Asia-Pacific

Philippines' Aquino record in office hit by hostages

President Aquino arrives to give a speech in Manila 7 Oct 2010
Image caption Benigno Aquino retains some of the adulation that greeted his landslide win but faces stiff challenges

It is now 100 days since Philippine President Benigno Aquino took power and he has already faced some formidable challenges.

The biggest remains the fallout from a hostage standoff that left eight tourists dead.

But Mr Aquino insists his presidency has already achieved results.

He has boasted of strengthening the Philippine economy and streamlining government excesses.

On 30 June, thousands of Filipinos turned up to watch as President Aquino was inaugurated.

He had won the election by a landslide, and people were optimistic that he would keep his promises of cleaning up government, stamping out corruption and helping the poor.

Now 100 days on, he has had some notable successes - he recently came back from the United States with the promise of $2.8bn (£1.8bn) in grants and investment.

He has also been praised for his frugal personal lifestyle. But it has not all been plain sailing.

Image caption President Aquino must decide on whether to charge police for their bungling of a hostage crisis

His government came under harsh criticism for its handling of a hostage standoff in August, in which eight Hong Kong tourists lost their lives.

According to the campaign group Human Rights Watch, he has done little to address the frequent murders here, or the culture of impunity among certain sectors of the army and police.

A national poll commissioned to mark the president's first 100 days gave his performance seven out of 10, while a group of businessmen were more generous, giving him eight out of 10.

Many are still reserving judgment.

Presidents in the Philippines serve for a six-year term - Mr Aquino's administration is just getting started.

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