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A clear platform can make or break a candidate
in next month's polls - GMA

April 06, 2004

MANILA (PNA) -- A clear platform on how each candidate would solve the ills now plaguing the country should be the main issue in next month's presidential polls.

This, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo believes, is what will make or break each of the candidates gunning for the highest post in the land.

In a television interview over the Iglesia ni Kristo-owned Cable Channel Net 25, the President told +Con Todos Recados, hosts Ellaine Fuentes and Totoy Talastas that in her consultations with the people all over the country, she found out that what they really want to know is the platform of each of the presidential candidates.

"Gusto nilang malaman ang balak ng ibat ibang kandidato tungkol sa pagbabago ng kanilang buhay lalo na sa mga bagay ng ekonomiya, trabaho, presyo, hanapbuhay ... hindi yung mga generalities kundi yung specifics. Yun ang kanilang pinagbabatayan (They want to know how each of the candidates can change their lives particularly on issues affecting the economy, employment, prices, jobs ... not generalities but specifics. That would be the basis of their decision)," she said.

The President deplored that the campaign had degenerated into character assassination and black propaganda instead of purely tackling issues.

"Okay lang po kung isyu, puwede nating pag-usapan, puwede nating linawin. Ang problema kapag character assassination at black propaganda, yan ang problema (It's okay if it's issues, they can be talked about, they can be cleared. The problem is if it's character assassination or black propaganda)," she clarified.

The President noted that like her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal, she believes that the basic issue now confronting the country is poverty.

In her four-point agenda against poverty, the President revealed that creating jobs is of paramount importance, that is why she said the government is focused on creating an environment conducive to investors.

In the countryside, focus is on agriculture and land reform, which, according to her, was her father's legacy during his presidency.

Direct services to the poor has also been taken care of, she said, like her water for the waterless program, housing and medicare benefits.

The fourth agenda in her program, she said, is good governance.

On the issue that she has the undue advantage of using government resources for her campaign, the President said she is not the first President nor the first politician running as an incumbent.

The Chief Executive cited the case of former President Marcos who was even charged but subsequently cleared by the courts.

"Hindi mapaghihiwalay yon at rule na yon in favor of Marcos noong panahon niya. Marami pa pong jurisprudence tungkol sa mga incumbent na tumatakbo (It cannot be separated and the courts have ruled in favor of Marcos during his time. Besides, we have many jurisprudence about incumbents running for office)," the President said.

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