LP 60th ANNIVERSARY:  GMA AT LP MANILA PARTY, DRILON IN MAKATI

[PHOTO AT LEFT - PRESIDENT ARROYO acknowledges the cheers from the crowd after she is introduced by the LP chairman, Mayor Lito Atienza of Manila, second from left, in Plaza Miranda Thursday. Photo by Ruy Martinez]

MANILA, January 20 2006 (MANILA TIMES) The Liberal Party’s 60th anniversary on Thursday highlighted the growing division in its leadership.

President Arroyo was guest at the celebration, held at Plaza Miranda. Joining her onstage was Mayor Lito Atienza of Manila, chairman of the Liberal Party, and party stalwart Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

Absent was the party’s president, Senate President Franklin Drilon, whose relationship with Mrs. Arroyo has been strained since he called on her to resign last year.

Drilon was at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City where the party was holding a regional conference.

In her speech Mrs. Arroyo endorsed Atienza as the hope of Manilans.

The President, who said her father, former President Diosdado Macapagal, belonged to the Liberal Party, solicited the party’s support in granting benefits to government workers.

In the proposed P1.053-trillion budget bill for 2006, P30 billion had been allocated for salary raises for one million state employees.

“Government workers deserve an increase. They deserve to benefit from the gains of our economic reforms,” the President said.

She called on the Liberal Party lawmakers to approve the special budgetary bill before Valentine’s Day so she could present it as a gift to the government workers.

She also promised more reform measures that will lift the Philippines to the level of a First-World country in the next 20 years.

Mrs. Arroyo also called on the LP to reject the guns, goons and gold system, which she said the enemies of the government continue to employ to advance their political interests.

“Help me improve our economy, which was worsened by the continued increase in the prices of oil in the world market and by persistent political noise,” she said. --Sam Mediavilla


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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