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PIA Press Release

SONA 2008 gov't targets on track

By Venus May H. Sarmento

Dagupan City (21 July) -- After hearing the state of the province, city and municipal addresses by elected local officials, Pangasinenses now look forward to listening to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's State-of-the-Nation Address or SONA.

Scheduled on the 28th of July in time with the opening of Congress, the SONA 2008 will revolve on investments made, investments being made and investments to be made by the government to ensure long term development for the nation.

With prices of oil and goods soaring, a milestone in Philippine governance was achieved in the health sector when President Arroyo urged Congress to step up the passage of the Cheaper Medicines Bill. Republic Act 9502 or the Cheaper Medicines Law was signed by the President on June 6, 2008.

Education, as one of the major keys to escape poverty, was well invested in by the present administration. A total of 53,026 teaching positions were created form 2002-2007 and 563,906 students were granted scholarships. The government allocated P1 billion to TESDA for its PGMA Training for Work Scholarship program in 2007 which produced 96,809 graduates

For college students, a P4 billion fund for college loans was launched to increase beneficiaries from 40,000 to 200,000.

"We are investing P3 billion in science and engineering research and development technology, including scholarships for masters and doctoral degree programs in engineering in seven universities," the President said.

An emergency employment program was also launched by the government which gives gainful employment to out-of-school and out-of-work youth every year.

Another breakthrough in agriculture was achieved with the launching of the mariculture project or "palaisdaan sa dagat" in Tawi-Tawi on May 29, 2008. The project covers 1,000 hectares in Sibulu East and 25,000 hectares in North Lagoon, Sitangkal

Agrarian reform will also be reformed so it can transform beneficiaries into agribusiness men and women. At present, 19 agribusiness venture agreements were forged involving 19,083 hectares benefiting 13,824 agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Investments in the transportation sector was also seen with the completion and opening of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 which is set to operate within the year. President Arroyo's flight was the first to land at the terminal on her return trip from the United States last June 30,2008.

Although critics of the Arroyo administration make it a habit to criticize every decision of the present government, the President is keen on adopting measures that will benefit the majority of Filipinos especially the poorest of the poor.

With good investments and public cooperation, Filipinos can be sure that government targets are on track and prosperity for the nation is not far behind. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]

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