The President’s Day: April 27, 2004

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27 APRIL 2004

  • Statement of the President: Re Senator Raul Roco
  • Statement of the President: Re Anti-terrorist security precautions
  • Statement of the President: Re SARS
  • Statement of the President: Re Clean, honest and peaceful elections
  • Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: Re PCIJ study
  • Palace confident arrest of Jemaah Islamiyah terror suspects won’t derail GRP-MILF peace talks
  • GMA lopsided victory forecast in Bohol
  • GMA distributes lot certificates to informal settlers in Cebu City
  • GMA attends reenactment of Battle of Mactan
  • GMA moves SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Center to Koronadal City
  • Unification day proposed after May 10 elections
  • OPS, ARMM pledge cooperation in information dissemination
  • GMA to renew commitment to develop Mindanao
  • GMA cites need for Lapu-Lapu’s heroism to fight ‘new enemies’
  • GMA pledges more infrastructure projects for Bohol
  • Help GMA heal the wounds of the nation, Bunye exhorts MMC graduates
  • Filipinos in Iraq safe, Palace assures
  • Director of FPJ “Panday” and producer wife back GMA
  • GMA inaugurates new Talisay City Hall

Statement of the President: Re Senator Raul Roco

I am glad that Raul Roco is coming home and is faring well.

I welcome him back to the campaign and wish him the best.

This election has ample space for those who like him who have waged an issues-oriented campaign.

Our prayers go with him.

Statement of the President: Re Anti-terrorist security precautions

The DFA shall continuously coordinate with various host countries on intensified security measures for our embassies and other Philippine establishments abroad to thwart any terrorist attempts.

Strong security measures are in place domestically, but we urge the citizenry to continue being vigilant to protect the gains that we have achieved in the anti-terrorism drive.

Normalcy and calm must go hand with alertness where Filipinos live and work.

Statement of the President: Re SARS

The public should not be unduly alarmed by the new SARS outbreak in China because all the measures that helped us fight the disease during its peak are still in place and are strictly being implemented.

Our vigilance will be unrelenting to keep SARS out and to strictly check cases coming in.

We have already proven our worth in fighting SARS and there is no reason that we could not combat the threat now.

Statement of the President: Re Clean, honest and peaceful elections

I ask all local candidates to take joint responsibility for the peace and order situation in the areas where they are running.

Even in the heat of the campaign, all candidates must see to it that clean, honest and peaceful elections prevail.

The future not only of their communities, but of the entire nation, is at stake.

Power bred by violence does not make a strong democratic system that will bring us the political and economic stability to create jobs, expand education or deliver on the health needs of our people.

The right of the people to choose freely must be inviolable and be fought for by all.

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: Re PCIJ study

The PCIJ study underscores precisely the terms of the debate we have undertaken, and what we have found in our own surveys and focus groups — namely that the D and E voters are focused on issues which is why this election should not be based on personality.

It is about problems, solutions and experience and the fact that the people want to be treated with respect and seriousness.

We need to respect the intelligence of the voters.

The voters cannot be manipulated, but must be won over with ideas and results, not cheap talk and emotional appeals.

Palace confident arrest of Jemaah Islamiyah terror suspects won’t derail GRP-MILF peace talks

Malacañang expressed confidence today that the arrest of four suspected members of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror group who admitted training in the camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao, would not derail the forthcoming peace talks between the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF.

In an interview with Radyo ng Bayan this morning, Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye stressed the GRP-MILF peace parley, tentatively scheduled after the May 10 elections, “is the key to the peace and progress of Mindanao.” Malaysia has been brokering the GRP-MILF peace talks in Kuala Lumpur.

As a whole, iyong MILF leadership ay laban din sa terorismo (In general, the MILF leadership is also against terrorism),” he said.

However, he said it seems that “a breakaway group within the MILF has been coddling the JI cells.”

Bunye said that the issues involving the arrest of JI suspects — Sammy Abdulgani, team leader, Datu Puti Ungka, Montasser Ismael and Barodin Dalungan – and the seizure of explosives from them in Maguindanao last Friday (April 23), would be brought before the Joint Monitoring Committee by the GRP panel.

In a statement issued by Malacañang on Monday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that “the peace process must go hand in hand with the anti-terrorism campaign to box out terrorists and deny them sanctuary.”

He said that the President had already instructed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and members of the GRP-MILF panel to show the Joint Monitoring Committee evidence relating to the arrest of the suspected JI members.

Lt. Gen. Roy Kyamko, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Southern Command, informed President Macapagal-Arroyo during her visit to Davao City on Sunday (April 25) that the JI suspects appeared to be on a terror mission in Mindanao.

Sana, itong pagkahuli dito sa mga JI suspects ay hindi maging sagabal doon sa ating patuloy na pag-uusap dahil napakaimportante na matuloy iyong GRP-MILF peace talks. (Hopefully, the arrest of JI suspects would not be an obstacle to the crucial GRP-MILF peace talks),” he said.

GMA lopsided victory forecast in Bohol

TAGBILARAN, Bohol – A province-wide survey shows that 53 percent of the Boholano electorate will vote for Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan para sa Kinabukasan (K-4) standard bearer President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the May 10 polls.

According to the Bohol Poll 2004, conducted March 28-April 12, 2004 by the Holy Name University (HNU) Research Center, the President enjoys a very comfortable lead over her rivals in the presidential race.

Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) presidential bet Fernando Poe Jr. lagged far behind the President with 14 percent; former Senator and Education Secretary Raul Roco was third with 11 percent; Senator Panfilo Lacson, 4 percent; and Bro. Eddie Villanueva, 3 percent. Fifteen percent of the Boholano voters were either undecided or did not participate in the survey.

In the vice presidential derby, the survey showed President Macapagal-Arroyo’s running mate, Senator Noli “Kabayan” de Castro, was endorsed by 57 percent of the respondents, compared with only 20 percent for Senator Loren Legarda and 4 percent for Hermie Aquino.

The pollsters interviewed 400 respondents, 100 each from the three congressional districts and another 100 from Tagbilaran City. They were asked a wide range of economic, social and political issues, including their choices for national and local leaders in the coming polls.

Boholanos said that the President’s active role in unifying Bohol’s political leaders was responsible for her getting wide support in the island-province.

President Macapagal-Arroyo presided a unification meeting in October 2003 that was attended by former Senator Ernesto Herrera, Governor Erico Aumentado, Vice Governor Julius Herrera, and Congressmen Edgar Chatto, Roberto Cajes and Eladio Jala.

Later, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, except Godofreda Tirol, joined the unification process in Bohol.

According to the HNU provincial survey, the margin of error for this poll was +/-10, and that final pre-election survey would be conducted April 22 to 30, 2004.

GMA distributes lot certificates to informal settlers in Cebu City

SM MALL, Cebu City – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s latest visit here today is aimed at providing city residents with the benefits of her two important programs – the right to own a house and lot and access to clean water.

The President distributed today Certificates of Lot Allocation (CLAs) to informal settler-families in various barangays of Cebu City.

The President pointed out that this is part of her program of providing security of tenure for poor families whose houses are located in government-owned lands.

“This was done in accordance with the directives I had issued declaring that government lots could be used for low cost housing,” the President said.

Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo personally handed to representatives of 30 families the lots formerly owned by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Barangay Labangon through Executive Order 136; some 1,200 families in Barangay Apas, through Proclamation No. 409; 700 families in Duljo Fatima, through Proclamation No. 278; and more than 1,000 families in the lot owned by the Department of Health in Sambag 2 at Carreta, Cebu City.

Starting today, the President said these families have graduated from being squatters to owners of their own lots.

“In my short term as President, some 280,000 poor families have been given security of tenure,” she said.

The President said the government’s low-cost housing program is the largest in the history of the nation, stressing that some 400,000 workers and poor families have been given housing within the last three years.

A total of 2,269 households in Cebu, almost half of them in Cebu City, were provided with housing assistance, while 3,987 households, also almost half of them from Cebu City, were given security of tenure.

According to the President, proclamation of government lands for housing project have benefited more than 700,0000 families, or 3.5 million Filipinos.

On the supply of clean water in Cebu, the President said that this problem could be alleviated after the rehabilitation of the source of water in Carmen, Cebu.

The President said there is already a Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of a watershed in Luyang River in Carmen.

She said the Luyang River is the source of 50,000 cubic meters of water per day for the Carmen Water Supply project in Metro Cebu Water District. The completion of the rehabilitation of this source of water will add 35 percent to the supply of water today in Metro Cebu.

Since the start of the “Patubig ni PGMA Program,” more than 600,000 families in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces have been provided with clean water.

“We will not stop until all the 45,000 barangays in the country are provided with clean water,” the President said.

She said this is part of her pro-poor agenda that she wishes to implement in the next six years.

The President said she takes pride in her accomplishments in the last three years. However, she said that there are still many things to accomplish.

The President then asked for unity and cooperation for a good future.

“Let us together finish this change which we started, let us together eliminate poverty, and unite the whole nation,” the President said.

GMA attends reenactment of Battle of Mactan

CEBU CITY – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived here this morning to join the 483rd annual commemoration of the Battle of Mactan.

The celebration was highlighted with the reenactment of the historic battle between Ferdinand Magellan and Lapu-Lapu that occurred on the island of Mactan on April 27, 1521.

She also joined the 10th Regional Barangay Health Workers General Assembly and attended the inauguration of Talisay City’s new city hall complex.

Her latest visit came just two weeks after her participation in the 50th anniversary of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), the country’s biggest labor union.

During the convention, labor leader Democrito Mendoza and other officers of ALU-TUCP endorsed the President’s candidacy in the May 10 elections.

After her arrival here, President Macapagal-Arroyo proceeded to the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel in Lahug for a meeting with Cebu Governor Pablo Garcia.

She returned to the “Kadaugan sa Mactan” celebration and later went back to Cebu City to speak before the barangay health workers assembly at the Cebu Coliseum.

The President also attended a convention of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) held at the SM Mall in Cebu City. (PNA)

GMA moves SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Center to Koronadal City

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has designated Koronadal City as the regional center and seat of the SOCCSKSARGEN region in Mindanao to improve government operations and services in the area.

In Executive Order No. 304, the President ordered the transfer to Koronadal City of all departments, bureaus and offices of the national government in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region composed of the provinces of North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Cotabato, General Santos, Kidapawan, Koronadal and Tacurong.

In signing the EO last March 30, the President cited the policy of the state to institute changes in existing administrative structure of government according to the changing requirements of the country and the administrative regions.

The prevailing political and socio-economic conditions in the region, she said, point to the need for designating the regional center and seat of the region to improve government operations and services.

The SOCCSKSARGEN Region came into being through Executive Order No. 36 dated Sept. 19, 2001 reorganizing region 12 but did not specify its regional seat.

Unification day proposed after May 10 elections

The Association of BGen/PC Supt./Commodore Pensioners of the Philippines, Inc. (ABCOPOP) has approved a resolution proposing the creation of Unification Day, a national holiday, two weeks after the proclamation of winners in the May 10 elections.

In a meeting held last April 22 at Camp Aguinaldo, the board of directors of the group, in a majority vote, passed the resolution that it will present to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as soon as possible.

The resolution was signed by ABCOPOP corporate secretary Police Chief Superintendent George Andan Carbonnel and authenticated by ABCOPOP chairman and president Juan Gallardo Abuan Jr., also a police chief Superintendent.

In the resolution, members of the association, more popularly known as the Fusiliers, expressed support for the proposal in line with President Macapagal-Arroyo’s unification efforts.

They expressed belief in the unification of warring ideologies and the principle of human relations, saying men, after a period of conflict, war and contested political campaigns should have the time to heal all the wounds and bruises, including its casualties, through a National Unification Day.

The Fusiliers affirmed their trust and confidence that the Filipino people as a nation can resolve their differences after the elections.

OPS, ARMM pledge cooperation in information dissemination

In line with the administration’s efforts to boost reconciliation, reintegration and rehabilitation in Mindanao, representatives of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), signed today a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to foster strong collaboration in information dissemination in the ARRM provinces.

The agreement was signed by OPS officials led by Press Undersecretary Roberto Mananquil and Atty. Emma Salman, special consultant to the Office of the Regional Governor, at the Arlegui Guest House in Malacañang.

Under the MOA, the OPS would provide support for the ARMM in communication planning, research system and institutional development, project implementation and evaluation, production capability building, and coordination of information and advocacy.

In return, the ARMM will allow the OPS bureaus and attached agencies, like Radyo ng Bayan, National Broadcasting Network (NBN), Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and Philippine News Agency (PNA), which were signatories to the MOA, in using the ARMM facilities.

Also present in the signing were Assistant Press Secretary Martin Antonio Crisostomo; Director Dante Cruz of the Bureau of Broadcast Services; Director Lucita Sanchez of the News and Information Bureau; and Directors Abebakrin Lukman (Bureau of Public Information, and Abdulmuin Ahmad, Technical Management Service, ARMM; and Irene F. Gonzales, BPI, ARMM for ARMM.

The agreement was pursuant to the final peace agreement signed between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on September 2, 1996. It was brokered by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

The agreement brought about a lasting partnership between the government and the MNLF aimed at addressing the decades-old Mindanao secessionist problem.

The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and Maguindanao. Its regional headquarters is in Cotabato City.

GMA to renew commitment to develop Mindanao

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will renew her commitment to vigorously push the economic development of Mindanao as she swings through the Southern Philippines with the campaign period now entering the homestretch.

The President earlier directed Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo to hold office in Mindanao to bring government services closer to the farmers and other agriculture stakeholders.

“There is no agriculture to speak of in Metro Manila,” Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo told Lorenzo.

President Macapagal-Arroyo will be revisiting Mindanao almost on a daily basis as the campaign period enters the homestretch.

The President will grace this evening a general assembly of bishops in Zamboanga City, then lead a political rally of the ruling Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4) in Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur tomorrow morning.

Last Saturday, Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo, her running mate Sen. Noli “Kabayan” Castro and the administration senatorial ticket barnstormed Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City, where she presided at the formal opening of the Mindanao Container Terminal Port and groundbreaking for the Palm Oil Mill Plantation.

She also delivered the keynote address at the 22nd National Convention of REACT Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City.

Urging the people of Mindanao to support her bid for a fresh mandate as well as the candidacy of the entire K-4 team in the May 10 elections, the President said she wants to continue what she has started.

“I am asking for your help in order for us to fulfill the six-point plan of action that would give the people a better life,” the President said.

Her six-point platform includes creation of one million jobs a year, reducing by 50 percent the price of common medicines, energizing 1,500 barangays a year and bringing down the cost of electricity to the lowest level in Asia, construction of 3,000 new schools and proving a computer to every school, tripling of loans to self-employed and small entrepreneurs, and delivering potable water to 45,000 barangays nationwide.

Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo also said her administration has gained headway in its efforts to unify the country, adding that Muslims, Christians, Visayans, Tagalogs, and Lumads (natives) should be “one in fighting for change for the future.”

The Macapagal-Arroyo government has drawn up a number of high-impact infrastructure projects in Mindanao such as the Laguindingan Airport and a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant.

Her administration was also credited for the reopening of the mothballed National Steel Corp. in Iligan City and the strengthening of the palm oil industry in Bukidnon.

Another milestone accomplishment of the government under President Macapagal-Arroyo is the establishment of a chain of roll-on, roll-off ferry services in strategic points of the country under her Strong Republic Nautical Highway program.

The President said she already discerned the growth potentials of Mindanao while she was still an undersecretary of trade and industry, prompting her to strongly push for its development, particularly along the Cagayan-Iligan corridor.

GMA cites need for Lapu-Lapu’s heroism to fight ‘new enemies’

LAPU-LAPU CITY – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today called on the people to emulate the heroism of Lapu-Lapu, although not to do battle with foreigners but to fight “new enemies” in the country.

The President flew to this City this morning to participate in the observance of the 483rd anniversary of Lapu-Lapu’s victory over Ferdinand Magellan, head of a Spanish expeditionary force, in the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521.

Speaking before a big crowd at the “Kadaugan sa Mactan” Day celebration here, the President said the victory of Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero, underscores the message to the whole world that every Filipino will not allow foreign aggression to trample our sacred shores.

But, the President stressed that the country is now fighting “new enemies” – destabilizers of government, insurgents and those engaged in dirty politics. Moreover, the country has to fight – and defeat — poverty, she said.

She reiterated the six-point program that she promises to implement, if given mandate by the people in the May 10 elections. The program, which includes creation of 1 million jobs a year, energization of all barangays, scholarship for a member of each poor family, and medicines at half their usual prices, would boost the economy and well-being of the Filipino people.

In commemoration of the heroism of Lapu-Lapu, President Macapagal-Arroyo approved for implementation the Lapu-Lapu City North Reclamation Development Program.

After her arrival here, the President proceeded to Waterfront Cebu City Hotel in Lahug for a meeting with Cebu Governor Pablo Garcia and other local officials. She then went back here to grace the annual Kadaugan sa Mactan Day.

The President also went to Talisay City to inaugurate its new City Hall complex in Barangay Lawaan 2.

President Macapagal-Arroyo also joined barangay health workers in this city in commemorating the 10th anniversary of their association at the Cebu City Coliseum. The barangay health workers gave their pledge of support for the President in the May 10 elections.

Representatives of the informal settler families from various barangays in Cebu City, who received their Certificates of Lot Allocations, expressed their gratitude to the President for giving them a chance to own houses and lots.

Kailangan lang pala natin ay isang sincere and hardworking President (What we only need is a sincere and hardworking President),” they said.

She also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the construction of the first of medium-rise buildings, a project of the Poverty Alleviation Fund of the President. Some 330 urban poor families in Mandaue City are to benefit under the program. The MOA was signed by Mandaue City Mayor Thadeo Quano and NHA Assistant General Manager Jopet Sison.

She also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for security of the watershed of the Luyang River in Carmen under the PGMA Clean Water project.

GMA pledges more infrastructure projects for Bohol

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol—Aside from the P1.510-billion Bohol Circumferential Road Improvement Project (BCRIP), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today assured Boholanos that her administration would pursue the construction of Baclayon International Airport to further boost tourism climate in the province.

In a big rally at the Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex here, the President made known her next priority project if given a fresh mandate in the May 10 elections.

The Chief Executive stressed the need for an international airport in Baclayon town to make the island-province of Bohol competitive in the international tourism arena.

“To be able to attract foreign tourists to see the world famous Chocolate Hills, the Baclayon Church, Panglao Beach Club and other tourism destinations in Bohol, we need to construct the Baclayon International Airport in my next administration,” the President said, to the cheers of some 25,000 Boholanos in the jampacked sports complex.

The President also acknowledged the Boholano’s way of describing her as their “Patroness to Gigantic Bohol Projects” because of the multi-billion infrastructure and road projects she implemented in Bohol.

The President said that the P1.5 billion BCRIP that she inspected in Guiwanon, Baclayon is the second phase of the Arterial Road Links Development Project designed to speed up agricultural and economic development in this part of Central Visayas.

She said that once completed, the 136.2-kilometer two-part Calape – Tagbilaran City – Valencia Section and the Candijay – Jagna – Valencia Section Road improvement project would further uplift the living conditions of residents of the municipalities along the route.

The major road rehabilitation program is being funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the government.

The President also thanked the Boholanos for their hospitality and the big majority that she garnered in Bohol when she ran for senator in 1992.

She added that Bohol province is really a “Gloria country” because she topped in her 1995 reelection bid for the Senate and when she ran for vice president in 2001.

The President then appealed for the Boholano’s support, this time not only for her bid for a full six-year term but also for the entire Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4) slate in the May 10 polls.

Those who expressed their full support for the President during the provincial proclamation rally were Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado, Vice Governor Julius Herrera, 1st District Representative Edgar Chatto, 2nd District Rep. Roberto Cajes, 3rd District Rep. Eladio Jala and Tagbilaran City Mayor Jose Torralba.

She also proclaimed all the K-4 provincial and local candidates in next month’s simultaneous polls led by Mayor Torralba’s wife, city mayoralty bet Alberta Torralba.

Help GMA heal the wounds of the nation, Bunye exhorts MMC graduates

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye called on graduating interns of the Makati Medical Center today to help President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo heal the nation in their own personal way by living lives imbued with integrity, truthfulness and fairness.

Speaking at the MMC commencement exercises this afternoon, Bunye cited the President’s goal of healing, uniting and reconciling “our deeply divided nation.”

“She cannot do this alone,” he noted. “She is counting on each one of you, as the new generation of healers, to help heal our nation in your own personal way.”

Bunye said Filipinos are approaching the May 10 elections as a deeply divided and hurting nation not only politically and economically “but in the way we deal with one another.”

“There is much rancor and partisanship, instead of goodwill and partnership. There is much buck-passing and blame-laying, instead of asking what can I do to help? Or conversely, what can I do so as not to add to the problems,” Bunye said.

Bunye asked the interns to be not only healers of illnesses or injuries but also of hearts and souls, of families and of the nation.

“Leading others need not be in grand or public ways. One does not have to hold public office or be publicly recognized in order to serve,” he said. “Rather the true test of leadership, of our commitment, our core values and fundamental principles, lies in the quiet, even unseen moments of the day-to-day – how we live our lives; the small choices we make; the simple daily acts.”

Bunye said the true test of a person’s character is in the small things we do when no one else is watching.

In closing, the Presidential Spokesman paraphrased what the late President Diosdado Macapagal once said: “You only fail when you give up. In everything you do, always do your best and God will take care of the rest.”

Filipinos in Iraq safe, Palace assures

Malacañang gave assurances today that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Iraq are safe and that their situation in the war-torn country is “well in hand.”

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Ricardo Saludo, in a press briefing at the Palace, said head of the Philippine humanitarian team in Iraq, Ambassador Roy Cimatu, visited the camps and other areas where the Filipinos are staying to get a first-hand information about their situation.

“Ambassador Roy Cimatu is confident that we have the situation well in hand. In fact, he has visited dozens of camps where Filipinos are situated. He counts about 4,293 OFWs, and the great bulk of them are in camps that he has already visited,” Saludo told reporters at Malacañang.

Nonetheless, a contingency plan is in place and could be immediately set in motion in case of exigency to keep the OFWs out of harm’s way.

For the time being, Saludo said there is no need yet to transfer the OFWs to “safer areas.”

“Not at the moment. As I said, the situation now is that they are secured where they are, and there are contingency plans to put in motion once the situation deteriorates,” Saludo explained.

He added, however, that OFWs who might wish to either transfer to another camp or facility or be repatriated would be assisted by the government.

Director of FPJ “Panday” and producer wife back GMA

Along with his Cebuana movie producer wife Donna Villa, Carlo J. Caparas, the director of the blockbuster 1980’s movie “Panday” that starred Fernando Poe, Jr., is a staunch supporter of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s bid for a six-year mandate this May.

The showbiz “power couple” that had produced blockbuster true-to-life stories and massacre films, reiterated their support for the President when they attended the Battle of Mactan ceremonies held in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu today where the President was the guest of honor.

“Panday” was the movie based from a Pinoy comics legend classic that cemented the fame of FPJ in the 1980’s with the actor and blockbuster film-maker being associated together. The movie’s enduring popularity had even led to its being remade in the 1990’s into another movie starring Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., now running for senator under the administration ticket of Arroyo.

For her part, Villa, a true blue Cebuana, confirmed that Cebu is “GMA country”. This overwhelming support of Cebuanos could be traced to President Macapagal-Arroyo’s concern for the needs of the province in her three-year administration.

GMA inaugurates new Talisay City Hall

CEBU CITY—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated today the new Talisay City Hall in Barangay Lawaan 2.

The three-story building with a combined floor area of 10,000 square feet sits on a 4.6-hectare lot that used to be a poultry farm owned by the family of Gabriel Yap, Sr.

It is just 50 meters away from the recently inaugurated six-lane Cebu South Coastal Road that cuts across the city.

The completion of the P110-million edifice came two months before Mayor Eduardo Gullas ends his term as first elected chief executive of the three-year-old component city.

Gullas said the old city hall complex will be converted into a public college by June to be run by the city, making Talisay the first local government in Cebu to open a public college.

Gullas is seeking a return to Congress in the May 10 elections as first district representative.

Also present during the inauguration was Mayor Gullas’ brother, incumbent Rep. Jose “Dodong” Gullas, who is retiring from politics at the end of his term.

In a brief speech, the President thanked the people of Talisay for their support when she first ran for senator, plucking first place in Talisay and in Cebu’s first district.

She cited the unprecedented growth and development of the three-year-old city which will further improve with the completion of the Cebu South Coastal Road.

The P7 billion highway stretches from Cebu City to Talisay City, an alternative to the south road which is choking traffic in the area.

The President also acknowledged the need for a stable water supply to the province, newest component city, through the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), Metro Cebu’s lone water utility.

Source: Office of the Press Secretary

Office of the Press Secretary. (2004). [The President’s Day: April 27, 2004]. Retrieved from