ASIA/PHILIPPINES - President speaks on the state of the nation promising to fight corruption and poverty, boost the economy and show concern for every citizen

Tuesday, 27 July 2004

Manila (Fides Service) - Cut red tape in public administration, help millions of poor to rise above the poverty line, care for each and every citizen: these were the promises made by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, re-elected during the vote on May 10, officially sworn in on 30 June.
In her first speech to the nation on July 26 President Arroyo mentioned the case of Filipino hostage in Iraq, truck driver Angelo de La Cruz, recently released, and she said Mr La Cruz is an example of how her government will show concern for every citizen.
Illustrating some essential points of her programme the President said she intends to reduce the number of state workers, promote privatisation (for example the National Power Corporation) to reduce a 3.6 million dollar deficit in the annual budget and create at least 6 million new jobs. In the field of education Ms Arroyo intends to boost computer studies in schools of all grades.
These goals demand “intelligent government, cooperation with the business world, patience from the people, support from Congress”, the President explained, underlining her intention to maintain national unity and boost the economy. With regard to the widespread evil of corruption, Ms Arroyo asked Congress to set up a Civic Defence Office and an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission.
President Arroyo defined relations with the United States “cordial and direct” and she said “the country’s foreign policy had not changed: the Philippines are with the international community in the war on terrorism”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/7/2004 lines 32 words 345)