Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took the oath of office as President of the Philippine on January 20, 2001, following the toppling of Joseph Estrada, who was ousted in People Power II.
She was untested but prepared, is how media described Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as she courageously accepted the daunting task of healing the nation.
Gloria graduated with top honors from Assumption College. She studied economics at Georgetown University in the US but cut short her stint there when she married Atty. Miguel Arroyo. She gained master’s degree and doctorate in economics later. In 1986, she served as Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry under President Corazon Aquino. She was elected senator in 1992 and hot re-elected after the term. As senator, she wrote 55 economic reform laws.
When she won her bid for the vice-presidency, she outpolled the then popular presidential candidate Joseph Estrada by two million votes. She served as head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development but quit the post when the “jueteng” scandal which implicated Estrada was exposed.
Another factor that worked for her preparedness is her being a former President’s daughter. The fifth Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal was her father. Her mother was Dr. Evangeline Macareg Macapagal. Her father, even after his term as president, continued as revered figure and a moral authority. That was because he and his family had maintained their integrity, dignity and respect for law and the Constitution. He was always a source of inspiration for statesman who would like to leave their legacy to history.
Thus, President Gloria is well acquainted with what the people expect of a country’s leader and how a leader should order his life and position.
On the day she was proclaimed, she said, “Let us build an edifice of peace, progress, and economic stability.” After three years and five months in office, we saw that she was indefatigable in the pursuit of these ideals. She kept up with her vow of leadership by example. Six days a week, she looked after country’s needs, thus restoring the people’s faith in government.
President’s Arroyo’s commitment to the welfare of the county takes her to the different government agencies, to places visited by calamities, to the different parts of the country where her presence is necessary and important, to other countries that might help our own.
President Gloria is into social welfare, health, agriculture, trade, industry, tourism, fight against crime and immorality in government, and other civic concerns.
She is keeping faith to her promises that her administration would “be bold in its national ambitions, particularly in winning the fight against poverty; improve moral standards in order to provide strong foundation for good governance; change the character of politics from personality and patronage to the politics of party programs , lead by example”.
“Do what is right, do your best and God will take care of the rest,” is President’s Arroyo’s guiding principle in performing her work. The principle might well be the one holding her up even though there are still many who try to thwart her good efforts, opposing persons alternative solutions or offerings.
President Arroyo ran for re-election in May 2004 and won. The final count in Congress shower her with a winning margin of 1,123,576 votes over closest rival, actor Fernando Poe, Jr. She will thus continue to hold the position that has been hers since she was catapulted there by People Power II, with ouster of then President Joseph Estrada. But this time, she is holding the highest post of the land because it is truly the will of the people.
The hallmark of this new administration will be “a simple lifestyle and a simple way of governance.” The President said a simple government was needed to ensure that all resources would be geared towards programs aimed at improving the plight of the poor.
She reiterated her call for unity among warring political factions, saying this was required to heal the deep divisions in society and finally solve the country’s decades-old problems.
The President set the tone of her administration right on her inauguration day. The ceremony was austere and simple, reflecting “the spirit and sacrifice needed to meet the tough times facing our people”. Earlier she ordered that the budget intended for the grand inauguration feast be donated to pro poor projects.
President Gloria Arroyo received congratulatory notes from world leaders, not only for her victory but also “for the triumph of the Filipino people and Philippine democracy.”
On June 30, 2010, When President-elect Benigno Aquino III took over the helms of the country, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo stepped down and took on her new role as representative of the second district of Pampanga.
The Arroyo administration, in nine years of governance, was truly determined in providing the needs of the people. In addition to the programs in the 10-point agenda, she initiated the worked for the fulfilment of many other projects that the people needed.
Strategic policies in the areas of asset reform, taxation, health, water, job creation, and livelihood, empowerment of the poor, transportation, tourism, environmental management, development and utilization of mineral resources were implemented.
Access to quality education was enhanced. Many infrastructure projects were fulfilled. The administration was committed to strengthening its defense against external and internal threats. Military and police capabilities were upgraded. The fight against crime, terrorism, illegal drugs was relentlessly pursued.
President Arroyo, truly left the presidency with solid achievements. We can also thank for her for a stronger economy, a legacy of hard work, dedicated work, protection of the country’s sovereignty, an excellent performance of the great task of governance.
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