PGMA cites gains of 'BEAT THE ODDS' agenda in 112th Philippine Independence Day rites

June 12, 2010 9:02 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, June 12 — As the Philippines celebrates the 112th anniversary of the declaration of its independence, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in her speech Saturday afternoon at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, highlighted the achievements of her administration through the "BEAT THE ODDS" program for the last nine years.

B – Budget Reform

E – Education for All <br>A – Automated Elections <br>T – Transportation and Digital Infrastructure

T – Terminate Hostilities with MILF and NPA <br>H – Heal the Wounds of EDSA I, II, and III <br>E – Electricity and Water for All

O – Opportunities for Livelihood and 10 Million Jobs <br>D – Decongestion of Metro Manila <br>DS – Develop Subic and Clark

In her speech, President Arroyo said that since Day 1 of her administration, its program centers on poverty alleviation.

"Mula nang iluklok ako sa panguluhan, siyam na taon na ang nakalipas, ang pagbawas ng kahirapan ang nasa sentro ng ating programa na tinaguriang BEAT THE ODDS," she said.

She detailed the efforts of her government to bring the country back on the global map.

Before she took over as Chief Executive, President Arroyo said the Philippines was in a dismal situation.

"Internationally, the Philippines has fallen far, far off the radar screen. It had forfeited its strategic importance, weakened its alliances in the region and the world, and taken itself out of consideration by investors as a place to invest," she said.

The President stressed she did not seek the office of the president in 2001. Instead, she said, "it was thrust upon me."

"Rather than shirk on the onerous task, I rolled up my sleeves, determined to turn the Philippines around," she said.

To alleviate poverty in the country, President Arroyo said her admnistration has focused on the economy, raised revenue, and invested in physical and human infrastructure.

"These actions would form the building blocks of a turnaround that will deliver 37 quarters of uninterrupted growth even against the headwinds of a global recession," she said.

"We put the Philippines on the map when the call center and business process outsourcing (BPO) sector changed Manila's skyline with modern skyscrapers. We brought development to the provinces, and connected the nation from north to south, east to west with the roll-on-roll-off (RO-RO) transportation system," she added.

The President also said the recent conduct of the first automated polls in the country changes "the face of politics in this nation forever."

She also noted the government’s dire financial situation which her administration inherited from the previous predecessor is now "in a much healthier position today than nine years ago."

"Revenues are up. The debt-to-GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio is down. Our debt servicing is more manageable than before," she said.

"This has resulted in an improvement in our credit ratings and today we are debt-free from the IMF (International Monetary Fund)," she added.

President Arroyo also said that under her administration, the Philippines was able to forge new relations with the world.

"In the era of international relations, the Philippines is back. No longer the laggard, the Philippines has been a steady climber in Asia and the world," she said.

She also cited China as the Philippines’ leading economic partner, with the United States, which continues to stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the Philippines and aids the country’s economy and security, while Europe and the Muslim world "are strong allies of the Philippines."

"Improved foreign relations have opened the doors of economic opportunity for those Filipinos who have chosen to go abroad. Diplomacy has helped protect the interest of hardworking Filipinos in every corner of the globe," she said.

The President likewise mentioned the government’s efforts to end the culture of lawlessness and kidnapping in the country and to remain a leader in the fight against global terrorism.

Although much work remains to be done, the President has expressed readiness to hand over a "new Philippines" to the next administration.

"I know much work remains to be done, but I am determined to turn over to a new government a new Philippines — one that is ready for the challenges of bringing the nation to the verge of the First World in 20 years," she said.

"We will leave a legacy of hard work, a strong and stable economy and renewed global engagement, and major investments in healthcare, education and physical infrastructure," she added.

Finally, President Arroyo thanked all those who have helped her improve the country's economic condition in the nine years of her administration.

"Malaking karangalan at pribilehiyo ang maglingkod sa sambayanan bilang Pangulo. Ihahabilin natin ang siyam na taong paglago at pag-angat sa inyong lahat na naging kasamahan ko sa mahirap ngunit makasaysayang landas. Maraming, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas," she concluded.

Earlier, the President led the flag-raising rites at the Rizal Park at 7 a.m., and offered flowers at the monument of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

Ludovico Badoy, executive director of the National Historical Institute (NHI), said the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies were simultaneously held in various parts of the country.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and Cavite Governor Ayong Maliksi led the ceremonies in the historic Kawit town in Cavite province.

Kawit is the hometown of General Emilio Aguinaldo where he waved the Philippine flag from the window of his house and proclaimed the country's independence on June 12, 1898.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Oscar Inocentes, meanwhile, led the ceremonies held in Caloocan City.

The civic-military parade prepared by various agencies of the government was the main event of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations.

The 11-float depicted the gains in pro-poor programs over the nine years of her administration.

Each float symbolized a particular legacy of achievement summed up in the "BEAT THE ODDS" agenda. (PNA) <br>scs/LGI

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