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Philippines: Netizens react to inaugural address of new president

On June 30, Wednesday, Filipinos welcomed their 15th President: Benigno “Noynoy” Simeon Aquino, III during his Inauguration held at the Quirino Grandstand, City of Manila.

Aquino, is the son of two of the country's famous icons of democracy; his father Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr who was martyred during the Marcos dictatorship and his mother, Corazon Cojuanco Aquino was catapulted to the Presidency through a peaceful revolt when democracy was restored in 1986.

In front of roughly 500,000 Filipinos, who gathered to hear him give his inaugural address, Aquino took his Oath of Office before Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, instead of the Chief Justice as held in tradition.

In the said address, he focused on living up to his campaign theme of cleaning government of corruption and putting it back to the service of the Filipinos. His election as the 15th President of the Philippines was viewed by pundits as a repudiation of the nearly decade-long Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Administration which was mired by huge corruption and credibility scandals and record poverty levels since the Asian economic crisis a decades ago.

While the crowds interrupted Aquino with applause and cheers, Filipino netizens chimed in online:

Caffeinesparks, blogging for Blog Watch, keeps her expectations modest as gives a pragmatic response to President Aquino's Inaugural address:

I do not expect miracles of Aquino. If he delivers a government that works, a government that does not suck the living daylights out of its citizens as would a tiny termagant vampire with a voracious appetite, then I would be content. I have had enough of a predatory state that would prey on the weak and the helpless, that would pervert the spirit of the law. It has made cannibals of public servants who began service only with the best of intentions. It has made cynics of the young. It has sacrificed our future at the altar of the shameless and the greedy.

Patricio Mangubat picks the positive highlight of the address about creating a participative government:

What are note-worthy about his speech are his thoughts on transforming government, from an inept and tyrannical one to a participative government, one that hears and opens itself up for criticisms and observations. Aquino vows to affect a feedback mechanism, a communication system , whereby government will be able to adjust its policies based on the people’s perceptions and views. This is the first time that government will try to effect a participative or a responsive system, a system which relies on a mass-based feedback mechanism.

As well as pointing out a fundamental hole in the speech:

Aquino failed to say anything about land reform, the reproductive health policy nor his gender program. This, says Prof. Claudio of the UP Women’s Center, is most worrisome because it reflects how the incoming administration treats these issues as “non-issues”.

To this, lawyer Connie Veneracion follows through with a spot-on remark:

You are obviously referring to the Arroyo administration when you talk about “a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people.” What do you call your mother’s own administration during which the agrarian reform program was brazenly re-written so that your family would not lose Hacienda Luisita? Your uncle authored the amendment and your mother signed the law.

Mr. Aquino — President Aquino — I have read through your inaugural address twice and found no mention of genuine agrarian reform. Do you really want us to believe that “there will be security for farmers” simply by eliminating fertilizer scams and middlemen?

In the end and despite these pragmatic and discerning points raised by bloggers, the overall theme of being hopeful settles in everyone.

Edicio puts it succinctly when he uses Mary's Magnificat to extrapolate the meaning of President Aquino's address as one that enables Filipinos to be just like that once more, hopeful.

But they evoke the more immediate and popular expectations of justice – as retribution and redistribution, linking them to the hope that government will deliver benefits to the poor.

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