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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Philippine President: Corazon Aquino

Corazon Aquino ( 1986-1992 )

Condition of the Philippines:

The triumph of the peaceful People Power Revolution and the ascension of Corazon Aquino into power signaled the end of authoritarian rule in the Philippines and the dawning of a new era for Filipinos. She inherited an economy that was bankrupt and debt-ridden as a result of twenty years of misrule and mismanagement under the Marcos regime. During the first months of Aquino's presidency, the country experienced radical changes and sweeping democratic reforms. Electric blackouts became sporadic and common which somehow hampered economic transactions and business operations in the country.

Primary Problems:

-Her presidency faced several threats from both right-wing military elements and extreme left-wing communist rebels.

-Her administration also dealt with numerous problems such as major natural disasters which struck the country and severe power shortages which took a toll on doing business in the Philippines. It was also during her tenure that the United States finally ended its military bases and presence in the country.

-Corruption continued to be widespread and towards the end of her tenure ,Mrs Aquino faced more than 100 charges ranging from money smuggling to theft.

-Economic injustice, a problem that was only provoked by continuing warfare between the communist insurgency and a military whose loyalties to Aquino were uncertain.

Promises in the Election:

- Promised that she would not appoint a single communist to her cabinet.

- Rejected a power-sharing agreement proposed by the American diplomat Philip Habib, who had been send as an emissary by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to help defuse the tension.

- Her main assets in the campaign were her reputation for moral integrity along with her avowal of her slain husband's ideals. To these were added the quiet support of the influential Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, whose prelate Jamie Cardinal Sin was instrumental in the Aquino-Laurel reconciliation.


"The only thing I can really offer the Filipino People is my sincerity."

Primary Programs:

-Creation of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was tasked to go after the Marcos ill-gotten wealth. Aquino, being a revolutionary president by virtue of people power.

-Abolished the 1973 "Marcos Constituion" and dissolved the Marcos allies-dominated Batasang Pambansa, despite the advice of her vice-president and only prime minister Salvador Laurel.
-Created a Constitutional Commission, which she directed for the drafting of a new constitution for the nation.

-Made important gains in the aspects of bringing back democracy, restoring investor confidence in the economy and enacting legal and constitutional reforms.

-Promulgated two landmark legal codes, namely, the Family Code of 1987, which reformed the civil law on family relations, and the Administrative Code of 1987, which reorganized the structure of the executive branch of government.

-Another landmark law that was enacted during her tenure was the 1991 Local Government Code, which devolved national government powers to local government units (LGUs). The new Code also enhanced the power of LGUs to enact local taxation measures and assured them of a share in the national revenue.

-Brought back fiscal discipline in order as it aimed to trim down the government's budget deficit that ballooned during Marcos' term through privatization of bad government assets and deregulation of many vital industries. It was also during Aquino's time that vital economic laws such as the Built-Operate-Transfer Law, Foreign Investments Act and the Consumer Protection and Welfare Act were enacted.

-Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law which paved the way for the redistribution of agricultural lands to tenant-farmers from landowners, who were paid in exchange by the government through just compensation but were also allowed to retain not more than five hectares of land.

Result of the Programs:

Furthermore, the economy posted a positive growth of 3.4% during her first year in office. On the overall, the economy under Aquino had an average growth of 3.8% from 1986 to 1992.

Controversies:

Aquino was not spared from the controversies that eventually centered on Hacienda Luisita, a 6,453-hectare estate located in the Province of Tarlac, which she inherited from her family. She was scored for allowing Hacienda Luisita, which was now owned by the Tarlac Development Corporation, to opt for stock distribution, instead of land redistribution.


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