Tuesday, 18 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aquino to meet with heads of Finance Department/Bureau of Internal Revenue on Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates Bonds

President Benigno S. Aquino III said that he would meet with the heads of Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to discuss the issue on government's Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates (PEACe) Bonds.

“I’ll be meeting both the Secretary of Finance and the Commissioner of the BIR, or the chair, to discuss this particular issue tapos ire-review natin specifically to address the complaints of those who undertook the PEACe Bonds,” the President said.

President Aquino made the statement during a chance interview with members of the Malacanang Press Corps after attending the 110th founding anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday at the PCG headquarters in Port Area, Manila.

“There are also certain members of the NGO [non-government organization] community who benefited from this who also have asked for a meeting. I think I’ll be meeting some of them today or at least within the week,” he added.

On Monday, eight banks have asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the BIR from imposing a 20-percent final withholding tax on the P35 billion PEACe Bonds, which is maturing today.

These banks are Banco de Oro, Bank of Commerce, China Banking Corp., Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Philippine Bank of Communications, Philippine National Bank, Philippine Veterans Bank, and Planters Development Bank. (PCOO)

Aquino urges officers and staff of Philippine Coast Guard to continue efforts to save lives

President Benigno S. Aquino III urged the officers and the men and women of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to live up to the expectations of the Filipinos and perform their duties and responsibilities to ensure the safety and protection of the citizenry.

In his speech during the 110th Anniversary Celebration of the Philippine Coast Guard at its Headquarters in Port Area, Manila on Tuesday, the President cited the PCG’s continued efforts in saving lives and properties of the people whom they are serving.

“Bilang bahagi ng Tanod Baybayin ng Pilipinas, obligasyon ninyong itaguyod ang seguridad at proteksyon ng ating mga kababayan… sa panahon ng kalamidad at sakuna, manatili kayong tagapagligtas ng ating bayan, sa gitna man ng karagatan o sa lawak ng kapatagan manatili kayong takbuhan ng mamamayan,” the President said.

“Ipagpatuloy ninyo ang mayamang tradisyon ng Philippine Coast Guard upang maging gabay natin tungo sa mas maliwanag at mas mapayapang paglalayag sa tuwid na landas,” he added.

President Aquino assured them of his support in the improvement of equipment and capabilities in heeding and answering the needs of the people.

“Makaaasa kayo na habang iginugugol ninyo ang inyong oras at pagod sa pagbabantay ng ating karagatan, doble kayod din ang ating administrasyon sa pag-tugon sa inyong pangangailangan,” the President said.

The Chief Executive noted the government’s various efforts in pushing for actions focused in serving the Filipino people.

During the event, President Aquino led in awarding the medals and plaques of recognition to some officers of the PCG who have shown exemplary performance in pursuing their duties.

The President also took time to walk to the PCG wharf to view and inspect the static display of PCG personnel and equipment, which are ready to be deployed in time of maritime emergencies 24/7.

Anchored on the theme “Para sa Ligtas, Malinis at Mapayapa na Karagatan Tungo sa Maunlad na Bayan,” the PCG’s 110th anniversary celebration was attended by other government officials led by Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Eduardo Oban Jr., Philippine National Police Chief Police Director General Nicanor Bartolome, PCG Commandant Admiral Ramon Liwag and other Foreign Dignitaries. (PCOO)

Aquino says reacquisition of Petron Bataan refinery wouldn’t serve public interest

President Benigno S. Aquino III rejected the offer of Petron to sell back its Bataan refinery to the government saying it’s not in the best interest of the state to operate such refinery.

“I think this is the public position I’ve had since the time I’ve been in public service—hindi efficient kapag government ang nagpapatakbo ng something that has purely business applications,” the President said in a chance interview with the Malacanang Press Corps at the 110th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday.

The government should remain a regulator instead of a player to ensure sound business practices, the Chief Executive said. Repurchasing Petron may lead to another burden for the government and the public.

The President said he doesn’t think that the oil companies aren’t happy with their current situation that’s why Petron wants to dispose its Bataan refinery.

“They have to be very sensitive to the consumers’ sentiments and perhaps this is a way of addressing that,” he said.

Petron chairman and chief executive officer Ramon Ang offered Petron’s refinery, the largest in the country, to the government.

Petron, now controlled by San Miguel Corp., was owned by the Philippine government before it had an initial public offering in 1994. Ang said Petron could appoint a third party assessor to establish the valuation and set the deal structure for the Bataan refinery for its possible sale. (PCOO)

Aquino says synchronized ARMM elections will break cycle of impunity

President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed elation over the decision of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of Republic Act 10153 or the law that synchronizes the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) election to the 2013 polls.

“We thank the Supreme Court for upholding our effort to break the cycle of impunity, corruption and poverty in the ARMM,” the President in a statement read by Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda in Malacanang on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court decision gives us a great opportunity to correct these long-standing problems. It is an opportunity that we will not squander,” he added.

The President said his administration supported the bill that synchronizes the ARMM elections with national elections to stop the vicious cycle of abnormal elections being influenced by powerful political families.

If there is synchronized election, political dynasties couldn’t utilize command votes to subvert the national will, the President said.

Command voting has contributed to the cycle of impunity in the region, as demonstrated by the Maguindanao massacre, in which 57 people were allegedly killed by a local political family, he said.

The system also leads to massive corruption by public officials disabling the ability of the region to move out of poverty.

The President also promised to release P8.592 billion to ARMM for its transition and investment support plan, the President said adding that the measure is aimed at ensuring the long-term stability and equitable progress of the region.

At the same time, the President said that he will appoint officer in charge (OIC) in consultation with stakeholders putting people of integrity and competence in various positions in the ARMM.

The Palace said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already come up with a list of ARMM officials and the President is expected to name them in the coming days.

“As we prepare to synchronize ARMM and national elections in 2013, our nation has taken another significant step into daylight. May all our leaders, at all levels and branches of government, continue to be bound by our common agenda of lasting and equitable progress for the Filipino people,” the President said in his statement.

Aside from affirming the legality of Republic Act 10153, the SC also recognized the authority of the President to appoint officers in charge in the ARMM. (PCOO)

Malacanang welcomes latest survey of Social Weather Stations for third quarter

MalacaƱang on Tuesday welcomed the latest results of a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) for the third quarter of 2011 showing a huge increase in the public’s satisfaction rating with the Aquino administration.

The Aquino administration scored a positive 56-percent net satisfaction rating out of the 1,200 respondents surveyed by the SWS from September 4 to 7.

It has, therefore, gained a 11-point advantage from the scores it received the previous quarter which was pegged at positive 45-percent. The SWS describes the +56-net satisfaction rating as “very good”.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a post-briefing interview with reporters, welcomed this good news for the government as he thanked the Filipino public for appreciating the work that the Aquino administration has done so far.

“We're very grateful to the Filipino people for recognizing the performance of the national administration in forwarding inclusive growth and also in trying to reduce poverty and also to eradicate graft and corruption,” Lacierda said.

“We ask the Filipino people to be with us as we continue our efforts towards these two-pronged promises,” he added.

SWS’ media partner, Business World, said in its report about the survey that “the current administration’s net satisfaction rating remains better than those of previous administrations since SWS began the survey in February 1989”.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. has also stated in a text message to the said paper that this improvement serves as an encouragement for the administration “to work even harder to attain our goals...in spurring more vigorous and inclusive economic growth.” (PCOO)