PGMA receives German, Austrian journalists
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this morning received in the Palace 53 German and Austrian writers and editors who come from the lifestyle, travel, and opinion sections of various newspapers and television stations.
The president hoped they had a great time and had great memories of the
The journalists called on the president following two weeks of travel to the different islands of the country as part of their immersion program, a subject they are expected to write about when they return to their respective countries.
This is the second batch of tourism-related communication and travel specialists and agents invited by the Department of Tourism to see and experience first-hand tourist destinations in the country. The first batch, consisting of 250 travel agents and travel writers, came last May and are now helping promote the Philippines to European travelers, said Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque.
The journalists were divided into six groups. Group 1 toured the Visayas Enchanted Islands of Dumaguete (Atmosphere Resort), Sipalay (Artistic Diving Resort) and Bacolod (Planta Centro Hotel); Group 2 for the Aktiv Island Tour in Coron and Busuanga, Palawan (at Club Paradise); Group 3 – Island Hopping in Bohol (Ananyana), Boracay (Boracay Regency); Group 4—Culture and Nature of Vigan/Laoag, Ilocos (Sitio Remedios), El Nido (El Nido Resort-Lagen); Group 5—Spa and Traditional Wellness in Batangas (The Farm at San Benito), Cebu (Shangri-la Mactan) and Boracay (Mandala) and Group 6—South Sea Peals and Paradise Tour of Taytay, Palawan (Flower Island and Terramar Pearl Farms) and El Nido, Palawan (El Nido Resort-Lagen).
RP impresses German TV director
“We are overwhelmed by the
Jurgen Drensek, director/author of AIXPRESS, travel-TV-Productions ARD/ZDF, made the remark after his stay in Coron and Busuanga in
He was among 11 German and one Austrian media men who took the Aktiv Island Tour that highlighted scuba diving, surfing and other active outdoor activities.
“I loved it so much. The diving is so enormous The Apo Reef is one of the best diving spots in the world,” he said.
He and 52 other travel writers and editors, lifestyle, and opinion writers called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo prior to leaving for their respective countries tonight.
He regrets, however, that the “Philippines is so far away from Europe, and that’s a problem because you have a lot competitors on the way to the Philippines like Thailand which are very well known in Europe,” Drensek said.
He said the key to attracting European tourists is to have a very good connecting flight to the
He said the recent Maguindanao massacre will not likely affect European travel to the
Mangudadatu files COC for governor of Maguindanao
Buluan, Maguindanao Vice Mayor Ibrahim "Toto" Mangudadatu filed Friday morning his certificate for candidacy (COC) for the gubernatorial post of Maguindanao province, which is currently in the center of a controversy following the infamous Nov. 23 massacre of 57 people.
Mangudadatu was accompanied by ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party standard bearer Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro to the provincial Commission on Election (Comelec) office in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, amid heavy guard of some 300 military and police personnel.
Mangudadatu, running under the Lakas-Kampi-CMD banner, is the first local executive to file his COC for the gubernatorial position in the province for the forthcoming 2010 national and local elections.
Earlier, Teodoro expelled from the party Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan; his father, former Maguindanao Governor Ampatuan, Sr.; and brother Datu Unsay, Maguindanao Mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr.
Ampatuan, Jr. is currently undergoing an inquest proceeding before the National Bureau of Investigation in
All victims were dug up dead at a mass grave in nearby Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town of same province. On Nov. 3, the victims were on their way to file the COC for Mangudadatu before the Comelec office in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, when allegedly stopped by some 100 armed led by Ampatuan, Jr. along the national highway.
Both Ampatuan, Jr. and Mangudadatu have previously expressed interest on vying for the top post in the province.
No need for international investigators to handle the Maguindanao massacre probe -- Fajardo
"We have competent investigators handling the Maguindanao massacre (investigation) and there is no need for outside probers," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said.
According to her, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and even the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct swift and effective investigation on the Maguindanao massacre to give justice to the 57 victims and charge in court the perpetrators.
Fajardo said that as a result of the President’s order, Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. of Datu Unsay town, Maguindanao, voluntarily submitted himself to Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs Jesus Dureza on Thursday morning and was turned over to Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed multiple murder charges against Mayor Ampatuan who is now detained at the NBI headquarters in
The younger Ampatuan insisted that he did not order nor participate in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre that claimed the lives of 57 individuals, including some members of the Mangudadatu family and media men.
The mayor even blamed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as the group behind the multiple killings.
"I have nothing to do with it. I turned myself in and agreed to come here to show everyone that I was not in hiding and that I am innocent,” Ampatuan Jr. told a television interview on Thursday night.
He even tagged MILF commander Ameril Umbrakato as the one behind the gruesome murders.
But MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar branded as "absurd" the claim of Mayor Ampatuan that their group was the one behind the Maguindanao massacre.
Buluan, Maguindanao Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, political rival of the Ampatuans and whose wife, two sisters, and two lawyers, among others, were killed in the incident, also dismissed Ampatuan's claim, saying witnesses had pointed to the local official as the mastermind.
Undersecretary Fajardo stressed the government also disarmed the Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) in Maguindanao and put under the government’s custody some 400 CVO members who are now undergoing questioning and investigation regarding the massacre.
Fajardo added that President Arroyo showed that the government is determined to give justice for the Maguindanao victims and charge in court the perpetrators without fear or favor, even if they are allies of the administration.
On Tuesday, President Arroyo declared the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat and
The Lakas-Kampi-CMD national executive committee also expelled the Ampatuans -- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and Mayor Ampatuan Jr. -- from the roster of the administration party.
Senator Loren Legarda and former Akbayan Partylist Representative Loreta Rosales had earlier proposed the elevation of the Maguindanao massacre case to the United Nations.
Statement of Press Secretary Cerge Remonde on Maguindanao massacre
The Maguindanao massacre is a painful reminder of how man – and I’m talking about the whole human race – can regress back to a state of savagery.
It is said that the incident has few precedence in brutality, and for this we are condemned by the whole world. But let me assure the nation and the rest of the world that the killing of at least 57 people, including lawyers and media men, is a mere aberration.
I will not repeat what DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno said in a press conference yesterday. It should be sufficient for me to say that the machinery of the government is now working to take the suspects into custody and to secure the witnesses.
That is the least we can do, if we are to redeem our honor in the eyes of the world.
Of course, we must satisfy the cry for justice from the families of the victims. And this we are resolved to do. But the issue has transcended private grief. Our reputation as a civilized people is now at stake.
The government, under the able leadership of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is determined to get to the bottom of this blot on our collective conscience.
To the families and supporters of the victims, we appeal for calm and restraint. Our law enforcement agencies are working overtime to solve the crime.
To the rest of the world, who may now look at us in less than favorable light, do nor doubt our resolve to redeem our honor.
We are a civilized country. We are aware of our duties and responsibilities. We will not rest until we can take our place once again among the ranks of the civilized world.
And we will do that by identifying the culprits, by bringing them before the bar of justice, and by meting out a just and appropriate punishment to the guilty.
BIR Launches SanTAX Claus Project
The Bureau of Internal Revenue on Thursday launched its SanTAX Claus Project at the
The launch was spearheaded by BIR Senior Deputy Commissioner Joel L. Tan-Torres who also held a dialogue later on with invited tiangge or bazaar operators, commercial event organizers, and vendors where the project was discussed especially on tax compliance requirements.
Simultaneous SanTAX Claus launches were also held in
The SanTAX Claus teams distributed flyers to the participating vendors, posted tarpaulins and observed whether vendors are properly issuing receipts or invoices. They also collected certain information on the vendors to make sure they issue registered receipts/invoices.
In the event that the organizers and vendors are found to have committed any violations, the same team will hand out Application for Registration Forms with pre-generated TIN to assist said businesses in registering with BIR. They were also asked to pay the annual registration fee and submit the application form on-the-spot.
The SanTAX Claus Project according to Senior Deputy Commissioner Tan-Torres is not an enforcement activity of BIR, but rather to promote voluntary compliance for taxpayers that will result in the generation of taxes.
Tan-Torres stressed that the primary objective of this Project is to improve tax awareness by encouraging the general public to demand habitually invoices for goods purchased and official receipts for services procured.
He said that the BIR will not impose additional taxes on said bazaars as misunderstood by many.
He added that this Project intends to educate the public on the importance o asking for receipts and voluntary compliance of taxpayers, which records reveal, is the most efficient and effective approach to collecting revenues.