Tuesday, 4 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Aquino receives new German envoy in Malacañang

President Benigno S. Aquino III received the credentials of His Excellency Joachim Heidorn as the new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Philippines in a ceremony at the Music Room of Malacanang Palace on Tuesday.

The new German Ambassador and his party were welcomed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio.

Ambassador Heidorn was accompanied by the Charge de Affaires Ralph Timmerman; First Secretary and head of the administration, Ute Greul; administration attaché, Renate Haque-Bernutz, and press officer Carmina Barcelon,.

In presenting his credentials, Ambassador Heidorn wished President Aquino well and happiness and thanked him for welcoming him to the country.

After the ceremony, the President ushered Ambassador Heidorn to the adjoining Music Conference Room for a closed-door meeting.

Ambassador Heidorn took over the post vacated by his predecessor Ambassador Webber Lortsch.

In 2005, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of the Philippines celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

On April 25, 1955 a trade agreement was signed, which led to a dynamic commercial cooperation between the two countries. Soon after, diplomatic missions were opened in Manila and Bonn.

The year 1961 marked both the beginning of the official development cooperation, which has proven a remarkable impact on people's lives in the Philippines, and the opening of the Goethe-Institut Manila (German Cultural Center). Numerous academic linkages and the German School in Manila (founded in 1980) contribute to an intensive cultural exchange.

In 2008, the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) was established further promoting and strengthening ties between the two countries. (PCOO)

Aquino to visit Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac Wednesday

President Benigno S. Aquino III will visit several areas in Northern Luzon that were severely hit by the recent typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” on Wednesday to extend the necessary assistance to the victims and assess the situation including the extent of damage in the said areas.

In a press briefing at Malacanang on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the President will be visiting the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac where he will be briefed by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on the effects of the calamity and meet with ctims of the typhoons.

“The President is going to visit Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac…as he would like to see for himself the effects of the typhoon to the infrastructure in the affected communities, so ongoing na po ang ating pagbibigay ng relief assistance doon... and he will also be briefed by the PDRRMC. He will also meet with some local officials and leaders of local communities,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said that even before President Aquino’s visit to the said areas, the government has been continuously providing assistance to the victims and the Chief Executive has already directed the concerned government agencies to come up with a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to restore the affected areas.

These concerned government agencies include the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

“Let me emphasize that we are providing continues relief efforts and the President also mentioned yesterday that he has tasked some Cabinet officials to come up with a rehabilitation plan… this will involve the DSWD, DPWH, DILG, DOTC and DOE as well,” Lacierda noted.

He further said that each concerned government agency in the rehabilitation efforts is assessing the amount of damage caused by the two typhoons based on their respective concerns.

“Each agency has its own computation… for instance, the DPWH are looking at roads and Secretary Singson mentioned that the roads leading to the bridges that are under water will have to be studied. As for the concerns of the DOE on power, they have their own estimates,” Lacierda said.

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

The devastation left several towns in Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac under flood waters. (PCOO)

Palace condemns attacks by rebels in Surigao

Malacañang condemned on Tuesday the attacks by suspected members of the New People’s Army on mining firms in Surigao del Norte vowing to use the full force of the law in prosecuting and bringing to justice those who perpetrated the crime.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters in a briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, however that the government would remain on track in its pursuit of peace with the rebel groups.

“We condemn the atrocities. We condemn the violence. But peace is a better alternative to war that is why we are committed to the peace process,” Lacierda said.

“We will continue our efforts to pursue the peace negotiations because that is, we believe, the better option,” he added.

Lacierda said that upon learning of the incident at around noon on Monday, the President immediately convened a meeting with the Cabinet cluster concerned with security.

He said the President ordered Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to conduct a threat assessment as well as a review on operational procedures “in order to identify vulnerable targets…by the CPP-NPA-NDF.”

“So that is one way of making sure that we are in touch with the community and we’ll be able to identify the different threat assessments. Nonetheless, having the threat assessment, we are going to make sure that will provide security to the vulnerable areas,” Lacierda said.

He called on the leadership of the NPA to “exercise restraint” and work with government in order to attain peace.

“So this is the firm commitment of our government, of our administration: we will defend our people and they can be certain that will not stop at prosecuting and going after the rebels,” Lacierda said.

“We call on the CPP-NDF-NPA leadership to exercise restraint and to call on their troops to exercise restraint as part of confidence-building measures towards the peace process,” he said.

Suspected members of the NPA attacked three mining firms: Nickel Asia Corporation, Platinum Metals Group and THPAL Mining Company; all located in Claver, Surigao del Norte.

According to reports, the rebels, numbering some 200, burned down a total of 10 dump trucks, eight backhoes, two barges and a guesthouse. They also seized several guns from private security guards and smashed computers in site offices. (PCOO)