SURIGAO CITY, March 8, 2004
(MALAYA) By JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR - President Arroyo yesterday said the country would be "kawawa (pitiable)" if she does not win.

Arroyo campaigned in Surigao City yesterday after her sortie in Pangasinan on Saturday.

"Kung sakaling hindi mananalo sa eleksyon, magiging kawawa na talaga ang Pilipinas at hindi na tayo natuto sa mga nagdaang araw," the government station Radyo ng Bayan quoted Arroyo as saying in a press conference in Surigao City, which was conducted in the local dialect.

She reiterated that given a six-year mandate, she would make the Philippines drug-free and kidnap-free by 2010.

She also reiterated her vision of eliminating unemployment by creating 6 million jobs in six years.

She unveiled a P140 million plan to expand Sayak airport on Siargao Island to attract more tourists and spur economic activities in the region and a P50 million modernization plan for the Siargao provincial gymnasium.

Some of the political leaders who attended the rally were Reps. Glenda Ecleo and Prospero Pichay, Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Cassura, Agusan del Sur Gov. Eddie Bong Plaza and Iligan City Mayor Franklin Quijano.

In Urdaneta, Pangasinan Arroyo attended the opening of the Ilocos Region Athletic Association 2004 meet. She then interacted with farmers and women's group in Sta. Barbara.

She also inaugurated the Mangaldan-San Fabian Flood Control project before attending the barangay town fiesta in Mangaldan.

There was another incident in Arroyo's campaign sortie.

Today reporter Recto Mercene was robbed off his camera, digital recorder, clothes, medicines, and other items. Reporters where having lunch when the culprits pried open the window of one of the vans used by the media and took Mercene's bag.

Last February 29, one of Arroyo's security aides fell from a convoy and was almost run over during a sortie in Zamboanga Sibugay.

On February 26, two mild quakes rocked Pagadian City shortly before Arroyo launched her campaign sortie.

The day before, Arroyo's "patadyong" came loose while she was raising the hand of ARMM Gov. Parouk Hussin, her Muslim senatorial bet. She was able to catch the "patadyong" in time.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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