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Friday, 12 November 2004
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PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO ASSUMED THE PRESIDENCY ON 20 JANUARY 2001 AFTER THE SUPREME COURT DECLARED THE POSITION OF PRESIDENT VACANT.  THE NATIONAL AGENDA OF HER ADMINISTRATION FOCUSED ON POVERTY ALLEVIATION WITH FOUR COMPONENTS:

          
» ENSURING MACROECONOMIC STABILITY WITH EQUITABLE GROWTH BASED ON THE ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY OF FREE ENTERPRISE 

» AGRICULTURAL AND FISHERIES MODERNIZATION

» THE PROMOTION OF COMPREHENSIVE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT WITH A SOCIAL BIAS TOWARD THE DISADVANTAGED

» THE PROMOTION OF GOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE RULE OF LAW

NATIONAL ELECTIONS WERE HELD LAST MAY 10 AND FOR THE FIRST TIME, FILIPINOS OVERSEAS WERE ABLE TO VOTE FOR THEIR LEADERS.  IN GERMANY WE HAD 224 VOTERS, WHICH, IF COMPARED TO OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES WITH A LARGE CONCENTRATION OF FILIPINOS, SUCH AS ITALY AND SPAIN, IS NOT MUCH.  IT WAS HOWEVER A HISTORIC MOMENT FOR THE FILIPINOS OVERSEAS.  IT WAS ALSO A HISTORIC MOMENT FOR THOSE OF US IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE FOR THE ADDED REASON THAT IT WAS OUR FIRST TIME TO SERVE AS ELECTION OFFICERS.

PRESIDENT ARROYO WAS SWORN INTO OFFICE ON JUNE 30 THIS YEAR, THIS TIME ON HER OWN MANDATE AS PRESIDENT.  IN HER INAUGURAL SPEECH, SHE OUTLINED HER GOVERNMENT’S 10-POINT AGENDA FOR THE NEXT SIX YEARS:

    * The creation of 6 million jobs in six years via more opportunities given to entrepreneurs, tripling of the amount of loans for lending to small and medium enterprises and further development of agricultural business

    * The construction of new buildings, classrooms; provision of desks and chairs, books and computers for students and scholarships to poor families

    * The balancing of the budget through enhancing revenues and prudent spending that will result in a more healthy fiscal sector and ensure that funding for priority development programs are sustained


    * The “decentralization” of progress around the nation through the use of transportation networks like the roll-on, roll-off and the digital infrastructure

    * The provision of electricity and water supply to barangays nationwide

    * The decongestion of Metro Manila by forming new cores of government and housing centers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

    * The development of Clark and Subic as the best international service and logistic centers in the region

    * The complete automation of the electoral process

    * A just end to the peace process, particularly in Mindanao

    * A fair closure to the issues and divisiveness generated in Edsa I, II and III.