Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last week began her six-year term as the 14th Philippine president with a promise to put a computer in every classroom and to fully automate local elections.
The President made these and other promises in her pre-inaugural speech, which she delivered at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta four hours before flying to Cebu City where she took her formal oath of office.
President Arroyo announced her 10-point agenda which she said will be her legacy to the Filipino people when she steps down from office after six years.
Aside from promising to provide computers in every classroom and to fully computerize the Philippine electoral process, Mrs. Arroyo promised to unite the country, which has been divided by issues generated by EDSA 1, 2 and 3 as well as the insurgency and Muslim separatist problems.
She vowed to implement a “pro-poor” agenda “that will lift up our poorest brothers and sisters, invest them with dignity and imbue them with hope.” She also promised to put “every spare peso where they can really work” and reduce government spending. However, she vowed to increase government spending for initiatives that would make real positive impact on the country.
The President made several other promises including the creation of 6 million to 10 million jobs by the time her six-year term ends, support for 2 to 3 million entrepreneurs in the form of loans and management skills training, and the development of some 1 million to 2 million hectares of agricultural lands.
President Arroyo said Metro Manila will be decongested, through the development of new economic and government centers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. She also promised to make the Subic and Clark corridor the most competitive international service and logistics center in all of the Southeast Asia region.
Cutting the country’s budget deficit and balancing the budget will also be priorities of the new Arroyo administration. “I shall have balanced the budget by collecting the right revenues and spending on the right things,” she said.
Mrs. Arroyo vowed to crack down on abusive government officials and influence peddlers. She also promised to ensure the proper collection of taxes and warned that tax cheaters will be punished.
Power and potable water will also be provided to every barangay (village) in the country, the President promised. Potable water has been delivered to a total of 956,541 households or 4,689,210 individuals since December 2003. Some 4,408 barangays were energized from January 2001 to April 2004, achieving a 90.6 per cent barangay energization level (38,010 out of a total of 41,945 barangays).
The President promised to continue the development of the country’s transport network, including the roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) ferry system which has lowered the cost of shipping goods from Mindanao to Luzon. This initiative will also include the continued development of the nation’s digital infrastructure that will link up the entire country to one network.
President Arroyo’s vow to put a computer in every classroom comes with another promise to put “everyone of school age to school.”
“Everyone of school age will be in school in an uncrowded classroom, in surroundings conducive to learning,” the President said.
According to a statement from Malaca