President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday praised outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, saying he drew inspiration from the former leader particularly in strengthening the country’s armed forces.
In a speech during the appreciation dinner for the former president and House Speaker at the Manila Hotel, President Duterte said Macapagal-Arroyo envisioned to make the Philippines a “strong republic.”
“Ganito rin. That’s also my sloganeering. I always said that my oath of office…reduce it in a very simple term is that: I swore to protect the people and preserve the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
“So I would like at any other time, we have acquired so many armaments. And there were things, kakaunti na lang, which I hope that Congress would tide us over to complete the instruments that we need in dealing especially with terrorism.”
The President hopes that by the time he steps down from power, the country’s security forces would be fully equipped to respond to all threats particularly violent extremism.
“I hope that by the time I make my exit, nandiyan na lahat ‘yan because I am not belittling the events to come or the person coming in to be the next president. Hindi ko alam kung sino. And I’d rather that I leave with a strong military and police and equipped to challenge the enemies of the state, especially terrorism,” he explained.
According to the President, he foresees very dangerous times ahead especially in the restive Sulu and Basilan Islands. The government, he noted, must be prepared, adding that there are things that the armed forces and the police must have.
Praising the former leader for her tough leadership, President Duterte said President Arroyo’s decisive actions, even if such decisions would prove to be unpopular, have carried the nation forward, especially during trying times.
“Indeed, President Arroyo’s extensive experience as a renowned economist and academic was crucial in laying down the foundations of our country’s steady economic growth during her term, the effects of which are still felt today and will be felt in the years ahead,” he said of the former president.
During Macapagal-Arroyo’s impressive 27-year career in the legislative and executive branches of the government, she became a major figure and was instrumental in crafting policies that created bullish economy for the country.
Serving in various capacities, she crossed party lines and worked with different sectors to implement legislations that improved the people’s welfare, brought decentralized development and instituted significant fiscal reforms that sustained the nation for almost three decades, he noted.
House Speaker’s long career in politics
The daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal, Macapagal-Arroyo graduated magna cum laude from Assumption College (1968) in Manila and earned a master’s degree in Economics (1978) from Ateneo de Manila University and a doctorate in Economics (1986) from the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. She also studied Economics at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
In 1992, she won a seat in the Senate and was reelected in 1995. She was elected vice president in 1998. On January 20, 2001, following the ouster of former President Joseph Estrada, Macapagal-Arroyo assumed power. She was reelected president in 2004.
Barred from seeking another six-year presidential term, she ran for and won a seat in the House of Representatives in the May 2010 national and local elections. In May 2016, she was reelected to Congress and became the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2018. PND