Sunday, 30 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, October 30, 2011

Aquino issues Executive Order no. 62 transferring Local Water Utilities Administration from Department of Health to Department of Public Works and Highways

President Benigno S. Aquino III has transferred the supervision of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

President Aquino ordered the transfer of LWUA’s supervision from the Department of Health (DOH) to DPWH through Executive Order (EO) No. 62, which he signed on October 26, 2011.

In issuing EO the President cited the need for “a concerted and well-coordinated effort in formulating policies as well as planning and implementing programs and projects for the water sector.”

The DPWH is “mandated to ensure that the planning, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure facilities, such as national highways, flood control and water resource development systems, are in accordance with the highest level of safety and efficiency and in line with the overall national development objectives.”

“LWUA is hereby transferred from DOH to DPWH,” President Aquino said.

He also authorized the DPWH to exercise administrative supervision over LWUA and to continue to implement reforms to ensure efficient flow of resources into the sector, thereby facilitating the implementation of projects therein.

The President also tasked the Secretaries of Finance, Public Works and Highways, and Health, serving in ex officio capacity, to sit as members of the LWUA Board of Trustees representing the national government.

“The foregoing ex officio members may designate their respective alternates who shall be officials next-in-rank, and whose acts shall be considered the acts of their principals,” the President said.

He likewise tasked the DPWH Secretary to convene the Inter-Agency Committee on the Water Sector “to design and recommend to the President a water sector master plan which will effectively address all the issues and concerns of the water sector.”

According to the President, the said Committee will also recommend the appropriate organizational structure of all concerned agencies for the effective implementation of the water sector master plan.

The National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Budget and Management, Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Office of the President and such other concerned agencies will form part of the Committee on the Water Sector.

The DPWH, in consultation with the concerned agencies, will formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the effective implementation of EO 62.

EO 62 will take effect immediately upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation. (PCOO)

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, October 29, 2011

President Aquino leads launching of global online prayer movement

President Benigno S. Aquino III led Friday night the ceremonial launching of a global online prayer movement during the 33rd anniversary celebration of the Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila.

The Chief Executive was the first to log a prayer at JIL’s website during the launching. JIL founder and spiritual director Bro Eddie Villanueva joined the President during the event.

“Binabati ko po ang Jesus is Lord Movement sa inyong ika-tatlumpu’t tatlong anibersaryo. Sa pangunguna ni Bro. Eddie Villanueva, binibigkis ninyo ang maraming Pilipino sa iba’t ibang sulok ng mundo para sa paglilingkod sa Diyos at sa bayan,” the President said in his message to JIL members.

The President also expressed his gratitude to the Filipino people for supporting his administration in its agenda for reform and change.

“Nawa’y ipagdasal po ninyo ang ating bansa at ang ating pamahalaan sa krusada nitong tuldukan ang pagdurusa ng nakakarami nating mga kababayan; na bigyan tayo ng sapat na lakas upang gawin ang tama, upang maiparamdam sa ating mamamayan ang positibong bunga ng ating mga reporma, at maipagkaloob sa mga Pilipino ang serbisyong karapat-dapat lang naman nilang matamasa,” he said.

President Aquino acknowledged the importance of praying, citing the Filipino nation’s experience in the toppling the Marcos dictatorship through the historic EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986 in which collective praying became the major tool in fighting for change.

The country will continue towards the righteous path as long as the people are behind his leadership, the President said, adding that the nation can overcome all the challenges even those who resist reforms.

The prayer movement, dubbed “God Bless the Philippines” encourages all Filipinos to say a prayer at 12 o’clock everyday or at any other time convenient and practical wherever they may find themselves anywhere in the world to verbally utter the words “God Bless the Philippines.”

Joining the President during the event were Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Sec. Gen. Joel Villanueva, Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) representatives Atty. Sherwin Tugna and Chona Cruz-Gonzales, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and Bocaue Mayor Jon Jon Villanueva. (PCOO)


President Aquino’s peace adviser says Basilan incident won’t affect Mindanao peace talks

Peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will continue this November despite the bloody incident in Al Barka, Basilan that resulted to the deaths of 19 government soldiers, the President’s peace adviser said on Saturday.

“Wala pa yung details pero sa basa natin ngayon ay matutuloy yun (peace talks). We are confident there will be a face-to-face informal discussion—hindi ito full panel meeting within the month,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said in an interview over government-run station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Both panels meet in Malaysia in early November this year, Deles said, the government will raise the Basilan clash issue with their MILF counterparts as the government seeks justice for those who were killed.

At the same time, Deles said the Philippine government will discuss the issue thoroughly with the MILF to avoid similar incidents from happening again in the future.

Deles also reiterated the all-out justice approach of President Aquino being carried out against criminal groups in Mindanao, noting that while the government pursues bandit groups the peace talks with the MILF will continue.

“Ihinihiwalay o nililinaw yung pag-uusap doon sa MILF at kinikilala na may significance lalung-lalo na sa leadership ng MILF na gusto talagang makahanap ng pangmatagalang solusyon sa problema sa Mindanao. Ito ay hiwalay doon sa pagtutugis sa criminal elements na paminsan-minsan ay nagkakaroon ng paghahalo doon sa mga MILF forces on the ground,” she said.

Deles said that it’s possible for the government to carry out law enforcement while at the same time protecting the gains of the peace process and seeking accountability for those who are responsible in the Al Barka incident.

While the government and the MILF both rejected the proposals they submitted, Deles remains hopeful about the ongoing negotiations saying there are still common grounds that both panels can work on.

“Nakikita natin that there are common grounds between the two so ang sinasabi mag-usap para pag-usapan kung papaano ipagpatuloy itong substantive agenda, na ito talaga ang gusto nating habulin. Para magkaroon ng agreement that will be the… pangmatagalang solusyon dito,” Deles said. (PCOO)


Aquino issues Memorandum Order No. 25 reconstituting the Inter-Agency Technical Committee on Transport Planning

President Benigno S. Aquino III has reconstituted the Inter-Agency Technical Committee on Transport Planning (IATCTP) tasked to formulate comprehensive and integrated transport plans as part of the government's efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth in the country.

The Chief Executive issued Memorandum Order No. 25 on October 26, 2011 in view of the need to reconstitute the committee that will enhance cooperation and coordination among the various government agencies involved in transport programs and projects to avoid duplication of efforts.

"The transportation infrastructure has the biggest share in the country’s infrastructure investment program and will continue to be among the critical drivers of the country’s economic growth," President Aquino said in the MO.

The President tasked the IATCTP to formulate standards and guidelines for the preparation of agency plans for transport development.

"It shall develop a transport information system to provide the information needs of all transport planning and other relevant agencies," he said.

The committee is tasked to coordinate the conduct of studies, researches and data-gathering on various aspects of the transport sector.

According to the President, the committee which shall serve as a forum for the resolution of operational problems of transport agencies shall provide the National Economic and Development Authority Board Committee on Infrastructure (NEDA-Board INFRACOM) with up-to-date information needed in the review and evaluation of transport plans and projects.

"The Committee shall submit to the NEDA Board INFRACOM any issues/concerns that require adoption/resolution by the latter," he added.

The President designated the Deputy Director-General of the NEDA-National Development Office as chairperson of the IATCTP.

He, likewise, designated the Assistant Director-General of the NEDA-National Development Office and the Directors of NEDA-Infrastructure Staff; NEDA-National Planning and Policy Staff; NEDA-Project Monitoring Staff and the University of the Philippines-National Center for Transportation Studies (UP-NCTS) as members.

Also designated as members are the Heads of Planning Service/Unit of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The new MO shall take effect immediately and shall supersede Memorandum Order No. 473 that was signed in 1974. (PCOO)


Aquino to attend to paper works during holidays, visits parents’ grave on Oct. 31

President Benigno S. Aquino III will keep himself busy with paper works while observing ‘Undas’ or ‘All Saints Day’ this long weekend, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Saturday.

The President has no official schedule beginning October 29 (Saturday) to November 01 (Tuesday) but he is expected to visit the grave of his deceased parents at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City on Monday, October 31.

Valte said President Aquino and his family opted to schedule their visit on the 31st so as not to cause any inconvenience to the people who also have plans to offer prayers and flowers to the late Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and President Corazon C. Aquino.

She added that the President along with his Cabinet officials and government agencies that are tasked to ensure the peace and order and public safety will not take a day off during the holidays but will instead monitor the situation in the country.

“Ang Pangulong Aquino naman po…’pag nagkakaroon ng pagkakataon na walang pasok, normally either nag-uuwi ho ‘yan ng mga briefing papers niya—‘yung mga papeles, ‘yung mga paperwork… He takes advantage of the time that he has to review papers,” Valte said over government-run radio station dzRB.

President Aquino will be expecting reports from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and Philippine National Police (PNP) with respect to road safety and the traffic situation for the welfare of the public traveling to and from the provinces, the Palace official said.

Valte also said the Department of Health in partnership with some non-government organizations will be providing medical teams to assist people in highly-congested public cemeteries.

“Hindi po maiiwasan ‘yan dahil maraming tao, mayroon hong mga mahihilo, mayroon pong baka hindi masyadong maganda ang pakiramdam so nag-partner din po ang DOH doon sa ibang mga NGO na nagbibigay ng mga ganitong klaseng assistance,” she said.

Valte, likewise, informed the public that the DOTC may be contacted through its hotline: 7890 in case they would need assistance while on the road, adding that the national emergency number 117 is prepared to take phone calls for any security and emergency issues that may arise anytime. (PCOO)

Friday, 28 October 2011

PIA News Dipatch - Friday, October 28, 2011

Aquino to visit parents’ grave on Monday

President Benigno S. Aquino III and his sisters will pay respect to their parents, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and former president Corazon Aquino on Monday, October 31 at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, a Palace official said on Friday.

The Chief Executive and his sisters preferred to go to the cemetery the day before the All Saints Day to have quality time to offer prayers for their parents and have private moments among themselves, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday.

Lacierda said the influx of people visiting their departed loved ones on All Saints Day will make it difficult for the Chief Executive and his sisters to have private moments during the visit at the cemetery.

"They would like to honor the memories of their parents peacefully and quietly and they feel that October 31 is the appropriate time to visit their parents," Lacierda said.

Lacierda assured that concerned government agencies started doing necessary preparations for the observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

As part of the Ligtas na Undas plan, Lacierda said Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas III ordered the deployment of a contingency force to ensure the safety of passengers and adequacy of transportation alternatives amid an expected heavy influx of travelers on All Saints Day.

"The Philippine National Police is on full alert. We have made the necessary preparations to ensure peaceful and orderly observance of Undas," he said. (PCOO)

Coloma to attend UNESCO conference on Communication, Information

Presidential Communications and Operations Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma leaves for Paris, France, this weekend to attend the 36th Session of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) General Conference on Communication and Information.

Coloma, the chairman of the Committee on Information and Communication of the Philippine Unesco National Commission, will attend Unesco’s general conference on November 1 to 3.

The Philippines was chosen to become the vice chair of the Information for All Programme Bureau, the governing council of the conference. Coloma holds that position representing the Philippines.

The Philippines is expected to express its strong support for the Communication and Information Commission’s continuing promotion of press freedom in the Philippines. Freedom of expression and information are the hallmarks of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s social contract with the Filipino people.

The Philippines acknowledges the functions of the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC) for the safety and welfare of journalists. Coloma said the Philippines is committed to solving media killings happening in the Philippines.

To address this concern, the Aquino administration is prioritizing the passage of a legislative measure known as “Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act.”

The Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have been working together to enhance initiatives that will put an end to media killings in the country.

The National Commission, with the support of Unesco, under its participation programme is currently undertaking a pioneering multidisciplinary inquiry on the culture of impunity in the killings of Filipino journalists.

Aside from addressing violence against media, the Philippines also adopted the Communication for Development, a Unesco-inspired program, as framework for its public communication program that now evolves towards Public Service Broadcasting.

During the general conference, the Philippines is expected to express its support to the report of Unesco on the use of the Internet for effective communication and development, as well as to the Unesco’s resolution on documentary heritage.

The General Conference is Unesco’s highest ruling body. One of the highlights of this year’s session will be a special plenary meeting on November 2 devoted to the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of Unesco’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

The draft programme and budget being considered by the General Conference gives priority to sustainable development, the development of a culture of peace and non-violence with a special emphasis on gender equality, youth, education for all focus on Africa, least developed countries, small islands developing states and the most vulnerable segments of society.

The General Conference will also begin work on the Organization’s next Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2019.

Coloma will be joined in his Paris trip by Eric Canoy, chairman and chief executive officer of the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) and IBC Channel 13. Canoy is Coloma’s co-delegate to the Communication and Information commission. (PCOO)

Aquino orders three cabinet secretaries to pursue government’s peace and order plan in Mindanao, provide assistance to displaced residents

Upon orders of President Benigno S. Aquino III, three concerned cabinet secretaries of the government are presently in Mindanao to attend to a series of meetings with the peace and order councils there, assess the situation and provide the needs of those who were displaced due to the military operations in the area.

In a press briefing at the Palace, Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita “Ging” Delez are presently in Zamboanga Sibugay to pursue the government’s peace and order plan and provide assistance to the locals in the affected area.

“Secretaries Jesse Robredo, Dinky Soliman and Ging Delez are presently in Zamboanga Sibugay and they just came from Basilan where they had a fruitful meeting with the peace and order council,” Lacierda said.

“Secretary Dinky Soliman gave two million pesos to the Basilan governor for the cash for work program, as you know we are also providing assistance to displaced citizens there,” he continued.

Apart from their meeting with the peace and order council in Zamboanga Sibugay, Lacierda bared that the government will also provide a total of ten million pesos covering the five municipalities for the ‘cash for work’ program that would involve those who will be tasked to rebuild and reconstruct the communities for the immediate return of the people affected in the said areas.

Aside from the cash assistance, the government has also prepared at least one million food packs for the displaced families.

“We are also facilitating the quick return of displaced families to their places of origin ensuring that the DSWD through the LGUs that their needs are met …that is the reason why we have provided the cash for work program and also the relief assistance,” he added.

Lacierda added that government is exerting efforts to ensure the involvement of local government units’ in the administration’s plan for peace and progress in Mindanao.

Coinciding with these rebuilding efforts in the affected areas Lacierda assured that the government will still continue to pursue the lawless elements in the area, who are not necessarily members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The past week, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has launched operations against lawless elements and to secure the areas where skirmishes occurred. (PCOO)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, October 27, 2011

Aquino hopes for stronger Philippine-Vietnam relations

President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed hope that the visit of President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the Philippines will help deepen the friendly, economic, trade and bilateral relations between the Philippines and Vietnam.

In a message during the State Dinner he hosted in honor of the visiting Vietnamese leader, President Aquino said President Sang’s presence in the Philippines proves a positive growth in the relationship between the two countries.

Despite maintaining different alignments with superpowers during the Cold War, the President said things have changed after 35 years with the Philippines and Vietnam having strong bilateral relations.

“Today we find ourselves allies with strengthened political, economic and security ties forged in a common interest with peace and prosperity,” the President said.

The Philippine is proud to stand besides Vietnam in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the President said adding that the strengthening of ties between the two countries have been a source of great satisfaction.

“Together we have embarked in developing a shared approach to addressing the many challenges that confront our respective nations. The future can only see us grow even closer,” he said.

With the growing ASEAN as a regional block, the President said, he hopes that the ASEAN member countries enjoy peace and prosperity and cooperation between them.

“And with the deepening friendship between the peoples of the Philippines and Vietnam may we continue to stand together out of our shared commitment for our respective national sovereignties and to the mutual respect and concern that is the firmest foundation of the bright future for which we all aspire,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, the Philippines and Vietnam signed four bilateral agreements aimed at further enhancing cooperation in naval, coast guard and tourism as well as an agreement on a collaborative blueprint of specific bilateral projects to be undertaken until 2016. (PCOO)

PHL, Vietnam governments to address unregulated fishing by Vietnamese fishermen in Philippine shores

The governments of Vietnam and the Philippines have expressed willingness to address the recurring problem of unregulated fishing by Vietnamese fishermen in Philippine waters based on existing Fisheries Law in the country, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Wednesday.

Del Rosario made the statement as he confirmed the release of 120 Vietnamese fishermen who were caught poaching by Philippine authorities.

He also said that the release by the government of seven fishing vessels that were engaged in the same unregulated activity were in accordance with the willingness of President Benigno S. Aquino III to resolve the issue, “as a manifestation of goodwill" with the government of Vietnam.

“We did say that we need to address the fact that we do have a fisheries law and that…there’s a legal process that we must observe if similar incidents are experienced by us in the future,” Del Rosario told reporters in a chance interview at Malacañang’s Reception Hall.

Responding to the Philippines government's stand on the issue, Del Rosario said Vietnam was “acquiesced to the fact that…we are governed by laws and maybe in the future this unregulated fishing will have to be reviewed…by both countries”.

Del Rosario cited President Aquino’s position that despite the generosity extended by the Philippine government to the fishermen of Vietnam, their poaching activities on Philippine waters cannot go on.

“I think that was implied when he said that we need to take a good look at this because this unregulated fishing is really subjected to a legal process that we need to inject in future incidents,” Del Rosario said. (PCOO)

U.S. State Secretary Clinton to visit the Philippines in November - Del Rosario

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit the Philippines on November 15 for a one-day official working visit and have a bilateral meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario announced on Wednesday.

Del Rosario said Clinton will arrive in the country right after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit that will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii next month before going to Bali, Indonesia to attend the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

“I think it will be in terms of bilateral and multilateral issues. We are looking for a discussion on many areas of cooperation,” Del Rosario said when asked whether the US Secretary of State’s visit is related to the West Philippine Sea issue.

This will be Clinton’s second official trip to the Philippines as US Secretary of State but only her first under President Aquino’s administration. Her first visit to the country was in November 2009.

“I recall inviting her to come over when I went to Washington D.C.,” Del Rosario told reporters when he was asked whether Clinton’s visit was made through an invitation extended by the country to her or on her own. (PCOO)

Aquino government condoles with family of National Artist Salvador Bernal

The Aquino government has extended its deepest sympathies to the family of National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal who died Wednesday (October 26) at the age of 66.

"We are saddened by the news that National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal passed away in the afternoon of October 26,," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.

"Badong Bernal’s life consisted of him showcasing, time and again, the creativity and ingenuity inherent to Filipinos. His resourcefulness and meticulous pursuit of perfection on the stage will be missed," Lacierda said.

"Beyond his impressive career as an artist, he made it his mission, as a teacher, to pass on his knowledge to those who will have to stand in his place in the coming generations. He did his part to ensure that Philippine Art will continue to be dynamic and relevant, even as the torch is passed from old masters like him to emerging talents in the nation’s artistic landscape," he said.

He cited Bernal's life and work which, he said, continue to inspire Filipinos in all fields of endeavors. "May we all continue to strive to live up to the standard of excellence he has set," he added.

According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Bernal was a theater designer who has designed more than 300 productions distinguished for their originality since 1969.

"As the acknowledged guru of contemporary Filipino theater design, Bernal has shared his skills with younger designers through his classes at the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University, and through the programs he created for the CCP Production Design Center which he himself conceptualized and organized," the NCCA said.

"To promote and professionalize theater design, he organized the PATDAT (Philippine Association of Theatre Designers and Technicians) in 1995 and by way of the Philippine Center of the Organization Internationale des Scenographes, Techniciens et Architectes du Theatre), he introduced Philippine theater design to the world," the NCAA further stated. (PCOO)

Vietnamese President Sang leads unveiling of Ho Chi Minh bust at Asean Park in Intramuros

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang joined by his official delegation and several members of the Aquino government, led the unveiling ceremony of the bust of the late Vietnamese President and National Hero Ho Chi Minh at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Park in Intramuros, Manila on Thursday.

Upon his arrival, President Sang was welcomed by Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

The Vietnamese leader was accompanied by other members of his official delegation which include Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Binh Minh, Culture - Sports and Tourism Minister Hoang Tuan Anh, Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang, Defense Minister Nguyen Van Hien, Agriculture and Rural Development Vice Minister Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, Foreign Ministry Press and Information officer Tuy Yen and Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Nguyen Vu Tu.

Also in attendance were other government officials led by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Intramuros Administration Administrator Jose Capistrano, Ludovico Badoy of the National Historical Commission, Professor Felipe de Leon Jr. of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and several members of the House of Representatives and members of the diplomatic corps, among others.

During the event, Mayor Lim presented President Sang a symbolic key to the City of Manila as an expression of the warm welcome to the city and the country and the strengthened relations between the two countries. Mayor Lim also gave the Vietnamese leader a tobacco which was grown in the country.

In his message, Lim highlighted Ho Chi Minh’s love for his country that serves as his legacy to the Vietnamese people.

The ceremony was highlighted by the rendition of songs that includes “Praising Ho Chi Minh” and “You’re the victory faith” sang by Vietnamese artists Anh Bang and Thanh Tuy.

The Vietnamese government through Ambassador Vu Tu expressed sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Philippine government for the warm hospitality accorded them especially for the realization of the project honoring their national hero.

Born in Nguyen Sinh Cung on May 1890, Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister (1945–1955) and president (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). He was a key figure in the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, as well as the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the Vietcong during the Vietnam War until his death in 1969. He led the Viet Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the communist-governed Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954.

Earlier, President Sang also paid respect to Filipino National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal at his monument in Rizal Park, Manila. The Vietnamese leader was joined by his fellow officials and members of the Vietnamese media delegation in offering flowers to the Filipino national hero.

During the wreath-laying ceremonies, President Sang was welcomed by Mayor Lim and Presidential Protocol Chief Ambassador Miguel Perez-Rubio. (PCOO)

Aquino underscores importance of unity, concern for others in winning battle against poverty

President Benigno S. Aquino III underscores the importance of unity, good governance and sincere concern for others as potent tools in winning the battle against poverty as he urged everyone, especially the youth, to live by these characteristics that are inherent among Filipinos.

In his speech during the awarding ceremonies of the 9th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) at the Heroes Hall of the Malacanang Palace on Thursday, the President stressed the need for cooperation in attaining sustainable progress as he led in awarding the outstanding youth organizations of the country that have emerged as inspiration to others by showing exemplary service to the Filipino people and the country.

“Marami pang darating na pagsubok… subalit hangga’t nakasandal tayo sa matibay na pundasyon ng pagkakaisa, mabuting pamamahala at wagas na malasakit sa kapwa, wala tayong hindi magagawa,” President Aquino said.

He thanked the TAYO awardees for taking part in the government efforts, through various social projects, that empower not only the youth but also other members of society.

“Nagsasalu-salo tayo ngayon upang kilalanin ang mga organisasyon ng mga kabataang tunay na nag-aalay ng kanilang oras, talino at talento upang tugunan ang mga pambansang suliranin… sila ay responsable, may pakialam sa kanilang kinabibilangang pamayanan at mulat sa tungkuling dapat nilang gampanan sa kanilang pamilya at sa bayan,” the President said.

“Ang tagumpay ng bawat TAYO awardee ay tagumpay ng bawat Juan dela Cruz… sa tuwid na daan, anumang mabuting hangarin na ipupunla natin… tayo rin ang aani, tayo rin ang makikinabang at tayo rin ang magpapamana ng maliwanag na bukas sa susunod pang mga kabataan,” he added.

Recent government data show that 30 per cent of the national population consists of the youth sector and the Aquino administration has been consistently recognizing their potentials in nation-building.In this connection the Chief Executive bared the various projects of the government focused on harnessing these potentials.

He said that the Labor department, in cooperation with the private sector, has provided a program that enable the underprivileged high school graduates to pursue tertiary education through the Youth Education-Youth Employability Project.

For those who have qualified interest in entrepreneurship, the President said, the government is providing capital assistance through the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Project. Under the said program, business proposals will be evaluated based on a set of criteria where upon approval, they could be included to at least a thousand young entrepreneurs and micro-business owners developed through the said project.

President Aquino said that the 238.8 billion pesos education budget for the year 2012 – an increase of 30 billion pesos compared to that in the year 2011 – was part of the Aquino administration’s reform agenda.

Apart from all these, there is also the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education that aims to decongest the students in public schools and the 700 million-peso allotted for the Training for Work Scholarship Program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Such programs exemplify the government’s objective to elevate the assistance being given to the Filipino youth.

The search for TAYO aims to recognize, reward, and encourage the youth organizations all over the country with programs and projects that help their communities. The search also encourages the selection of projects that can be replicated by youth organizations in other parts of the country.

This year’s Ten Accomplished Youth Organization winners include the Industrial Engineering Council; Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA); Youth Solidarity for Peace – Peace Advocates Zamboanga; Association of Locally Empowered Youth in Northern Mindanao, Alyansa ng mga Kristiyanong Mag-aaral-Responsible nga Balikatan han mga Kabataan (AKMA-RESBAK); Indak Kabataan Youth Organization; University of the Cordilleras-Hapiyoh Mi Cultural Group, Young Mindanawans Peace Builders; Aklan Catholic College Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants; and Sama-samang Tinig ng mga Aktor na Gumagalaw sa Entablado (AUL-STAGE).

Special awards were given to the Association of Locally Empowered Youth in Northern Mindanao for the Lenovo’s Most Innovative Project Award and Kairo Band for the Coke Barkada Award. (PCOO)

President Sang says Philippine-Vietnam security, bilateral cooperation must be strengthened

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, who is in the country for a three-day state visit, said Vietnam and the Philippines’s common interest in security and bilateral cooperation are the foundations of their alliance that must be strengthened.

During a State Dinner hosted by President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday in Malacanang for the visiting Vietnamese leader, Sang said both countries shared many things in common in terms of history, culture and traditions.

“We are both maritime neighbors and members of the Asean and as such, have common concerns over security, stability, and cooperation for development in the region,” Sang said.

“These are the firm foundations for our two countries to further intensify and uplift the existing traditional friendship to a new and comprehensive level and endeavor together to build an enduring strategic partnership in the future.”

Sang thanked President Aquino for inviting him to visit the Philippines as he acknowledged the hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation during the visit.

Sang also expressed his admiration to the Filipino peoples’ heroic and unyielding history of struggle for independence similar to what Vietnam did in the past.

“I can see in my own eyes achievements made in all fronts and the belief in a bright future beaming out the face of each every Filipino,” Sang said.

He expressed confidence to Manila that his visit and President Aquino’s first State Visit to Vietnam in October last year would help deepen the bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Vietnam.

On Thursday morning Sang paid tribute to the Philippines’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal at the Luneta Park in Manila. After that, he unveiled a bust of the late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh in Intramuros also in Manila.

Later, Sang visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna. (PCOO)

Vietnamese President Sang visits IRRI, hopes for wider collaboration

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, Laguna on Thursday, expressing Vietnamese peoples’ gratitude to the global rice research body for its contribution to Vietnam’s rice production.

At the same time, Sang, who was joined by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, has likewise voiced his interest for a wider collaboration between IRRI and Vietnam in rice research for the benefit of Vietnamese farmers.

Sang arrived in the country Wednesday for a three-day state visit.

According to IRRI, new rice varieties connected to IRRI are released in Vietnam every year which become popular with Vietnamese farmers, particularly in southern Vietnam.

An example is IR64, an IRRI-bred rice variety, locally known in Vietnam as OM89, planted from 1988 to 2009: it reached the largest area planted of 4,500,000 hectares. This variety not only gives high yield but also resists a number of diseases and pests, IRRI said.

IRRI has been collaborating with Vietnam since 1963 and in 2010, Prime Minister Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung presented IRRI with a prestigious First Class Friendship Order, one of the highest honors Vietnam bestows on an international organization.

Also, nine IRRI scientists were presented with Merit Medals “for the cause of science and technology development of Vietnam” and another six received Merit Medals “for the cause of agriculture and rural development of Vietnam.”

Until today research collaboration between IRRI and Vietnam is ongoing and this includes pest and disease management, sustainable farming systems, and conserving the genetic diversity of rice, with breeding new rice varieties remaining a priority.

Vietnam and IRRI have been working on the development and use of material for high yield, good grain quality, and tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses such as drought, salt, and submergence.

IRRI has hosted numerous training courses and workshops on rice technology transfer systems for key extension people in Vietnam to expose them to new technologies and effective technology transfer.

There is also a strong tie up between Vietnam and IRRI for conserved rice genetic diversity. Throughout this year, Vietnam is expected to contribute 2,979 types of rice to IRRI’s International Genebank for its conservation.

In turn, IRRI has released a total of 2,384 rice samples to Vietnam for use in breeding and other researches. (PCOO)

Aquino leads awarding of 2011 Child Friendly Municipalities and Cities

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the awarding ceremonies for this year’s search for the Child Friendly Municipalities and Cities at Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace Thursday.

The Presidential Award for the Child Friendly Municipalities and Cities was initiated by the Council for the Welfare of Children and is considered as a self-assessment mechanism of the level of child-friendliness of a particular city or municipality.

The award also recognizes local government units that put in place a “child-friendly” environment and uphold the rights of Filipino children to survival, development, protection and participation.

There are five categories for the Presidential Award, namely – 4th to 6th Class Municipality, 1st to 3rd Class Municipality, Component City, Independent Component City and Highly Urbanized City.

The five winners who will each receive a Presidential Trophy and P300,000 cash prize are: the Municipality of Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya; Mariveles, Bataan; Vigan City, Ilocos Sur; Santiago City, Isabela; and Mandaluyong City, respectively.

In his speech, President Aquino cited the five winners for putting the children’s welfare as a top priority of its governance that he said was in line with the National Government’s efforts to protect and uplift the lives of our children.

He said the government’s poverty alleviation programs, namely: the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the national health program Philhealth has been steadily been receiving funding to cover more beneficiaries.

He said that as of end of September, some 2.23 million Filipino families are now benefiting from the 4Ps while 5.2 million families now have healthcare.

The President also stressed that the government has made education a top priority as P1-billion has been raised through the Counter-Parting for Classroom Construction Program to construct 1,300 classrooms nationwide. (PCOO)

Aquino leads book launch on street children

President Benigno S. Aquino III joined UNICEF Philippines and the Department of Social Welfare and Development in launching a book on street children in ceremonies held in Malacañang on Thursday.

The book entitled A Journey with Children: Living and Working on the Streets of the Philippines follows the stories of 45 street children as seen through the lens of UNICEF photographer Giacomo Pirozzi.

The President cited the book for showing the plight of street children and the hope that they exude despite their conditions.

“Ipinagdiriwang natin ang matagumpay na paglulunsad ng librong A Journey with Children, na nagtatala ng pagsasapalaran at patuloy na pag-asa ng ilang batang kalye sa Pilipinas,” the President said in his speech keynoting the book launch that coincided with the awarding ceremonies of the Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities.

“Tinataya natin na magiging malaki ang kontribusyon nito sa panawagang pagkilos upang mapabuti ang kalagayan ng mga musmos sa kalsada,” he added.

The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that there are around 250,000 street children in the country who are deprived of the right to survive, develop and be protected from harm. (PCOO)

Aquino to private companies: Continue supporting DSWD, DILG programs on children’s rights

President Bengino S. Aquino III enjoined private companies to continue supporting government programs to protect the rights of the child.

In his speech during the awarding ceremonies for the 2011 Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities in Malacañang on Thursday, the President said it was high time to take active concrete steps to address and uphold the rights of the child whom he calls the “future of our nation.”

He said that the Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPC) was created to coordinate the efforts of both the public and private entities to ensure the success of this endeavor.

“Sila (LCPC) ang may mahalagang tungkulin na maisulong ang mga karapatan ng kabataan sa kaligtasan, sa aktibong pakiklahok sa komundad, at sa pagsisiguro sa pamamahalang may pagpapahalaga sa mga bata,” the President said.

“Inuudyok ko po ang mga instiutusyong pribado at pang-local na ipagpatuloy ang pakikipagtulungan sa DSWD, DILG at iba pang mga sangay ng pambansang pamahalaan. Pagtibayain nawa natin ang aktibong pagbabayanihan at kongkretong pagkilos upang mapakinabangan nang husto ang mga LCPC,” he added. (PCOO)

World Bank Group President Zuellig expresses support for government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick on Thursday expressed continued support for the Philippine government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), also known as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.

Zoellick on Thursday paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III at Malacanan Palace. He was accompanied by other World Bank officials in his meeting with President Aquino on Thursday morning.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office head Secretary Ricky Carandang said that President Aquino and WB President Zoellick discussed the CCT program.

“Sabi ni Mr. Zoellick ng WB nakita niya na napaka-successful nitong CCT program sa ibang bansa at sinabi niya na sinusuportahan ng World Bank ‘yung pagpapatuloy natin ng conditional cash transfer,” Carandang said during an interview.

“At tama naman daw yung pag-execute natin ng CCT programs. So they are continuing to support us sa CCT,” Carandang said as mentioned to him by Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman.

Carandang quoted Soliman as saying that “there is a $100-million facility being made available by the WB if we need it for CCT adding that Zoellick also expressed support for the Aquino administration’s anti-corruption and anti-poverty programs.

President Aquino was joined in his meeting with WB President Zoellick, Central Bank Governor Amando Tetangco, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Secretary Soliman, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Cayetano Paderanga Jr.

Other WB officials present in the meeting were James Adams, WB Vice President for East Asia and Pacific; Bert Hofman, WB regional chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific and director of the Singapore office; Motoo Konishi, incoming WB country director; Vishnu Dhanpaul, alternate WB executive director; Sergio Pimenta, director for WB International Finance Group; Camille Funnell, WB Senior Communications Officer; and Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, assistant to the WB President. (PCOO)