PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo stressed the importance of the “skilled classes” composed of engineers, teachers, information technologists, and other professionals to rebuild the country economically.

The skilled classes are important in sustaining a country’s economy, the President told Thomasians during her new weekly broadcast show, “May Gloria ang Bukas Mo,” taped at the Medicine Cinematorium last Nov. 10.

“Sa United States pa lang, they would need about 25,000 IT-related graduates, while our country needs around 10,000. It only shows that there are many opportunities for our countrymen,” she said.

The President said that Filipinos are being sought overseas because of their English proficiency, computer literacy, and easy comprehension of instruction.

Coming from Brunei last Nov. 6, the President discussed the salient points of the plan for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Free Trade Area that had been proposed in the past summits.

Macapagal-Arroyo explained that the plan would stimulate the economies of the ASEAN countries for it would bring them in closer trading contact with China, one of the world’s biggest markets.

Furthermore, in her trip to the US, Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo said that she would seek military aid and strengthen bilateral ties in her meeting with President George W. Bush.

The President also expressed optimism for the National Socio-Economic Summit, which will be held on Dec. 10. This conference will aim to improve the country’s technology and economic performance, key factors that will make the Philippines qualified for globalization, she added.

Among the accomplishments Macapagal-Arroyo mentioned were her recent trips to the ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation where she expressed the country’s support for the US campaign against terrorism.

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Paggising sa kamalayang Filipino

It was the first time that the President taped her show in a campu. She said that she wanted better rapport with students.

It was also a sentimental visit for the President. Her parents, the late President Diosdado Macapagal and the late first lady Eva Macaraeg-Macapagal, were UST alumni. In fact, they met and fell in love with each other in UST.

In one of the lighter moments of the show, Arroyo told the audience about the propitious meeting. She said her father had just topped the bar exams and the University administrators called off classes to celebrate Macapagal’s achievement.

This, the President said, drew the ire of her soon-to-be mother, Eva Macaraeg, who was studying at that time at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. It turned out her mother had reviewed hard for a difficult test the same day only for her to see her efforts to go to waste because the administration had suspended classes. Billy Joe I. Allardo and Karen M. Peña

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