Wednesday, 9 April 2008

President Arroyo: Put food on the table not politics on the front page


PILAR, Bataan, April 9 (PNA) -- Noting that the people need food on the table more than just political bickerings, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Wednesday lashed out at her critics for continuing to engage in "political jockeying" amid the problem on the rising fuel and rice cost in the world market.

In her speech at the 66th Commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan held at the Mt. Samat Shrine here, the President said "Our near-term objective is to focus on putting food on the table for our people. The global rise in the price of basic commodities like fuel and rice is putting a strain on all hardworking Filipinos and veterans, and others who live on fixed pensions and especially our very poor."

"We aim to prevent these strains on individuals and your families by preventing these strains from becoming a crisis by taking decisive action," she said.

President Arroyo said it is essential for the country's political leaders "to join hands and close ranks" to meet this challenge.

"This is no time for political posturing. We need food on the table, not headlines in the newspapers. We must invest, not just investigate. It is time for action, not political wrangling," she stressed.

"The people deserve that we focus on a positive agenda, not get wrapped up in political jockeying. No endless investigation will put rice on the table, a computer in a classroom or a health clinic in a barangay. We must put the interests of the individual Filipino above all else and make sure to reassure our people that we are providing steady and strong leadership at this critical point in time. To repeat: We must put rice on the table and not politics on the front page," the President said.

Opposition senators vowed to continue with their investigation of the national broadband network (NBN) scandal and also the swine fund scam.

On the other hand, United States Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenny, in a chance interview, said her government will continue to help the Philippines in easing its rice problem through continuous supply of the staple and research.

She said her country is "ready to make (rice) available as much as the Philippines (will) need."

"We will always make our supplies available for export if the Philippines needs rice supply," she added.

The government recently imported about 50,000 metric tons (MT) of rice from the US, which it sold at a subsidized-price of P25 per kilo.

Kenney said the US is also contributing to the country's rice research to help develop a variety that she said was more nutritious and more disease-free.

"We are very excited to be part of that so yes, you can count on us," she said. (PNA)

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