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PIA Press Release

PGMA back in Catanduanes for school visit

Caramoran, Catanduanes (11 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, hours after arriving from Shanghai, China visited this remote town to preside over the groundbreaking of a P1.6 million school building project at the Caramoran Rural Development High School.

It was her second trip to this typhoon-prone province in as many months, as she continued her swing of the regions to either inspect or open infrastructure and other public projects, big or small, that she said she intends to be her legacy to the people before she bows out of Malacanang on June 30.

At the Caramoran school, the President lowered a ceremonial capsule to signify the start of the construction of a three-classroom building as a replacement for the old one razed by fire last February 11.

Last April 29, she was also at the Catanduanes State Colleges in the capital town of Virac, where she inspected the typhoon vulnerability of schoolbuildings there and viewed a computer laboratory.

In Caramoran, she instructed Department of Education Secretary Mona Valisno, who was with her, to generate funds for the construction of new schools buildings in the town.

"Di dapat matigil ang pag-aaral (Classes should not stop)," the President said as she implied before the crowd of students, teachers and parents that the building will be her gift to them to ensure the bright future of the young generation.

The President said education comes hand in hand with technology, pointing out that in Catanduanes, computer laboratories have been set up in at least 34 schools under a special program of hers.

During her April visit, the President had reminded the local populace that since the start of her term in 2001, the government has already plowed into the province P3.1 billion for some 768 roads, bridges, flood controls and water supply projects.

She told local leaders led by Governor Joseph Cua that tourism be made a priority program because "tourism is the future of Catanduanes." She cited the province's pristine beaches and majestic waves, especially in Baras town which she visited in 2002.

Arroyo said that Catanduanes will be a 'surfing paradise' that will attract tourists and investments.

The President however stressed that aside from natural beauty of the island, access to the province's tourist destinations is very important.

"That's why we initiated the construction of the Catanduanes circumferential road so that tourists will come here and explore the province," Arroyo said.

The President added that her administration has given much for the progress of the province. One of these projects is the Doppler radar, to be finished by next year, which is designed to warn the province of incoming typhoons.

Governor Joseph Cua thanked President Arroyo for her two recent visits to Catanduanes and for giving priority funding to schools.

Palace rallies Filipinos behind Noynoy, Binay

Manila (11 June) -- Malacaņang yesterday expressed support for President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay, issuing a call for all Filipinos, from all political groups, to rally behind the leadership of the next administration.

(President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Wednesday night personally conveyed to the President-elect her wishes for the latter's success, in a telephone call from Shanghai. Presidential Spokesman Ricardo Saludo said the President wished the President-elect "all the success and all the best.")

"The President has called on every Filipino to unite behind the new leaders," Saludo said at a news briefing in Malacaņang.

Saludo said the Palace is ready to assist the incoming administration to ensure a smooth transition.

He said issues against the President Arroyo should be left to the government institutions concerned to "clear and resolve" and should not be a reason for non-cooperation.

Saludo also called on the President-elect to "look into the achievements of the Arroyo administration" when he examines the problems affecting the country on July 1, his first official working day.

"Look into the problems and achievements so that the next administration can build upon the gains of the Arroyo administration," Saludo said.

Among others Saludo mentioned such programs as the conditional cash transfer which he said is a success in the Arroyo administration. He cited the Arroyo administration's initiatives in securing funding from the Millennium Challenge Corp. of the State Department of the United States Government to sustain the conditional cash transfer program.

Saludo also cited the current economic reforms leading to the lower budget deficit and better economic growth as one of the Arroyo's achievements.

"Now, the public sector debt is half of the GDP and the budget deficit is down to three percent (of the GDP) and we are expecting it to go down in coming days," he said.

"We have to cooperate to have a smooth transition and then moving forward since the President is in the legislature and head of a major party. That is another basis of cooperation, moving forward," Saludo said. (PIA) [top]

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