f_0019834_16903 - Democracy and Development in the...

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Fall 2010 The Ambassadors REVIEW 9 Democracy and Development in the Philippines: Triumphs and Challenges Harry K. Thomas, Jr. United States Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines ince April of this year, I have had the honor of representing President Obama and the American people as Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines, a major ally with whom the United States has an enduring partnership based on respect, shared values, and a desire for stability and prosperity. The Philippines is at a pivotal moment in its history. The election of Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III, son of slain Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and his late widow, President Corazon C. Aquino, has brought fresh hope to the country for a better future, even in the face of enormous challenges. The United States strongly supports President Aquino’s goals of peace, prosperity, and stability. To those ends, as Ambassador to the Philippines, my top priorities are raising awareness of the scourge of human trafficking in the Philippines, promoting business opportunity and investment, and deepening mutual understanding between the United States and my host country. I have also promoted investment in “green” sources of energy, not only to stimulate economic and job growth but also to protect the environment of this beautiful country and the world we share. My Embassy team and I are working vigorously to enhance our people-to-people ties through cultural and professional exchanges, the Peace Corps, and other programs that build mutual understanding so that we may expand our partnership in the spirit of mutual respect in the years ahead. Elections as a Fresh Start and Challenges Ahead President Barack Obama described the Philippine elections as “a model of transparency and a positive testament to the strength and vitality of democracy in the Philippines.” No one took a peaceful election for granted, bearing in mind the November 23, 2009 massacre in Maguindanao, Mindanao, which took the lives of 57 people, including at least 34 members of the media. In the end, however, the 2010 election progressed not only peacefully but was the first to use automated election technology, bringing the Philippines’ electoral process to the new digital era. For the first time in history, the results of the elections were reported within two days of the elections, rather than a lengthy waiting period for a tedious hand counting of ballots. The June 30 inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino was reminiscent of President Barack Obama’s in January 2009. Excitement grew throughout the Philippines in support of President Aquino’s campaign theme: “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” (No Corruption, No Poverty). Young presidents find a way to invigorate hope within their people and President Aquino inspired Filipinos with the promise of better days ahead. When I met with the then-President-apparent Aquino, he described to me his vision to
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course COMM 321 taught by Professor Erinmcclellan during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

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f_0019834_16903 - Democracy and Development in the...

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