Aquino pines for vacation


President Benigno Aquino. INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines—Close to three years in office, President Benigno Aquino III longs for a quiet, stress-free vacation.

After an overnight stay at Shangri-La Mactan, President Aquino said he woke up Friday morning to a refreshing sight of tourists taking a dip in the sea or in the pool.

“Then I remembered it’s really nice to be on vacation. It’s been a long time since I had one,” the President told local officials and residents of Toledo City during a pep talk Friday afternoon.

“It’s in the Labor Code: I’m entitled to one day a week. I told myself, I should file a suit. But against whom? I’m the Chief Executive; I might end up suing myself. It’s not going to happen,” he added.

Toledo City was Mr. Aquino’s third stop on a hectic four-city swing through Cebu province last Friday to pitch for the Team PNoy senatorial candidates.

In previous out-of-town speeches, the 52-year-old bachelor President said he looked forward to the day he would be traveling to the countryside no longer as the country’s top CEO, but as a tourist, or even a honeymooner.

Because of his busy itinerary, he often gets reminders from Cabinet officials, especially Health Secretary Enrique Ona, to take some time off and go on holiday.

Aquino then segued to the wonders that tourism could do to the local economy. He said that tourists had a lot to choose from the many beaches and destinations in the province.

“So what if there are tourists? Well, the arrival of one tourist, especially from abroad, creates one job for a Filipino. There’ll be a need for a tourist guide; a place to stay and eat, and of course, somebody will craft souvenirs, among many others,” he said.

To meet the influx of tourists, whose arrivals have been breaking records on a national scale, Mr. Aquino said the government was upgrading the Cebu Mactan Airport to increase its capacity from the current 1.6 million tourists to 6.5 million tourists a year.

“In short, we’re expanding your facilities to ensure convenience for the arriving tourists. We’re adding facilities to encourage more tourists to come here and bring more opportunities to the Filipinos,” he said.

The initial phase of the expansion of the Mactan circumferential road was now undergoing bidding, and its original cost has been cut down from P300 million to P251 million, Mr. Aquino said.

He then reminded the residents about the scandal in the 2006 purchase of P365-million worth of decorative lamp posts in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cebu the following year.

“Those were very expensive lamp posts. If the Mactan circumferential road was constructed in 2006, it would have been finished in 2009 at the latest,” he said. The local tourism industry would have benefited from the road. “It’s clear no tourists would come here just to take a look at the lamp posts. They don’t light up anymore, and worse, some are even missing.”

The trick, the President, was to abide by the 5 Rs:  right project, right time, right price, right people, right reason.

“It should go through all this, not something else. If you ask me, I don’t have any ambition of landing in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most expensive lamp posts in the world,” he said.

He then made a pitch for Hilario “Jun-jun” Davide III and acting Cebu Governor Agnes Magpale, candidates for governor and vice governor, among other local officials,  saying they are his partners in governance.

“My job is tough – I know you know this. You have a problem in the Philippines, and beyond. We have an estimated OFW community of 10 million. If there’s piracy in Somalia, it’s likely a Filipino has been held hostage,” he said.

This May 13, Aquino said, the people have two choices: side with change or stick with the old system.

“This is just my appeal: Let’s speed up the momentum of change in our country because in 2016, perhaps around 11 a.m. of June 30, 2016, we will step down from office. I would like any Filipino to look back, and, together, we’ll say: ‘The Philippines has changed a lot,’” he said.

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  • go88

    Abnoy’s 5R:

    right projects: infrastructure beneficial to my friends projects, more expensive electricity, more OFWs.

    right time:when the filipino won’t notices

    right price:the best price for my spanish friends and fellow chinese, for instance the 10 billions I’ll take from the filipinos in exchange of us giving up hacienda lusita

    right people:see above

    right reason:whatever makes the oligarch richer

  • Beguine

    That’s funny. Pining for a vacation indeed.

    He’s having so much fun going here and there and everywhere
    he seems to be on a permanent vacation and holiday spree.

    • go88

      Well Abnoy has been vacationing all his life long and is used to freebies … he never had to sweat for the food he ate or to pay tuition for his inconsequential studies and his psychiatry bills. Neither had he a real job with accountability and the retard got elected because of pappy and mommy.

  • buttones

    If the President wants ‘pines’ he should go to Baguio City – Oops! They chopped them all down, now it’s just a big SM car park….or so I’m told…..

  • kismaytami

    OMG! Magkano na naman kaya ang nabawas sa baul ng kayamanan ng republika dahil sa hotel expenses? May Malacanang of the South naman.

    You can have your vacation until 2016 and it is just fine. But don’t use our tax pesos, because it should only be used for work, not for vacation.

    • Don’tBelieveEverythingYouRead!

      Don’t worry binigyan na siya ng malaking pera ng Malaysia.

      Gusto kasi nila manalo si Aquino + senators niya para wala maghabol sa Sabah.

      Big Win for them so why not fund the campaign? Madami bad choices sa UNA except Gordon kaya tingnan din natin independents to balance the power.

    • Billy Reyes

      The President just stayed overnight in Shangri-la Mactan which even yourself could probably afford to stay if you save for it.
      He talk that He is entitle for 1 day off in a week but for long time due to very schedule he did not get to take a holiday just like a normal tourist. He talk about the Project in Cebu to boost Tourism Infrastructure.

      You guys are actually reading the news & try to understand it before you straight away make tsismis. Or you too dumb to understand it, or you don’t want to understand it, Either way this is not appropriate.

      • kismaytami

        Indeed, he’s entitled for 1 day off in week, the heck, he can also take day-offs until 2016!

      • Billy Reyes

        try to read to whole news & understand it. If your brain is dumb to understand it don’t make a conclusion because you don’t like the president for whatever reason. But I can tell you this He won as one of the largest margin of votes on his opponents in any Presidential race in the Philippines. Majority of people believe on Him so your Tsismis doesn’t really matter.. peace bro…

  • Don’tBelieveEverythingYouRead!

    Ano daw? Stress siya? Saan sa campaign or actual work?

  • Maxwell Jan Alvarez

    When the next natural or man-made disaster occurs, expect him to disappear and that’ll be his vacation time. Actually, if you add up all his Playstation time, it does add up to one day a week :-)

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