THE VISAYAS, March 24, 2004
Administration lawmakers from the Visayas assured President Arroyo Saturday of her victory in their region, attributing the voters’ support to her efforts that helped local industries and uplifted the lives of people.

The congressmen — led by Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) Reps. Monico Puentevella of Bacolod City, Exequiel Javier of Antique and Augusto Syjuco of Iloilo — gave their assurance as the President launched her campaign in the Visayas region Saturday.

In a joint statement, the congressmen said Mrs. Arroyo’s victory in the May polls is reflected in the recent Pulse Asia survey that showed her garnering the highest approval rating of 42.7 percent in Western Visayas while actor Fernando Poe Jr. was a distant second with only 20.4 percent. She was also the top choice in Eastern Visayas with 47 percent, followed by Poe with 24.4 percent.

Puentevella, the Lakas district and city chairman for Bacolod City, said Visayans have benefited from the Arroyo administration and want the President’s programs and projects for them to continue.

He cited that it was during Mrs. Arroyo’s term that prices of sugar stabilized, and production was at its highest compared to the past 20 years.

The Arroyo administration also set up necessary infrastructure projects in the region such as bridges, highways and school buildings that helped improve the lives of local residents.

"The President is always around when we needed her. Her being workaholic paid off especially in Cebu, Panay and Negros which she often visits," Puentevella said.

Syjuco said Mrs. Arroyo is very popular in the Visayas region because of her affinity with its people, as well as the fact that she has given so much of herself to them.

"She has personally attended to so many of our needs and the Visayans will prove their sense of gratitude to her in the coming polls," he said.

Although the President is a native of Pampanga, Syjuco said Visayans consider her as one of them.

"She speaks Ilonggo fluently. Before her public life, she lived many years in Mindanao. Other presidential candidates are purely Luzon-based and have no affinity with us in the Visayas and Mindanao," he said.

Syjuco also said the President has served as an example to the Visayans because of her impressive credentials, competence, experience and vision for the country.

"We believe in her experience and sense of hard work and we want continuity of her programs," he said.

Javier, Lakas co-chairman for Western Visayas, noted that the President put up the important infrastructure projects and support systems in the Visayas region, such as farm-to-market roads and other agriculture facilities.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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