Thursday, 31 May 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, May 31, 2012

Aquino declares July 16 as special non-working day in Cordillera Administrative Region in celebration of its 25th Foundation Day

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared July 16, which falls on a Monday, as a special (non-working) day in the Cordillera Administrative Region in celebration of its 25th Foundation Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 391 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on May 29, 2012 to give the people of the Cordillera Administrative Region the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

President Aquino granted the request of the Regional Development Council-Cordillera Administrative Region to declare July 16 instead of July 15 which falls on a Sunday as a special (non-working) day in the region.

In July 15, 1987, Executive Order No. 220 was issued creating the Cordillera Administrative Region consisting of the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao and the Mountain Province. (PCOO)

Malacanang cites country’s GDP growth in first quarter of 2012; says it’s the highest growth rate in entire ASEAN region

Malacanang bared the significant growth in the country’s economy that were attributed to the continued confidence by the private sector on the Aquino administration, including the increase in exports and the increase in expenditures by the Filipino people.

In a regular press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte read a statement on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of 2012 which, she said, was the highest in Asia and in the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

“The Philippine economy grew by 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2012. The better than expected economic growth was due to sustained private sector confidence and accelerated government spending. There were healthy increases in the services sector, complemented by growth in exports and increases in household consumption expenditures,” Valte said.

“The first quarter GDP figure validates the optimistic outlook of the President and his economic team. It is the highest first quarter GDP growth in a non-election year since 2006; the second highest in Asia; and the highest growth rate in the entire ASEAN region for this period,” she added.

“We are confident that the positive trajectory of our GDP growth will be sustained in the latter quarters of this year, which has traditionally demonstrated more robust and dynamic economic performance. Moreover, this affirmation of our country’s steady advance toward inclusive growth comes at the heels of Moody’s Investors Service upgrade of our credit outlook to positive from stable. All indications point to the global economy’s continued confidence in the Philippines, as well as to a more optimistic outlook within the country,” Valte explained.

At the height of these achievements, Valte assured that the government will continue to pursue its reform agenda and efforts to ensure the improvement of the lives of the Filipinos.

“The hard work continues, on the firm foundations of these recent achievements. As the Aquino administration has been resolute in carrying out its agenda of reform and in institutionalizing good governance, it will continue to be equally steadfast in translating our economy’s gains into employment opportunities, programs geared toward poverty alleviation, and the systemic improvement of the way of life of Filipinos,” Valte noted. (PCOO)

Palace announces approval of two major projects

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved on Wednesday two projects for implementation, Malacanang announced on Thursday.

The NEDA Board, chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino III met on Wednesday in Malacanang.

During the regular press briefing in Malacanang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that out of the eight projects discuss during the meeting the board approved only two.

The first project is the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway Project, the Phase 2 of the Expressway project which has a total project cost of P15.8 billion.

The second project is the National Sewerage and Septage Management Program, a project in a pilot phase, which has a total capital cost of P26.3 billion.

Two weeks ago, the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC CabCom) of the NEDA Board approved five projects on transportation, infrastructure and health worth P32.67 billion aimed at building and rehabilitating vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and hospitals.

The NEDA Board, chaired by the President, is the country’s highest development planning and policy coordinating body. The board is comprised of various Cabinet secretaries, the president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, the governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the deputy governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The ICC, which is one of the interagency committees of the NEDA Board, evaluates the fiscal, monetary and balance-of-payments implications of major national projects. (PCOO)

Aquino receives Iraqi Foreign Minister in Malacanang

President Benigno S. Aquino III received on Thursday Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari during a courtesy call in efforts to advance the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Iraq.

The meeting was held at the Music Room of MalacaƱang Palace. Foreign Minister Zebari was joined by Iraq Ambassador to the Philippines Wadee Batti Hanna Al-Batti.

Also in attendance were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto F. del Rosario and Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Zebari arrived in the country for a three-day official visit from May 31 to June 2 upon the invitation of Secretary del Rosario.

Del Rosario and the Foreign Minister of Iraq are expected to discuss wide-ranging bilateral issues, including the convening of the 7th Philippines-Iraq Joint Commission Meeting this year.

During his visit to Iraq last January 29, 2012 Sec. del Rosario extended the invitation to Minister Zebari.

"The Foreign Minister’s visit is an important milestone in Philippine-Iraq relations as it is the first visit of an Iraqi Foreign Minister to the Philippines," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

There is an estimated 279 Filipinos registered with the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad and 192 in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region. (PCOO)

Aquino to attend International River Summit in Iloilo City

President Benigno S. Aquino III is visiting Iloilo City on Friday to attend the First Philippine International River Summit, inspect ongoing projects in the city and distribute health cards and land certificates to the poor beneficiaries.

Upon his arrival, the President will proceed to Jaro, Iloilo City for the international river summit. He will lead the inauguration of the new Iloilo City Hall and will be briefed on different ongoing projects in the city.

The President will likewise lead the awarding of PhilHealth cards and certificate of lot awards to residents affected by the river development project.

The Chief Executive will also inspect the Iloilo River Esplanade Project in Bgy. San Rafael, Iloilo City.

The Philippines is presently holding the First Philippine International River Summit which started last May 30 and ends on June 1 at the Centennial Resort and Convention Center in Jaro, Iloilo City.

The summit is part of the continuing effort of the government to effectively manage the country’s rivers and river basins.

The meeting, with the summit theme “My River, My Life,” will focus on four major issues such as governance, biodiversity conservation and management, climate change, disaster risk management and quality water management.

Leading experts in the field of river management, aquatic biodiversity and global climate change from the US, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and other Asian countries are meeting in Iloilo City to share sustainable river basin management practices that can be replicated by other cities.

The Iloilo City river summit is the first ever in the Philippine initiative that seeks to provide a global platform for action on environmental, economic and social issues confronting rivers and river basins.

The global forum serves as a venue for leading experts, scientists, policy makers and local leaders to identify challenges, opportunities and best practices for effective river and river basin management.

The summit will particularly focus on rivers in the urban centers that are supportive to the attainment of sustainable cities.

Joining the President during the event will be Sen. Franklin Drilon, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor and other local Iloilo leaders. (PCOO)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Aquino to embark on a historic trip to the United Kingdom next week

President Benigno S. Aquino III will embark on a 3-day official visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain as “guest of the UK government” starting June 4 to 6.

It will be President Aquino’s first visit to the United Kingdom as President of the Philippines since he assumed office in 2010. The UK is also the only European country that will be visited by the President this year.

Among President Aquino’s activities in UK will be a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street where the two leaders are expected to discuss Philippine-UK political and economic cooperation, the UK’s participation in the international contact group (ICG), regional and international issues, and anti-corruption and good governance practices of both governments.

While in London, the President will also meet with several British investors, take part in the Philippine fun tourism campaign of the Department of Tourism and meet with the Filipino community in the UK, the largest in Europe.

The President is scheduled to have a tour of the Imperial War Museum in London.

David Alderman Wootton, the Lord Mayor of London will host a luncheon in honor of the President. He will also meet with the Duke of York Prince Andrew.

The chief executive is also scheduled to appear for an interview with the BBC World News.

The Philippines and the UK have a long standing diplomatic relations, with ties starting in 1946. The UK is the country’s top European investors, the 23rd trading partner, the biggest tourism market in Europe and host to the biggest number of Filipinos in Europe. (PCOO)

Aquino allots P5-million to improve Philippine Merchant Marine Academy's water supply

SAN NARCISO, Zambales : The inability of this municipality’s water supply system to provide clean potable water to its residents and businesses, particularly the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) will soon be addressed after President Benigno S. Aquino III allotted P5-million for its immediate repair and rehabilitation.

In his speech keynoting the 189th Commencement Exercises of the PMMA here on Wednesday, the President said it was important that the residents, especially the diligent and hardworking students and employees of the PMMA, have their basic necessities met in order to perform their respective jobs well.

“Nakaabot po sa atin ang ulat ng PMMA sa Local Water Utilities Administration ukol sa mababang kalidad at kakulangan ng supply ng tubig dito sa inyong lugar. Maglalaan na po tayo ng limang milyong pisong pondo para sa pagsasaayos ng water supply system sa apektadong munisipalidad, kasama na ang PMMA,” the President said to the thunderous applause of appreciation of those who attended the commencement exercises.

“Di naman po yata tamang ang mga nagsanay na dumaong at maglakbay sa karagatan, ay magkulang pa sa supply ng tubig, di po ba?” he added.

The municipality of San Marcelino has been suffering from the lack of water for years and it is hoped that through the President’s allotment of funds and his instructions to the Local Water Utilities Administration, the lead agency on the supply of water, this problem will soon be a thing of the past. (PCOO)

Aquino leads 189th Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Commencement ceremonies

SAN NARCISO, Zambales : President Benigno S. Aquino III led the 2012 graduates of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy in commemorating its 189th Commencement Exercises held at the school’s grounds here on Wednesday.

In his speech, the President congratulated the new graduates, 241 of them, for having hurdled what he called the “easy” part of their careers adding that it was now time to buckle down to hard work.

“Simula na ang paglalayag sa tunay na lipunan; simula na ng pagsuong sa mga daluyong ng pagsubok; oras na ng pagpalaot upang pitasin ang katuparan ng inyong mga pangarap,” he added.

He noted that Filipino seafarers account for 25 percent of the total 1,300,000 seafarers worldwide due to their diligence, hardwork and seriousness towards their craft, which they see as a means to improve the lives of their families.

That is why, the President added, Filipino seafarers are the biggest remittance contributors to the national coffers.

“Hindi matatawaran ang malaking kontribusyon ng ating mga marino sa ating bayan. Nito lang pong 2011, ang total remittances ng ating seafarers ay umabot ng 4.34 billion dollars – 21.58% po ito ng kabuuang 20.12 billion dollars na remittances ng ating Overseas Filipino Workers,” the President said.

“Kasabay nga po ng pagkayod ng ating mga marino para may maihain sa hapag ng pamilya, napapalusog din ang ating ekonomiya,” he added.

The President pointed out the sense of national pride our seafarers bring to the country by showcasing their skills, hard work and dedication to wherever their work leads them.

The President appealed to the new members of the PMMA to join his government’s continuing fight against corruption and its sources as the country moves towards the promise of a better future.

“Ang hiling ko lang po, huwag sana tayong panghinaan ng loob o magsawang tuparin ang ating tungkulin. Gaano man kalakas ang alon ng mga hamon, gaano man karaming unos ang bumuhos, basta’t tayo’y nagtutulungan, siguradong malayo po ang ating mararating,” the President said.

“Sa ating graduates, umaasa ako sa inyong pakikiisa sa pagtahak sa tuwid na landas. Maging bahagi man kayo ng Navy, ng Coastguard o kayo man ay maging international seafarers, tiwala kaming itataguyod ninyo ang lahing Pilipino,” he added.

“Bilang mga iskolar ng bayan, tungkulin ninyong isaalang-alang di lamang ang kapakanan ng sarili at ng inyong pamilya, kundi pati na rin ang kalakhang lipunan. Kasama ang sambayanang Pilipino, tuloy-tuloy na po tayo sa paglalayag tungo sa tunay na kaunlaran, katarungan at kasaganahan sa ating bayan,” the President said. (PCOO)

Aquino government remains committed to promotion of honesty, accountability and good governance

President Benigno S. Aquino III said that the administration remains committed to the promotion of honesty, accountability and good governance which he said, from the start, serves as the cornerstone of the implementation of its various developmental programs aimed at achieving genuine and efficient service to the Filipino people.

In his message delivered by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. during the 2011 Gawad Career Executive Service (CES) Awarding Ceremony at the Heroes Hall of the Malacanang Palace, Wednesday, President Aquino assured the people of the government’s continued support in efforts to infuse the bureaucracy with highly-qualified personnel who would also serve as agents of reform to ensure progress as envisioned by the Aquino administration.

“From the moment we entered office, a hallmark of our reform agenda has been the promotion of a culture of honesty, accountability, and good governance. By so doing, we render true public service. This advocacy becomes tangible in moments like this, when we pause to honor the triumphs of individuals who have made public service a lifelong commitment, characterized by integrity, innovation and competence,” the President said.

“I can assure you that the CES can count on our continued support to infuse the higher civil service with highly-qualified leaders, experts and change agents… I’m happy to join the CES community as you celebrate another year of accomplishment, you provide policy and program continuity as we fulfill our promise to the Filipino people to march on the straight and righteous path armed with the resolve to achieve a prosperous, stable and progressive Philippines where no one is left behind” he added.

The Chief Executive also noted that the recognition extended to outstanding members of the CES community who have showcased excellent performance, nobility of character and extradordinary leadership in their respective fields “serve as milestones along the straight and righteous path in governance”.

“The accomplishments of these awardees show us the heights that we Filipinos can reach with hard work, commitment, love of country and especially, genuine compassion four our countrymen,” the President said.

The President further said that the stories of the 2011 CES awardees “brilliantly essay their sterling examples of professionalism and excellence in the higher civil service,” as they also represent those whose character, outstanding accomplishments and inspiring stories “are helping to transform the country, which is the ultimate reason for being of the Career Executive Service”.

During the event, five outstanding Career Executive Service Officers (CESOs) were feted as they received a Presidential citation and a cash prize of 100 thousand pesos each.

The awardees were National Electrification Administration Deputy Administrator Mariano T. Cuenco; Department of Science and Technology Region VIII Director Edgardo M. Esperancilla; Land Bank of the Philippines Baguio Branch assistant vice president Nomerlito A. Juatchon; Philippine Children’s Medical Center Executive Director Julius A. Lecciones; and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Director Renato U. Solidum Jr.

Prior to the awarding ceremony, Ochoa led the oath taking of some 262 newly-appointed/promoted CESOs. This brings a significant increase in CESO occupancy to 55% under the Aquino administration, as of May 30, 2012. (PCOO)

Ochoa urges Career Executive Service Officers to promote honesty, transparency and accountability

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. urged the Career Executive Service Officers (CESOs) to adhere to the tenets of the Aquino government centered on promoting honesty, transparency and accountability in governance and spread the same values among the other members of the bureaucracy as he stressed the administration’s commitment to effect reforms and achieve sustainable progress and development in the country.

In his message during the 2011 Gawad Career Executive Service (CES) Awarding Ceremony at the Heroes Hall of the Malacanang Palace on Wednesday, Ochoa called on fellow civil servants to pass on the positive values that are being promoted by President Benigno S. Aquino III since he assumed office in 2010 which is focused on good governance and fighting graft and corruption.

He also noted the important role of the CESOs in achieving such goal.

“Don’t allow yourselves to become participants in any of mga kalokohan na nakikita natin sa gobyerno… huwag lang kayong mag-participate ay malaking-malaking bagay na yun, huwag lang kayong sumali sa mga kalokohan ay napakalaking bagay na iyon, nakatulong na kayo sa fight natin against graft and corruption,” Ochoa said.

“Ang gobyerno natin nakasalalay talaga sa mga career professionals because talaga naman kayo yung nagbibigay ng buhay sa continuity lalo na, sa pagpapatuloy ng gobyerno, regardless kung sino yung leader, regardless kung sino yung administrasyon… Pwede naman siguro sa gobyerno at sa totoong buhay pag nilagyan natin ng malinis yung isang basket ng mga empleyado na katulad nyo ay makahahawa siya na maging malinis lahat iyong nasa katabi niya,” he added.

The Executive Secretary said that by 2016, the Aquino administration would have laid the much-needed moral foundation in public service.

“Itong administrasyon na ito pa lamang ang magiging best chance natin palagay ko to really institute those reforms needed to fight graft and corruption. Probably we cannot finish this fight and win it 100 per cent by end of 2016 but I think our President will be able to achieve something na talagang, he will lay a very strong moral foundation in public service,” Ochoa said.

“Itong administrasyong ito ay seryoso sa kanyang paninidigan sa paglaban sa graft and corruption and I think if we believe in that we cannot go wrong and together we can push forward and move on and hopefully ihawa natin yung the rest of the bureaucracy,” he further noted. (PCOO)

Ochoa to CESOs: Help gov't stamp out corruption

Saying that the Aquino administration is serious in weeding out grafters and corrupt officials from government, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Wednesday asked civil servants to shun this practice that has plagued the bureaucracy and help rebuild the moral foundation in public service.

At the 2011 Gawad CES Awards and the mass oath-taking of newly appointed and promoted career executive service officers (CESOs) in Malacanang, Ochoa said public servants could become agents of change and contribute in putting an end to irregularities in government.

“Don’t allow yourselves to become participants in any of the wrongdoings you see in government. It would be a big help in our campaign against graft and corruption,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa explained that the events at the recently-concluded impeachment trial that led to the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution should open the eyes of the public and civil servants that the reforms being undertaken by the administration were beyond personalities.

“From the start, we are very much aware of the problems that we’re confronting. Graft and corruption is on top of the list and this our best chance, under this administration, to really institute reforms needed to fight graft and corruption,” the Executive secretary said.

Ochoa said he was optimistic that the administration would be able to lay down a strong moral foundation in public service and would be able to curb graft and corruption by the end of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s term in 2016.

“This administration is serious and committed in its campaign to fight graft and corruption,” Ochoa said. “And I think, if we believe in that, we cannot go wrong and together we can push forward and move on.” (PCOO)

Aquino thanks Filipinos for supporting his administration's quest for reform; says Corona's conviction proves no one is above the law

Extending his profound gratitude to the Filipino people for their continuing support for his administration’s quest for refom, President Benigno S. Aquino III said the conviction of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona proved that no one is above the law.

“Ang pinakamalaking handog ng paglilitiis na ito-- muli po nating napatunayan na posible palang makamit ang pagbabago. Posible palang magkaroon ng justice at hindi puro just-tiis and litanya sa ating bansa,” the President said in a televised speech Wednesday evening regarding Corona’s conviction.

“Napatunayan nating mangingibabaw ang katotohanan laban sa pagkukubli; mananaig ang tapat, laban sa tiwali; at magtatagumpay ang tama, laban sa mali,” he added.

More importantly, the President said he realized that he’s not alone in the fight against corruption and efforts to correct the flaws in the government.

Although the administration was able to remove the stumbling block for going after the excesses of the past administration, President Aquino said, the fight wouldn’t stop there, adding that his administration will continue its efforts to reform the country’s justice system.

The President said he’ll now focus on designating the next chief justice who has unquestionable integrity, independent, brilliant and competent to lead the judiciary.

The President likewise thanked the Senate leadership for its efforts especially Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who presided the impeachment trial.

He also extended his gratitude to the members of the prosecution team, particularly Representatives Niel Tupas and Rodolfo Farinas. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, the President said, is also instrumental for convicting Corona after he led the administration congressmen in filing the impeachment complaint against the chief justice.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa taumbayan; kayo rin po ang aming lakas at habang patuloy ninyong ipinamamalas ang suporta sa ating agenda ng mabuting pamamahala, hindi po tayo mabibigo,” he said.

The people and the government must work together to make the administration’s message clear; that no one is above the law and whoever commits wrongdoing will be held accountable, the President said.

On Tuesday, the Palace hailed the Senate’s decision convicting Corona saying the verdict was a major leap towards restoring public confidence in the country’s judicial system.

The senators voted overwhelmingly with 20 lawmakers deciding for the removal of Corona from office. Only three senators acquitted Corona.

The Senate verdict made Corona the first government official to be convicted by an impeachment court. (PCOO)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Aquino joins Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan Youth Summit 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III joined thousands of Filipino youth members of the Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan (KKB) who held the Youth Summit 2012 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City on Tuesday.

A smiling President Aquino, dressed in his trademark yellow polo shirt and dark-colored slacks, vigorously waved to the crowd, mostly composed of teen-age boys and girls, who welcomed him with thunderous applause and cheers.

In his speech, the President thanked the KKB, the youth arm of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) movement, for being given the opportunity to join their congregation in celebrating the youth, whom he said not only have a strong foundation in the Lord but a genuine love for country.

“Taos-puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide, at sa Kristiyanong Kabataan Para sa Bayan (KKB), sa paanyaya ninyong makasalo ko kayo ngayong umaga. Nagagalak po akong makaharap ang isang grupo ng mga kabataang Pinoy—na bukod sa matibay na pundasyon sa mga aral ng Panginoon—ay taglay din ang wagas na pagmamahal sa ating Inang Bayan,” the President said.

He also lauded the KKB for their programs and projects, such as the School Outreach Ministry, youth camps and leadership trainings and conferences,that help lead youngsters towards the straight path and help them understand the ways of life.

“Hindi po matatawaran ang naging partisipasyon at kontribusyon ng KKB Movement sa lipunan sa loob ng mahigit dalawang dekada. Sa pamamagitan ng inyong School Outreach Ministry sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa, naipapalaganap ninyo ang salita ng Diyos—ang halaga ng Kanyang mga aral sa kasalukuyang panahon. Sa inyong youth camps, leadership trainings at conferences, nabibigyan ninyo ng pagkakataon ang kabataang Pinoy upang higit nilang maintindihan ang mga usaping nakakaapekto sa kanilang hanay. Ito rin ang nagsisilbing tulay upang sila mismo ay makilahok sa paghahatid ng makabuluhang pagbabago sa kalakhang lipunan, at sa mga kapwa nila—mali ho pala ito—kapwa “nating” kabataan,” the President said.

He appealed to the participants to never forget the teachings learned during this two-day event as he challenged them to inculcate into their lives the lessons of doing good.

“Sa mga panahong pong ito, huwag sana kayong magpapalinlang, huwag sana kayong bibitiw sa liwanag ng kabutihang naikintal sa inyo ng inyong simbahan, huwag kayong maliligaw sa tuwid na daan,” the President said.

“Patuloy po nating patunayan sa buong mundo na sa kapit-kamay nating pagtahak sa tuwid na landas, walang balakid ang sa atin ay magpapahinto—mananatiling nagniningas ang apoy ng pag-asang sinindihan natin noong simula; hindi magmamaliw ang tiwala at sigasig nating makamit ang liwanag ng pagbabago sa atin pong bansa. Katuwang ang buong puwersa ng kabataang Pilipino, sama-sama nating abutin ang Pilipinas na matagal na nating pinapangarap,” he added.

The KKB movement was founded in 1989 as the youth arm of the JIL movement, the largest independent born-again evangelical church in the Philippines.

At present, KKB has 185 central chapters, 932 national chapters, and 17 Christian Youth for Nation (international chapters). (PCOO)

Aquino receives Sun Life Financial officials in Malacanang

President Benigno S. Aquino III met newly appointed Sun Life Financial president and chief executive officer Dean Connor in a courtesy call in Malacanang on Tuesday.

During his meeting with the President, Connor was accompanied by Sun Life Financial executive vice president Thomas Bogart, Sun Life Asia president Kevin Strain and Sun Life Financial Philippines president and CEO Rizalina Mantaring.

Sun Life Financial Philippines, one of the largest insurers in the country, offers a wide spectrum of products that include life insurance, accidental insurance, pension plans, education plans and mutual funds. It has almost half a million policy holders to date.

Sun Life Financial Philippines is represented in the country by its life insurance arm, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. (SLOCPI); its mutual fund manager, Sun Life Asset Management Co. Inc. (SLAMC); and its pre-need business distributor, Sun Life Financial Plans Inc (SLFPI).

SLOCPI pioneered life insurance in the Philippines in 1895.

Sun Life Philippines is part of the Sun Life Financial (SLF) group of companies. Sun Life Financial Inc. is an international leader in protection and wealth management with key operations in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Bermuda, and the Philippines.

Connor said his company has major investments in infrastructure in North America such as roads, bridges, hospitals and other projects. The company considers Asia as one of major pillars of its operations in the future, he said.

Joining President Aquino during the courtesy call were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo. (PCOO)

Malacanang hails conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona

Malacanang hailed the decision of the Senate on Tuesday for convicting Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona saying the verdict is a major leap towards restoring public confidence in the country’s judicial system.

“This afternoon, 20 senators voted to convict Mr. Renato C. Corona on Article II of the Articles of Impeachment. Our democratic institutions have been strengthened and have been proven to work,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press statement following the Senate decision.

“Mr. Corona is merely the public face of the things that ail our justice system. Let us never forget that those who come to court, be they rich or poor, must do so in the expectation of receiving impartial justice from those who uphold both the spirit and the letter of the law. The verdict of the Senate is a step forward in terms of restoring public confidence in our courts and trust in the members of the judiciary,” Valte added.

Senators voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday with 20 lawmakers deciding for the removal of Corona from office. Only three senators acquitted Corona.

The Senate verdict made Corona the first government official to be convicted by an impeachment court.

After 43 days of trial, most of the senators decided to remove Corona from office arguing that the top magistrate no longer deserves his post for dishonesty and failure to lawfully disclose his assets.

The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, tried Corona based on three articles of impeachment charged against him by the House of Representatives.

Among the senators who convicted Corona were Senators Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, TG Guingona, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmena III, Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan, and Koko Pimentel, Ralph Recto, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Tito Sotto, Antonio Trillanes, Manuel Villar, and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile.

On the other hand, Senators Joker Arroyo, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Miriam Santiago voted for Corona’s acquittal. (PCOO)

Monday, 28 May 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, May 28, 2012

Aquino leads commemoration of Government Service Insurance System's 75th Founding Anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the commemoration of the Government Service Insurance System’s 75th Founding Anniversary in ceremonies held at the agency’s head office in Pasay City on Monday.

The President, who was accompanied by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima joined GSIS officials and employees led by its president and general manager Robert Vergara in celebrating the country’s largest government financial institution’s diamond year.

In his speech, the President lauded the GSIS for the remarkable steps it has taken in the course of its existence to ensure government workers of aid when most needed.

“Pitumpu’t limang taon na po ang nakaraan, itinatag ang Government Service Insurance System tangan ang malinaw na mandato na maging takbuhan ng mga lingkod-bayan sa oras ng pangangailangan, protektahan ang kanilang karapatan para sa marangal na pamumuhay, at maglatag ng mga pagkakataon para umasenso,” the President said.

“Sa pagkakaloob ng mga pensyon, loans at insurance, at iba pang benepisyo, inaasahan ang GSIS na maging sandigan ng mga kawani nating nag-aalay ng pagod, panahon at sakripisyo sa paglilingkod-bayan,” he added.

Created by Commonwealth Act No. 186 passed on November 14, 1936, the GSIS is mandated to provide and administer the following social security benefits for government employees: compulsory life insurance, optional life insurance, retirement benefits, disability benefits for work-related contingencies and death benefits.

In addition, the GSIS is entrusted with the administration of the General Insurance Fund by virtue of RA 656 of the Property Insurance Law. It provides insurance coverage to assets and properties that have government insurable interests.

In less than two years under his administration, the President said that reforms implemented to improve the delivery of service in the agency has begun to pay.

He said that under the guidance of Vergara and chairman Daniel Lacson, Jr., the GSIS has been able to pull its act together and expand its services and provide benefits to its 1.7-million government worker base.

“Kaya naman nang manungkulan tayo, pinatibay po natin ang tunay na mandato ng GSIS. Itinaguyod natin ang mga reporma upang siguruhing nagsisilbi kayong instrumento ng makabuluhang serbisyo-publiko. Ibinalik natin ang tutok nito sa pagkalinga sa mga empleyadong marapat lamang suklian ang paninilbihan sa taumbayan,” the President said.

Now, the President pointed out, ageing members need not go to the GSIS head office to renew their status, while coordination with the National Statistics Office and the Local Civil Registry has cleansed the pension fund’s records of inactive members revealed information on the true state of its members and pensioners.

The President also mentioned the existence of the GSIS’s Wireless Automated Processing System Kiosks that allows members and pensioners to transact with GSIS without having to leave their area and recent tie-ups with the Land Bank of the Philippines and Union Bank of the Philippines that allow the dispensing of any members pension through the use of said banks automated teller machines.

“Bukod pa rito, mas marami na po ang makakatanggap ng survivorship benefit, dahil sumasaklaw na rin ito kahit sa mga asawa ng pumanaw na miyembro na may trabaho, o sa mga miyembrong nakakukuha din ng pensyon mula sa ibang institusyon,” the President said.

“Tunay nga pong ang panunumbalik ng integridad sa GSIS ay nagdudulot ng magagandang resulta: umuusbong muli ang tiwala ng publiko sa mga institusyon ng gobyerno, at patuloy na tumataas ang kompiyansa ng mga negosyante sa ating bansa,” he added. (PCOO)

Aquino announces P25-billion GSIS investment fund for infrastructure projects

President Benigno S. Aquino III announced on Monday the creation of a P25-billion investment fund which the Government Service Insurance System would allocate funds to strengthen infrastructure projects in the Philippines.

The President made the announcement in his speech keynoting the 75th Founding Anniversary of the GSIS held at the institution’s headquarters in Pasay City.

Dubbed the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PInAI), the President said this investment fund, the largest single investment on infrastructure, would be formally launched in July of this year and is expected to improve the economy and provide more jobs.

“Sa Hulyo nga po ay ilulunsad na ang Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure o PInAI. Dalawampu’t limang bilyong pisong pondo po ang nakataya rito; ito ang pinakamalaking pondong ilalaan para sa imprastraktura ng bansa,” the President said.

He added that the GSIS would work closely with the Macquarie Group, a global provider of banking, financial advisory, investment and funds management services with more than 70 offices in 28 countries in ensuring the project's success.

“Ang GSIS ang nanguna sa pagtataguyod ng pondong ito na pangangasiwaan naman ng Macquarie Group. Bukod sa ihahatid nitong serbisyo, magbubunsod pa ito ng lalo pang pagginhawa ng ekonomiya, at manganganak ng maraming trabaho,” the President said. (rck)
Aquino declares June 20 as special non-working day in Lipa City in celebration of its 65th Foundation Day

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared June 20, which falls on a Wednesday, as a special (non-working) day in the city of Lipa, Batangas in celebration of its 65th Foundation Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 389 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on May 24 to give the people of Lipa the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

On June 20, 1947, Lipa became a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act No. 162.

As one of the three cities of the province, Lipa serves as an Institutional Center. It is home to the provincial offices of the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Agrarian Reform, and regional offices of the Land Transportation Office and National Statistics Office. (PCOO)

MalacaƱang bares contingency measures of various agencies to ensure peace and order, safety of students nationwide during opening of classes

Malacanang bared the government’s contingency measures being implemented by various concerned agencies that were tasked to ensure not only the maintenance of peace and order but also the safety of the millions of students nationwide who will be going back to school next week.

In a regular press briefing in Malacanang on Monday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the Dpeartment of Education (DepEd) has launched “Oplan Balik Eskwela-Information Action Center” to attend to the needs and queries of the parents and students during the back-to-school season in June.

“Nag-launch na po ang DepEd ‘nung Oplan Balik Eskwela. Kung matatandaan niyo po noong nakaraang linggo ‘yung Brigada Eskwela po ang inayos ng DepEd at maganda po ‘yung naging resulta ‘nung ating Brigada Eskwela. Ngayon naman po ‘yung Oplan Balik Eskwela, nag-launch na po ‘yung information and action center ng DepEd, mula po ‘yan ngayong araw hanggang June 8 para po doon sa pasukan,” Valte said.

“Bukas po ‘yung Information Action Center (IAC) mula 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. araw-araw po ‘yan even on weekends. ‘Yung isa pong hotline, primary hotline po nila is (02) 636-8641. ‘Yung email po nila is Ini-expect po natin na makakakuha po sila ng maraming query tungkol po doon sa pagbalik eskwela. We are expecting 21 million schoolchildren to troop back to school for this coming school year,” she added.

Apart from the DepEd, several agencies of the government were also tapped to perform their respective responsibilities to the people through coordinated initiatives that include the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

“At kaakibat po niyan, nagkaroon na po ng conference ang DepEd at ‘yung mga relevant agencies po natin katulad ng DPWH, DTI, DOTC, DOH, DILG, PNP, MMDA, at PAGASA para po in preparation for our back to school for 2012. So kanya-kanya po sila ng assignments,” Valte said.

“Ang DPWH po ‘yung nagsu-supervise ng completion ng classrooms, ‘yung mga undergoing construction po natin, ‘yung clearing of road obstructions. Ang DTI naman po nag-launch na rin sila ‘nung kanilang Diskwento Caravan. We encourage our parents to take advantage of the discounted school supplies that are being offered in the Diskwento Caravan."

Ang DOTC din po nag-launch na ‘nung Oplan Ligtas Biyahe para po doon sa mga uuwi galing probinsya, pabalik po ng Maynila para naman po sa simula ng school year. So ‘yung PNP din po meron na po silang mga security measures that are being undertaken to make sure that ‘yung Balik Eskwela po natin will be orderly and will be peaceful as well as the MMDA who have already started making preparations to ensure that traffic will be manageable on the first day of school—for the public schools natin that will be on June 4,” she further noted.

Education Secretary Brother Armin Luistro through DepEd Memo No. 83, s. of 2012 has also directed the Regional Directors and schools division / city superintendents to form the Local Information and Action Center (LIAC) to serve as information and complaints processing and routing mechanism during the back-to-school program for the school year 2012-2013.

The LIAC is also tasked to designate some of its personnel to oversee the regional / division and local concerns, set up hotlines to receive calls, text messages, fax messages and emails on complaints, requests and suggestions from parents, students and other concerned citizens and set-up help desks to accommodate walk-in concerns. (PCOO)