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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Friday, 01 May 2009 20:14

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Friday, May 1, 2009 

 

A team of ranking government officials dispatched by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to counter adverse news reports abroad stopped over in San Diego on Wednesday night (April 29) on the last leg of a US-wide tour. Over free buffet dinner of Philippine foods hosted and paid for by the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, the officials led by Secretary Edgardo Pamintuan and Undersecretary Danilo Consumido made a pitch for the embattled Arroyo administration. Only the good news were spoken -- that the country is still afloat, that economic growth is forecast to rise and that democracy is alive and vibrant. From their perspective, Filipinos are "tired" of staging another people-power revolution.

 

     

* Filipinos Tired of Another 'People Power' Revolt, Says Ranking Official; Philippines Is Still Afloat Despite Woes

 

By ROMEO P. MARQUEZ

 

The author is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the National Press Club of the Philippines-USA.

 

S AN DIEGO - Ranking Philippine officials on a tour to counter adverse publicity about the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the country is "still afloat" despite the global economic crisis and that the people had grown tired of resorting to popular revolt to effect change.

 

On a stopover in San Diego Wednesday night (April 29) on the last leg of a US-wide campaign, the officials claimed "democracy is alive and vibrant" in the island nation even in the face of protest rallies and agitation to oust Arroyo whom critics said was "the most corrupt" Philippine President, upstaging the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

 

Danilo A. Consumido, an undersecretary in Arroyo's office at the presidential Malacanang Palace in Manila, said people were more concerned with resolving economic problems than resorting to another "people power" revolt, the bloodless mass uprisings that had driven two Philippine Presidents out of office.

 

"It seems that our people have allowed the government to tackle the most-difficult economic issues," he told a gathering of the different Filipino community associations in the San Diego suburb of National City, the small Navy town where the biggest concentration (on a per-capita basis) of Filipinos in America live and work.

 

The Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles headed by Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon hosted the event with a free buffet dinner at the Villa Manila Restaurant. About 50 people showed up, none of them the intended target of a sales pitch promoting the Subic and Clark economic corridors.

 

 

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive
Volume 3, Issue No. 7 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . . A community service of
San Diego's Philippine Village Voice for the information and better understanding of the public . . .

 

(Editor's Note: Mr. Marquez's e-mail address: PhilVoiceNews@aol.com and telephone number, 619.265.0611)

 

 

T he attendees consisted mostly of the "usual suspects", the same people herded to show their faces every time the community's umbrella organization, the scandal-ridden Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO), co-stages an event.

 

Among those with Undersecretary Consumido were Secretary Edgardo Pamintuan, Philippine Presidential Adviser for External Affairs and chair of the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council, and a team from Subic Bay corporation.

 

Part of their mission was to convince investors to put their money in projects lined up by the Arroyo administration in Clark and Subic, the two areas previously occupied by the US Air Force and the Navy.

 

"The Philippines is no longer the sick man of Asia from the time Mrs. Arroyo became President," declared Mr. Consumido, citing statistics to back up his claims. He said economic growth is projected this year to improve by 4.1 percent from last year's 3.1 percent.

 

"The Philippine economy is fundamentally sound," he stresses, and repeated what others had said earlier that the Philippines is an island of calm at the center of a storm.

 

Mr. Consumido explained the decision to "de-couple" from the United States -- the Philippines was once a US colony -- and trade with many countries, including China, had cushioned off the negative impact on the economy.

 

A dding to that is the growing money remittance from Overseas-Filipino workers which last year reached $16-billion. He appealed to Filipinos to continue their remittance, even suggesting they increase it by at least $20.

 

Mr. Consumido suggested that the current political instability in the Philippines was being fanned by the (Philippine) Senate.

 

"The (Philippine) Senate creates negative perceptions and then leaves the issues unresolved," he states.

 

He also proposed that protestors go to the courts to settle their differences instead of marching in the streets of Manila. "Nagpapagod lang tayo. Dalhin na lang sa husgado," he said in Tagalog.

 

Mr. Consumido also implied that the Arroyo government may use its extraordinary power when the need arises. Critics claimed President Arroyo was poised to impose martial law to prolong her term, which ends in 2010.

 

"The President has been harshly criticized but she's very focused on the economy," Undersecretary Consumido added. # # #

 

 



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Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2009 20:37
 

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