GMA RESPECTS OPPOSITIONS NOT ATTENDING COUNCIL OF STATE MEETING

MALACANANG, January 18, 2006, (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY)  Malacanang said today President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo respects the decision of some opposition leaders not to attend the Council of State meeting set on January 24.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye made the statement in reaction to published reports saying former President Corazon Aquino and leaders of the opposition bloc in the House of Representatives decided not to join next week’s meeting.

"The Council of State meeting is not about personalities, but about the collective effort of national leaders committed to national transformation and renewal," Bunye said.

"President Arroyo welcomes those who will come, and respects the decision of those who have chosen not to (attend the meeting)," he added.

Earlier, Secretary Bunye had expressed confidence that the Council of State meeting will eventually pave the way for the healing of political divisions and unify and put the country on track for a brighter future.

"Our people are tired of excessive politicking and it is our firm belief that the noble intention of the meeting would eventually heal the scars of the past and carry us to a brighter tomorrow," he said.

"The people are looking up to the leaders of this nation to set aside partisanship and stand united to address vital concerns of the day—social, economic and political," the Press Secretary added.

Meanwhile, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said in a radio interview today that the Council of State is a forum where the leaders of all political parties, including sectoral representatives, can debate and exchange their ideas about the political, economic, and social conditions of the country.

Ermita said one of the agenda in the Jan. 24 meeting is to unite the opposition and administration leaders so that they can come up with solutions to the persistent political crisis.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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