GIRL  WHO  HELD  BIBLE  FOR  GMA  DISAPPOINTED

MANILA,
JANUARY 20, 2007 (STAR) By Katherine Adraneda - On Jan. 20, 2001, Patsy Abad held a copy of the Bible for President Arroyo as she took her oath after the ouster of Joseph Estrada from the presidency.

Now 17, Patsy is a year shy of exercising her right to vote but is actively involved in a campaign for "responsible voting" as she tries to get over her disappointment over the turn of events after the second people power revolt.

Patsy hopes her campaign can help bring change in a country divided by political feuds.

"Disappointment is what I feel, rather than regret. Regret means wishing something never happened, and I certainly do not wish that," Patsy, daughter of an estranged Arroyo ally, former education secretary Florencio Abad, said.

"Rather, it is painful disappointment at the realization that Jan. 20, (2001) was not the historical turning point for our country’s political leadership that we all wanted it to be. Instead, it has become a reminder of a great challenge that still lies before us."

A freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) taking European studies, Patsy noted that part of her is proud to have been part of history in such a big way.

After all, she said, how many teenagers could have their images immortalized in the local currency? She said that such opportunity and honor are usually reserved for the heroic, the accomplished, and the old.

"Every time I get a P200-bill in change, I must admit I still get a thrill when I see my 11-year-old self printed on it," she confessed.

"Edsa 2 was a proud moment in Philippine history, and I am proud to have taken part in it, despite the fact that the promises of ‘leadership by example’ and ‘new politics’ were not fulfilled by those who benefited from the courage and determination of many Filipinos, mostly young, to seek positive change in our country," she also said.

Patsy said the administration’s travesty of good governance is manifested in its handling of the "Hello Garci’’ controversy.

Her father left the Arroyo government in the midst of serious and graft and corruption issues that he thought the administration would rather ignore.

Patsy believes that President Arroyo has all the power to resolve the issue, once and for all.

"I was expecting more from President Arroyo. But we were left hanging," she said. "I think we have experienced so much already under President Arroyo. It’s enough."

Patsy spoke before students of the University of the Philippines yesterday during a teach-in session cum campaign by the youth cluster of party-list group Citizens Action Party (Akbayan) for responsible voting.

"Positive change is not something we must rely on others to give us. While it is definitely something we should demand from those that have promised it to us, it is our task to remind them, again and again, of their duty to fulfill their promises," Patsy said.

"People power is about acting together to achieve what we deserve... We have done our job, reminding leaders of the promises they made. Now, it is (the youth voter’s) job to let them know that we do not approve of leaders who break promises."

"If we want good politics, a leadership that we are proud of, and a country that we would be proud to inherit then we must act to get it together," she also said.

Youth activists, EDSA Dos veterans, and first-time voters gathered at the lobby of the UP Faculty Center in Diliman to commemorate and relive "a promising moment that was betrayed and degraded by traditional politics."

The participants called on young Filipinos to live up to the spirit of People Power by voting "conscientiously."

According to Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, the second bloodless revolution should be remembered as the victory of the Filipino youth’s exuberant and righteous indignation and as "a refreshing proof, too, against the cynicism and apathy of young Filipinos these days."

"Their collective passion is their strength, and their transformative power is their birthright," Hontiveros stressed.

"However, as we commemorate the strength of our unity, we should not also forget those who betrayed the spirit of EDSA Dos, especially those who have benefited from the people’s indignation," she said.

"We should continue to exact accountability from politicians like Mrs. Arroyo, who merely exploited the gains of the people to advance their personal interests," she added.

The group encouraged the people to use their votes to hold the Arroyo administration accountable for fraud and human rights violations.

Akbayan named President Arroyo, her husband First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Speaker Jose de Venecia, and former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano as "traitors of the spirit of EDSA," putting all of them in the group’s "Hall of Shame" list.

Meanwhile, supporters of Estrada marked yesterday the sixth year of his ouster with a big protest rally at the EDSA Shrine.

"The administration of Mrs. Arroyo is illegal and has no basis. It was an illegal takeover. President Estrada has been in detention for the past six years and they have not presented evidence (against him)," said Jose "Linggoy" Alcuaz, coordinator of the Oust Gloria Commission. - With Mike Frialde

GMA: I did what I could for the country’s good By Aurea Calica The Philippine Star 01/21/2007

On the anniversary of the people’s uprising that installed her to power six years ago, President Arroyo said she had done her best despite the many difficulties her administration had to face.

"My thought for today on this Edsa Dos anniversary is the satisfaction of having done what I could for the good of the nation," she said.

"The past has carried heavy trials but also great triumphs for the people. I am but an instrument of their most ardent aspirations," she added.

She rallied the people to stay the course with her as the country starts to reap the fruits of the reforms she said she had instituted.

Critics of the Arroyo administration and the opposition had always questioned the legitimacy of her administration. In 2001, they said she stole the presidency from deposed President Joseph Estrada, while in 2004, she allegedly cheated her way to victory in the polls.

The moves to unseat her, however, have been failing as the supposed third Edsa people’s uprising did not take off while the coup and destabilization attempts against her had been thwarted by authorities.

Her allies in the House of Representatives had also killed the impeachment moves against her.

Having surpassed all these, Mrs. Arroyo said she had the people to thank for and that she faces the day "sharing the hopes of those families who have been lifted from poverty and I promise to do better if I can."

She said the Philippines is already "crossing the threshold to an era of confidence and hope" and that the people must keep the momentum up.

She said this year started right with the economic indicators all looking bright and the people must not allow politics, especially the coming elections, to ruin the momentum.

"Global approval of and confidence in the Philippine track is firm and will stay that way as long as we keep our sights on the economy and not on partisan politics," she said.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye also said Mrs. Arroyo would stay focused on the economy and the business of the people rather than allow politics to weigh down her agenda.

"This government will continue to stand on a platform of performance and the politics of development and social justice, even if our detractors try their worst to draw and bait us into the arena of mudslinging," Bunye said.

"The Filipino people are intelligent and totally turned off by partisan grandstanding and they will not allow the forthcoming polls to knock the Philippines off the right track, which is to work with the national leadership in keeping confidence up, gaining investments, creating jobs and increasing social payback of economic reforms," he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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