Aquino asks Filipinos` help in fight against graft

Manila (ANTARA News/Reuters) - President Benigno Aquino III asked Filipinos on Sunday to help him fight the corruption that has dogged previous governments and become one of the major obstacles to developing the economy of their poor Southeast
Asian nation.

Aquino was speaking at the first anniversary of the death of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino, who is regarded in the country as a democracy heroine.

We can only end poverty if we fight corruption, and this is where everyone has a major role to play," Aquino said at a Catholic religious service attended by his family, the cabinet and hundreds of supporters, many clad in yellow, the signature colour of his mother.

"It can be done in simple ways, by showing common courtesy to strangers, by paying taxes, by following traffic rules and by disposing of our waste properly.

"We can do even more by reporting any wrongdoing that might be brought to our attention. Let us challenge ourselves and our leaders to brave the straight path," he said.

Aquino was a congressman and a senator when his mother, who was president from 1986 to 1992, died of colon cancer a year ago. Her death sparked an outpouring of emotions that helped him win the presidential elections in May.

Aquino, who took office on June 30, has pledged to fix a large budget deficit, endemic corruption, widespread poverty and two long-running insurgencies by Maoist and Muslim rebels.

After two administrations dogged by allegations of corruption and mismanagement, he also faced an enormous weight of public expectation for him to deliver, which could prove to be a burden given his reforms will take time to produce results.

In his first State of the Nation address in late July, he said the government would create a business and investor-friendly environment to attract funds needed to improve infrastructure.

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