GMA TO  REDOUBLE  EFFORTS  TO  FULFILL  MANDATE  DESPITE  TURMOIL

MANILA, July 1, 2005
(OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY, MALACANANG) Buoyed by the outpouring of support that followed her public apology last Monday over the tape controversy, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vowed to redouble her efforts to fulfill her mandate notwithstanding the political noise directed at her administration.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said in a radio interview that the messages of support unequivocally urge the President to push through with the reforms that she has started and that they have forgiven her for what she admitted as a "lapse in judgment" on her part.

"I believe iyong mga bukas ang isipan ay handang patawarin ang Pangulo. In fact they have forgiven the President. Binibigyan siya ng pagkakataon na magawa ang kanyang mandato (Those with open minds have forgiven the President. They are giving her another chance to fulfill her mandate)," he said.

Bunye believes that because of the support coming from the religious sector, local government units and other non-government and peopleís organizations, the President is now more inspired to work for wide-ranging reforms to benefit the poor.

"We believe that because of these, the President will continue to redouble her efforts and supervise the reforms in the government machinery to ensure that the service will be directly received by the public," Bunye said in the vernacular.

Bunye assured that the implementation of the expanded Value Added Tax Law starting tomorrow would get the second phase of the Presidentís economic reform agenda going, reduce the budget deficit and pave the way for the influx of investments for the much-needed infrastructure, social services and job creation.

He also assured that the government would continue to fight corruption in the public service, file high-profile tax cases against tax evaders, eliminate corruption and stamp out smuggling.

First bus using compressed natural gas presented to PGMA tomorrow

Government efforts to achieve energy independence in the wake of the skyrocketing prices of oil in the world market takes a giant leap tomorrow (Friday, July 1) when the first commercial bus using indigenous compressed natural gas (CNG) is presented to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Malacanang grounds.

Officials of HM Transport Inc., one of the six accredited importers and operators of the 200 pilot CNG buses, will make the presentation to the President who, along with stakeholders and media members, will take the inaugural ride to Luneta and back to the Palace.

The presentation, in line with the governmentís Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT) under Executive Order 290, is set at 10 a.m. following the arrival of the HM Transport CNG bus and guests in front of the Kalayaan Hall.

The President will be met by Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla; Canadian Ambassador Peter Sutherland; officials of Cummins Westport, the manufacturers of the CNG engines; and the Chinese delegation, Cummins partners in fabricating the bodies of the CNG buses.

Prior to the inaugural ride, Secretary Lotilla will brief the President on the NGVPPT, including the status of the importation of the 200 CNG buses and the equipment for the mother and daughter stations.

The initial operation of the 200 CNG buses is expected to result in savings of 8.9 million liters of diesel equivalent to P31.6 million.

The use of CNG as a clean and environment friendly alternative fuel has been given top priority by President Arroyo since 2001 to win the battle against air pollution and accelerate the benefits of clean air.

She launched the NGVPPT in 2002 and unveiled a number of policy initiatives to encourage greater sector participation and investments.

The President signed EO 290 implementing the NGVPPT on Feb. 24, 2004 to ensure sustainability and effective implementation of the program.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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