Sunday, 11 December 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aquino vows continued support for urban poor

President Benigno S. Aquino III assured the Filipinos, especially those among the urban poor, that the government will continue to push for programs not only to end corruption and address poverty but also to provide more opportunities to uplift their standards of living.

In his speech during the 25th Anniversary of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) coinciding with the 23rd Urban Poor Solidarity Week at the Heroes Hall of the Malacanang Palace, Friday, President Aquino assured the implementation of his covenant with the urban poor as well as Republic Act 7279 also known as the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA).

“Ngayong tayo na po ang nasa katungkulan, higit po nating ipagpapatuloy ang pagbagtas sa tuwid na daan… higit nating isusulong ang kampanya upang tuldukan ang katiwalian at labanan ang kahirapan sa bansa,” the President said.

“Dito po naka-angkla ang panata natin na patuloy na ipatupad ang covenant with the urban poor… gayon din ang Republic Act 7279 o ang Urban Development and Housing Act. Sisiguruhin natin na nasusunod ito upang masiguro ang pangangalaga sa karapatan at kapakanan ng mga maralitang taga-lungsod,” he added.

The President said that in the National Capital Region (NCR) alone, there are at least 560 thousand families that need assistance from the government. Such effort requires 500 billion pesos to ensure that their needs will be provided.

“Alam po niyo dito po sa sitwasyon ng maralitang taga-lungsod, mayroong hindi bababa sa 560 thousand families ang kailangan nating isaayos sa NCR. Magkano ba ang tinitingnan na kailangang gastusin diyan? Five hundred billion para sa taga-lungsod pa lang,” the President said adding that the total number of informal settler families in the country is pegged at 1.3 million.

“Mahigit 1.3 milyong pamilya na ang bilang ng mga informal settler families sa bansa at mahigit kalahating milyon dito ang mula sa National Capital Region, ito po ang pinagtutuunan natin ng pansin,” President Aquino said.

The Chief Executive bared that the government has allotted at least 10 billion pesos for the construction of vertical housing units for the in-city solution and the balik-probinsya program or the off-city solution.

During the event, President Aquino led in awarding the “Natatanging Paglilingkod Award” to deserving urban poor leaders who have been instrumental in the development and empowerment of the sector.

Also, a recognition award or the “Pagkilala” was accorded to individuals from various sectors for their support and concern for the welfare of the urban poor.

Prior to the awarding ceremonies, a documentary film was shown depicting the works and accomplishments of the PCUP for the past 25 years followed by the presentation of the following to the President: A posthumous award for his mother, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino symbolizing PCUP’s gratitude for her genuine concern for the sector that resulted to the creation of the PCUP; a PCUP Resolution upholding ad supporting the implementation of his ten-point covenant with the urban poor; and advocacy poster promoting greater awareness of the PCUP and its mandates.

President Cory Aquino created the PCUP on December 8, 1986 through Executive Order No. 82 to serve as a direct link of the urban poor to the government in policy formulation and program implementation addressing their needs. On January 30, 1989, President Cory issued Proclamation No. 367 declaring December 2 to 8 of every year as Urban Poor Solidarity Week to foster unity, dialogue and cooperation among government agencies, non-government entities and urban poor communities in specific programs and projects for the alleviation of urban poverty. (PCOO)

Coloma underscores significance of Press Freedom in protecting democracy

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma inducted Friday night the officers of a nationwide tri-media organization underscoring the importance of defending press freedom and responsible reportage.

In his address before the officers and members of Media Exponents in Developmental Information Alliance (Media Inc), Coloma recalled the imposition of martial law in the country, which curtailed press freedom, describing it as “dark days” in the country’s history. Coloma said he was also a victim of martial rule, having been a detainee for two months.

It is important to remember the past in order for the country to learn from it and preserve the Philippine democracy, he said.

Coloma mentioned three important points in media practice. Among these points include -- writing or to express is already to have a stand, the pen or word is mightier than the sword, and press freedom must be exercised with responsibility.

“Sa pagpapahayag natin sa paggamit ng ating kalayaan tandaan lang natin na meron tayong pananagutan,” he said. “Ang patakaran lang po ng ating pamahalaan ay gamitin lang po natin ito sa responsableng paraan. Kaya nga po ang patakaran ng ating Pangulo ay self-regulation.”

There is no need for censorship in the country, he said, adding media men must use the highest faculties of reasoning and follow the Canons of truth and justice.

“Pag atin pong kinilala na merong karapatan ang ating mga mamamayan, kahit yung iba ang opinyon kaysa sa atin, igalang lang natin yun, yan po ang magiging daan para magkaroon ng pagkakaunawaan, katahimikan at kaayusan sa ating lipunan.”

Media Inc, headed by its president, the veteran broadcaster and journalist Arnold Garcia, is a nationwide organization of media practitioners from radio, television and newspapers.

It also has members from indoor and outdoor advertising, promotions and public relations, printing and publishing, special events and marketing and other form of developmental journalism.

Among those who were inducted Friday were: Antonio Romero, executive vice president; Alfredo Salcedo, secretary general; Almario Macapagal, deputy secretary general; Antonio Rabo, treasurer; Pepito Guerrero, vice chairman of the board; Toto Aguila, board secretary; and Jeff Teodoro, trustee. (PCOO)

Palace announces AFP turn-over of declassified Martial Law documents to the Commission on Human Rights

As the country joins today the global celebration of the International Human Rights Day, Malacanang announced the turn-over by the military of declassified Martial Law documents to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that would help enlighten the people about what transpired during the “dark years” of martial rule.

"We have been informed that today, apart from being Human Rights Day, will be the turnover of declassified Martial Law files from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the Commission on Human Rights," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview aired over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Valte said the Martial Law documents are from the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP).

"Nagkaroon na po ang AFP, DND (Department of National Defense), and CHR ng soft and unofficial launch ng turnover noong September 21, 2011," said Valte.

Thousands of military documents related to Martial Law were declassified last September 21, the 39th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.

On September 21, 1972, then President Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under Martial Law by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081.

In releasing the records to the CHR, defense and military officials expressed high hopes that it will put a closure to controversies that continues to hound the military. (PCOO)

Aquino vows continuing support to military and police force

President Benigno S. Aquino III renewed his commitment to give the members of the armed services the necessary tool to effectively do their duties as well as improved their living conditions.

In a speech during the Philippine Air Force (PAF) invitational shoot fest and firing range blessing on Saturday at the PAF headquarters in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City, he said his administration is working continuously to arm and provide the members of the Armed forces and the police the equipment they need.

“Magkikita po kami ni President [Barack] Obama next year, siguro mga Abril, ipapaalala ko lang na may strategic partnership tayo, at baka maalala nilang wala na tayong fighter [jet] dito,” the President said in his speech to the applause of the air force officials.

The president said he would request for fighter planes from the US after his visit to Indonesia recently, saying the Obama administration has provided the Indonesian air force F-16 jets, an older generation of American jet fighters.

He also said that the US is giving the Philippines another Hamilton class cutter after receiving one this year. The Philippine Navy is set to commission the US-made battleship following some refurbishments.

There are also plans to fully equip the country’s police force, the president said. For instance, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is undergoing a bidding process to buy high standard pistols at a lower price than previous purchases. The president said the current police leadership was able to remove corruption in its transactions saving millions of pesos in favor of the government.

According to the president there are 40,000 police personnel who do not have their issued fire arms, which affect their performance in combating crime. However, he said that by 2012, his administration might fully address the deficiency of firearms among policemen. After solving the pistol deficiency, he said they will start the bidding to acquire additional rifles for the police force.

“Gusto ko lang i-emphasize na itong tuwid na daan, hindi naman po para sa isang sektor lang; itong tuwid na daan ay para sa lahat. Kayo, especially those who are older, do you remember the time we had more capabilities in so many different aspects and we’ve lost those capabilities.

At the same time we have increasing responsibilities,” the president said referring to the increasing challenges in the country.

“So our administration is focused on two things -- provide you the necessary equipment to put you less in harm’s way, and at the same time, ensure that you’re living conditions are at par and given the same opportunities as the rest of the country,” he said.

In concluding his message, he mentioned this year’s Christmas celebration noting that the real spirit of the Yuletide season is being able to be with your respective families.

“Remember that it is not exactly the surroundings that are important nor the food that you will be eating, but the idea that we are here for each other,” he said.

Aside from delivering a message, the President also unveiled the PAF firing range marker and joined the inaugural shoot during Saturday’s event. (PCOO)