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Erap visits Malaybalay; Distributes Funds

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MALAYBALAY CITY - President Joseph E. Estrada once again visited Bukidnon, the day the KAAMULAN festivities kicked off.

Estrada's five choppers touched down at the Provincial Capitol Ground Malaybalay City at almost 12:00 o'clock noon. Gov. Carlos O. Fortich and other government officials accompanied the president to the fully occupied Bukidnon State College Gym where a brief program was set.

Fortich welcomed Estrada, praising the president for his balanced allocation of public funds in the field of infrastructures, social services, housing, irrigation, agriculture, financing, watershed and others.

President Estrada distributed millions of public funds to various sectors such as Lingap Para sa Mahirap groups Erap Sari-sari Stores, framers cooperatives, the homeless, urban poor and other groups. He also distributed land title certificates and funds for post harvest facilities.

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Mayor Antonio S. Doromal of Maramag, president of League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Bukidnon chapter who emceed the program presented the beneficiaries who in returned thanked the president.

President Estrada in his message emphasized his vision to transform Mindanao into a food basket of the country. He said it is now being fulfilled after his 5-day visit in Mindanao.

Estrada also promised to realize his shelter program before his term ends, to provide individual house for teachers, police and the army personnel which he said are the "bayani ng bayan."

He introduced Ms. Lenny de Jesus as the new Secretary for the Department of Housing, with whom he said he has full confidence in implementing the shelter program of the government.

Estrada said he is so concerned of the progress of the nation. He said he does not mind the criticism and the attacks against him by his foes as long as he is delivering the needed services to the masses.

He encouraged everyone to continue the march towards prosperity. According to him, it is his dream and also of the past administrations - to erase poverty from our midst which is still present in our society today.

Estrada pointed out that he and his cabinet will not stop in fighting poverty in our country. Likewise, the president stressed the importance of globalization. "We cannot isolate ourselves from it otherwise we will lag behind," Estrada pointed out.

He said the Filipino economy has slide down from number one in Asia in 1950 to number 10 in 1990. He called for unity and to work together to continue the struggle towards economic recovery.

President Estrada renewed his commitment to uplift the poor masses from the quagmire of poverty.

Together with the president were DILG Secretary Alfredo Lim, DBM Secretary Diokno, DAR Secretary Horacio Morales. DA Secretary Edgardo Angara, Press Secretary Rod Reyes, Land Bank of the Philippines President Casuela, DPWH Secretary Gregorio Vigillar and other members of his cabinet.

Local officials present were Gov. Fortich, Vice-Gov. Beltran, Mayor Doromal and other local government officials.

Also in attendance were multi-sectoral groups composed of farmers, cooperatives, urban poor, NGO's, government officials, students, and other sectors. (Headline of Central Mindanao Newswatch, 1st Week of March 2000.)

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