SPEAKING to students of the Hope Christian School on Thursday, Pres. Benigno “PNoy” S. Aquino III said that he seeks not only to run after corrupt government officials –he also wants more jobs and less poverty to become his legacy, which would be felt through “massive investments in agriculture and education,” as reported by Philstar.com.
“…Our mantra is inclusive growth… We are really trying to find out how to maximize everybody’s opportunity to be able to participate in the growth that is happening within the country. Now, we want to accelerate what will be a very good situation for us,” he said.
According to PNoy, the country will be entering the “demographic sweet spot” by next year, meaning that majority of the country’s population would become of working age.
“It will continue for about 30 to 40 years. Now, even if you are at working age but you don’t have a job, then there is no point,” he rationalized adding that “for us to maximize that benefit, we have to be able to prepare them (work force) to seize all of the opportunities that are coming our way.”
The president emphasized the need for young people to enroll in courses that would be competitive in the current market, and that the Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA) would be instrumental in providing them with the training they need.
“At the end of the day, we promise the substantial change in our society and we believe the only measure of that is the well-being and life of each Filipino,” Aquino said.
However, in an open forum at the same event, PNoy also said he would no longer pay attention to criticisms that are untrue.
“I have six years to do what I set out to do and what the people are expecting me to do. And of course, (there should be) time management,” the president said.
Citing some netizens who only have criticisms for the president, PNoy said they are better off doing something more productive.
“Those who are persistent and do nothing but be negative, maybe they’re just lacking opportunities to be productive,” he said.
“I will look for (opportunities for) them. Now, at the same time, I recognize that there are some who are driven by mercenary considerations. Now, it would be a disservice and injustice for our people if I just keep on engaging them in a debate, that’s useless.”
“Our blood pressure will only rise, and nobody will benefit,” he added.
On the contrary, Sen. Sergio Osmeña III (who is an ally of the president) believes that PNoy needs to become a better listener.
The senator aired his frustration over PNoy’s refusal to heed advice and to listen to criticisms from his allies — especially when it comes to appointing cabinet members and positions in government offices.
“That’s the way he (Aquino) solves things, he stays with the people he appointed,” Osmeña said.
“I tend to be a very independent person, I’ve been helping PNoy, I was his campaign manager in 2010. But when he’s wrong, I criticize also. So I like to keep my independence because I feel my duty to my people, I can serve them better by being independent, by not covering up things. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” he added.
Osmeña has been vocal about his views with PNoy  (i.e. calling for the removal of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla due to his failure tin preventing a considerable hike in prices at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market last year, which caused MERALCO  — the Philippines’ largest distributor of electric power — to up the rates on their consumers; and criticizing the bidding process of the Department of Transportation and Communications/DOTC for the Mactan Airport expansion project in Cebu.] However, Osmeña does not regret helping PNoy in his presidential campaign. He still wants the president to do well for the rest of his term.
“I felt that he was the best candidate at that time. Even now, I want him to do well, I want him to do better,” he said.
“But sometimes he’s so hardheaded and you know how hardheaded he can be. So what can we do. Ang tigas ng ulo, eh (He’s so stubborn).”
Osmeña believes this stubbornness may cost PNoy his endorsement value in 2016.
“Well, we cannot do anything and we’re not going to overthrow him or whatnot. However, he will lose his endorsement, much of his endorsement value in 2016,” Osmeña said.
“You have to ascribe a certain amount of value to an endorsement by a sitting president even if he is the outgoing president and he will lose much of that if people will see that yeah, we appreciate what you did, your honesty inspired many people and brought in more foreign investments, but it all depends who he endorses,” he added.
Admittedly, the internet (especially social media) is rife with unwarranted criticisms for PNoy. And he is right in saying that it is counterproductive to take them all into consideration.
However, when a political ally like Sen. Osmeña starts admonishing you for being stubborn, perhaps it is time to pay attention.
After all, listening is not just about physically hearing what another person has to say — it also requires a lot of discernment.
“Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable — one of the least understood. Most captains of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That’s how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities,” wrote Peter Nulty of The National Business Hall of Fame, Fortune Magazine.
If Pres. Aquino wants a legacy that’s memorable and meaningful, his ear “must ring with the voices of the people,” as Pres. Thomas Woodrow Wilson once said.

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