It’s been seven years now since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the President of the Philippines, has been seated in power. And its been that long that she’s taking rants and being bashed by her critics.
I’m not much of a fan of Mrs. Arroyo, but I’d rather have her stay seated in power until 2010. Actually, most of the Philippines does. The only ones bashing her presidency are the people in the Metro Manila area and most of the Luzon area. The other parts of Luzon and a major part of Visayas and Mindanao are solid Arroyo blocs, why? It’s because for the first time we actually felt progress. In my city of Dumaguete, we only had one international fastfood outlet before Arroyo’s time (Jollibee). Today, we have more or less fifteen to twenty. And a shopping mall is being built as well, a sign of investor confidence. Did I mention we have a call center here now? GMA’s “Ramdam ang Kaunlaran” saying is really evident here, and in neighboring provinces as well. Although it was during the time of Fidel Ramos that the Philippine economy skyrocketed to all new heights, the economic growth during Arroyo’s term is much higher than previous presidents ranging from 4.5 % – 7.3 % compared to 3% of Aquino, 3.4% of Ramos and 2.8% of Estrada. And of course how could we forget her most evident achievement, the strengthening of the peso. During a time when the Peso was at its weakest, Arroyo was able to turn the table and made it Asia’s best performing currency.
Another great accomplishment of Mrs. Arroyo is the stabilizing of overseas employment. Over 600,000 Filipinos have found jobs abroad thanks to her reforms and policies. Foreign relations have also improved, like the strengthening of relations with the US, cooling down the tensions between Malaysia and forging different economic and military agreements between several countries such as Russia, France and the European Union. And Mrs. Arroyo’s administration have shown support to different aspects of the society like the military. Although she may not be the only one in history to show full support to modernize the military, she is the one who have revived the campaign after such a long period. She made it possible for the military to purchase modern helicopters, ground equipments and other basic needs. She has also been the only to have been concerned that the country doesn’t even have a single fixed-wing dogfighting aircraft. Not only that, she also raised salaries and gave more benefits to soldiers.
Her accomplishments have wowed and have been felt by the people of Visayas and Mindanao. The least loud regions. Unlike Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon who have been pampered with the most advanced modernization, Visayas and Mindanao have been ignored by past presidents and have only experienced modernization during the time of President Arroyo. This was also the case during Joseph Estrada’s administration, wherein the Makati capitalists and Manila students ousted him who at that time focused his administration on social services and privileges for the poor. Manila has been pampered enough, causing it to become a spoiled brat. If they don’t like the president so much, let them deal with it. For any act of ousting the president would be contradicted by Visayas and Mindanao.