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PIA Press Release

The President is well and on top of things - Dureza

Manila (21 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is well and on top of things and has been presiding over marathon security and economic meetings with her Cabinet.

"We would like to assure everyone that she's well, she's on top of things here and would continue to perform as expected by our people," stressed Press Secretary Jesus G. Dureza this morning in a radio interview over Radio Mindanao Network (RMN).

This, even as he admitted that the workaholic President has been understandably under stress these past few days because of the Mindanao situation. "Naturalmente… On her shoulders rest all of these events," stressed Dureza.

"Alam mo naman ang Pangulo, masyadong nakatutok sa trabaho iyan at ito, iyong ginawa ng mga armado sa Mindanao, hindi katuwa-tuwa.Kaya naturalmente, malaki iyong kanyang, you know, on her shoulders principally rest all of these events. Kaya natural lang po na ang Pangulo natin ay stressed by all these. Kasi tao lang din iyan," said Dureza of President Arroyo who grew up in Iligan City in Mindanao.

Dureza added that the President is "…okay, she's well, she has been holding marathon meetings -- matagal iyong aming meeting, kahapon halos buong hapon hanggang gabi ang meeting niya -- tuluy-tuloy."

"Merong ginawang NEDA meeting and then iyong aming security cluster meeting. She's well and she is in good shape. Meron siyang mga ginawang mga (medical) tests noong nakaraan... but we would like to assure everyone that she's well," Dureza added.

The Press Secretary assured further that President Arroyo is not letting up on the renegade commanders of the MILF who had attacked North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Sarangani provinces just as the Supreme Court is tackling the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) that the government was poised to sign with the MILF leadership.

While stressing that the Arroyo administration will continue working towards over-all peace in Mindanao and in the entire country, Dureza revealed that the military and the police are both pursuing charges against MILF commanders Umbra Kato and especially Commander Bravo because "inatake niya iyong mga innocent civilians natin, he has to answer for it, he has to be punished for it according to the President."

"Ang opensiba ngayon ay tuluy-tuloy laban doon sa mga lumabag sa batas, iyong grupo ni Commander Bravo. As we speak now, merong operations on-going ang ating military at ang ating kapulisan, because Commander Bravo who is an MILF (member), committed a violation of law. Inatake niya iyong mga innocent civilians natin…"

The government placed last night (Tuesday, Aug. 19) a total P10-million bounty on the heads of Kato and Bravo at P5 million each. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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