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Militants asked GMA to foot the bill on latest trip

Latest trip cost taxpayers P 123 million
Militants asked GMA to foot the bill on latest trip

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to
shoulder the expenses of her latest trip to Switzerland,Italy, Saudia Arabia, Bahrain and the United States.

“We strongly suggest President Arroyo to shoulder the expenses of her latest trip to Europe, Middle East and the United States. Her trip last week is not in the interest of the Filipino people, therefore she should
foot the bill and source the money from her own hidden wealth,” Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz said in a press statement.

Corpuz said: ” President Arroyo spent P 123 million for her five-day travel escapade crossing the continents of Europe, the Middle East and North
America in a record-breaking run. She should pay for her own trip, the Filipino taxpayers should be
liberated from paying Arroyo’s around the world in 80-day drama.”

Pamalakaya said the P 123 million is enough to build 2,640 modest homes for urban poor, or 2,640 new
classroons at a modest price of P 50,000 per unit, or could provide immediate relief of P 50,000 per
overseas Filipino worker for 2,640 returning OFWs in the country who are displaced by the current economic and financial crisis.

The militant group said the P 123 million could be used to put up 1,320 water pumps all over the country
at the price of P 100,000 per water pump, or 2,640 new jobs at a rate of P 50,000 per job.

Pamalakaya said the P 123 million spent by Mrs. Arroyo could have been used to production subsidies of rural
producers like farmers and fisherfolk, and could buy 8,200,000 kilos of locally produced palay from
Filipino farmers at the rate of P 15 per kilo.

“Mrs. Arroyo is wasting the people’s money for her global moonlighting. This is very unfair to me, to you
and to all of us,” the Pamalakaya information chief added.

But Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita defended the President asserting that the bill was “worth it” since the President secured “pledges” for multi-million dollar investments, including $200 million for agriculture from Saudi Arabia, $300 million for
agriculture and between $350-$400 million for a Makati City hotel from Bahrain, and $1.2 billion for textile
exports to the US.

President Arroyo was criticized for making a side-trip to Washington to attend the National Prayer Breakfast,
in what her critics called was an attempt to secure a meeting with US President Barack Obama.

Arroyo failed to meet Obama, but she was able to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a group of
Senators to press for the passage of a bill that will increase the benefits of Filipino World War II veterans.

Ermita said 61 people were on the President’s official party, excluding security personnel, of which, only 20
went with her to Washington from Manama, Bahrain. #

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