SINGAPORE — President Benigno S. Aquino III, here for a two-day working visit, met his counterparts, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam, on separate occasions on Tuesday.
President Aquino met with Prime Minister Lee during his courtesy call at the Istana main building, where they discussed the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in areas destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda in the Eastern Visayas, as well as the Philippine leader’s recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told Manila-based reporters during a press briefing that Prime Minister Lee also inquired about President Aquino’s potential successor, knowing that his term is about to end in two years.
Lacierda said the Singaporean leader conveyed hopes that President Aquino’s successor would continue the policies the latter has initiated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Philippine head of state said he shared the same hope.
“As you know, President Aquino has started with a number of reforms. Some of them will see fruition beyond 2016. So President Aquino has just laid out the foundations for governance reforms, and so these reforms will not end in 2016, (but) would rather move beyond 2016,” Lacierda told reporters when asked to elaborate.
“If the rightful successor who can continue the reforms will be elected, then we will hope that the reforms that President Aquino has laid down will continue beyond 2016,” he added.
Meanwhile, on the President’s luncheon meeting with President Tan, Lacierda described it as “very light” and “very informal,” with Singaporean Ambassador VP Hirubalan sharing his experiences as a politician.
During the meeting, Lacierda said the Singaporean ambassador brought up the latest 59 percent public satisfaction ratings of President Aquino’s administration, based on a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
“How I described the President in the lunch was he was very, very relaxed. He was like he was among friends. And we talked also a little bit about the—because the Singaporean ambassador raised it—about the approval ratings of the President,” Lacierda said.
“So we also spoke about the SWS survey on the national administration, on the disaster response. So basic lang, mga ganoong tanong lang. There were small talks in between but it was a very interesting discussion. The President was very, very relaxed,” he added.
In a statement released last Monday, Lacierda said the survey “demonstrates the people’s voice—that this administration is responsive to their needs and has been at work in the continued reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts to build back better those areas devastated by typhoons.”