CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - Governor Lilia Pineda thanked Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her major contributions to the development of the province from being a senator, Vice President, and President of the country.

"Her contributions especially in the aftermath of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption have significantly contributed to the rehabilitation of Pampanga," Pineda said during the flag raising rite.

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The governor added that Arroyo made possible the recovery of the province from the devastation wrought by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the '90s.

"Through the efforts and stewardship of the former President, billions of pesos were poured into the construction of infrastructure mitigation projects in Porac and other affected towns of the province," she said.

Pineda added that before Arroyo's term as President of the country ended, she allotted P100 million for the purchase of ambulance units, repair and improvement of public hospitals, including provision of other health services in the province.

"This budget would enable us to realize our priority programs and projects in the province especially in terms of improving the services of our public hospitals and providing for the health needs of our constituents," she said.

"Now that she is in Congress, Arroyo would be of even greater help and assistance to our province," Pineda said as she enjoined the Capitol officials and employees to continuously pray for Arroyo's good health.

Pineda also made special mention of the outstanding efforts of then governor Bren Z. Guiao of ensuring the economic development of the province.

After her message, Pineda then presented the members of the Pampanga Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) who garnered two awards in the recent 7th Regional First Aid and Basic Life Support Olympics held last Friday in Olongapo City.

During the said event, the PDCC received the first runner-up in the provincial level and the special award as best on Situational Analysis Focused on Immobilization.

Fresh from her trip to Hongkong with husband Mike and son Diosdado, Arroyo arrived promptly Monday for the eight o'clock flag raising activity and joined the other attendees in the singing of the Pambansang Awit, Panunumpa sa Watawat, and Panunumpa ng Kawani sa Pamahalaan.

Soon after the morning's ceremonies, Arroyo posed for a souvenir photo in front of her father's historical marker, former President Diosdado Macapagal, located at the Capitol's main entrance, then joined the governor and the Provincial Board members and officials in a tour of the main offices of the Capitol and met with some visiting officials on matters pertaining to infrastructure development in the province.

Later on, the said officials proceeded to the inauguration of two newly completed school buildings in San Matias, Lubao town, a project of the Philippine Air Force, involving a four-classroom building and a three-classroom building.

The Monday's flag raising was first in the Capitol's history as the former president joined Pineda and other officials and employees of the Provincial Government in the said weekly activity. (Erlinda T. Yutuc/Pampanga PIO)