John Rauschkolb III, KF-12, Philippines
The recent presidential election has changed the face of the Philippines for good. Local elections in the Philippines were held on Monday, May 10, 2010, and the elected president, Benigno Aquino III, has become the 15th President of the Philippines. With the rise of corruption in the government, this election brought many changes. During the election, the Commission on Elections completed the nation’s first computerized election in the history of the Philippines in compliance with the Amended Computerization Act of 2007. This paved the way for an honest process which resulted in a landslide win for Mr. Aquino III, who is the son of former President Corazon Aquino who recently died, and former Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino, who was assassinated during his term in office.
During the first few days of my travels to the Philippines a common theme among the locals was the election of Mr. Aquino II, who the locals affectionately call ‘Noynoy Aquino’. My conversations ranged from taxi drivers in Manila to the Chairman of the Board of my assigned Micro-Finance Institution (ASKI, Inc.). They all praise the election as a step towards the legitimization of the Philippine government. They love the recently elected president stating that “he is one of us”. Everyone enjoys telling stories about him, such as his waiting in line with the commoners for four hours to vote, or choosing to live in a modest apartment in Manila instead of living in the presidential palace in the hills.
During his recent Presidential Inaugural Address delivered on June 30, 2010, Noynoy Aquino stated that “My father offered his life so our democracy could live… I will dedicate my life to making our democracy reach its fullest potential: that of ensuring equality for all.” He further states, “Our foremost duty is to lift the nation from poverty through honest and effective governance,” and goes on to discuss “objectives for the public welfare, such as: quality education… improved public health services… and a home for every family.” With this outlook and directional leadership, the president will be looking for honest and effective means to distribute money and resources to the people. This should allow the government to be able to provide better education, public health, and housing. Services like those mentioned in his speech are already being performed by micro-finance institutions such as ASKI and CCT in the local villages. This is an exciting time for both the Philippines and Micro-Finance.