PNoy Starts Campaign

Manila, Philippines - With the midterm elections a year away, President Benigno S. Aquino III has started to campaign for administration candidates, saying he needed more allies not contrarians to advance his reform agenda.

The President made an early campaign pitch for his local allies while lashing out at critics who have poked fun at his alleged do-nothing leadership during a visit in vote-rich Cavite last Sunday.

Aquino, chairman of the Liberal Party, said he hopes that voters would not pick the "kontra" or those who do nothing but contradict his reforms in the fight against corruption and poverty.

"It will be elections next year and I will appeal to you again. I will not run next year but thanks to those who would vote for me. I appeal to you if you can increase my allies so we can easily agree in our discussions, not immediately contradict when I have a proposal," Aquino said in Filipino in his impromptu remarks at the birthday celebration of Cavite Rep. Ayong Maliksi.

In trying to convince the voters of Cavite, Aquino explained that it was important to have more allies in government who share his goals to advance the country's progress. He claimed that it was difficult to pursue reforms if elected leaders constantly oppose him.

After being heckled for "noynoying," a protest gimmick of militants portraying that the President does nothing, Aquino said he respects his critics' freedom to voice their grievances but warned them against violating the law.

Aquino said he has been called both a wimp and a dictator by his critics, adding he would not be surprised if they start calling him an "absentee" leader who is trying to curb the growth of the country's population.

"I will not close my ears to those criticizing me, contradicting me. But I promise that my decision will benefit the majority. If it will not, we will
no longer talk about it," he said.

Aquino also said he was happy with his public approval rating of 70 percent based in a recent survey.

But Aquino lamented that 5 percent to 10 percent of the respondents disapproved of his performance, calling the small lot as "kontra." Disputing criticisms about his donothing leadership, Aquino reiterated that his administration has scored achievements in less than two years in office, including a robust economy, and plans to reveal other details in his next State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA). By 2016, Aquino said he hopes to leave a country in a much better shape despite having little or no hair. "When I retire in 2016, I hope you will smile not frown when we meet again," he said.

Among the plans of the government is to build the R60-billion Light Rail Transit-1 south extension to benefit the people of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) achieve rice self-sufficiency by 2014, tourist arrivals at 10 million by 2016, the President said.