Wednesday, 7 December 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Aquino exhorts Liberal Party mates to help effect change in the country

President Benigno S. Aquino III has encouraged his party mates in the Liberal Party to seize the opportunity given them by the Filipino people to effect change in the country that would help uplift their lives.

“I really have to be able to say what we will leave is definitely better than what we found,” the President said in his impromptu speech during the oath-taking ceremony of New Liberal Party (LP) members and 65th Christmas Party of the LP at the Balay Expo Centro, Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City on Monday evening.

The President also asked his fellow public servants in the LP to face the challenges in serving the people and perform their duties as instruments of the Divine Provider for the good of the Filipinos.

“God made us instruments—I’d like to think God is making us instruments of His will and, at the end of the day, we have been given an opportunity to really transform so much of our country and especially the lives of our people,” President Aquino said.

“And when you are given this responsibility, of course, the task ahead is not going to be easy. The battle that is looming will not be easy. But we do have to make a choice and the choice is very simple. We can choose to try and be visible at the same time being invisible or we can, you know, really fulfill what we promised our people when we campaigned to them,” he added.

The President said that when he accepted the challenge of leading the country, he already knew the possible trials and tribulations that come along with his responsibilities as he expressed his unwavering commitment to change the lives of the Filipinos for the better when he steps down at the end of his term in 2016.

“The idea is simple. I accepted this willingly. I know the risks involved. I know the trials and tribulations, at least ‘yung what to expect, and knowing fully well that the trials and tribulations that will come our way, I committed fully. I want to be able to step down in 2016 and have people tell me that they were satisfied or they were happy with the performance, or that nobody can tell me that the commitment that I willingly undertook I didn’t do. I want to be able to say to everybody and anybody that we really did everything,” President Aquino noted.

“I already envisioned the time that I will be retired. But I have to be able to say that I didn’t bequeath to the next generation something the same or worse than what I found. I really have to be able to say what we leave is definitely better than what we found. And with your help with the constancy of your support,, and your understanding, I see no reason why we will not achieve the same,” he said.

Also present during the event were prominent members of the LP led by Senators Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, and Francis Pangilinan, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, LP Secretary General and Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya and LP president and Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II, among others.

During the event, President Aquino swore into office in the new members of the LP. (PCOO)

Aquino cites role of every Filipino in achieving genuine change

President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the important role every common Filipino should take in achieving the nation’s genuine change just as what his parents, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino and the awardees of their Fellowship for Professional Development, have shown that are worth emulating for.

In his speech during the awarding ceremonies of the 22nd Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowship Awards for Professional Development (Journalism and Public Service Categories) at the Rigodon Ballroom II of the Peninsula Hotel Manila in Makati City on Tuesday, the President underscored the efforts of some Filipinos, including that of his parents, who have gone beyond what are expected of them to contribute more for the country and their fellowmen.

“I believe that what we are truly celebrating today is the capacity of every common Filipino to contribute to genuine and lasting change… this is what I’d like everyone to remember about my mother and my father and about those whom we have awarded these fellowships… that they are just like each and every one of us, that have chosen to go far beyond what is required of them as citizens to help their fellowmen,” the President said.

The Chief Executive noted the need for cooperation and concerted efforts of the government and the citizenry in pushing for the welfare of the country and the people as well. He encouraged every Filipino to live the life that his parents led and the examples that were shown by the awardees.

“Our country is in the process of recovery, of rebuilding institutions that have served us so well in the past years… the reality is that this is a difficult job, one that cannot be accomplished by one person or even by the government alone. But if the Filipino people hear about the stories of Father Ponpon (Vasquez) and Lieutenant Beltran… if they take it to heart and if they follow the examples of our awardees each of their own little way then what this great nation hurled with great people can achieve may well be limitless,” the President said.

During the event, President Aquino and United States Ambassador to the Philippine Harry K. Thomas awarded the 2011 Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowship for Professional Development to two outstanding Filipinos who have shown exemplary accomplishment in the fields of journalism and public service.

Father Eduardo C. Vasquez Jr., a Catholic priest and media champion working in the conflict-affected towns in Maguindanao province was awarded for his dedication and unwavering courage to highlight the plight of the less fortunate through the production of documentaries that shed light on their struggles for a better future.

The same recognition was conferred by the Embassy of the United States of America on Lieutenant Junior Grade Roberto Mamaril Beltran of the Philippine Navy in recognition of his selfless efforts to serve his country, contribution to peace and development and being a role model of sacrifice, honor and courage.

“To the awardees, as President of this country, allow me to say to both of you that you will always have my admiration and respect for what you have given to the Filipino people…” the President stressed.

“Today we have awarded two outstanding and inspiring individuals but I believe that the truly amazing thing is this: the fact that as human beings, we have the capacity to push ourselves just as these two people had… just as the past winners of the awards and both my parents had,” President Aquino said.

Ambassador Thomas, in his opening statement bared that 23 years ago, the United States Embassy partnered with the Aquino Foundation in establishing the “Ninoy & Cory Aquino Fellowships For Professional Development” in recognition of the outstanding accomplishments and potentials of people in the fields of journalism and public service.

Such fellowship, Thomas said, provides the awardees a three-week professional exchange program in the United States and as its name suggests, the awards honors the contributions of the late Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. and President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino in efforts to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions.

“Through course of their contributions and of the democracy they help build are a free and vibrant press and a spirit of public service,” the American envoy said.

Also in attendance were US Embassy Charge de Affaires Leslie Bassett, Representative Dakila Carlo Cua of the lone district of Quirino and Chairman Daniel ‘Bitay’ Lacson of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Presidential sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada, among others.

The Aquino Fellowship is one of the several exchange programs that the US government provides in the country and worldwide. These programs foster international understanding through the exchange of information and ideas between the people of the Philippines, the US and other countries. (PCOO)

Aquino: High popularity ratings come from optimism of the people

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he has been enjoying continuing support from the people despite several challenges because he represents their dreams and aspirations.

During the Bulong Pulungan media group Christmas party and awarding ceremony in Sofitel Hotel Tuesday, the president said his high popularity emanates from the people, being their agent for change and reform in the country.

Bulong Pulungan honored the President's peace efforts in Mindanao.

“Parati ko pong sinasabi, ayon sa ating Saligang Batas, ang talagang kinikilala kong boss ay ang taumbayan,” the President said when he was asked about his high popularity.

“Ang boss natin ang nagsasabi kung ano ang direksyon natin. So yung approval and trust ratings come from the fact that I am speaking for... and really trying to realize the dreams of the vast majority of our populace,” he added.

The President said the public knows the problems and challenges that the country faces noting that he always tries to be honest with the people, telling them the bad as well as the good news. The public expectations are realistic, he said.

While the chief executive said that the country can’t solve all the problems of the Philippines at once, he said working to find solutions is a good starting point for the nation.

The President still enjoys high approval ratings until now despite his shaky relationship with the judiciary, the political drama stirred by charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the peace and order situation in Mindanao.

Also during the Sofitel event, the President said he has no plans to reshuffle his Cabinet as the country enters a new year, noting he’s satisfied with his Cabinet’s performance.

“I’m very happy with the Cabinet. But, at the same time, all of us are humans. We are all imperfect beings and there is always room for improvement,” he said.

“And if the day comes that any member of my Cabinet—and myself included—says ‘we’re so perfect, we know it all, and there’s no improvement’, then I think that’s the time we should all be resigning because we’ll be dangerous to the people by then.” (PCOO)

Aquino may visit Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea next year

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he may consider visiting Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea next year after he received invitations from those countries.

The President, who attended Tuesday the Christmas party of the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel Tuesday, said those possible trips will be in addition to his yearly attendance to the meetings with others leaders of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

He said the first Asean meeting next year will be in Cambodia in April. The chief executive said he will also be attending the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Asean-plus next year.

“I told the Department of Foreign Affairs which is the primary agency tasked to plan all of this out: ‘You know if you get me to Europe you might say that we’ll have to pass through the Middle East to get to Europe,” he said. “You might say to also take up the Middle East. I’d rather be spending time in this country.”

The President also had an invitation to visit the United States early next year. US President Barack Obama’s invitation for the President was relayed through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she visited the Philippines last month. (PCOO)

Aquino says continuing public support the greatest Christmas gift

The continued support of the people for change and reform is the greatest gift that he can have this Yuletide season, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Tuesday.

“If I can maintain the goodwill and the support that the people have been giving me--that is really such a tremendous gift and I hope to be deserving of the same,” the President said during a question and answer portion in the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel media group Christmas party on Tuesday.

The President was asked by the press what he wanted as a Christmas gift, aside from the good news his administration has been making.

The President acknowledged that the driving force behind his administration's goal of achieving a better society for all is really the people.

“I think our people are really driving this whole administration towards that goal of an improved society and their efforts have been producing really good results,” he said.

Asked by the press what will make him happy at this time, the President said it’s the renewed confidence of the people and the opportunities that lie ahead.

The present administration has been working on addressing issues such as reforestation, agriculture, livelihood, environment and others, he said. (PCOO)

Aquino receives peace award from ‘Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel’

Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel media forum honored President Benigno S. Aquino III with a peace award on Tuesday for his continuing efforts to attain peace in Mindanao as well as to carry out reforms in government.

The Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel media group conferred the award on the President during its Christmas party and recognition day for outstanding public servants and private individuals at Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City.

In his message, the Chief Executive thanked Bulong Pulungan for giving him the award saying the honor will be an inspiration for him to perform better as a public servant.

The President said Bulong Pulungan’s weekly forum opens the minds of the public, give the people the necessary information so that they can join constructive public discourse.

“Sa mga lingguhang talakayan sa napapanahong usapin, iminumulat ninyo ang sambayanan sa mga isyung dapat lamang nilang malaman, lahukan at tugunan,” he said. “Napakalaki po ng potensyal ninyong makatulong sa patuloy na pag-usad natin sa tuwid na daan. Sa bawat sulat ninyo, sa bawat ulat ninyo nag-iiwan kayo ng marka sa publiko.”

As a Christmas gift, the President asked the press to help his administration disseminate the good news about the government’s performance.

“Kapag may good news po tayo huwag lang po sana natin itong ipagbulungan, huwag lang po sana natin itong iimbak sa ating mga tanggapan, huwag po tayong mag-atubiling ipagmalaki ang ito at ipagsigawan nang malakas,” he said.

The government has accomplished a lot and the media can report so many good things happening in the country, he stressed.

The President thanked the media for strengthening and protecting the country’s democracy even as he enjoined them to voice their stand on major issues and express the truth.

He also asked the press to support his administration as it marches towards reform and change, saying that all the changes and reform that the country wants can’t be achieved without the help of other sectors of society.

The weekly Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel forum is being held at Sofitel Hotel featuring interesting and sometimes controversial figures to talk and discuss about a wide range of issues. (PCOO)