She pursued a Master's Degree in Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University (1978) and a Doctorate Degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines (1985). From 1977 to 1987, she held teaching positions in different schools
Arroyo was invited by then President Corazon Aquino to enter public service:
Arroyo considered a run for the presidency in the 1998 election, but later sought the vice-presidency as the running mate of its presidential candidate, House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. Though de Venecia lost to popular former actor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Arroyo won the vice presidency by a large margin, garnering more than twice the votes of her closest opponent, Estrada's running mate Senator Edgardo Angara.
Arroyo began her term as Vice President on June 30, 1998. Historically, she was the first and only to date female Vice President of the Philippines. She was appointed by Estrada to a concurrent position in the cabinet as Secretary of Social Welfare and Development.
Arroyo resigned from the cabinet in October 2000, distancing herself from President Estrada, who was accused of corruption and later impeached.
On January 20, 2001, after days of political turmoil and popular revolt, the military and the national police withdrew their support for Estrada. At noon, Arroyo was sworn in as President of the Philippines by Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr.
Arroyo, a practicing economist, has made the economy the focus of her presidency. Economic growth in terms of gross domestic product has averaged 5.0% during the Arroyo presidency from 2001 up to the first quarter of 2008. This is higher than previous recent presidents when compared to the 3.8% average of Aquino, the 3.7% average of Ramos, and the 2.8% average of Joseph Estrada. The Philippine economy grew at its fastest pace in three decades in 2007, with real GDP growth exceeding 7%. Inflation during the Arroyo presidency has been the lowest since 1986, averaging 2.5%.
Arroyo's handling of the economy has earned praise from observers including former US President Bill Clinton, who praised Arroyo for making "tough decisions" that put the Philippine economy back in shape.
However, critics such as the managing director of the World Bank, Juan Jose Daboub, criticized the administration for not doing enough to curb corruption and poverty reduction.
Arroyo's presidency is mired in numerous scandals including allegations of vote rigging in the 2004 presidential elections where Arroyo was re-elected by beating popular actor Fernando Poe Jr by more than a million votes and allegations of corruption in National Broadband Network Scandal. Her authority was challenged by the Oakwood Mutiny of 2003 and the Manila Peninsula "rebellion" of 2007
In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, impeachment complaints were filed against President Arroyo although none of the cases reached the required endorsement of 1/3 of the members for transmittal to and trial by the Senate.
On June 30, 2010. she turned over the Presidency to President Benigno Aquino III.
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