PGMA's SONA targets on track
By Jessie R. Valdez
San Fernando City, La Union (17 July) -- Four years ago, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo set a new direction for the country when she vowed that her Administration will prioritize the welfare of all Filipinos particularly the poor among the poorest and improving the country's economy.
The President has been steadfast working hard in her resolve to carry out her promises which she outlined in her SONA last year, 2007, and that her Administration's targets are on track vis-à-vis its actual accomplishments and her vision to rise from a third rate to a first rate nation.
With the cooperation of her entire Cabinet officials, Congress, LGUs, NGOs, and the private sector, the government was able to deliver the reforms and services because of her various government initiatives and programs that were implemented which made the country now on a steady and sure growth.
That, despite natural calamities, tragedies and destabilization plots, the Arroyo Administration was triumphant against them and regained the country's stature because her Administration is focused and determined to achieve what was laid out in her blueprint in improving the economy, strengthening investment, creating more jobs, providing quality education, healthcare and other social services.
By allocating more funds to her social services programs, investing in human capital and physical infrastructure, implementing various economic reforms that include the VAT, the economy have taken to a greater heights giving more benefits to the poor such as giving out subsidies to them as a way of giving back to them the gains of the economy.
Reports show that year 2007 indicate that in education, a total of 563,906 students were given financial subsidies: 475,560 for education service contracting and 88,346 for educational vouchers from 2004-2007 while a total of 53,026 teaching positions were created from 2002 – 2007 exceeding its target of 50,000 teaching positions. For PGMA Training for Work Scholarship program, P1 billion was provided to TESDA and in the year 2007, there were 96,809 graduates. For student loans program and scholarships, P1 billion was also released by the government while another P1.005 billion was allocated for MS and PhD scholars under the Engineering Research and Development for Technology Program.
For agriculture, the mariculture project was launched in Tawi-Tawi on May 29, 2008, covering 1,000 hectares in Sibutu East and 25,000 hectares in North Lagoon, Sitangkai.
In terms of job creation under emergency employment, the government has hired 20,000 out-of-school, out-of-work youth every year. Under health program, PGMA has asked Congress to pass the Cheaper Medicine Bill that was almost enacted in June and that Republic Act No. 99502, the Cheaper Medicines Law, was signed on June 6, 2008.
For transportation, NAIA Terminal 3 is accelerating the remediation, completion and opening of the terminal which the President has landed after her 10-day working visit in US last June 30, 2008. The terminal is expected to fully operate within the year.
On Agrarian reform program, 19 agri-business venture agreements forged involving 19,083 hectares benefiting 13,824 agrarian reform beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, on microfinance loans, the government has released a total of P91.28 billion for the 3,770,115 clients from 2004 – 2008. With this program, Filipinos were able to rise above poverty since it also created jobs for the poor.
These accomplishments made by the Arroyo Administration show the sincere determination of the government to strive more and continue working and serving the people bringing the gains of the economy to make them better off. (PIA La Union) [top]