, October 15, 2005
(STAR) By Aurea Calica - President Arroyo is convinced that the opposition is losing its political battle and that last-ditch efforts to unseat her through rallies and destabilization moves have petered out.

"Our economy is strong and the future is bright. Those who wish for darkness to reign are consumed by hatred. Thank God they are outnumbered by people like you who work hard and persevere from dawn to dusk to help our country," the President said in a statement released after she delivered a speech during the opening of the Buglasan festival here yesterday.

Buglasan is derived from the word "Buglas," the original name of Negros Oriental, which refers to the reed or marsh grasses that used to abound in the province during pre-Spanish days.

In her speech, Mrs. Arroyo thanked the people of Negros Oriental for their support, which she said was the key to the failure of the power grab by the opposition.

She noted that such support proves that she won fair and square in the elections, which is also the reason why most members of the House of Representatives junked the impeachment case against her.

"As a handful of protesters seek to impose their will on the majority by trying to provoke violence at every turn, we who adhere to the rule of law shall stay the course," she said.

According to Mrs. Arroyo, the economy remains buoyant despite the political noise because of an inflow of foreign and domestic investment, increases in overseas Filipino workersí remittances and steadfast growth of tourism in the country.

"This we owe to the hard work and patriotism of ordinary Filipinos who choose to lead quiet, peaceful yet meaningful lives," the President said.

"It is to you dreamers of a brighter future that I dedicate the fight against poverty and terrorism, not the hallucinations of a tyrannical minority who would like to see these dreams crumble into dust," she added.

The President called on the people to carry on the mission of "keeping the economy moving forward so that jobs can be created and the fruits of development can spread among the islands."

"As the opposition continues to rant and rave, we have embarked on the path to progress and must soldier on," she said, adding that she would continue with her programs, especially with her commitment to bring power from the center to the countryside through constitutional amendments.

She said she was happy that despite the political noise, Negros Oriental and the rest of the country are still improving. "What more if we donít have them," she said.

The President reiterated her commitment to release the Internal Revenue Allotment of local government units as the funds could be used for building infrastructure and other projects for social services.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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