MANILA, February 6, 2004
(STAR) From "Johnson yata ’yan!" to "PSG yata ’yan!"

An overwaxed floor at the headquarters of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) nearly caused the person they were supposed to protect to fall head over stiletto heels.

President Arroyo almost got floored yesterday — literally — shortly before a press conference at Malacañang Park when she stepped on a newly shined floorboard on a raised stage at the PSG headquarters.

"Don’t put floor wax if you can’t clean them," Mrs. Arroyo mildly rebuked her security detail at the press conference, also attended by Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit, shortly before boarding the chopper that would take her to Tiaong, Quezon.

It was a good thing that Dayrit was on her right side when she slipped, as the health chief quickly caught her elbow to help Mrs. Arroyo regain her presidential balance. A nearby table also aided in preventing an outright fall.

The President, however, did not allow the minor slip to mar her otherwise sunny smile yesterday morning.

The incident was not caught though by still and video cameras as Palace photographers and cameramen were still setting up their equipment after shooting Mrs. Arroyo’s arrival at the venue.

PSG commander Col. Delfin Bangit was not around during the incident and was unavailable for comment.

Bangit earlier told The STAR that the PSG has put up Task Force Golden Shield as their special security operational plans for the presidential campaign sorties for the May elections. — Marichu Villanueva

GMA dodges poll issues, says she is focused on governance

(From the Office of Press Secretary, Malacanang) February 6, 2004

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today sidestepped issues involving the electoral campaign, destabilization attempts by misguided elements of the military and civil society, as well as the ongoing Senate inquiry on the Jose Pidal controversy.

The President also declined to comment on the poll surveys including those that gave her an edge over her closest rivals in the forthcoming elections.

"I won’t comment on political issues at this time," the President said in a press conference this morning at the Presidential Security Group Compound and in an interview with a nationwide radio network.

"We have so many things to attend to, like our people, whether here or abroad," the Chief Executive said, citing as example a Filipino couple jailed in Northern Ireland suspected of being members of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.

She also mentioned the proposed roll on-roll off (RORO) facility servicing the northern Luzon provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quezon.

The President said the project connecting San Vicente-Bolos Point-Valley Cove-Baguio Point-Maconcaon-Palanan-Dilasag-Kasiguran-Baler-Real route will be a big help to farmers and fishermen transporting their produce to Metro Manila and even the Visayas and Mindanao.

"All of us are wishing and working for a strong foundation to changes the ordinary Filipino desires, like livelihood, work, prices, jobs and others," the President said.

For this reason, the President said she continues to work harder to generate jobs. She reiterated that she inherited more than four million jobless workers from her predecessor, and the burden of providing them gainful employment fell on her shoulders.

President Macapagal-Arroyo also underscored the need to strengthen investors’ confidence in the domestic market, and cited the Indian firm Global Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. (GIHL) that has taken over rehabilitation and control of the long-mothballed National Steel Corporation in Iligan City.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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