GMA RELEASES P104-M FOR 4 ILOCOS PROVINCES

Banayoyo, Ilocos Sur By Teddy Molina (Star) ó President Arroyo came bearing "gifts" here yesterday as she greeted former Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson on his 61st birthday.

Mrs. Arroyo announced that she was releasing P104 million for the four Ilocos provinces to give tobacco farmers a relief from their huge losses during the last tobacco season.

Of the fund, P39 million will go to Ilocos Sur, P33 million to La Union, P25 million to Ilocos Norte, and P7 million to Abra.

Mrs. Arroyo also inaugurated the P304-million road connecting Santiago, Banayoyo and San Emilio towns.

"I came here, first of all, because itís Chavitís birthday," she said in the Ilocano dialect.

She was also here during Singsonís birthday last year, and hailed him as the "hero of EDSA 2." She referred to his role in the downfall of former President Joseph Estrada as a result of his exposť that Estrada allegedly received payoffs from jueteng lords and kickbacks from tobacco excise taxes.

Asked about his birthday wish, Singson said he wants "peace and prosperity" for Ilocos Sur and for the entire country as well.

Also on hand to welcome the President were Rep. Eric Singson, and Governors Ferdinand "Bongóbong" Marcos Jr. of Ilocos Norte, Victor Ortega of La Union, Deoógracias Victor Savellano of Ilocos Sur, Vic Magsaysay of Zambales, and Victor Agbayani of Pangasinan. ó With Artemio Dumlao


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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