List of Bios:
Being the daughter of the late President Diosdado Pangan Macapagal, she continues the political legacy of an honest and incorruptible politician who led a simple but dignified lifestyle and did so much for his countrymen particularly the men who toil the land of their birth from sunrise to sundown. Her dad's advice and motto "Do what is right, do your best and let God take care of the rest" is always on her mind and the individual words of the motto are the words she lives by, everyday of her life. She projects herself as a strong-willed and determined woman who has control of her life and her responsibilities as a loving wife, a caring mother of her own family and as the highest government official of her beloved country.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was born on April 5, 1947 in Manila
to President Diosdado P. Macapagal who was then the Chief Legal Counsel
of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Dr. Evangelina Macaraeg-Macapagal
of Binalonan, Pangasinan. She has a younger brother, Diosdado M. Macapagal,
Jr., a former Undersecretary of Finance of the Philippines and two elder
half siblings, former two-term Pampanga Vice Governor Cielo Macapagal-Salgado
and business executive Arturo Macapagal. While growing up she lived with
her maternal grandmother in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte where she spent
years of her childhood and started her early education.
After completing her sophomore year at Georgetown University in Washington DC in 1968, she returned to the Philippines to marry her sweetheart, Jose Miguel Arroyo whom she met at the birthday party of a friend, Patty Araneta, in Baguio City, Philippines. She was only twenty one years old and her husband was twenty-two years of age at the time they made their wedding vows. Their marriage did not deter their determination to pursue their college education. She eventually earned a Doctorate in Economics and her husband completed his law studies and became a successful lawyer and businessman. Their marriage produced a lovely and intelligent daughter named, Evangelina Lourdes but fondly called Luli, and two equally-smart and good-looking sons, Mikey and Dato. Mikey who has a bachelor's degree in political science from a prestigious university in California USA has a flourishing movie career as an actor. He threw his hat into the political arena in the May 2001 national and local election and easily won as vice governor of the Province Pampanga. Luli has a degree in International Relations and passed the examination for Foreign Affairs Officers but because of her family relation with the president of the Philippines, her appointment papers as a Foreign Affairs Officer were held in abeyance. In the meantime, Luli works for a non-profit organization heavily involved in charitable activities.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo commenced her professional career as a college professor of economics. In 1986, she was appointed by President Corazon C. Aquino as Assistant Secretary of Trade and Industry and she is credited for the rapid growth of the garment industry in the eighties. She was promoted later as Undersecretrary of the same department and made a name again for her expertise in economics as evidenced by the substantial progression in investment, manufacturing and commerce during her term. In 1992, she ran for the Philippine Senate and she was re-elected as a senator in 1995 as number one senator with more than twelve million and seven hundred thousand votes. As a senator she filed more than four hundred Senate Bills and Resolutions for better business environment, for women empowerment, for social development and for agriculture and for the protection of the environment. She sponsored or authored fifty five bills that were signed into law and constituted the core of the economic program of President Fidel Ramos which brought the Philippines to the status of Asia's next tiger. She was ranked number one in a public opinion of performance and awareness among senators in the nineties and was chosen by Asia Week as one of Asia's most powerful women. The Catholic Education Association of the Philippines also voted her Woman of the Year. She was named as Outstanding Senator by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, by the SBN 336, Magna Carta for the Urban Poor, by the Philippine Graphic Weekly Magazine, by the Philippine Reporter Magazine, by the Philippine Eye Magazine and by Emil Jurado, Manila Standard Columnist.
In 1998, the then Senator Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected as Vice President of the Philippines although her presidential candidate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jose de Venecia lost the election to Joseph Estrada. Concurrently with her vice presidential position, she was appointed by President Joseph Estrada as Secretary of Social Welfare and Development. As a cabinet member she made significant contributions and worked hard for the poor of the poorest traveling throughout the Philippine Archipelago helping in the distribution of relief goods to victims of calamities, consoling the families of soldiers and police officers who died in their line of duties, awarding medals of valor for heroism, visiting wounded soldiers, etc. She resigned from her appointed position on October 12, 2000 when President Joseph Estrada was accused by Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson of Ilocos Sur for graft and corruption by taking bribes and kickbacks from illegal gambling and tobacco excise tax intended for the tobacco producing provinces. She led the United Opposition political parties calling for the resignation of President Joseph Estrada.
When the Philippine Senate stopped the Impeachment Trial of former President Joseph Estrada because majority of the pro-administration senators voted not to open an exhibit envelop containing legal and banking documents linking President Estrada to multi-million peso banking transactions under an alleged fictitious name, he lost the support of the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and many of his cabinet officials resigned from their positions in January, 2001. He was forced to vacate the presidential position at the height of the citizens' protests and demonstrations at the EDSA Shrine. On January 20, 2001, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn in as the 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Hilario Davide, Jr. in the presence of her beloved family before the cheering the crowd of hundreds of thousands of heroes and heroines of People Power 2.
As president, her priorities are the restoration of public confidence
in the country's leadership, revival of the economy, initiation of programs
to combat poverty and reduce crimes. She is also aware of the fact that
the Philippines is a multi-ethnic society and she believes that there
must be institutionalized accommodation of different cultures and we have
to recognize that in our society, we have Bicolanos, Cebuanos, Ilocanos,
Ilongos, Pampangos, Pangasinanse, Tagalogs, etc. It is amazing that she
speaks fluently these Philippine languages and she stresses that we have
to respect and develop our ethnic cultures and languages for better understanding
of what we are and where we came from. ([email protected]
Photo credits: Courtesy of Lia Bautista