Aquino Outlines Gains After 100 Days in Office
President Corazon Aquino, marking her 100th day in office, said Wednesday that the Philippines has “come a long way very quickly” but warned, “We are taking freedom for granted.”
In her fortnightly “dialogue with the people” broadcast nationwide, Aquino outlined the accomplishments of her government since assuming power in a civilian-backed military revolt that ousted President Ferdinand E. Marcos on Feb. 25 after 20 years in power.
She said the press has become one of the freest in the region, agricultural cartels have been abolished, restrictive labor laws eased, courts made independent and 517 political prisoners freed.
Despite a $26-billion foreign debt and a bankrupt treasury, Aquino said that foreign exchange reserves have jumped 85% and inflation was down from 50% in 1984 to 2.1% last month.
Old Quarrels Revived
But she added: “I fear some have seen the new freedom, not as the privilege of a common commitment to rebuild the nation but as a license to rake up old, or light up new, quarrels.
“Let us all be sure of the highest standards of honesty and accuracy in what we do and say,” she said. “Perhaps the greatest achievement of the first 100 days is also its greatest danger: We are taking freedom for granted.”
Aquino also was interviewed on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning news shows. Asked on NBC’s “Today” show about her term so far, she said, “I give myself an 85. . . . Since I have not produced the economic miracles that people were hoping for, so maybe I cannot give myself a 100 because of that.”
Toll in Clashes 1,040
The armed forces chief, Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, one of the military leaders who sparked the revolt that toppled Marcos, said Wednesday that incidents involving Communist rebels and Muslim separatists have left 1,040 people dead since Aquino took power. He said Communist attacks have not decreased despite calls for reconciliation.
“The situation remains well under control but may deteriorate seriously if political and economic instabilities persist,” Ramos said.