‘My term ends in 2010′

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo came out swinging yesterday at her critics in her last State of the Nation Address defending her style of governance and vowing to continue to “fight” for the welfare of ordinary Filipinos and the economy up to the last day of her term in June 2010.

“At the end of this speech I shall step down from this stage, but not from the presidency. My term does not end until next year. Until then, I will fight for the ordinary Filipino. The nation comes first. There is much to do as head of state – to the very last day,” Mrs. Arroyo said.

Wearing a magenta terno and sporting a hairstyle similar to what she had when she was sworn into office in 2001, Mrs. Arroyo started her SONA with a prayer for the cancer-stricken former President Corazon Aquino, whom she later cited in her speech.

She said under her administration, the economy grew stronger despite the global recession while the country’s democracy remained protected despite several destabilization attempts accompanied by allegations of massive corruption and efforts to amend the Constitution to purportedly prolong her stay in office. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank expect the economy to contract this year.

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