Former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today voiced her support for the Martial Law in Mindanao, saying that she backs the efforts of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“I support what the President does because I’ve been President and I believe that he (President Rodrigo Duterte) doesn’t need a peanut gallery to tell him what to do,” Speaker Arroyo said in an ambush interview on Thursday in Floridablanca, Pampanga where she led the inauguration of the Romana Pangan District Hospital Annex Building.

Speaker Arroyo also remained firm that she will retire from her political career after her term as a Member of the House ends in 2019.

“We all have to move on. People do reach retirement age,” she said.

She added that “one of the blessings” of being the current Speaker is working with the younger congressmen.

“Seeing how they work, seeing how good they are, I’m very confident that the new generation will be very good in taking over the reins of government,”  Speaker Arroyo said.

Moreover, Speaker Arroyo commented on the plenary approval of her House Bill 7857, which aims to establish Timbangan ng Bayan Centers in all private and public markets nationwide.

“Those are the things I was doing as an ordinary congresswoman. It will help to make sure that in the markets when the customers buy their products, they will know it is really the right quantity and the right weight,” she said.

The ambush interview was conducted on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Romana Pangan District Hospital Annex Building in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

Arroyo led the inauguration and ribbon-cutting ceremony and spoke of her personal ties to Floridablanca, which was the hometown of her paternal grandmother.

She further emphasized the need to make healthcare services and facilities more accessible.

Funded by the European Union (EU), the expansive renovation includes an Emergency Room, Outpatient Department, Dental, X-Ray, Laboratory, OB-Surgical Ward and Patient Rooms.

“We’re very happy that the European Union has helped to provide this expansion, and we’re very happy that Governor (Lilia Pineda) is providing another expansion. This will indeed be a very good memorial for my grandmother and a very big service to the people of Floridablanca,” Arroyo said.

Meanwhile, EU Head of Delegation to the Philippines Ambassador Franz Jessen said the cooperation to address the day to day needs of citizens is what drives the relationship between the Philippines and the EU.

“There are issues such as the cooperation on health, the support that we extend to improve the Philippine health situation in the hospitals. Things like that, that often do not get big headlines in our daily life are much more important than what we do in the UN (United Nations) context,” he said.

He also commended  the national government and the Department of Health on the efficient use of funds from the EU to improve healthcare in the country, as well as the Speaker and the local officials for being aware of and responsive to the needs of the community.

“They’ve done a good job. They’ve spent the money very well. So I’m very pleased to see that. And I’m very pleased to see that they’ve been spending it here on this hospital too, so thank you for that,” Jessen said.

Also in attendance were Rep. Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon), Health Secretary Francisco Duque, Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda and Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda, and Lubao Mayor Mylyn Cayabyab. / Czarina Engracia

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