Thursday, 24 November 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Aquino leads NBI 75th anniversary celebration, PRAISE awards ceremony

President Benigno S. Aquino III led this year’s ceremony honoring the distinguished personnel and units of the National Bureau of Investigation at the Bureau’s headquarters along Taft Avenue in Manila on Wednesday.

The awarding ceremony was held simultaneous with the Bureau’s celebration of its 75th Anniversary which has for its theme: “NBI: Ang Inyong Kaagapay sa Tuwid na Daan.”

The President, assisted by NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, presented plaques and awards representing the NBI-Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (NBI PRAISE) to 22 officials and employees of the NBI for exemplary performance dutiful diligence to their work.

The awardees are:

I. Best Organizational Unit
• Central Visayas Regional Office
• Dagupan District Office
• Anti-Human Trafficking Division
• Reaction Arrest and Interdiction Division
• Program Management Office
• Budget Division
• Questioned Document Division

II. Oustanding Case Award
• Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Division

III. Agent Achiever of the Year
• Christopher Mesa, Cavite Regional Office
• Renato Garbo III, Cavite District Office
• Reynaldo Remo, Anti-Human Trafficking Division
• Jerome Bomediano, Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Office

IV. Special Investigator of the Year
• Rogel Intia, Bicol Regional Office
• Roberto Gonzales, Dagupan District Office
• Danilo Garay, Anti-Human Trafficking Division
• Joel Otic, Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Office

V. Best Employee of the Year
• Merly Dion, Internal Affairs Division
• Tammy Uy, Northeaster Mindanao Regional Office
• Chona Pring, Anti-Graft Division
• Luida Rivera, Personnel Division
• Evelyn Ignacio, Medico-Legal Division
• Norma Panlilio, Cashier Section
• Jason Domingo, Reasearch and Analysis Division

In his speech, the President lauded the awardees and the officials and employees of the NBI for their dedication and selfless sacrifice, saying the he and the nation are grateful for their work.

“Kasabay ng pagdiriwang ng inyong ika-pitumpu’t limang anibersaryo, binibigyang-pugay din natin ang mga katangi-tangi ninyong kawani,” the President said.

“Higit sa mga gantimpala’t parangal na ipagkakaloob natin sa kanila, ay ang wagas na pasasalamat ng sambayanan sa kanilang dedikasyon at sakripisyo, sa kanilang pagiging huwarang lingkod-bayan, at sa pangingibabaw ng kanilang adhikaing isantabi ang kanilang sariling interes para sa kapakanan ng nakararami,” he added.

The President added that through NBI Director Gatdula, he was sure that the Bureau will remain on track towards the straight and just path.

“Buo ang tiwala kong kaliwa’t kanan man ang banta sa inyong buhay, o suhulan man kayo ng ga-bundok na salapi, mananaig pa rin sa inyong puso’t diwa ang tungkulin ninyong ipatupad ang batas, at ang obligasyon ninyong manatili sa tuwid na landas,” the President said. (PCOO)

Malacañang declares November 25 as special non-working day in Sarangani

Malacanang has declared November 25, 2011 as a special non-working day in the province of Sarangani in celebration of its 19th Foundation Day anniversary and the 9th Munah’to Festival on November 24-26, 2011.

By virtue of Proclamation No. 291 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Nov. 18, 2011, Malacanang declared November 25 which falls on a Friday as a special non-working day to give the people of the province the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in these two important occasions.

Sarangani became an independent province in 1992 through Republic Act 7228.

Preparations are all set for the celebration of the MunaTo festival with activities lined up to showcase Sarangani’s “history, culture and resources.”

MunaTo was derived from the native vernacular meaning “unang tao” or “first people,” the early inhabitants of Sarangani who passed on a rich cultural heritage. It also refers to the makers of the 2000-year old anthropomorphic burial jars discovered in Maitum. The burials jars are now in the National Museum.

A MunaTo Fun Run: against global warming from the Capitol grounds to barangay Maribulan in Alabel will be held on Nov. 24.

A hero’s welcome for the internationally acclaimed boxing icon and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao from his recent victory in Las Vegas is set on November 24. (PCOO)

Malacanang assures Congress of early disbursements of funds that will benefit Filipinos

Malacanang assured Congress of early disbursements of government’s funds in programs that will directly benefit the people and empower them to become productive citizens, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

"We can assure the legislature that we’ll be spending much, much earlier. Compared to this year when we started spending only in June, we will start spending come January," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a regular press briefing in Malacanang.

The Aquino government, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), allocates funds for next year's priority programs to improve the business climate, develop infrastructure, accelerate agricultural infrastructure, and increase investments in health and education.

Acknowledging the importance to disburse the 2012 budget as early as possible, Lacierda said the government came out with corrective measures to avoid delays in the implementation of programs next year.

"Basically last year was a period that was spent in assessing the infrastructure with respect to disbursements. As you know, for instance, in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) we’re looking at mechanisms by which we can correct the system. It was addressed by Secretary Rogelio Singson. We will have no problem spending as early as January," Lacierda said. (PCOO)

Qatari Ambassador pays farewell call on President Aquino

Qatari Ambassador Abdulla Ahmed Yousif Ahmed Al-Mutawaa paid his farewell call on President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday by thanking the government for its support during his stint in the Philippines.

During the launch of the Qatar Embassy website Ambassador Al-Mutawaa described his first impression of the Philippines saying: “the warmth of the Filipino people was the first thing that captured my senses.”

“I have visited several fascinating places that have truly enticed my passion for nature, but furthermore, I was astonished by this country's cultural diversity,” he said in his message referring to his first visit to the country in 2005.

Among the achievements of Ambassador Al-Mutawaa in the Philippines include the signing of Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation (Doha 2008), signing of Agreement on Additional Protocol to the 1997 Philippines-Qatar Agreement on the Regulation of Filipino Manpower Employment (Doha 2008).

Al-Mutawaa assisted the Philippines-Qatar bilateral agreements on trade and investments, agriculture and fisheries, education, cultural cooperation and health.

He also spearheaded the cooperation between the Philippines and Qatar to combat transnational organized crime; and the waiving of visa requirements for diplomatic and special passports. The outgoing ambassador also initiated Qatar-Philippines Business Council in 2008.

Al-Mutawaa, who is also the vice dean of the diplomatic corps, was designated Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Qatar to the Republic of the Philippines in January 2006.

Prior to his posting in the Philippines, he represented the Qatar government in Libya, Japan, Syria, Palestine and Cuba.

The diplomatic relations between Qatar and the Philippines was established in 1981. The Arab country hosts more than 246,000 overseas Filipino workers. (PCOO)

Malacanang reiterates call to fast track trial of Maguindanao massacre

Malacañang reiterated its call on the judiciary to fast track the trial on the Maguindanao massacre case for the welfare of the victims’ relatives who are still crying for justice two years after the gruesome crime transpired.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda issued this statement during a press briefing on Wednesday as he informed the public that President Benigno S. Aquino III remains committed on his promise to provide protection for the witnesses and the victims’ relatives.

Lacierda said the Aquino administration is doing everything in its power to serve justice for the slain victims of the massacre but recognized at the same time that the fulfillment of this particular objective does not lie entirely in the hands of Malacañang.

“We would wish that the process, the judicial process, [can] be fast-tracked. This case is not in the hands entirely of the executive branch or the prosecution,” said Lacierda as he conveyed respect for the authority of the co-equal judicial branch on this matter.

Lacierda said the prosecution which is under the executive branch through the Department of Justice “share the public’s concern” that the hearing of the Maguindanao massacre has been dragging for quite a while now and they would “hope that the judiciary would take a second look at the pace” of the trial.

“It is within the discretion of the trial judge. It is within the discretion of the judiciary. We, ourselves in the Executive branch, share the public’s concern that this case is taking so long and we would hope that the judiciary would take a second look at the pace of the Maguindanao trial so that justice may be obtained within this term, within the administration of President Aquino,” Lacierda stressed.

Lacierda added that Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo is currently in Maguindanao to oversee the efforts being undertaken by the forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that are still going after suspects who remain at large.

“Patuloy po nilang hinahanap ang mga hindi pa nahuhuli pero ang mahalaga po, doon sa mga nahuli na po, lalo na sa mga principal ng kaso, ang aming pakiusap ay ituloy na rin ang kaso. Marami pong ginagawang tactics po ang mga abogado ng akusado and so understandably medyo bumabagal [ang takbo ng kaso],” he said.

President Aquino once mentioned during a forum with members of the foreign media organizations last month that the members of the prosecution panel under the DOJ “have been exercising all the necessary steps within their purview to be able to expedite the whole process.”

The Maguindanao massacre took place in November 23, 2009 when a private armed group attacked the convoy of then gubernatorial candidate Esmael Mangudadatu, leaving 58 civilians—among them 34 journalists—killed and buried in a makeshift mass grave.

Maguindanao has since been placed under State of Emergency by virtue of Proclamation No. 1946 issued by the previous president which President Aquino maintained in order to keep the entire province in tight security. (PCOO)

Malacanang says state of emergency in Maguindanao remains in effect

As the country commemorates the second year of the Maguindanao massacre, Malacanang clarified on Wednesday that the state of emergency in Maguindanao remains in effect contrary to reports that it has been lifted.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the state of emergency in Maguindanao is still being enforced to ensure the peace and order situation in the province.

The country commemorates Wednesday, November 23, the second year of the Maguindanao massacre, the bloodiest single-day killings in the country’s electoral history.

In a media briefing in Malacanang, Lacierda said President Benigno S. Aquino III knows the concerns of the relatives of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.

He recalled that the President met the families and relatives of the victims even during the presidential campaign last year adding that the Chief Executive promised to provide security to make sure that the witnesses are protected.

The Palace spokesman said that fast-tracking the Maguindanao massacre trial now lies solely lies in the hands of the judiciary and not the Executive Branch.

“We ourselves in the Executive Branch share the public’s concern that this case is taking so long and we hope that the Judiciary would take a second look at the pace of the Maguindanao trial so that justice may be obtained within this term, within the administration of President Aquino,” Lacierda said.

Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo placed the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City under a state of emergency on November 24, 2009, following the massacre. Fifty-seven people died in the brutal killings.

The state of emergency was declared in the said localities to prevent and suppress lawless elements in the area, according to a Palace statement at that time. The powerful Ampatuan clan, most of them now in government custody, has been linked to the killings. (PCOO)