Friday, 7 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, October 7, 2011

Aquino vows continued support for the country’s tourism sector

President Benigno Aquino III renewed his commitment to the country’s tourism sector saying his administration will do everything so the industry could continue to grow with the help of its stakeholders.

Speaking Thursday night at The Manila Hotel, as it celebrates its 99th anniversary, the President acknowledged the contribution of the country’s first five-star hotel to the local tourism industry.

There is no doubt that through the hard work of all the stakeholders of The Manila Hotel, it has continued to adapt to the changing needs of its guests, the chief executive said in his speech.

“With all of this, it is easy to see how The Manila Hotel continues to contribute to the tourism industry in the Philippines—a steadily growing industry that provides more jobs to our countrymen, and fulfills a vital role in achieving the inclusive economic growth our government is working towards,” the President said.

“And I am sure that, for many years to come, whatever the future holds in store for us, The Manila Hotel will be there as a symbol of the tradition of hospitality of all Filipinos, giving our tourists a chance to experience the true warmth of the Filipino people,” he continued.

“Rest assured that our administration will do everything in its power—with the cooperation of establishments like The Manila Hotel—to make sure that our tourism industry continues to grow.”

The Manila Hotel is the oldest premiere five-star hotel in the country, built in 1909 and opened in 1912. It is located at the heart of the Manila Bay Area and also close to the Rizal Park and Intramuros, the old Walled City built during the Spanish period.

The hotel, a historic landmark and a part of the nation’s patrimony, became the venue of historical events and seat of hospitality for the nation’s guests and official visitors.

Among the hotel’s famous guests include General Douglas MacArthur, US Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson, The Beatles, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and John Wayne and just about every distinguished personality and celebrity in the world. (PCOO)


Palace says government now more prepared in handling calamities

Malacanang made an assurance Friday that it can effectively handle any possible crisis an incoming typhoon could cause, as the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported the presence of a low pressure area in eastern Visayas.

Pagasa warned of more flashfloods and landslides, as a result of more rains because of low pressure areas that could likely turn into a new typhoon.

“That’s the reason why we have Secretary (Rogelio) Singson there, he will try to rationalize everything in case of flashfloods, and in case of releases of water from the dams. That’s something that he will work on with the National Water Resources Board,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a media briefing at the Palace on Friday.

At the same time, Lacierda said the government has an accurate forecasting system in place enabling it to anticipate typhoons and effectively preposition important goods intended for affected communities.

“We have been successful as far as prepositioning relief goods is concerned,” he said referring to the government experience in handling the devastations brought about by Typhoons Pedring and Quiel in Central Luzon.

Also during the same media briefing, Lacierda issued a warning against the use of floodwater for drinking and cooking by affected communities in Luzon.

“We are concerned with the use of floodwater for drinking water. Floodwater is not potable, so we ask the public…(particularly) the residents of Central Luzon not to use floodwater for consumption,” he said.

Lacierda also said this is the reason why the President had designated Secretary Singson to become the country’s water czar, to make sure that before the end of the President’s term the country will have potable water supply for all affected communities.

As of Friday afternoon, Pagasa said the low pressure area was seen 420 kilometers east of Visayas, embedded along the inter-tropical convergence zone affecting the Visayas and Mindanao.

The weather bureau said the low pressure area will bring cloudy skies and scattered rain showers to the Bicol region, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Light to moderate winds blowing from the northeast will prevail over Luzon, coming from the northwest to southwest, over the rest of the country, Pagasa said. (PCOO)


Canilao named Public-Private Partnership Center chief

Malacanang announces the appointment of Cosette V. Canilao as Executive Director of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center considering her vast knowledge and experience in the field of banking and investment, a qualification necessary for the efficient delivery of PPP projects that will make the lives of the Filipino people better.

In a press briefing at the Palace, Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the announcement, adding Canilao’s years of experience in the financial management in the private sector for over 20 years is an advantage.

“Last September 15, The President appointed Cosette V. Canilao as the head of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center,” Lacierda said, adding that she has over 20 years experience in the private sector in the field of advisory, investment banking and corporate banking. She recently joined government service, initially as consultant of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for the PPP Center of the Philippines,” he added.

Prior to her appointment as head of the PPP Center, Canilao was its Deputy Executive Director, which eliminates the need for a transition.

Canilao served as Director of Standard Bank where she established and headed its distressed debt servicing business in the country. She was also a former partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers where she headed the Crisis Management Practice and Financial Services Industry consulting.

“Her (Canilao) broad experience in advisory includes corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, divestitures, debt restructuring, compliance review and transactions services,” Lacierda noted.

Canilao started her career in program lending and corporate banking. She holds a Masters in Finance degree from the University of the Philippines. She also attended numerous trainings in the course of her career, including a corporate restructuring program in Harvard Business School.

PPP Program is a key strategy of the Philippine Development Plan. With the end view of fostering an environment conducive for private sector entrepreneurial initiatives, the government has developed a policy environment that strongly supports private sector participation in its development activities.

This policy environment has two fundamental cornerstones: First, economic structural adjustments geared towards opening the economy to competition and leveling the playing field of enterprise, and second, a clear policy and institutional framework that has been put in place to permit an unencumbered flow of private resources into the government’s development program, especially the infrastructure sector. (PCOO)


Aquino appoints Justice Francisco Villaruz as Presiding Justice of anti-graft court

President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Francisco H. Villaruz Jr. as the new Presiding Justice of the anti-graft court.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Justice Villaruz’s appointment papers were signed by the President last October 5.

Villaruz will replace Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval who retired last June.

Justice Villaruz worked in the private sector for almost four decades before being appointed Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan in 2001. He is known for his professionalism and diligence, proof of which are the six decisions and 100 resolutions that he renders every month, and his 99 percent affirmance rating. A respected expert in his field, Justice Villaruz was also Bar Examiner in Criminal Law in 2004 and an MCLE Lecturer.

He obtained his B.S. in Political Science from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1963 and his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines, where he graduated third in his class, before being admitted to the Bar in 1968. He is 68 years old and will retire on June 8, 2013.

"The Aquino administration is hopeful that the reforms it is instituting across all branches of government will gain greater momentum with the appointment of Justice Villaruz. The Filipino people can rest assured that government positions integral to the straight path will continue to be filled based on merit, integrity, and competence," Lacierda said.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) earlier nominated three associate justices of the Sandiganbayan for the position of presiding justice of the anti-graft court. Aside from Villaruz, the other nominees were Associate Justices Efren N. de la Cruz, and Alex L. Quiroz. (PCOO)