GMA wants Congress to stop wrangling and start legislating

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — AFTER addressing the country’s economic woes, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday focused her attention on political reforms, saying that preoccupation with politics hinders development.

The President made the call amid renewed efforts to impeach her as well as the spate of Senate investigations into alleged irregularities in government.

Opening the National Security Council meeting yesterday, Mrs. Arroyo said a lot of people in the country remain in poverty because there are leaders who delve on politics and personal interest, instead of helping the country move forward.

“The preoccupation with politics, past and present, does not promote the stability, policy continuity, security, and peace and order that we will need to continue to move our country forward.” Mrs. Arroyo said the Cabinet meeting yesterday is meant to find ways to promote peace and improve social services to the poor, in particular to provide potable water, good education, and how to use the P1 billion she earlier ordered release to fight hunger.

“Now that we have put our economy in order, it’s time to address reforms in politics: reduce conflicts, fight graft and corruption, stop violence, and put priority for the welfare of the common people,” the President said. Mrs. Arroyo said that in the coming weeks the administration will reach out to the leaders of the different political groups, religious, and other sectors to encourage them to join the fight against political violence and promote peace.

In accordance with such objectives, Mrs. Arroyo reiterated her appeal to legislators to stop political wrangling and start legislating.

Congress has demonstrated that when it sets aside self-interest it can produce laws that could help improve the qualify of life of Filipinos, citing the legislature’s action on the Cheap Medicine Bill and the passage of the 2008 budget in the House of Representatives.

But the President exhorted the Filipinos to support her administration achieve its unfinished business. “The whole society should help, starting from the leadership, to fight the excesses in politics: violence, graft and disregard for the needs of the poor. It is not an easy task, but we have to strive to achieve this.”

The President said that it’s time for the nation to move on and focus on the issues that are important to our future: creating more jobs, lowering prices, providing affordable housing, and providing access to education for all our children.