June 23, 2006 (STAR) (AFP) President Gloria Arroyo was diagnosed with diarrhea by doctors Friday after being hospitalized overnight for stomach troubles.

The 58-year-old president was admitted to hospital late Thursday after suffering stomach pains following dinner in a restaurant.

Her doctors told a press conference Friday that she was suffering from "acute infectious diarrhea".

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that Arroyo had been rehydrated and was in good condition and could already have been discharged, but her family insisted that she take the opportunity to rest and recover.

Duque attributed her illness to her busy work schedule and excessive stress, which had worn down her resistance to infection.

Her son, Juan Miguel Arroyo, said she was doing well and sleeping comfortably.

Duque said the president still planned to make a scheduled trip to the Vatican, Italy and Spain, set to begin late Saturday, but that her staff would await further advice from her doctors before deciding when she might leave.

Mike A: It feels good to be less controversial By Aurea Calica The Philippine Star 06/23/2006

First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo said yesterday he would continue to keep a low profile and avoid controversy.

"I feel better now," Mr. Arroyo said when asked how being less controversial felt. "I stay away from the limelight, thatís why."

The First Gentleman was at the launching of his foundationís scholarship for medical students, which aims to increase the number of physicians serving in the country, especially in poor villages.

Mr. Arroyo, who is turning 60 on June 27, said he was happy concentrating on charitable projects.

He refused to answer questions about the planned second impeachment complaint against President Arroyo or the current political situation: "No politics please, Iíll do better with my charity projects."

Mr. Arroyo said P20 million was allotted for the 60 medical scholars they chose and added that the funds for these scholarships all came from private donors.

He said his wish is to have more physicians in the barrios serving his countrymen: "We are happy that Senator (Juan) Flavier is helping us with the guidelines. This is his dream and we are just realizing his dream."

"We will be looking for more scholars, we will be getting (scholars) from other state colleges in the provinces," he added.

Mr. Arroyo said he intends to resume his charity work for police and military officers and personnel, which was also assailed as a "loyalty check" of the uniformed services.

"The controversy there was that they said it was a loyalty check but there was nothing like that ó but we had to stop for a while," he said.

Mr. Arroyo said he would like to celebrate his birthday in Spain, where the President will make an official visit.

The First Gentleman and his eldest son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo had to go into "exile" in the United States last year after they were accused of receiving jueteng payoffs.

They were in the US while the President faced her worst political crisis after she was accused of massive poll fraud in the 2004 elections.

In simple ceremonies in MalacaŮang yesterday, Mr. Arroyo and Flavier presented 22 beneficiaries of the FG Foundationís "Bagong Doktor Para sa Bayan" project.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the scholars must serve for two years in the rural areas for every year their tuition is paid for or subsidized by the foundation.

"That is an agreement," Duque said, adding that most medical practitioners in the country prefer to work overseas to get higher compensation.

The First Gentleman said he was inspired by Flavierís dream of bringing new doctors to the far-flung areas and thought of pursuing this to provide better health care for the people, especially the poor.

"We hope to expand the project in the future by including sophomore and freshmen medicine students among the scholars," Mr. Arroyo said.

In an earlier meeting with the scholars, Flavier reminded them that they need the values of simplicity, patriotism and nationalism and said they can exemplify these values by serving in the barrios.

The scholars will study either in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) or the University of the Philippines-College of Medicine.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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