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PIA Press Release
2007/04/16

Commentary: The people first

Tacloban City (April 16) -- People first. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has proven that when she granted some 600 residents along Sta. Mesa Hippodrome a presidential reprieve from the plan of the Philippine National Railways to put a Park and Drive square in the area where they are residing.

The President showed not only wisdom but justice laced with compassion, choosing to allow the people to retain their residences instead of removing them in favor of a project which is only for beautification purposes.

As the President stressed, there is a difference between projects that are really essential and those which are only for beautification purposes. The PNR project, she said is beautiful but it would require the removal of the residents from the area.

The President weighed the options. She suggested that the residents be moved instead to an untitled lot nearby, but was told that the said lot is also occupied. She opted to maintain the status quo after a tour of the area.

While others would have made decisions in favor of a government project blindly, the President took pains to balance the options before making the decision in favor of the people.

Time and again, the President has said that the Filipino people are the direct beneficiaries of development and any government programs. This, she has proven again in this case.

Despite her anxiety over the First Gentleman, the President took time out with the residents at Sta. Mesa Hippodrome and dialogued with them.

While she was there, the President turned over ownership of a Tindahan Natin to the barangay officials who also received 100 scholarship vouchers for the barangays youth from the President. Truly for the President, it is the Filipino people first. (PIA 8) [top]

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