(STAR) By Delon Porcalla - [Photo is loading... President Aquino and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono share the stage with cultural dancers after a performance at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia the other night.]

From being a darling of the press during the presidential campaign, President Aquino now has to deal with a less friendly media that he thinks tend to gloss over his administration’s achievements.

“We have 28 newspapers in Metro Manila alone. And each one of them compete on a daily basis to find the most negative headline,” Aquino told the Filipino community here at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Aquino won the presidency in May last year mainly on an anti-corruption platform. The nine-year administration of his predecessor, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, had been fraught with corruption scandals.

The 51-year-old bachelor Chief Executive told the Filipino community that bad news has lorded it over the front pages of newspapers while positive news is buried in the inside pages. He said his personal life – especially his romantic pursuits – seemed to be more important to the media than his achievements as the nation’s leader.

“Check this out. I’ve announced many good developments, but my love life gets more attention,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

“Once I begged them to explain why they’re picking on my love life, instead of talking about my achievements,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged media’s role in making the people closer to the government.

“We’d also like to seek your help in spreading the good news,” he said.

“No matter what the problem is, it’s just a matter of time, a question of time before it is solved. And I tend to look more and more at each problem as an opportunity that can be and will be exploited for the benefit of everybody,” Aquino asserted.

“So, five years and three months... At that point in time, I want the Filipino people to be so used to good governance, so used to attaining the rightful place of people that whoever replaces me has to commit to continue what we have all done,” he added.

“Then I can probably say I can retire. I will leave something definitely better than what I found and I can face anybody, especially the next generation, and tell them the least that we did was to make sure you did not have to handle the same problems we did,” he said.

Part of the problem, he said, was the controlled media during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose 20-year authoritarian regime ended in February 1986 in a people power revolt that catapulted his mother, the late Cory Aquino, to the presidency.

“The problem during my mom’s time, she became president after martial law. Martial law, you had a controlled media. After martial law, with the promise of EDSA, the regaining of freedom, freedom of the press became a reality once again,” he recalled.

“And people who were so suppressed for 14 years suddenly found freedom that they found it too intoxicating,” Aquino said.

Mar tags along with Noy to Indonesia, Singapore By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated March 09, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said yesterday that former Sen. Manuel Roxas II joined President Aquino’ state visits to Indonesia and Singapore as a “private adviser.”

Roxas also said in an interview before boarding the Cebu Pacific flight to Jakarta on Monday night that he was not listed in the official delegation because he would be there in a private capacity.

Roxas, whom the President said would be appointed as “chief troubleshooter,” also became controversial when he joined Aquino’s trip to New York in September.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the President had been consulting Roxas as a senior adviser. He said Roxas’ presence in Aquino’s functions was already a start to his being chief troubleshooter.

But Lacierda said Roxas’ job was not all encompassing as department secretaries were taking care of the various concerns of the government.

Lacierda also defended the President from criticisms for supposedly acting late on the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Libya.

He said the government had sent home more than 13,000 Filipino workers from Libya despite its limited resources, brushing off criticisms about delayed actions.

“For the record, we were able to repatriate successfully 13,000 something Filipinos. Certainly there are some concerns and we have to look at the limited resources,” Lacierda said in a press conference.

Viel wants Noy to get married before his term ends (The Philippine Star) Updated March 09, 2011 12:00 AM

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Presidential sister Viel Aquino-Dee said yesterday their family is wishing that her brother, President Aquino, will get married before his term ends in 2016.

Dee, who was the guest at the launching of the Women’s Month celebration in Albay, said they are excited over the prospect of having a sister-in-law.

“Actually, we really want him to marry before his term ends in 2016. We are really longing for that day,” Dee told reporters during a press conference here.

But Dee said she could not say what kind of woman they want for their only brother.

“I cannot really tell what kind of woman he wishes to be his partner in life. He is older than I am and he can always decide what’s best for him,” Dee said.

But in her speech, Dee hinted at the type of partner they would like for her brother when she recalled the memories of her father Ninoy and mother Corazon.

“I think you will all agree that Ninoy Aquino couldn’t have achieved what he did if he didn’t have a wife like Cory behind him. Our father called our mother his wellspring of hope and his source of comfort,” said Dee, who also led the turnover of several classrooms in Legazpi City and nearby Daraga town.

During her speech, Dee also called on all government agencies and workers to support the President as he implements reforms in government. – Cet Dematera


On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino III justified why his former running-mate Mar Roxas was in his delegation on his state visits to Indonesia and Singapore. Claiming that Manuel “Mar” Roxas II was with him because he was convincing investors to put their money in the Philippines.

Aquino said that Roxas personally knows many of the business and government leaders of both Singapore and Indonesia and his presence helped in creating trust and confidence with these officials.

“Trust was engendered because Senator Roxas joined us and he is using his own money," Aquino said. "They (critics) are injecting too much politics into this. We should focus on the jobs of our countrymen.”

The president also stressed that Roxas had a personal relationship with many Singaporean government officials and “more than half” of the business leaders whom the President met in Jakarta.

“He was the one who introduced me to the government officials here in Singapore and our talks were hastened because they had a personal relationship,” Aquino said.

“In Indonesia, the conglomerates we are enticing to do business in the Philippines, he has a personal relationship with not less than half of them,” he said.

Aquino added that without Roxas, the talks with investors could last for months and their concrete results would be seen only much later.

“We will be introduced to each other and then meet again after six months. I’ll invite them to go to the Philippines. They’ll think about it and get back to me after six months. It would then take another year to start the business. Who will then benefit from that?” Aquino said.

According to him Roxas on his delegation “the process was fast-tracked,” he ended.

The president feels confident with Roxas by his side when it comes to foreign investors.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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