PANGLAO ISLAND, Bohol—President Benigno Aquino III is looking forward to coming back to Bohol, no longer as Chief Executive, but as a tourist.
The President told a crowd of about 1,200 during his inspection on Wednesday of the Bohol International Airport construction on this island that he may be just be back on July 2, after his term ends on June 30, or next year when the airport opens.
Construction of the airport, which cost P7.14 billion, started last year to be completed by December 2017.
Mr. Aquino said the airport is expected to draw in 1.7 million tourists a year.
“And next year ho yan, di na ako pangulo. Asahan niyo kasama ako sa magdagdag na magiging turista (I will no longer be president. You can be sure I will add to the tourism numbers),” he said.
The President, a bachelor, joked he might yet marry and spend his honeymoon in Bohol.
“Baka suwertehin ako, kapag makahanap na, siyempre may honeymoon na, puwede naman sa Loboc river cruise na may fireflies (I might get lucky and find someone, of course, there will be a honeymoon, maybe on the Loboc river cruise with fireflies),” he said.
Addressing Bohol Gov. Edgardo Chatto and Rep. Rene Relampagos, the President said their closeness had its limits.
“Alam niyo magkasama tayo pero pag honeymoon po, huwag ninyo akong samahan. Kung puwede talo-talo tayo doon (You know we’re in this together but when it comes to my honeymoon, you don’t have to come along. We’d be at odds there.),” Mr. Aquino said.
Before his speech, the President led the laying of the time capsule for the terminal building.
He was joined by Chatto and Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada.
Mr. Aquino then led the ceremonial switch-on of the 2,684 sitios energized in Central Visayas by the government’s electrification program.
Feats and criticisms
In his speech, the President boasted of the accomplishments in his term and once again criticized the Arroyo administration.
He said that if the previous administration in its 10 years in office had finished the Bohol airport, more tourists would have come in and more jobs would have been created.
Later, Mr. Aquino met up with the candidates of the Liberal Party (LP)—Mar Roxas, Leni Robredo and the senatorial slate—at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran City for a grand rally.
The center with a capacity of 2,000 was packed. A wide screen was put up outside to allow the hundreds who could not get in to watch the program.
Mr. Aquino told the crowd to support the LP candidates and continue with “daang matuwid.” With a report from Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas