APRIL 20 2007 (Office of the Press Secretary) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is extending the Philippine government’s "full cooperation" in the United States ongoing investigation on the circumstances that led to the death of US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell.

Press Secretary and concurrent Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye said in a statement this morning the President "is saddened" by the death of the Peace Corps worker.

"The President is saddened by the death of Campbell and the government is extending its full cooperation to the US authorities in investigating the circumstances that led to it," Bunye said.

"It is unfortunate that a committed and selfless person, who has, based on the work she has done in Sorsogon, obviously grown to love our country, met a tragic end here," he added.

Campbell’s body was found Wednesday buried in a shallow grave at a dry creek in Barangay Batad, Ifugao, by one of the 40 locals who volunteered to locate Campbell after she was last seen on April 8 in a hilly area of Barangay Batad.

Campbell, who was from Fairfax, Virginia, was among the 137 US Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines. She was a journalist for the New York Times and other various newspapers for 15 years when she decided to leave her job after the Sept. 11 World Trade Center bombing.

She served in ecological and educational projects in Southern Luzon since March 2005. Her latest assignment was in Sorsogon in the Bicol region, particularly in projects for the typhoon Reming’s victims.

So far, more than 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served the country since 1961, making the Philippines one of the oldest Peace Corps program beneficiaries in the world.

FG recovering swiftly The Philippine Star 04/20/2007

First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo continued his speedy recovery from his open heart surgery, eating a sandwich and joining his doctors at St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) to discuss his progress.

Mr. Arroyo’s chief of staff, Juris Soliman, told reporters that he was able to take solid food after being fed intravenously shortly after his surgery and given soft food in the last few days.

Soliman said Mr. Arroyo was also able to join for the first time his doctors in their daily conference on their patient.

"I’m your miracle," Soliman quoted Mr. Arroyo as telling his doctors during the meeting.

Mr. Arroyo earlier expressed his gratitude to friends and supporters who have prayed and continue to pray for his speedy recovery. He said prayers from friends and supporters "helped save my life."

"I hope to reciprocate your prayers with an intensified effort to help the poor, especially the sick, in my own little way at the soonest possible time," he said in a statement.

Mr. Arroyo said he was overwhelmed by the large number of flowers that he has received in the past 10 days that he has been confined at SLMC.

However, he asked that the money spent for flowers be donated instead to the FG Foundation Fund at the Philippine General Hospital "so that we can serve a greater number of sick indigents." – Paolo Romero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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