MANILA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Combating corruption and improving the country's business climate, infrastructure and education were the highlights of newly-elected Philippine President Benigno Aquino III's inauguration speech on Wednesday.
Aquino, who took his oath as Philippines' 15th president at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, promised the thousands of Filipinos' who came to witness the event that the country will have a set of leaders who will prioritize the economic and social welfare and interests of its 90 million citizens.
"Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people. Through good governance in the coming years, we will lessen our problems. The destiny of the Filipino will return to its rightful place, and as each year passes, the Filipino's problems will continue to lessen with the assurance of progress in their lives," Aquino said in his native tongue.
To address corruption that had hindered the country's economic growth, Aquino said he will scrutinize the so-called midnight appointments of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to earn back the trust of the Filipinos.
His administration also promises to focus on improving the Philippines' education system and infrastructure by addressing the deficiencies in these sectors, starting with "the glaring shortage in classrooms and educational facilities" and the lack of infrastructures for transportation, tourism and trade.
"From now on, mediocre work will not be good enough when it comes to roads, bridges, and buildings because we will hold contractors responsible for maintaining their projects in good condition," Aquino said.
To provide jobs for local communities, Aquino said he will revive the emergency employment program established by his mother, former President Corazon Aquino. The number of unemployed Filipinos increased by 8 percent to 3.09 million in April despite the economy posting a record-high economic growth of 7.3 percent in the first quarter.
The Philippines' new president also said his administration will strengthen the collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs to fund the administration's objectives to provide quality education, improve public health services and provide a home to every Filipino family within the safe communities.
"(For education), we will include vocational education, so that those who choose not to attend college or those who cannot afford it can find dignified livelihood," he said.
Aquino also highlighted in his speech the glaring gap between the decreasing number of people in the police and military forces and the increasing number of Filipinos.
"We will strengthen the armed forces and the police...to give added protection for ordinary folk. The (country's) population has doubled and yet their numbers remain unchanged," Aquino said.
Other plans of his administration include: helping the farmers with irrigation, extension services, and marketing their products at the best possible prices; and make the country attractive to investors by cutting red tape dramatically and implementing stable economic policies.
"We are to set up trading centers that will directly link farmers and consumers thereby eliminating middlemen and opportunities for corruption. In this way, funds can be shared by farmers and consumers," Aquino said.
"We will level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance to business. This is the only means by which we can provide jobs for our people," he added.
Lastly, for a country whose economy is highly dependent on remittances coming from Filipinos overseas, Aquino said the goal of his administration is to create jobs at home so that the Filipinos will no longer have to look for employment overseas.
"We shall defeat the enemy by wielding the tools of justice, social reform, and equitable governance leading to a better life. With proper governance life will improve for all," Aquino said.