MANILA, January 26, 2004
(STAR) By Marvin Sy - She’s on her feet and back in action.

After 48 hours of resting to get over a severe case of cold and fever, President Arroyo got back into the action yesterday and flew to Iloilo City to launch road, power and airport projects.

In Iloilo, the President and acting Public Works Secretary Florante Soriquez launched the "Kalsada Natin, Alagaan Natin" program, which started in Luzon last October.

In a statement, Malacañang said the project is "expected to provide jobs to barangay residents and prolong the service life of national roads in the Visayan region."

This project involves the routine maintenance of road shoulders, drainage lines and canals, as well as vegetation control activities along a total of 7,117 kilometers of national roads in the Visayas.

"This translates into employment opportunities for 28,468 residents from the 3,857 barangays traversed by national roads," Soriquez said.

In Luzon alone, Soriquez said, the number of workers hired under the program totaled 60,372.

After the launch of the road program, the President proceeded to Barangay Ignore, La Paz for the ceremonial switch-on of the 114-megawatt Panay power plant.

From there, she went to Cabanatuan town for the launching of the P6.2 billion new Iloilo airport development project, along with the Pototan-Mina-Janiuay Road and Sara-Calinog (Iloilo)-Bugasing (Antique) boundary road projects.

The Iloilo airport is the fourth busiest among the 86 national airports in the country, in terms of passenger traffic, next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City and the Mactan and Davao international airports.

The old Iloilo airport suffered from obsolete facilities and operational limitations caused by its inability to expand. The airport was crowded in with roads, rivers and squatter colonies.

The projects are expected to benefit Iloilo as well as Antique, Aklan, Guimaras, Capiz and Negros Occidental.

Before flying to Iloilo, the President attended a thanksgiving Mass marking former President Corazon Aquino’s 71st birthday at the St. Joseph Convent of Perpetual Adoration in Quezon City.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said the President just needed to get some rest because of the colds and fever which prevented her from attending the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. convention at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City last Saturday.

Bunye said the President avoided the engagements outside the Palace to help speed up her recovery, but added that Mrs. Arroyo was "up and about" all the time.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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