Monday, 31 January 2011

PIA Dispatch - Monday, January 31, 2011

Aquino prays for strength and fortitude to face challenges

President Benigno S. Aquino III prayed for more strength to face the challenges of running a country and fortitude in dealing with criticisms.

In a prayer he offered during the K4 Philippines Intercessors’ Convergence at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on Sunday, the President thanked the Lord for His blessing which helped the country rise from the shackles of darkness and despair.

He added that with the Lord’s guidance, the Filipino’s hope of reaching true peace and prosperity was becoming a reality.

However, he lamented, there were those who still stand in the country’s path of growth and continue to test our strength as a nation.

Give us the strength and fortitude to face these challenges, the President said.

Protect our country from those who wish to see us fail in our endeavor. We pray that You continue to bless us in our duty to serve others first instead of ourselves, he added.

“Bahaginan mo kami ng kababaang loob sa gitna ng anumang karangalan o tagumpay upang ang mga ito ay mai-alay namin muli sa Iyo at maibahagi namin para sa aming kapwa tao na nagpupuri sa iyo,” the President said.

In closing, the President vowed to continue to work for the betterment of the Filipino people.

Below is the complete text of President Aquino’s prayer.

“Mahal naming Panginoon, maraming salamat sa Inyong pagpa-pala kung saan nag-bukal ang aming pagbangon at paglaya mula sa kadiliman.”

“Sa aming pagtahak sa tuwid na daan, ginabayan Ninyo kami upang muling masilayan ng aming bayan ang liwanag.”

Dahil sa Inyong kadakilaan at kapangyarihan, nanumbalik po ang pag-asang makakamit na namin ang kaginhawaan at tunay na kaunlaran.

Gayunpaman, may mga sumusubok sa katatagan namin bilang isang bayan.

Bigyan Niyo po kami ng sapat na lakas at tatag ng loob upang harapin ito ng mas mahusay.

Protektahan po ninyo ang aming bansa mula sa mga taong nais kaming mabigo sa aming pagsusumikap. Nawa’y patuloy po Ninyong maipaalala ang tungkulin naming unahin ang kapakanan ng aming kapwa sa halip na pang-sariling interes lamang.

Bahaginan mo kami ng kababaang loob sa gitna ng anumang karangalan o tagumpay upang ang mga ito ay mai-alay namin muli sa Iyo at maibahagi namin para sa aming kapwa tao na nagpupuri sa iyo.

Dumating man ang mga hamon sa aming buhay, hindi po naming ito malalampasan ng wala ang Inyong pagpapala.

Buong loob namin haharapin ang mga ito na walang pag-iimbot dahil naniniwala kami sa aral at halaga ng pagtitiis at pagpapa-kumbaba.

Makaka-asa po kayo na ang gobyernong ito na pinagpala niyong suportahan at pagkatiwalaan ng taumbayan ay aktibong maglilingkod sa kanila.

Salamat po sa patuloy Ninyong pagiging tanglaw sa pagtataguyod ng pagbabago sa aming bayan.

Ipinapa-abot at ina-alay po namin ito sa ngalan ng Inyong mahal na Anak.


The K4 Intercessors Movement is an association of individuals, churches and organizations or institutions and even families, organized by K4IM Bishop Jonel Milan, that focuses its “K4 prayer”: Kalusugan (Health), Kaligtasan (Protection), Karunungan (Wisdom), and Katwiran (Righteousness) on the President and his Cabinet secretaries, governors or its equivalent, mayors, and barangay chairpersons as they are in the position to effect immediate change and contribute to nation building. (PCOO)

Aquino appoints more gov’t officials

President Benigno S. Aquino III swore in new officials of various government agencies to help his administration in the implementation of development programs that will bring about the economic and social change for the benefit of the Filipino people.

In simple mass oath taking ceremonies on Monday at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañang Palace on Monday, the Chief Executive administered the oath of office to the following newly appointed officials: Secretary Elisea Gozun as Presidential Assistant II for Climate Change and Ronald Llamas as Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs all under the Office of the President.

Also sworn in were Mr. Alfredo Pascual as the 20th president of the University of the Philippines (UP); Erlinda Basilio as Undersecretary for Policy of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); Rafael Seguis as Undersecretary for Administration (DFA); Esteban Conejos as Undersecretary for Migrant Workers (DFA); Cattleya Amador as Asst. Secretary, Office of the Presidential Spokesperson and William Varias as Assistant Secretary, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel (CPLC);

Hernani Panganiban as chairman as Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Department of Agriculture (DA); Ramon Alikpala as chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Authority (MWSA)-Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Gerardo Esquivel as Acting Administrator, MWSA-DPWH; Teresita Manzala as chairman Professional Regulatory Commission, Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE); Carlos Cao Jr. as Administrator of the POEA-DoLE; Jose Martin Aliling as chairman and member of the board of the Northrail-Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC); Atty. Daniel Henares as member of the board of the Northrail-DoTC; Dr. Alex Ayco as member of the board of the PhilHealth-Department of Health (DoH).

Other officials who took their oath of office include: Albay Province Governor Joey Salceda as chairperson of the Albay – Region V, Regional Development Council under the office of National Development Economic Authority (NEDA) with Father Leo Casas as his co-chair.

Governor Victor Tanco Sr., as chairperson of the Capiz – Region VI, Regional Development Council-NEDA with Ma. Luisa Segovia as co-Chair.

Arego Melisimo as co-chairperson of the Negros Oriental –Region VII, Regional Development Council.

Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla the chairperson of the Leyte Region VIII, Regional Development Council-NEDA with Tiburcio Morales as co-chair; Mayor Evelyn Uy as chairperson of the Dipolog City Region IX Regional Development Council-NEDA with Enrico Montano as her co-chairperson.

Vicente Lao as co-chair of the Davao City Region XI, Regional Development Council.

Mayor Darlene Magnolia Antonino-Custodio as chairperson of the General Santos City Region XII, Regional Development Council with Ramon Floresta as co-chair.

Governor Joel Baac, as chairperson of the Kalinga-Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) Regional Development Council-NEDA with Virgilio Bautista as co-chairperson.

Also sworn is Mr. Ramon del Rosario as Member of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council – representing the private sector also under the office of NEDA. (PCOO)

Palace says no need for relocation, evacuation of Filipinos in Egypt

Malacanang said there is no need, for now, to evacuate or repatriate some 6,500 Filipinos in Egypt.

“We have people on the ground. No need for relocation or evacuation. Our countrymen there are still okay,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Monday.

She said a contingency plan is in place as President Benigno S. Aquino III ordered concerned government agencies to continue monitoring developments and make assessment on the situation in Cairo.

Valte stressed that the Departments of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, and Labor are continuously monitoring developments in Egypt.

She also said that the DFA informed the President that routes out of Egypt have been prepared just in case the need arises.

“Our responses are proportionate to our assessment,” Valte said.

According to the DFA, at least two land-based and one sea-based evacuation routes have been prepared if the need arises.

The land routes are to Tripoli in Libya and Amman in Jordan and the route via sea transport from the Port of Alexandria.

Reports said the official death toll from the political crisis stood near 100, with thousands injured.

Of the 6,569 Filipinos in Egypt, 3,083 are household workers while the others are scholars and skilled workers or executives. (PCOO)

Palace warns against false bomb threats

Malacañang today warned the public against making false bomb threats saying those caught giving false information will be investigated by the Department of Justice and will be dealt with severely.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte issued the warning after reports that a bomb planted within the grounds of the Assumption College in Makati City on Monday turned out to be a hoax.

“We would like to remind the public that anybody who is caught giving false bomb threats or giving false information will be investigated by the Department of Justice,” Valte said.

“This (false bomb threats) does not help in today’s circumstances and (Justice) Secretary (Leila) De Lima has assured that there will be very severe penalties for anybody who is caught giving false information about bomb threats,” she added.

In a report, Makati police chief Senior Superintendent Froilan Bonifacio said a bomb squad was sent to investigate the bomb threat received by the Assumption College in Makati at around 9 a.m.

After a thorough search, investigators found no evidence of a bomb being planted within the school’s premises and declared the threat a hoax. (PCOO)

Palace confident of sustaining economic growth record

Malacañang expressed confidence that the government could sustain the economic growth record it posted last year through the strengthening of basic services, overseas remittances and a projected increase in foreign direct investments.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte, in a press conference in Malacañang on Monday said, the convergence of these three would result in a “healthy economy.”

“The conditional cash transfer and our other social services, we are banking on that to help keep our consumption buoyant. Second, we continue to expect remittances from abroad; and third, we continue to expect to have more direct investments from investors outside of the country,” Valte said.

“We expect to keep a healthy economy if you take all these three things together,” she noted.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that the Philippine economy grew by 7.3 percent in the last three months of 2010.

The NSCB said the strong growth came during a period of peaceful political transition for the Philippines, as President Benigno S. Aquino III was voted into power during the presidential elections in May last year. (PCOO)

Sunday, 30 January 2011

PIA Dispatch - Saturday, January 29, 2011

PH ready to evacuate OFWs in Egypt if riots escalate, Palace says

Malacanang said it is prepared to evacuate the 6,500 Filipinos working and studying in Egypt should the rioting in that country escalate.

This was disclosed on Saturday morning by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte in an interview on Radyo ng Bayan as she announced that President Benigno S. Aquino III has tasked the Departments of Foreign Affairs, National Defense and Labor and Employment and the Presidential Management Staff to meet that day to agree and make recommendations on what measures to take should the peace and order situation in Egypt worsen.

For the peace of mind of Filipinos with relatives or friends in that country, the government has set up three evacuation centers in Cairo and one in Alexandria to prepare for any eventuality, Valte said.

“The President has been constantly monitoring the situation in Egypt since last night until early this morning. In fact, he has already given instructions to the agencies concerned for them to come up with recommendations on augmenting current efforts,” Valte said.

The DFA also said it is ready to repatriate all the 6,500 Filipinos in Egypt right now. “Nobody will be left out—documented or not,” Valte said.

DFA Assistant Secretary Ed Malaya said of the 6,500 Filipinos based in Egypt, half are overseas contract workers (OCWs) and domestic helpers, around 1,000 are students while the balance are there in unspecified capacities and presumed to be working there.

Worth noting is that there are still no Filipino casualties from the unsettling conditions in Egypt, continued Valte adding that the embassy has advised all Filipinos to stay in their homes for their safety. (PCOO)

Palace announces more appointments

President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed Maria Rosario C. Aguinaldo as ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje as commissioner of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (UNACOM).

The appointments were announced in a radio interview by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte on Radyo ng Bayan including those of: Cecilia S. Alba, as secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council along with Ria Corazon A. Golez-Cabrera as commissioner with a term ending Feb. 16, 2015.

Arthur Saipudin was appointed as Acting Director II of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board; Maria Joy Jarabello as member of the Philippine Commission Women representing the urban poor sector; Nathanl Servando as Acting Administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Also appointed as acting Deputy Administrators of PAGASA were: Flaviano Hilario; Vicente Malano and Catalino Davis and for the Bureau of Customs appointed as acting Director III was Simplicio N. Domingo;

Richard Juanillo was designated as Acting Director III of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) under the Department of Science and Technology and Rene Burt Llanto as acting Director IV of DOST.

Named as board members of the United Coconut Planters Bank under the Presidential Commission on Good Government were: Menardo Jimenez, as chairman and board members are: Ramon Y. Sy; Gemino Macaraeg Jr; Cristina Orbeta; Angela Ignacio, Danilo V. Pulido, Atty. Carlos P. Estabillo; Atty. Nilo T.Divina; Jose A. Poblete, Atty. Raul V. del Mar; Atty. Juan Andres Bautista, Atty. Richard Amurao, all members of the UCPB board.

Appointed to the Office of the President, co terminus, were: Nabil A. Tan as undersecretary and Gina B. Campano-de la Cruz and Dina Shahani, as assistant secretaries..

Appointed as Prosecutors I under the Department of Justice were: Audrey An Espanola (Iloilo); Atty. Joseph Cortez, (Negros Oriental); Atty. Rene B. Romero Jr (Ormoc City); Atty. Pete Zamora (Zamboanga del Norte) and Atty. Joseph Edward Sam A. Yularan, Ozamis City. Appointed Prosecutor II was Atty. Nefertiri Cristobal, of Tagbilaran City. (PCOO)

PIA Dispatch - Friday, January 28, 2011

Aquino assures GOCC dividends will be given back to the people

President Benigno S. Aquino III assured on Friday that the P29.25 billion dividends and other remittances turned over by 19 government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) will be given back to the people in the form of social services, including anti-poverty programs.

“As you can see, we are working overtime to bolster our abilities to give back to the Filipino people what they have given us, the President said. “Uulitin ko po: Sila ang boss natin. We will do this, not only because this is what we are mandated to do, but more importantly, because this is the right thing to do.”

In his message at the ceremonial turnover of GOCCs check dividends and remittances at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang, the Chief Executive said dividends and other remittances from GOCCs will allow the government to frontload its expenditures and speed up the implementation of anti-poverty programs, among others.

He reminded the GOCCs that the money belongs to the Filipino people, who he said are the government’s shareholders, and not to the Board of Directors of GOCCs nor to officials of his administration

“The people are our shareholders. It is their interest that we have been tasked to protect. We give them what they own, and we give them the government they rightfully deserve: one that works for the public interest. It is in their trust that we hold our respective offices. Sila ang boss ko. Sila ang boss ninyo. We must always remember that,” he said.

Stressing that good governance is the cornerstone of his administration, the President said he is working on achieving a transparent and accountable government, worthy of the people’s trust thus the need to undertake reforms to enhance the ability of GOCCs to act as stewards of the people’s resources.

These reforms, according to the President, will be implemented with the help of Congress.

He noted that GOCCs have weak board governance, lack of transparency and disclosure practices, poor oversight and multiple and conflicting mandates.

Early on in his administration, the President, having discovered that GOCC board of directors receive exorbitant allowances, issued Executive Order No. 7 directing the rationalization of the compensation and position classification system in GOCCs and Government Financial Institutions.

“GOCCs will no longer be milking cows for politicians and their wards,” he said, adding that competent CEOs and Directors were chosen and they are expected to deliver improved services and finances in the GOCCs.”

The President said GOCC directors will soon be required to sign a performance contract with the Office of the President and their supervising secretaries so there will be basis to remove non-performing board members.

Moreover, the Department of Finance is developing an IT-based reporting system that will require full disclosure of several aspects of GOCC operations so the public will have access to the financial and operational results, renumeration policies, related party transactions, governance structures and policies, among others.

“Make no mistake about it: our positions are not our privilege, but an obligation placed by the people upon us. We promised to do, not only everything we can, but that we do it with honesty and with only the people’s welfare in mind. We pledged to serve them with commitment to professionalism and integrity, and they expect no less than this. We must not fail them,” he said.

A thorough review of GOCCs will be conducted during the first quarter of this year with the Department of Finance convening a strategic planning workshop with key GOCCs to strengthen coordination, and improve the oversight capabilities of the Government, and to draft a roadmap for the entire system of GOCCs.

The President added that in line with government’s zero-based budgeting, the continued operation of a GOCC has to be justified once the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, introduced by Senator Drilon, has been enacted into law.

“The time for patronage is over; now is the age of professionalism, meritocracy, and government institutions that are committed to the people… We will leave a country less poor, easier to invest in, and where people trust their government and all of its entities to work for their interests,” the President added. (PCOO)

Aquino offers P1 million for arrest of bus bombers

President Benigno S. Aquino III has offered P1 million for the arrest of the perpetrators of the Jan. 25 bus blast that killed 5 passengers and wounded 13 others on EDSA in Makati City.

In an ambush interview in Malacañang after the ceremonial turnover of dividends from the Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC), the President said the reward will be increased if necessary to show government resolve to solve the case.

He said his decision to put up a bounty was made during a meeting with various intelligence services Thursday afternoon. He added that the money will be sourced from the Office of the President contingency and intelligence fund.

During the security cluster meeting, he ordered a review of all plans, travel advisories and potential threats to make sure that every detail of the potential area of concern would not be missed.

The President said the security cluster approved the maximization of security guards, barangay tanod, barangay chairmen and other community-based peace and order personnel in helping and coordinating with the Philippine National Police.

These community-based personnel he said will be tapped to provide a monitoring arm for the government in its fight against terrorists. (PCOO)

GOCCs turn over P29.25 B in remittances

A total of P29.25 billion were remitted by 19 government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to the national government (NG) on Friday.

The checks, representing prior year dividends, the balance of the 2009 cash dividends following the completion of the Commission on Audit reports, and 2010 partial dividends pursuant to President Benigno S. Aquino III in ceremonies held at the Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas topped the list with a total of P14.23 billion in remittances representing prior year dividends of P9.31 billion and the balance of 2009 cash dividends of P4.92 billion.

The Land Bank of the Philippines remitted P4 billion representing the balance of 2009 dividends and partial dividends of 2010.

The Development Bank of the Philippines, turned over P2.8 billion while the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. handed P2 billion representing payments for guarantee fees due and other payables.

The Bases Conversion Development Authority turned in P1.8 billion representing the government’s share in the sale of assets, and the Manila International Airport remitted P1.49 billion, representing P1.21 billion dividends and P292 million representing government share.

The other GOCCs that turned over their dividends included the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (P2 million); National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (P3 million); National Electrification Administration ((P14.5 million); Cebu Ports Authority (P40 million); National Development Company (P49.4 million); Clark Development Corporation (P100 million); Philippine Leisure and Retirement Authority (P140.6 million); Trade Investment and Development Corporation (P150 million); Philippine Economic Zone Authority (P221 million);

Philippine National Oil Company (P452.9 million); Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (P500 million); Philippine Reclamation Authority (P335 million); and Philippine Ports Authority (P650 million).

“This is a good start for the government but I believe this can be further improved,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, in a press briefing in Malacanang, said.

He added that beginning this year, GOCCs will give their performance report to the President every January. This is similar to a stockholders meeting in private corporations.

He added that a good governance agenda for GOCCs will soon be implemented to further improve their performances and be at par with private companies.

He noted that GOCCs hold a total of $141 billion in government assets while equity amount to more than $41 billion or more than P6 trillion.

According to the records from the Commission on Audit (COA), there are 89 existing GOCCS.

Under the Dividends Law of 1994, GOCCs and GFIs are required to remit to the national government half of the income earned in each fiscal year. The remittance should be in the form of cash or in unencumbered or real estate properties with clean titles. (PCOO)

GOCC Governance Act among gov’t priority bills

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima on Friday said the Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC)Governance Act of 2011, a bill that will reform the structure and operations of GOCCs, is among the priority bills the Aquino Administration will ask Congress to pass.

In a press briefing in Malacanang, Purisima said the Aquino Administration wants to imitate Singapore's and Malaysia's utilization of their GOCCs in the creation of opportunities for the people.

Senator Franklin Drilon, principal author of Senate Bill 2640 or the proposed GOCC Governance Act of 2011, said that there is a need for much-needed reforms in the government corporate sector to make it an effective vehicle in achieving social and economic progress.

“The days when the GOCC boards can act independently of the national government are over. We are confident that once this bill becomes a law, the excesses and abuses we saw in the operation of the GOCCs will be a thing of the past," Drilon said.

The bill proposes the creation of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) whose main task will be to conduct regular assessments and evaluations of the state firm's performance.

The GCG will also recommend to the President whether a GOCC should be reorganized, merged, streamlined, abolished or privatized.

The GCG will develop a new compensation and position classification system for all officers and employees of the GOCC. It will put a limit on the compensation of directors who had enjoyed excessive bonuses in the past, he added.

The bill makes it clear that directors are not entitled to compensation as directors but may be entitled to reasonable per diems only and emphasizes that directors are not entitled to retirement pay as seen in other GOCCs.

The GCG will also review the qualifications of individuals appointed as directors or elected as chief executive officer of the GOCC and disqualify those found unfit. (PCOO)

Authorities looking at all angles in Makati bus blast

Intelligence and police authorities showed President Benigno S. Aquino III the sketches of two people who sat on the sixth row where the bomb was placed in the bus that exploded last Tuesday based on artists and computer sketches extracted from witnesses. The two are being hunted as “persons of interest” (or POIs) who could lead authorities to those behind the bombing.

At the same time, they informed the President and the media of the heightened security efforts in Metro Manila and around the country to constantly ensure the safety of the people against terrorists and criminals.

Such efforts include: increased police visibility; deployment of 300 uniformed cops in all buses plying Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and some interior streets; coordinating with security agencies on the “target hardening” and helping them improve their security coverage of the different establishments in the country; organizing a barangay peacekeeping action teams to help the police in maintaining order in their respective areas.

Among those who briefed the palace reporters about security efforts being undertaken were: National Security Adviser Secretary Cesar Garcia; Chief Philippine National Police Gen. Raul Bacalzo and Gen. Nicanor Bartolome chief of the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO).

Bartolome said that although the two “persons of interest” were said to be in row 6 of the bus, where the 81 mm mortar was lodged and detonated via a Nokia cellphone, ”we want to invite them for questioning about their knowledge of the bomb” that killed 5 people and injured more than 10 bus riders.

The physical descriptions of both POIs are: fair-complexioned, around 35 to 37 years old; 50 to 70 kilos and around 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall.

They boarded the bus in front of Heritage Hotel in Pasay City bound for Ayala and alighted at Malugay Street before Ayala Avenue.

“We are looking at all possible angles. So far no one has claimed responsibility for the bus bomb explosion unlike previous explosions which were readily claimed by certain groups,” Bacalzo said.

On Friday morning, the PNP-NCRPO reported fielding 372 uniformed policemen as bus marshals who boarded the buses in a terminal and then descended at another point only to board another bus. These marshals will identify themselves to the passengers and the bus driver and conductor before inspecting the belongings of passengers in looking for any suspicious and abandoned items.

Earlier, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo announced a P1-million “bounty” for any person who could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.

Bacalzo said the PNP earlier received a tip that the feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9 would be “disrupted but we did not take the warning lightly. We augmented our police force during the said feast.”

A similar police augmentation will be done during the celebration of Feb. 3 of the Chinese New year ushering in the year of the metal rabbit. “We will be augmenting the police force to assist the Manila Police District, where most festivities will be held,” Bartolome said. (PCOO)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

PIA Dispatch - Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aquino says Filipinos innate talent fuels nation’s progress

President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the innate talent among Filipinos, particularly their creativity which, he said, fuels the progress of the nation.

In his keynote address during the 13th Cycle Philippine Quality Awards (PQA) Conferment Ceremony on Thursday at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace, the Chief Executive noted the Filipino workers’ natural talents that make them exceptional among others in the world.

“Our inventiveness and attentiveness to our respective crafts are our core competence that sets us apart from the world and gives us advantage over others”, the President noted.

The President expressed gratitude to the awardees for their efforts that paralleled the programs of the government in preserving and utilizing the positive traits of every Filipino worker giving them a good reputation they deserve in the eyes of the world as well as in the eyes of local entrepreneurs.

“In effect it takes us closer to our goal that progress is felt by all, across every strata of society”, he added.

In congratulating the awardees, President Aquino challenged them to aim higher towards a level that every Filipino is capable of reaching.

The President assisted by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and the PQA officers, awarded the 2010 PQA Recognitions to three recipient organizations, namely, Sunpower Philippines Manufacturing Limited, Mariwasa Siam Manufacturing, Inc. and RCM Manufacturing, Inc.

Khun Surasak Kraiwitchaicharoen, president of Mariwasa Siam and Khun Jiraphat Oebchokchai, vice president for manufacturing received the PQA Recognition for Commitment to Quality Management (Level 1) for Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc. while Dr. Joel Beltran, country manager of Philips Healthcare and Ellison John Centeno received the PQA Recognition for Commitment to Quality Management (Level 1) for RCM Manufacturing.

Surinder Bedi, vice president for global quality and customer satisfaction together with Ralph Robinett, managing director received the PQA Recognition for Commitment to Quality Management (Level 2) for Sunpower Philippines.

The three companies have proven that Philippine organizations can attain the highest level of quality and business excellence comparable to world-class organizations here and abroad.

The PQA is a national performance excellence program that recognizes achievements of public and private organizations in their journey towards organizational performance excellence. Patterned after the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program of the United States, the PQA is the highest award given to a Philippine organization. It sets a global standard to help local organizations achieve a world-class performance and serve as a template for competitiveness based on the principles of Total Quality Management. (PCOO)

Economic team flies to Japan for investment road show next week

The economic team of President Benigno S. Aquino III flies to Japan next week for a road show presentation to attract Japanese businessmen to invest in the Philippines.

This was disclosed by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo in an ambush interview at the side lines of the Philippine Quality Awards at the Rizal Hall in Malacanang where he also noted a very high level of interest among foreign investors in the Philippines.

Aside from Domingo those joining the road show are Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and newly-confirmed Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and one representative of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco.

Domingo said the road show will just be a general presentation to the investors on the benefits of investing in the Philippines, including the attractive business environment and level playing field for businesses; the priority sectors that are being pushed and how we could increase our exports to them and increase their investments in our country.

He said there are six priority sectors to be pushed in the road show; namely, tourism, the business process outsourcing call centers; electronics, manufacturing, mining, agriculture and housing. (PCOO)

No need for ‘crime czar’ – Palace

Malacañang on Thursday said it saw no need for President Benigno S. Aquino III to appoint a crime czar to address the recent spate of criminal activities in the country.

In a press briefing in Malacañang this afternoon, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the President was satisfied with the performance of local authorities in addressing criminality.

“We don’t need a crime czar. We have PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo overseeing the (country’s) peace and order, we have the AFP (under Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo David, Jr.), we have the National Security Adviser (Cesar Garcia),” Lacierda said.

“Everybody reports to the President,” he added. (PCOO)

Palace urges Filipinos to rally behind Aquino gov’t

Malacañang appealed to the public to rally behind the administration and ignore the noisy minority that politicizes issues to discredit the government.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the appeal in a press briefing on Thursday in Malacañang amid statements hurled by critics of the Aquino Administration that it ignored earlier warnings on terror attacks.

“Remember and review the past and stop politicizing the issue here,” Lacierda said.

He added that the best way to answer the “noisy minority” is through statistics that show a general decrease on the crime statistics.

Lacierda noted that in terms of the crime volume, in 2009, there were 502,665 recorded cases compared to 2010, when the number of cases were down to 296,059, or a decrease by 41.1%.

On index crimes, in 2009, there were 301,703 cases compared to 2010 statistics that showed the number of cases were down to 187,190, or by 37.96%.

For kidnap for ransom, in 2009, there were 57 cases while in 2010, there were 41, or down by 28.07%. On murder cases, in 2009, there were 9,348 while in 2010, 8,759, or down by 6.3%.

Carnapping incidents went down by 37% in 2010.

Lacierda stressed that the government did not ignore the warning although the information was raw.

“The government took certain measures to make sure these attacks will not happen,“ he said.

Lacierda said that immediately after travel advisories were issued on Nov. 3, 2010, target hardening measures were in place --- the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines were on heightened alert while the National Capital Region Police Office has increased police visibility and deployed police in malls, hotels and commercial establishment, and additional foot patrols and K-9 units have also been deployed in LRT and MRT lines.

In view of the recent bus bombing incident at the Edsa-Buendia on Tuesday, Lacierda said the PNP will put marshals in public transport to ensure public safety. (PCOO)

Ochoa: Gov’t coordinating efforts in the war against terror

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Thursday assured that the government was doing every effort to keep the public safe and urged the people to do their share by staying vigilant.

“While we are seriously concerned about the bombing, which definitely by design or not is terrifying, the Philippine National Police together with other agencies concerned like the intelligence community and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are already on top of the situation as they have been in the past,” Ochoa said.

“Rest assured that these will be resolved with reasonable dispatch and expediency. No cause for panic. Our citizens should be more vigilant though in assisting in every way the government in these efforts,” Ochoa added.

Ochoa said the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), which he chairs, had been updating policies since the Aquino Administration took over last year to better address the current terror threats, as well as the historical facts that prompted these activities.

The Executive Secretary also disclosed that he had started the reorganization and reengineering of ATC offices to conform to a program-based approach and enhance the performance of the agency’s mandate under the Human Security Act.

Under the new setup, ATC will be managed by a program management center headed by an executive director, whose primary task is to focus on “enhanced intelligence fusion, target hardening and consequence management,” Ochoa said.

The council will have a lean structure and will be composed of key program offices, where specific government agencies shall coordinate all government efforts in the war against terror, he said. (PCOO)

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

PIA Dispatch - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Aquino visits victims of EDSA bus blast, vows to bring perpetrators to justice

President Benigno S. Aquino III assured the victims of a bus bomb explosion at Edsa Buendia in Makati that authorities will get to the bottom of the incident and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Chief Executive made the assurance on Tuesday night when he visited the victims at the St. Luke’s Medical Center at The Fort in Taguig City and at the Ospital ng Makati.

The President also said the government will shoulder the medical expenses of all the victims and ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a stress debriefing of the victims before they are discharged from hospital.

“The President was able to talk to the survivors and they related what they have experienced. They are still in trauma and cannot remember everything that happened,” said Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, who accompanied the President.

Soliman said the youngest victim is 19 while the oldest is 76.

From The Fort, the President proceeded to the Southern Police District (SPD) headquarters, also in Taguig, to personally check the damaged bus, where the bomb explosion took place.

He was with Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Raul Bacalzo, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, National Capital Region Police Director Nicanor Bartolome and Southern Police District Director, chief Supt. Jose Arne de los Santos.

The President, in a chance interview at the SPD, appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions yet as authorities are still investigating the incident.

He stressed that it is unfair to link the blast to the spate of car-jacking cases with murder and then paint them as reflections of a peace and order breakdown in the country.

The bus was moved to the SPD headquarters Tuesday evening to allow investigators from the crime laboratory to conduct further technical investigation. (PCOO)

Aquino cites business foundation’s role in uplifting lives of the poor

President Benigno S. Aquino III thanked all the officers and members of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) for their social commitment and active participation in creating a meaningful social change and embracing the idea of true corporate social responsibility in uplifting the lives of the marginalized sectors.

Addressing the 40th annual membership meeting and foundation day celebrations of the PBSP with the theme: “Celebrating 40 Years of the Great Philippine Merger for Social Development,” the President hailed its officers and members for their continued assistance to provide relief and seek solutions to reduce, if not eliminate, the long-decade problem of poverty.

“To the Philippine Business for Social Progress, thank you for proving me right. Thank you for your social commitment and for actively participating in uplifting the lives of the vulnerable sectors of our society,” the Chief Executive said in his speech at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

The President noted that the PBSP is very important for him because he worked in the organization after the assassination of his late father, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

“PBSP was not naive. PBSP took a realistic view of what needed to be done to accomplish its goal. It took the discipline that you need to run a corporation and to apply that discipline to the projects to various disadvantage communities,” he said.

The President pointed out that PBSP responded without hesitation when he called upon all Filipinos in his first State of the Nation Address in July last year to make a commitment and participate in the fight to reduce poverty in the country.

As a private sector, he said, PBSP plays a vital role on his call not just as an economic driver but also as catalyst for positive changes in the lives of the Filipinos.

In exchange for their continued partnership to the government, the President assured them that his administration “will continue to operate under the banner of transparency and accountability, under daylight, under the guidance of his parents that gave birth to the freedom and democracy that our people currently enjoy.”

Meanwhile, Manny Pangilinan, PLDT chair and PBSP chairman of the board of trustees, presented to the President the organization’s symbolic renewal of commitment and support to the administration’s development agenda.

Afterwards, the President presented the plaques of recognition to the pioneer members of PBSP, namely: Washington Sycip of the accounting firm SGV, Sixto Roxas III, Jose M. Soriano Jr. of Atlas Consolidated Mining, and Don Emilio Abello (posthumous) of Meralco.

The President also presented plaques of recognition for active service to Ambassador Bienvenido Tan Jr. of Philippine Tobacco and Modern Glass, and Ma. Luisa Perez-Rubio, respectively.

The recognition in creating impact to uplift the lives of the Filipinos was given to Angelo King Foundation for the 200th building they built.

PBSP, the country’s oldest and largest business group into social development, is a pioneer in Asia as a corporate-driven development foundation. Since its establishment in 1970, PBSP has been involved in corporate citizenship and social responsibility practices.

In the past 40 years of existence, PBSP has raised P5.2 billion, benefited 6.4 million Filipinos, and assisted over 6,500 social development projects such as in education, health, sustainable livelihood and micro, small and medium enterprise development, farmland area resource and coastal resource management, disaster coordination and risk reduction and caring for the rainforests and watersheds. (PCOO)

Quality education a vital tool for nat’l development, says Aquino

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday said quality education, which he described as a vital tool for national development and social change, must be able to develop not only competitive citizens but also people exposed to the realities of the world

In his keynote address at the 10th Biennial Conference of the International Council of the Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas (ICUSTA) at the UST Chapel, the President said this is the kind of quality education exemplified by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) that the government wants educational institutions in the country to follow.

“For four centuries, the University of Santo Tomas has educated the best this country has to offer,” he noted. “But when we look back at the long list of distinguished individuals this institution has produced, it is not merely education that sets them apart, but principles,” the President said

UST, the President noted, has made it a noble mission to instill Catholic principles to its students while at the same time giving them quality education, thus producing “people who have learned to balance their intellect on an unshakeable foundation of morality.”

“The formation of the human mind requires a curriculum that is not merely empirical, contingent and relative, but one that is humanizing,” he added.

The President said he is determined to work hard to give Filipinos a better life as he noted that many leave the country to seek jobs overseas due to lack of opportunities here.

“The duty to give back is not forgotten, but it is largely overshadowed by pressures of mere survival,” he said, adding that this is the reality most Filipinos face today .

To avoid this exodus, he stressed, the mismatch between job openings and university courses is now being addressed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) through a temporary moratorium on the creation of new higher education institutions and programs, particularly in over subscribed fields such as in business administration, nursing, teacher education and hotel management.

He said the CHED has started to take action to review and fix the higher education institutions systems in the country to make them more efficient, such as forging ties between HEIs and employers which will ease the burden of job hunting on new graduates.

“As the youth of today grow more mature and become more politically aware, we must respond. We must reinforce their enthusiasm and efforts with the reward they deserve: a better Philippines, a home that they can both love and reside in, a place where they are not required to disconnect with their families just to earn a decent living,” he said.

The ICUSTA, founded in 1993 by Dr. Gerardo Rocha Vera, is committed to the promotion of truth and trust in reason and knowledge for serving humanity and the transmission of the Thomastic way of inquiry. (PCOO)

All efforts aimed at uncovering bus blast culprits, says Aquino

Authorities are leaving no stone unturned to determine the culprits in Tuesday’s deadly bus bombing in Makati City which claimed five lives and injuring scores of passenger’s.

In an interview at the 10th Biennial Conference of the International Council of the Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas (ICUSTA) at the UST Chapel Wednesday, President Benigno S. Aquino III said the government’s intelligence cluster is reassessing all reports to find any indication that may lead to those responsible for the bombing.

“The intelligence cluster is meeting this whole day to reassess all the intel that has come through their various desks. We are trying to correlate all these data again, revisit again to find out if there were any indications of any group that were planning this,” the Chief Executive said.

Aquino noted that at present, they will not point to any particular group behind the bombing.

“We are not even sure that the rebel terrorist is the most appropriate, there are certain sectors that are saying that it might be an extortionist group also,” he said.

“So, until we have the data and solid evidence, I think we and nobody else can make any pronouncements”, he added.

Initial investigation showed the blast occurred shortly before 2 p.m. just as the Newman Goldliner bus with license plate TXJ 710 had stopped at the northbound loading bay of EDSA corner Buendia Ave. near a station of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). (PCOO)

Aquino fetes outstanding DSWD employees, stakeholders

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday cited the outstanding employees and stakeholders of the Department of Social Welfare and Development during the agency’s 60th founding anniversary at its headquarters in Quezon City.

In his speech, the President said this year’s Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) as well as the Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan (PaNata Ko sa Bayan) awardees were prime examples of people and institutions who never thought twice about giving themselves selflessly in the service of their less fortunate countrymen.

“Allow me to greet the winners of the PaNata Awards which the DSWD recognizes as those individuals or groups who never thought twice about giving their time, effort and themselves in assisting their less fortunate countrymen),” the President said.

“We also heap praises on those who received the PRAISE Award, the employees who have shown utmost dedication to the service and who have become examples to others),” he added.

This year’s eight PRAISE awardees are: Eduardo Dalagan, Best Support Staff, Sub-Professional Category, Region X; Loreta Anas, Best Support Staff, Professional Level, Region XI; Lanuza, Best Technical Staff, Sub-Professional Category, Region V; Nestor Estampa, Best Technical Staff, Professional Level, Region XI; Aileen Cuevas, Social Welfare Officer III of Haven for Women, Field Office VII; . Rebecca Santamaria, Best Division Chief, Support Category, Region XI; Primitivo Rufin, Best Division Chief, Technical Category, Region X; and, Ester Versoza, Best Manager, DSWD Field Office XI Director.

The PaNata Ko sa Bayan awards, which include the "Salamat Po" awards, are in recognition of the agency’s development partners, resource agencies and volunteers who assisted the Department in the delivery of services, as well as NGOs with the best practices.

This year’s awardees are:

A. International Partners/Donors category

• United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

• United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

• United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

• United Nations World Food Programme (UN-WFP)

• Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

• Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional Para El Desarollo (AECID)

• New Zealand Aid (NZAID)

B. Local Donors category

• SM Foundation, Inc

• Kabisig ng Kalahi, Inc.

• Ronald McDonalds House Charities

• Jollibee Foundation, Inc.

• Petron Foundation

• Tzu - Chi Foundation, Inc.

• US Peace Corps

• Hospicio De San Jose - Best Non-Government Organization

Special recognition awards were also given to individuals and organizations who have supported DSWD’s programs and projects resulting in the improvement of lives of beneficiaries of the Department.

This year’s winners are: Pangasinan 4th District Representative Georgina De Venecia, Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation Chairman of the Board Dr. Emilio Yap, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Australian Agency for International Development. (PCOO)

President Aquino vows to pursue DSWD anti-poverty programs

President Benigno S. Aquino III vowed to support and pursue the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s anti-poverty programs to ensure that the entire Filipino community will get to experience change in government.

Speaking at the DSWD’s 60th Founding Anniversary held at its headquarters in Quezon City on Wednesday, the President said these programs which include the Conditional Cash Transfer program, as well as the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan - Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) and the Self-Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) will get appropriate government funding so that its implementation will reach more beneficiaries.

The Chief Executive stressed that funds for these programs against poverty would be used properly with absolutely no wastage.

“Sisiguruhin din nating walang tagas ang ating bulsa: walang masasayang na pera, at ang tanging makikinabang sa bawat sentimo ay taumbayan lamang,” the President said.

The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a poverty reduction strategy that provides cash grants to extremely poor households to allow the members of the families to meet certain human development goals.

KALAHI-CIDSS is the Philippine government’s flagship poverty-alleviation project implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development through the financial support of the World Bank. It entrusts the poor with greater powers, supports poor LGUs in local development, and invests heavily on people, not just projects.

The Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) program is the Department of Social Welfare and Development's comprehensive approach and investment in social capital towards poverty alleviation. SEA-K, as the project is known, aims to provide the poor and disadvantaged sector of the society with timely access to credit and development opportunities. (PCOO)