GMA SEEKS ORSP HELP IN BATTLE VS POVERTY, EASING TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK

MALACANANG, January 17, 2006, (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo enlisted today the help of members of the Operations Research Society of the Philippines (ORSP) in the battle against poverty, the campaign against tax cheats and in easing the traffic gridlock in metropolitan Manila.

In her keynote address during the 7th Asia-Pacific Conference on Operations Research, the President said the "government could make use of your (the OR practitioner’s) expertise to ensure the success of our development programs."

"I am inviting you to help us solve our traffic problem, to help us in our traffic management alongside with our poverty alleviation (program)," she said.

"With your operations research, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs can leverage innovative approaches to hike revenues and to put to justice tax cheats and smugglers," she added.

The President noted that OR, which she said is often called the "Science of the Better," had been successful in coming up with plans and proposals for the betterment of other countries.

She said she had read about OR’s successful applications in minimizing the cost of production and transportation of agricultural produce in India; the highly efficient railway network service in South Africa, and the school meal program in Chile.

The President said these programs were similar to her administration’s Roll On-Roll Off system of ferry boats and highways, the North and South Rail Project and her hunger alleviation program for elementary school children and distribution of rice to the poor.

She expressed hope that the ORSP could expand its work in the Philippines.

"I am sure that OR practitioners can do similar work in our country as well as you have been able to in some of the other countries," she said.

The President reiterated her government’s three main priorities for 2006, namely, building a strong republic, building a stronger economy and pushing political reforms through Charter change.

She said people were tired of the "political noise" and they eagerly look forward to fundamental changes in the country’s politics.

With the help of OR, these fundamental changes could be delivered with greater "efficiency and transparency," she said.

Established in 1957, the Association of Asia-Pacific Operational Research Societies (APORS), which includes the ORSP, is a formal grouping of national societies within the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS).

Their collective work has sustained OR contributions to decision making.

IGNACIO BUNYE: VIEW FROM THE PALACE

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stresses a point in her statement before national and local media members after her meeting with the members of the Cabinet Communications Group Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 28) at the Mansion House in Baguio City. The President said that her meeting with the Cabinet Communications Group is very timely since "it is the last week of the year, at the time when key departments and agencies can pro-actively project their impact programs for next year." The President also said that it is a good time to look forward to as she cited as an indicator the strong peso performance against the dollar, describing it (the peso) as now the best performing currency in the world. With the President in photo are (from left) Government Media Group Head Cerge Remonde, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye, and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. (Dado-Aguilar-OPS-NIB Photo) (MORE PHOTOS) Right on track

(For the week ending January 15, 2005) THE meeting Saturday night of the Lakas-CMD directorate appeared to have succeeded in ironing out differences among the leaders of the ruling party, particularly former President Fidel V. Ramos, party founder and Chairman Emeritus, and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the party’s Chairman.

Speaker Joe de Venecia, party president, was beaming as he adjourned shortly before midnight the historic meeting at Malacañang Heroes Hall, which was attended by close to 120 top leaders of the party.

The party stalwarts approved a "statement of consensus" after free and candid discussion of some of the controversial political issues confronting the party, especially in the matter of pursuing the ongoing campaign to amend the Constitution.

The party stalwarts also approved a resolution firmly in support of the President of her present constitutional mandate to serve in office until 2010.

While acknowledging some political differences among its members, party stalwarts resolved "not to allow current political differences to create any rift nor project any image or impression of disunity among them."

In his opening remarks, FVR reiterated his call for solidarity, unity, and teamwork and rallied those who attended with his trademark question: Kaya ba natin ito? To which the party members responded with a resounding: Kayang-kaya!

Speaker JdV outlined his 7-point proposal for Charter change which included: The transformation to a parliamentary form of government; the establishment of a unicameral legislature; providing for a 5-year term of office for all elective officials; a ban on political turncoatism; the creation of autonomous regions towards the establishment of a federal system; and the easing of restrictions on foreign investments in the economy, all of which were endorsed by the party directorate.

For her part, President Arroyo asked her party mates to rally behind her in her three-pronged struggle which she described as follows:

"First, the economy. Second, Charter change. And third, the fight against poverty.

The Lakas-CMD has always upheld an agenda of unity and democracy, and has resolved issues with collective statesmanship. This has shown once more that it is the party without par in the political horizon. President Arroyo intends to lead Lakas-CMD as a powerhouse in the parliamentary system. Other parties should take the cue and undertake internal reorganization and rearmament for the big change ahead.

This administration is determined to push economic growth alongside political renewal as our ticket out of poverty. And Lakas-CMD is well-positioned to help President Arroyo in leading the nation to the pinnacle of democracy, the rule of law, and equitable development and prosperity.

***

We have already laid out the foundations for economic take-off and we are confident that the fruits of our sacrifices would soon be felt by the most impoverished among our people. The President’s socio-economic agenda is anchored on creating more jobs and livelihood opportunities, shelter for the homeless, better infrastructure, and an investor-friendly environment. We are grateful for the mounting cooperation of all well-meaning sectors, quietly performing their own patriotic acts to make things happen for those in need. President Arroyo’s programs are right on track to make the Philippines a part of the First World in 20 years and no amount of poisoned politics will get in the way of success.

***

A family friend has offered an interesting theory as to why Filipinos are comparatively laid back and less driven than our counterparts in more economically progressive countries such as Singapore. In the course of helping her children with their school work, this friend was very much alarmed to find out that textbooks contained stories that overly emphasized the role of luck or good fortune in achieving success. She lamented that the stories, rather than highlighting the importance of diligence, perseverance, and good old hard work, attributed the protagonist’s success to enkantadas or padrinos of one form or another (human or supernatural). Thus, she theorizes, many kids do not grow up seeing the correlation between hard work and success because they are waiting for luck to land on their laps. It’s a fascinating theory and one which our educators should give some thought to.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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