POLITICAL and business leaders in Cebu paid tribute to former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, who died on Thursday morning, June 24, 2021, in Metro Manila, expressing their gratitude for his improving the economy and anti-corruption stance.
Aquino, the first bachelor to serve as the country’s chief executive from 2010 to 2016, succumbed to a kidney illness caused by diabetes. He was 61.
The 15th President of the Philippines was the third child and only son of democracy icons—the late former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and the late former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.
Filipino Cebuano Business Club chairman Rey Calooy, who represents the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in Cebu, said the country caught the attention of global credit rating agencies during the Aquino administration.
“The entire MSME sector benefited from the high investment credit ratings of the Philippines from the international community,” he said.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam and Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu mourned the passing of Aquino, who Yu said will be remembered for “giving a greater role to the private sector in economic development through the public-private partnership projects” during the Aquino administration.
In Cebu, Aquino’s notable infrastructure development projects include the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 and the Medellin-Daanbantayan Road, which leads to Maya RoRo Port. The approval of the Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway’s construction also happened during his administration.
The late former Cordova mayor Adelino Sitoy conceptualized the bridge in 2014, and it was lobbied for by then Cebu City mayor Michael Rama, who was also the Regional Development Council chairman at the time.
Rama, now a vice mayor and currently serving as acting mayor as Mayor Edgardo Labella is on medical leave, had the City Hall lower the flag at half-mast until the burial of the former President.
He thanked Aquino for trusting him back then.
Labella and former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña said the Aquino family is remembered for its role in helping the country get back into the fold of democracy.
Cebu Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III said he was shocked and saddened by Aquino’s death, saying the former President had “served his country and people with utmost integrity and sincerity,” while Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes described Aquino as an “epitome of dedication and simplicity.”
Aquino was known for the tagline, “Kayo ang boss ko (You are my boss),” aside from his “walang wang-wang (no sirens)” policy. The use of government, military and police officials while traveling is seen as an abuse of power.