansa at kung inyo pang mararapatin, meron akong summaries sa iba’t ibang larangan,” he said.

Major accomplishments in the economy include the 6.2 percent average annual GDP growth, the highest in the last 40 years, he noted, adding the country also strengthened consumer prices and achieved steady inflation at an average of 1.4 percent at the end of 2015.

Coloma also reported that the Aquino administration was able to increase employment rate from 92.7 percent in 2010 to 94.2 percent in January 2016.

And as a result of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Coloma said 7.7 million Filipinos were lifted out of poverty.

The unemployment rate of 5.8 percent is the lowest that the country has posted in the last several decades, according to the Palace official.

The country’s investment on infrastructure was also increased from 1.8 percent of GDP in 2010 to about 5 percent of GDP this year.

“Together with the active promotion of public-private partnerships o PPP, 12 contracts were awarded to private partners, more than the combined six solicited projects awarded during the past three administrations,” he said.

The government also intensified universal health care and heightened access to quality health care including the Universal Health Care program of PhilHealth that now covers 93.45 million Filipinos.

In the education sector, he said 89,720 classrooms are constructed from 2010 to March 2016, with another 95,429 scheduled for construction.

This is coming from a shortage of 66,800 classrooms in 2010 and more than double the number of classrooms built from 2005 to 2009. The 1:1 ratio of textbook to students was also achieved. Furthermore, 170,000 additional teachers were hired, Coloma said.

Another category is the provision of technical assistance to more than 10 million youths who are now properly equipped with training skills and certification to join the local and foreign workforce or put up their own business.

A recent study by TESDA shows that six out of 10 of its graduates get immediate employment within six months to one year after completion of the program, according to Coloma.

The Aquino government also made major strides in modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines with approximately P60 billion allotted for military capability upgrading projects under the AFP Modernization and Capability Upgrade program, or Republic Act 10349, enacted in December 2012.

Under the government watch, weather forecasting was also improved, many trees were planted through a national greening program and projects to address flooding in different parts of the country were carried out.

To address traffic decongestion, the government acquired 48 new coaches for MRT-3 with the final delivery expected on January 2017.

The government also launched the LRT-1 extension project which will connect Baclaran to Niyog in Cavite through additional eight stations.

Other projects include the LRT-2 extension to Masinag, which is expected to be operational by third quarter of 2017 and MRT-7 that will run from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Juan Del Monte in Bulacan

The Skyway stage 3 is now also being constructed. It will link NLEX and SLEX via an elevated toll road and cut travel time between Buendia in Makati and Balintawak in Quezon City from two hours to just 20 minutes. This project is scheduled for completion in April 2017, Coloma reported.

At the same time, the government also launched the 12.3-kilometer Manila Bus Rapid Transit system from Quezon Memorial Circle to Manila City Hall. Similar system is being developed in Cebu, he said. PND (as)