Monday, 10 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, October 10, 2011

Aquino declares last Saturday of March and second Sunday of October 2011 and every year after thereafter as Barangay Assembly Days

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared the last Saturday of March and the second Sunday of October 2011, and every year thereafter as Barangay Assembly Days.

The Chief Executive issued Proclamation No. 260 on September 30, 2011, amending Proclamation No. 342 issued in 2003 entitled “Declaring the last Saturday of March 2003 and third Saturday of October 2003 and every year thereafter as Barangay Assembly Days.”

Sections 397 and 398 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) require the barangay assembly to meet twice a year, to hear and discuss the semestral report of the Sanguniang Barangay concerning its activities and finances as well as problems affecting the barangay.

Section 1 of Republic Act (R.A.) 9340 provides that “the Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections shall be held on the last Monday of October and every three years thereafter.

In amending Proclamation 342 the President underscored the need to ensure that the barangay assembly day for the second semester of each year does not fall under the campaign period for the Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections under Batas Pambansa (BP) Bilang 881 or the “Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.

“The institutionalization of barangay assembly day nationwide is one of the major component programs of the Biyaheng Pinoy: Tapat na Palakad, Bayang Maunlad launched on October 10, 2010 by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG),” according to the new proclamation which was signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr., on behalf of the President.

The new proclamation also noted the need to conduct Barangay Assembly Days nationwide to drumbeat the celebration of the 20th year of the local autonomy in the Philippines and to institutionalize the norms of transparency, responsiveness, accountability and participation at the barangay level.

The President enjoined all City/Municipal Mayors to ensure compliance and maximum participation of all barangays in the said undertaking by conducting barangay assemblies in their respective jurisdiction. (PCOO)


OFW thank President Aquino for allowing them to continue working in Afghanistan

Thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers have expressed their deepest gratitude to President Benigno S. Aquino III for allowing them to continue working for their respective employers in Afghanistan.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Executive, Filipino Carlo Echano, a US government contractor working in Afghanistan who represents more than four thousand OFWs, thanked the President profusely for his “guided decision on allowing us to continue our professions and labor in Afghanistan.”

He said that despite the concerns aired on their safety, they still feel secure working for “our American and NATO (North America Treaty Organization)-member employers.

“We thank you for appreciating the efforts of our American and NATO-member employers to keep us safe and secure in our work in an environment that aims to build peace in this part of the world,” the letter read.

“We thank you for recognizing our hard work and acknowledging that our efforts are not only to support our families but also to build the economy of our country,” it added.

A deployment ban has been issued by the Philippines disallowing Filipinos from traveling to Afghanistan due to security risks.

But Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa announced last August that Filipinos already working in the country are not covered by the ban.

"After making an assessment of the conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq based on input from Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), we have recommended that Filipino workers who are already employed in US military bases and installations in these countries be allowed to remain there to continue their employment," Ochoa said.

The Executive Secretary said however, that the overall deployment ban to Afghanistan as well as Iraq still remains.

A majority of the 6,000 OFWs are working inside two US bases in Afghanistan - Bagram and Kandahar Airfields. (PCOO)


Palace assures there was no attempt to withhold information on accident involving vehicle of presidential political adviser

The Aquino government said that there were no efforts to withhold any information regarding a vehicular accident involving one of its officials, where a high-powered firearm was recovered, as it assured full cooperation on the ongoing investigations to ferret out the truth and sanction those who will be proven guilty of crime commission.

In his official statement during a press briefing at the Palace, Monday, Presidential Political Adviser Ronaldo Llamas stressed that there has been no attempts by anyone to hide what really transpired in the accident involving his Mitsubishi Montero Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and a closed van in Quezon City, before dawn of Friday.

“I would like to emphasize and reiterate that there has been no attempt by anyone to withhold information about the incident, either from the police, media or the public, or to allow those found responsible to escape culpability for their actions,” Llamas said.

“Neither I, nor my office, will ask for 'special treatment' in this regard… we remain committed to the principles of transparency and public accountability that the President (Aquino) has defined his administration by,” he added.

Llamas said that from the event of the accident, his staff was fully cooperative with the law enforcers.

“All throughout the course of this incident, my staff has extended full cooperation and support to the police,” Llamas noted.

He said that on the day of the incident, his staff accompanied his driver to the police station where he was turned over. The driver, indentified as a certain Joey Tecson, Llamas said, gave his voluntary statement to the police.

“It is my understanding that Mr. Tecson gave a voluntary statement to the police and was provisionally released subject to the final outcome of the police investigation. It goes without saying that Office of the Political Adviser (OPA) will continue to extend full cooperation and support to any legal and judicial processes that may arise as a result of the police investigation,” Llamas said.

Recent reports claimed that an assault rifle and several bulletproof vests were found in Llamas’ SUV when it figured in an accident near the Technohub along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Mitsubishi Montero (with a 6*OPA protocol license plate) of Secretary Llamas hit the passenger side of an Isuzu closed van (YUJ-961) driven by Jonel Tenorio at around 2:10 a.m.

Traffic investigators said the SUV’s front bumper sustained major damage and the vehicle had to be towed by a private towing company to its impounding area in Regalado Avenue.

Llamas said that the rifle was “duly licensed” and issued to him. Llamas was in Geneva, Switzerland when the accident occurred to attend a United Nations High Commission for Refugees conference. The Secretary arrived early Monday and from the airport went straight to meet with the Malacanang Press Corps. (PCOO)


Aquino orders Singson to study existing protocol on dam management

President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson to undertake a study on the existing protocol on dam management amid massive floodings in Central Luzon brought by typhoons "Pedring" and "Quiel," a Palace official said on Monday.

The Chief Executive also directed Singson to come out with methods to ensure that the waters coming from the highlands do not flow directly to the lowlands, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing in Malacanang on Monday.

"For instance, the construction of catch basins with respect to dredging, that’s also part of the study that’s going to be made by Secretary Singson as water czar," Lacierda said.

"Secretary Singson is coordinating with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and all dam operators to discuss the existing protocol on the release of water from the dams," he added.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje agreed with the Aquino government's position to review the protocol on dam management. He directed the NWRB, an attached agency of the DENR, to come up with new measures in the face of changing patterns of natural phenomena. “The new dam management protocol should fill up all loopholes in implementing emergency measures during typhoons and weather disturbances,” he said.

With respect to the people living near the dams and danger zones, Lacierda stressed that those in the danger zones have to be moved out.

Following the warning of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) that another tropical depression Ramon may enter the country, Lacierda appealed to the public to remain vigilant and prepared.

"The PAGASA has given us warning on the coming storm so we’ve asked the local government officials to be vigilant in making sure that their residents will be amply safeguarded. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should immediately go into prepositioning relief goods. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council alerting its provincial counterparts," he said. (PCOO)


Aquino declares October 31, 2011 as special non-working day throughout the country

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared Monday, October 31 as a special non-working day throughout the country.

The President issued Proclamation No. 265 on October 10, 2011 "to give full opportunity to our people to properly observe the day with all its religious fervor which invariably requires them to travel to and from different regions of the country."

In issuing Proclamation No. 265, the President said "Monday, October 31 and Tuesday, November 1 (All Saints Day), has been traditionally declared a special (non-working) day." (PCOO)