Arroyo heckled during Women's Day rites in Pasay
President Arroyo was heckled by government employees several times while delivering a speech during the celebration of International Women's Day at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Pasay, Manila Thursday morning.
The President told the crowd at the stadium that the government's microfinance project seeks to grant loans to the poor so they can start small businesses.
She added that the government signed a memorandum of agreement with the Canadian government, which allocates P300 million for women transformation.
She then asked the audience, composed mostly of government employees, who among them had benefited from microfinance.
"Wala (None)!" shouted the audience.
The President then asked Myrna Yao, chairwoman of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, to explain why the women did not receive financial aid when they should have been the first ones to benefit from it. Yao said the women who had benefited from the project were not invited.
Mrs. Arroyo asked Yao why the beneficiaries were not invited. She then turned to the audience and asked: "Who among you are conduits to microfinance?"
The crowd again shouted in the negative and started heckling the President.
Yao then explained that most of the beneficiaries attended last year's Women's Day rally and that this year's attendees were all new.
Mrs. Arroyo then asked the audience in Tagalog: "Maybe this is the first time you attended Women's Day?" She added that nongovernment organizations and government employees should coordinate with the Deparment of Social Welfare and Development, which is managing the microfinance project.
The President also asked the government employees if they received an additional P1,000 monthly allowance, which was implemented last year. The attendees again shouted "None!" and started laughing. Some attendees later realized that they were actually receiving the allowance on top of their regular pay, DZMM reported.
After her speech, Mrs. Arroyo attended a closed-door meeting with Yao and DSWD officials.