MANILA, March 23, 2004  (STAR) A large group of Muslims in Metro Manila expressed their overwhelming gratitude for all the support President Arroyo has given to their Muslim brothers to achieve peace and order in Mindanao.

Datu Amerol Ambiong, spokesman of Kilusan ng Mamamayan Para sa Matatag ng Republika (KMMR) said Mrs. Arroyo is the only president who introduced the much-needed development in Mindanao, citing an executive order she signed for the implementation of "Halal" industry development programs.

KMMR has 100 Muslim organizations as members and is composed of businessmen, professionals, vendors and students all over Metro Manila.

Ambiong said they consider Mrs. Arroyo as the best leader for the country, pointing out that she has been consistent in her efforts to improve the lot of Filipinos in the southern Philippines.

He said Mrs. Arroyo is the only president who frequently visited the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), particularly Lanao del Sur where she has allotted a huge budget for various development programs for the province.

The KMMR said the Arroyo administration is the only one that has shown respect for rights and welfare of Muslims.

Ambiong said Mrs. Arroyo is no different from her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal, who never failed to visit their province.

"Muslims in Lanao always remember her because there was no area or community that she failed to visit," he said.

The KMMR added that no other Filipino president, except for Mrs. Arroyo, had honored the countryís Islamic community.

"Thatís why we want to recognize the effort of the government in helping Muslim communities in the country," the group said.

They added that Mrs. Arroyo also made history when she became the first Filipino president to declare an Islamic festival, Eidíl Fitr, as a national holiday last year.

Ambiong said that they lauded the cancellation of her predecessorís "all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front" and reviving peace talks with the Moro separatist rebels.

The group said they want to thank Mrs. Arroyo for all the magnitude she has given to them and that they recognize her for her exemplary leadership and good governance.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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