Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Aquino sworn in

MANILA - BENIGNO Aquino was on Wednesday sworn in as president of the Philippines amid joyous celebrations and desperate hopes he will usher in a new era of clean government for the corruption-wrecked nation.

Police said up to 500,000 people, many of them wearing the Aquino family's signature yellow, turned up for the festival-style inauguration ceremony at a seaside park in Manila. The crowd roared and waved yellow flags as the 50-year-old bachelor Aquino, wearing a traditional Filipino 'barong' shirt, took his oath in front of a Supreme Court judge.

'I think he can reduce corruption and improve governance,' high school teacher Terlito Malaya, 52, said as he waited for Mr Aquino to be sworn in. 'Poverty is also a very big problem and needs a permanent solution... but no-one should think right now that he will fail.'

Mr Aquino rode to the country's biggest election victory on May 10 on a pledge to fight woeful graft and poverty that he said thrived during the nearly 10-year reign of outgoing president Gloria Arroyo.

Another crucial factor was his status as the son of Philippine democracy heroes Benigno and Corazon Aquino, who remain revered for their efforts to overthrow dictator Ferdinand Marcos. His mother, Corazon, earned a reputation as an incorruptible leader during her six-year term as president following the 'people power' revolution that toppled Marcos in 1986.

Her death from cancer last year reignited national support for the family, which in turn lifted her son from political lightweight after 11 years as a low-profile member of parliament to presidential frontrunner. East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk were among the foreign dignitaries to attend the inauguration. -- AFP

No comments: