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PIA Press Release

Palace grateful for PGMA's positive comments from CPCP

Manila (24 May) -- Malacaņang thanked the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for being appreciative of the efforts exerted by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to uplift the lives of Filipinos through enhancements introduced by her government in the fields of livelihood, infrastructure and economic stability.

In his regular press briefing aired over state-run dzRB yesterday afternoon (May 23), Deputy Spokesperson Gary Olivar said aside from the above-mentioned achievements the President is also known for her anti-poverty and quality education advocacy which had been an integral part of her administration's programs and projects since she assumed power.

"We are grateful for the positive comments about the President which were reported from the members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines about her achievements in livelihood protection, infrastructure and macro-economic stability," Olivar said.

"While many bishops criticized her about poverty, Bishop Jaucian commended her anti-poverty program to which we might add that self-rated poverty under the President has come down to its lowest point since the end of the Marcos era or 43 percent last quarter," he added.

The 13-member CBCP cited yesterday the accomplishments of President Arroyo's administration since she became President in 2001.

The CBCP is composed of Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Virgilio David, Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Jaro, Iloilo Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso, Iligan Bishop Elenito Galido, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Dumaguete Bishop John Du, Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio, Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian, Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad, Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo, Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, and Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma.

Olivar said that while several bishops criticized her on several occasions including her failure to address environmental issues and illiteracy, there were those who stood up and took notice of her education and scholarship program.

"Other bishops criticized her about illiteracy, but Bishop Domoan praised her scholarship program in his province," Olivar said.

He pointed out that the President "has done more than any of her predecessors in the basic areas of more classrooms, more textbooks, more teacher-training and more scholarships."

He also said that while the President is cognizant about the growing number of Filipinos and how the educational system must be upgraded to be in tune with this reality, "a whole new educational strategy is required which is now being introduced by the Task Force on Philippine Education which she created and it will be the centerpiece of her legislative agenda in the 15th Congress."

On the environment, Olivar noted that the President had already been devoting half a day every Friday to discuss with stakeholders ways and means on how to clean up the environment and through her efforts, the Philippines now "leads the region in the global advocacy against climate change."

According to Olivar another bishop accused the President of destroying the democratic system," but this is nonsense."

"All the coup attempts against her were put down with ordinary powers, the violence of local politicians that is the real threat to grassroots press freedom and democracy was met with limited martial law in Maguindanao and a first time ever commission on private armies, elections were automated, judges are not muzzled, and the press is free enough and ungracious enough to talk even about subjects like her breast implants," Olivar stressed.

"The President may have some personal qualities that some people dislike, including some of the bishops but her record in office speaks loudest for her and will be vindicated by history," Olivar concluded. (PIA) [top]

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