Tuesday, 4 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, October 3, 2011

Aquino wants stricter enforcement of 'forced evacuation' from affected areas

To lessen the incidence of people getting stranded in an area severely affected by calamities, President Benigno S. Aquino III said Sunday that he wanted the authorities to strictly enforce the “forced evacuation” warnings.

In an interview, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the President wanted this law implemented further to save the lives of the evacuees.

“The President wants a stricter enforcement of the forced evacuation primarily because the residents keep on refusing to evacuate the premises,” Lacierda said.

“The President wants the PNP to strictly enforce the forced evacuation for the primary reason that he wants the evacuees to be saved—for their own security,” he added.

Lacierda also said that in order to ensure the peace of mind of the evacuees on the safety of their properties, the President has directed the Philippine National Police to post their personnel in affected areas.

“And in order to protect their belongings, the President also—in conjunction with the forced evacuation order—has also tasked the PNP to make sure that while the evacuees are moved out of their residences, that there will be police presence in the areas where they left,” Lacierda said.

“So that’s a two-pronged approach so that the people will not be going back to their areas where there’s already flooding in order to protect their belongings,” he added. (PCOO)

Aquino wants probe on Manila Bay seawall failure

President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed the Department of Public Works and Highways and other concerned agencies to look into why the Manila Bay seawall failed to prevent a storm surge from flooding a large portion of Roxas Boulevard and nearby areas at the height of typhoon “Pedring's” onslaught last week.

The President told DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson in a briefing at the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) in Camp Aguinaldo Sunday that he wanted the agency to collaborate with law authorities and other concerned agencies to get to the bottom of the issue in order to prevent a repeat of what had happened.

Singson concurred but said an initial probe into the failure of Manila Bay seawall showed that “changes” were made to the original design of the seawall that did not conform to regulated seawall design standards.

He said the design of the seawall, which looks like an inverted “L” had a sharp angle to the horizontal bar instead of a steady slope that would have helped ease the power of the waves directly hitting it and redirect it back to the sea.

“So, with the series of storm surges it experienced during Pedring's wrath, natuklap ito together with its concrete dockings,” Singson noted.

Singson added that the design of the seawall was outdated as its construction was based on 20 to 25 year old flood data when it should be 50 year old flood data.

“We are now seriously looking at about 50 year old flood data because with the climate change, tides are rising (more than expected). Hindi na pwede yung old flood data,” Singson said.

“When we restore this, we will have to raise the seawall ('s height). We are now determining how much higher it would be,” he added.

Because of these findings, the President told Singson that he wanted to know who made the modifications and why the modifications were made. (PCOO)

DA assures availability of rice supply

The Department of Agriculture assured Sunday the availability of rice and other agricultural products despite the pummeling the country's plantation fields in Northern and Central Luzon got as a result of two weather disturbances passing through one after the other last week.

In a report to the President presented at a briefing held at the National Risk Reduction and Management Council in Camp Aguinaldo, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the staple could be sourced from Mindanao.

“Hindi po dapat mabahala ang ating mga kababayan because we have enough supply of rice. Napaka-ganda ng harvest natin ng palay sa Mindanao,” Alcala said.

He added that his agency was still in the process of estimating the damage wrought by typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” on the country's agricultural sector but assured he would have the numbers soon.

“He said the DA was ready to extend any assistance to the farmers and their families whose plantations were affected by the typhoons. (PCOO)

Aquino wants subsistence for fisher folks during hazardous weather conditions

President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development to look into how the government can provide subsistence to fisher folk as a deterrent to fishing during extremely hazardous weather conditions.

The President gave his directions to DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman during a briefing on the effects of typhoons Pedring and Quiel held at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in Camp Aguinaldo Sunday.

“Can the DSWD study if the marginal fisher folk …if they will not be allowed to venture out (to fish), can we give them some subsistence for the days that are extremely hazardous?” the President asked, adding whether a mechanism could be determined and funds be made available for this purpose.

The President has expressed concern over the country's fishermen who, despite being warned in advance of an incoming weather disturbance, choose to take a chance and go out to earn their living. (PCOO)

Aquino encourages observance of National Indigenous Peoples Month this October

President Benigno S. Aquino III directed all national government agencies and enjoined local government units to extend their full support to the celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Month through the Dayaw Festival this October.

Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 22 was signed on September 29, 2011 by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. in preparation for the holding of the Dayaw Festival in Tagum City and other communities in Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao City on October 7-9, 2011.

Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1906 issued in 2009, October is celebrated as the Indigenous Peoples' Month.

The President noted, “that the Dayaw Indigenous Peoples'Festival is national in scope, and potentially international, thus requiring cooperation from all sectors of Philippine society and support from concerned national government agencies and LGUs."

The Ibdigenous Peoples' Month is celebrated yearly through the initiatives of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) – Sub-Commission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts, in cooperation with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The Dayaw Festival is organized in partnership with the Davao-based non-government organization, Mindanawnon, the Tagum City Tourism Council and the Tagum City Government, to be held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, with community outreach and cultural exchanges in Compostela Valley, Davao City and Davao del Norte, with the theme “Paghahabi ng Ating Pagkakatulad Tungo sa Kapayapaan” (Interweaving our Commonalities towards Peace). (PCOO)

Aquino maintains opposition to amending Constitution

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday has not changed his position on the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution, saying that Charter Change is not a necessary move at this point in time.

During an interview, following the oath taking of newly appointed government officials in Malacanang on Monday, President Aquino maintained his opposition to amend specific provisions of the Constitution.

The President said that he does not agree that amending the Charter is the solution to spur the economic growth of the country.

“‘Yung reasoning na economic provisions, pag-uusapan namin ng mga leadership, siyempre kailangan ko rin pakinggan ang magkabilang panig. Pero hindi ako sang-ayon na ‘yun ang solusyon para palaguin ang ating ekonomiya,” he said.

Leaders of Congress earlier agreed to pursue Charter Change through a “bicameral constituent assembly.”

The President said that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile mentioned the proposal to amend certain economic provisions of the Constitution “at one point (but) in passing.”

“There were other topics that we were discussing that day tapos nabanggit niya rin ‘yung review and we’re in a democratic country at least all of these ideas should be explored,” he said.

“But if I’m asked my personal opinion, I don’t think Charter Change is a necessary tool, or a necessary move at this point in time,” the President stressed. (PCOO)

Aquino swears in more government officials

President Benigno S. Aquino III today has sworn into office newly-installed officials of various government entities who will help in stepping up the Aquino government’s efforts to effect reforms in the bureaucracy and push for programs that will uplift the lives of the Filipino people.

In simple ceremonies at the Rizal Hall of the Malacanang Palace, President Aquino administered the oath of office of officials who will render the highest quality service to the people in agencies that include the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Department of National Defense, among others.

Topping the list of new officials is Police Director General Nicanor Bartolome who was chosen by the President last month to lead the Philippine National Police (PNP), which is under the DILG; Ambassador Victoria Bataclan as Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium-DFA; Ambassador Constancio Vingno Jr., Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa-DFA; Ambassador Maria Lumen Isleta, Philippine Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic-DFA; Ambassador Leah Ruiz, Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon-DFA; Atty. Henry Bensurto Jr., Career Minister-DFA and Undersecretary Laura del Rosario.

For the DOTC, officials who were sworn in by President Aquino include Undersecretary Rafael Santos and Assistant Secretary Marlou Ubano while DND’s Patrick Velez also took his oath of office as Assistant Secretary.

Also sworn into their new positions were the officers of the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Inc. (FILSCAP) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).

The FILSCAP officials were Arturo Lui Pio also known as Nonoy Tan, chairman; Noel Cabangon, president; Alvin de Vera, vice president; Kedy Sanchez, corporate secretary; Doris Saturno, treasurer; and trustees Trina Belamida, Teodolfo Cajucom Cayamanda Jr., Ramon Chuaying, Marivic Benedicto, Raquel Dacillo, Snaffu Rigor and Johnny Sy.

The PPI officials include Amado Macasaet, chairman and president; Vergel Santos, vice chairman; Ruevivar Reyes, secretary and trustee for Visayas; Isagani Yambot, treasurer; Antonio Katigbak, trustee; Elnora Cueto, trustee; Atty. Jesus Dureza, trustee and Ariel Sebellino, executive director. (PCOO)

Aquino says comprehensive rehabilitation plan is in the works to ensure assistance to victims of typhoons 'Pedring' and 'Quiel'

President Benigno S. Aquino III said that the government is working on a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to reconstruct and recompose devastated areas, specifically the provinces in Northern Luzon, by the recent typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” over the past weeks and to ensure that sufficient assistance will be given the victims.

In an ambush interview following the oath taking ceremonies of newly-appointed government officials, Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (Filscap) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) at the Malacanang Palace on Monday morning, President Aquino said that the Cabinet has been meeting to discuss and come up with an efficient remedial plan to address the effects of the recent typhoons.

“Ngayong umaga at hapon, magmi-meeting ang Gabinete dahil pinag-uusapan na po nila iyong rehabilitation plan. Kelan ba natin maibabalik iyong mga kalsadang naputol, iyong mga landslide kelan maki-clear, iyong kuryente kelan babalik ng one hundred percent, fuel doon sa mga lugar na ito. agriculture, kung ano ang maibibigay natin sa mga nagsasakang paani na sana na, nasalanta pa, kung ano ang maitutulong,” the President said.

President Aquino expressed hope that the planning will be done immediately to provide ample time for his visit in the affected areas.

“Lahat po niyan I’m hoping will be finished today and para makaikot na po tayo sa mga probinsiyang nasalanta ng mga bagyo at iyong parating pa na sana naman po hindi na dumagdag ng hagupit,” the President said.

When asked about his assessment on the performance of concerned government agencies, the Chief Executive noted the improved efforts of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), on calamity preparedness and pre-positioning of food and non-food items in areas to be hit by the typhoons.

He added that several steps are being undertaken by such agencies to improve their action plans in attending to the needs of the people.

“Palagay ko iyong mga ka-industriya mo na ang nagsabi (media practitioners) na ang laki ng difference ng preparedness ng atin pong gobyerno. Pero like anything made by man ay pwede naman ma-improve. We are looking for ways and means to improve it,” the President noted.

“For instance, kahapon na-discuss na may cooperation din naman po sana sa atin ang publikong pinaglilingkuran… kinakabahan sila para sa kanilang mga tahanan, kapag ang mga ito ay kanilang nilikas. Pag hindi naman nailikas, dagdag ang problema at dagdag iyong panganib doon sa mga nagre-rescue. So, hahanapan natin na matutugunan lahat ang mga pangangailangan ng mga nilikas. Siguro naman mababawasan naman iyong peligrong dinadaanan nung mga nagre-rescue among the things that will be improved,” he added.

The past weeks, the two typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” hit the country leaving massive destructions in properties, agriculture and infrastructure amounting to billions of pesos in the affected areas.

The devastation also left several towns in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga under flood waters. (PCOO)