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noynoy aquino
Benigno Aquino III, former president of the Philippines, attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Metro Manila, Philippines on May 22, 2014.
WEF/Released, file

Philippines Inc. mourns death of former President Noynoy Aquino

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - June 24, 2021 - 3:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — Business groups on Thursday joined the rest of the country in mourning the death of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, whose administration they admire for stabilizing the economy.

“It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of former President Noynoy Aquino,” Benedicto Yujuico, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the largest business group in the country, said in a statement.

“The legacy of President Aquino should live on,” Yujuico added.

Although his administration had its fair share of challenges, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), another influential business organization, believes reforms that Aquino started “created an engine for progress.”

“He generated a new respect for the country on the world stage,” MAP said in a separate statement. “The Philippines which President Aquino left behind was indeed a better place.”

It was during Aquino’s term when the Philippines bagged its first investment grade rating from debt watcher Fitch Ratings in 2013. Other credit rating agencies followed suit, allowing the government and local companies to borrow money offshore at much cheaper costs and making the country more attractive to foreign investors.

“The Philippine stock market recorded several milestones during the term of President Aquino as his policies transformed the Philippines from a high credit risk to an investment grade rating country starting in 2013,” the Philippine Stock Exchange said in a statement.

It was all thanks to Aquino’s fiscal management that tightened spending rules to curb corruption, reduced government debt and narrowed the budget deficit. At the same time, he championed transparency and ran after delinquent tax payers.

But that fiscal prudence had proven too much after his government was heavily criticized for chronic underspending, especially on much-needed infrastructure projects that would solve the country’s perennial traffic woes. Still, gross domestic product expanded at an average of 6.2% during Aquino's entire term, with growth even topping 7% in two out of six years he was in office. 

“The turnaround story of the Philippines – from Asia’s sick man to Asia’s bright star – is without doubt one of his greatest legacies,” Cesar Purisima, Aquino’s finance secretary, said in a statement.

“His 6 years in office was proof of his fundamental thesis: that good governance delivers great economics,” Purisima added.

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