President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo watches approvingly as Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye presents to Cdt. Morgan Balbin Aguilar of "Bagsay Lahi" Class 2006 the Journalism Kampilan Award during the 27th Commencement Exercises of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Wednesday (March 29) at Camp Gen. Mariano Castaneda in Silang, Cavite. (Photo:RON NAVARRO/PCPO))

APRIL 3, 2006 (STAR) Aid for Mindanao (For the week ending April 02, 2006)

The Philippines Development Forum (PDF), the primary mechanism of the Government for facilitating substantive policy dialogue among stakeholders in the country’s development agenda, held last Thursday and Friday its 2006 Forum, which focused on the theme "Building on Economic and Fiscal Reforms to Achieve Sustainable Growth and Social Progress".

With the powerhouse participants from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Congress, local governments and other development partners, the PDF is indeed well on track to accomplishing critical action items in the Government’s reform agenda.

President Arroyo singled out the international donor community for Mindanao by saying that nothing will be more powerful for the future development of the Philippines than to bring peace, stability and justice to Mindanao. She expressed confidence that before the year ends, we shall have achieved a lasting peace in Mindanao, and asked those who plan to provide aid to Mindanao once peace is achieved to consider providing their aid money now. According to her, this act of generosity and confidence will "put more air in our sails at a pivotal moment in our journey as we strive to reach the safe harbor of peace".


Congratulations are in order for Asian Spirit which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The country’s second most profitable airline made it mark by servicing routes with heavy tourist traffic like Boracay. It is now poised to launch international flights to Palau via Davao.

In her remarks at the company’s anniversary celebration, President Arroyo likened charter change to a "new aircraft, refurbished and overhauled for the long flight of the new century." Charter change, according to the President, is a move she embraces not out of any personal agenda, but because our country deserves a system that will allow us to join the ranks of first world nations in 20 years. What we need, the President believes, is a new Constitution, firmly grounded in the center with no more pressures from the extreme ends of the political spectrum.


Safety will always be our primary concern and we assure the public that an independent probe is underway on the collapse of a portion of the Terminal 3’s ceiling.

It is essential that this airport facility live up to the standards of the best airports in the world. The DOTC and MIAA are leading the way forward for this to happen.


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Malacañang says all’s well between GMA, FVR By Aurea Calica The Philippine Star 04/03/2006

All is well between President Arroyo and former President Fidel Ramos even if they did not hold hands during a Mass on Saturday, Malacañang officials clarified yesterday.

"There is no snub between President Arroyo and former President Ramos. Churchgoers pray in varied ways. Some people hold hands, some people don’t," Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said.

"There doesn’t have to be any personal or political meaning to it."

Mrs. Arroyo and Ramos sat beside each other on the front right pew of the Manila Cathedral at the Mass celebrated by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, who was recently elevated to the College of Cardinals.

The President hosted a dinner for Rosales at Malacañang Saturday which was attended by other religious leaders like El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde.

The solemnity of the Mass on Saturday was tinged with political intrigue as Mrs. Arroyo seemed to ignore Ramos’ outstretched hand during the singing of the "Our Father." Ramos was seated between Mrs. Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro.

During Catholic Masses, it is customary for seatmates to join hands during the singing of the "Our Father," so people in the congregation were surprised when Ramos, a Protestant, held his hand out to Mrs. Arroyo and the President, a devout Catholic, did not reciprocate the gesture.

Seeing this, De Castro took Ramos’ right hand and, head bent, frowned. Mrs. Arroyo, on the other hand, had both her hands clasped in front of her and kept her eyes closed.

Mrs. Arroyo and Ramos treated each other civilly during the greeting of peace, shaking hands, though they did not kiss each other on the cheek, another customary Filipino greeting during Mass.

Relations between Mrs. Arroyo and Ramos have been strained, with Ramos frequently criticizing the President’s reluctance to cut short her term to pave the way for a shift from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government.

Also present at the celebration were opposition legislators Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Makati Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr.

Instead of sitting near the President, the opposition lawmakers chose to sit in the right wing of the cathedral.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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