June 30, 2010 in Nation/World

Aquino III now leads Philippines

Promises to reform government, fight graft
Oliver Teves Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines – Benigno Aquino III was sworn in today as the Philippines’ 15th president, leading a Southeast Asian nation his late parents helped liberate from dictatorship and which he promises to deliver from poverty and pervasive corruption.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them clad in his yellow campaign color, applauded and yelled his nickname “Noynoy” as Aquino took his oath before a Supreme Court justice at Manila’s seaside Rizal Park.

Aquino, wearing a native formal shirt and speaking in Tagalog, promised to fight corruption, particularly in the notoriously graft-ridden bureaus of customs and internal revenues. He pledged to bring a new era of good governance, reforms and a bureaucracy that will be sensitive to the plight of the common folk.

“Today our dreams start to become a reality,” Aquino said. “It’s the end of a leadership that has long been insensitive to the suffering of the people.”

The rise of Aquino, a low-key legislator and son of democracy icons, reflects the Filipinos’ longing for moral and political renewal. Outgoing leader President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s stormy nine-year rule saw four failed power grabs and opposition impeachment bids against her over allegations of vote-rigging, corruption and rights abuses.

Aquino said he would immediately form an independent commission to investigate corruption allegations against Arroyo and other scandals under her term after taking power.

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