Wednesday, 27 June 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Aquino hails governance experts as contributors to nation building, backbone of bureaucracy

President Benigno S. Aquino III hailed the members of the University of the Philippines’ National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) as “contributors to nation-building” and the “backbone of our bureaucracy” for joining government efforts in implementing reforms to eradicate corruption.

In his speech keynoting the commemoration of the UP-NCPAG’s 60th anniversary held simultaneous with the International Conference on Public Administration and Governance at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday, President Aquino lauded UP-NCPAG’s advocacy to nurture graduates to become world-class and competent civil servants and leaders, guided by competence, integrity, professionalism, compassion and high ethical standards.

“After all, through the years, the National College of Public Administration and Governance has done more than its share of producing graduates who contribute to nation-building, and who help nurture institutions in government and in civil society. This is the institution we turn to, if we want to find some of the greatest, unheralded heroes of our bureaucracy,” the President said.

“This is why I made it a point to be here today: many of you, in one way or another, represent the backbone of our bureaucracy—people of excellence who work tirelessly with dedication and professionalism, so that we can truly change this country for the better. As your President, I know that if our administration succeeds in instituting widespread reform in this country, it will have been because of people like you; and I want to thank you for your service,” he added.

The NCPAG counts today the likes of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Rizal Governor Jun Ynares, Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, former Supreme Court Spokesperson Ismael Khan, Representative Dante Liban, former congressman Leandro Verceles and former Cavite Vice Mayor Alvin Mojica as among its many distinguished alumni who have served or are serving in government.

Established in 1952 as the Institute of Public Administration, the UP-NCPAG has been active in developing the discipline of public administration in the Philippines, strengthening it as a profession, and in serving as a social critic and support to government and non-governmental organizations for policy advice and technical assistance.

This year’s conference theme: “Tradition and Transformation,” highlights the significance of reviewing legacies of the past, challenges of the present and agenda of the future for the study and practice of public administration and governance. (rck)

President Aquino vows to go after corrupt officials in government

President Benigno S. Aquino III vowed on Wednesday to continue his advocacy to rid government of corruption and eradicate poverty by pursuing the removal and prosecution of other corrupt officials in government and implementing further reforms in order to sustain the momentum gained from his advocacy.

In his speech keynoting the International Conference on Public Administration and Governance, a gathering of governance experts, at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City, the President enjoined all Filipinos to join him in this campaign.

“Clearly, our reforms have won us momentum. And it is up to us, to all of us—whether in the private or public sector—to maintain this momentum,” the President said.

“There remain serious challenges ahead. The problem of poverty is one that must be solved. There are still corrupt officials who will be prosecuted and jailed. The changes we envision are massive, and these changes cannot be enacted by a single office. We have to do it together,” he added.

He pointed out that by endeavoring to achieve this feat as a whole would ensure that this “dream” would be completed faster.

“Through our shared efforts, we are beginning to realize the dreams we share with the Filipino people. We have, in fact, been steadily and noticeably upgrading the Filipino dream. With your help -- imagine the impossibilities we can make possible, and achieve,” the President said. (rck)

Aquino declares july 23 a special non-working day in the City of Batangas in Batangas province

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared July 23, which falls on a Monday, as a special (non-working) day in Batangas City in the province of Batangas in celebration of its 43rd Foundation Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 397 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on June 6 to give the people of Batangas City the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies

Batangas became a city on July 23, 1969 through Republic Act. No. 5495. The city is known as the Industrial Port City of CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon). (js)

Malacanang taps multi-agency cluster to implement developmental programs to address child labor issues

Malacanang bared the Aquino government’s programs in addressing child labor issues in the country and ensure the safety, well-being and literacy of the younger generation of Filipinos.

In a regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said a multi-agency cluster has been tapped to implement various developmental programs aimed at vigorously addressing child labor. The cluster is composed of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), among others.

“Meron pong ginagawang kampanya ang DSWD and DOLE… both agencies will be engaged in the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster in addressing the issue of child labor,” Lacierda said.

He noted the respective roles of each agency in carrying out the program that features the national campaign to declare 80 barangays as child labor-free by the end of this year.

“On the part of the DOLE there is a national campaign to declare 80 barangays of five poor regions as child labor-free by the end of 2012," Lacierda said, adding that part of the campaign is to reduce by 75 per cent all worst forms of child labor,” Lacierda said.

“Dito po sa DSWD right now, ang main program ay ang CCT… the Conditional Cash Transfer, we are now covering seven million five hundred one thousand four hundred thirty seven children and the program continues to invest in the children to make sure they are healthy and are in school,” he added.

Apart from these, Lacierda further said that parents are also being trained to take care of their children and make sure that they understand the rationale in making them healthy and educated.

“There are CCT parent-beneficiaries attending family development sessions where they are taught good and responsible parenthood… they are also taught why children should be kept healthy and in school and not working,” Lacierda noted.

The initiative is part of the government’s celebration of the World Day Against Child Labor which was observed last Tuesday, June 26.

The program forms part of the Aquino administration’s “very determined" resolve to make every barangay of the country's over 1,500 municipalities child labor free to achieve its goal of reducing by 75 percent of all worst forms of child labor by 2015.

The effort is also anchored on the Millennium Development Goals of achieving universal education which is contingent to freedom from labor and allow children to attend school and perform well. (jcl/2:40 p.m.)

Government to continue assisting  residents of Pag-asa Island

The Philippine government said it would continue to provide assistance for the educational needs of the children in Pag-asa Island despite China’s objection, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

“They are Filipinos. And we will provide them (assistance)…The President has mentioned no one should be left behind. We will provide them services as the public official would inform us the needs of their community,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference in Malacanang.

“I think, it is irresponsibility on our part if we do not provide services to our fellow Filipinos in that particular municipality,” he said.

China may say whatever it wants to say and the Philippine government has no control over it, Lacierda said.

“We know what our position is. The Philippine government is fully aware that it wants to have a peaceful resolution on the Panatag Shoal. And therefore, we are going to make statements which will promote a peaceful dialogue between the two countries,” he added.

The municipality has been there since the Marcos administration and it’s never been questioned, Lacierda said adding that the construction of a school should not be an issue.

On Tuesday, China warned the Philippines against the operation of a public elementary school on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman told a press briefing in Beijing that China “opposes any illegal activity that may infringe on China’s sovereignty.”

The Philippine government on the other hand said the Kalayaan group of Islands, which includes Pag-asa, is an integral part of the Philippine territory as declared in Republic Act 9522 and other relevant Philippine laws. (as/3:05pm)

Palace welcomes reclassification of Ifugao Rice Terraces by World Heritage Committee

The Aquino administration welcomed the decision of the 36th Session of the World Heritage Committee to formally remove the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras from its List of World Heritage in Danger due to improvements in conservation efforts.

"This is a victory for the joint public and private sector initiative to protect one of our most valuable natural treasures, which in 1995 became the first-ever property to be inscribed in the cultural landscape category of the World Heritage List," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

According to a report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)- National Commission of the Philippines, the 36th Session of the World Heritage Committee noted that the Philippines had successfully met the desired state of conservation through successful landscape restoration and conservation, protection and planning, and proper management.

Since 2001, when the Rice Terraces was officially listed as one of the world’s treasures at risk, the Philippines has vigorously acted to save and protect the site.

"Over the years, the collaboration between the government and other private stakeholders has systematically conserved the rice terraces and its watersheds, while promoting or re-introducing the site’s ancestral traditions that are crucial to its sustained development," Lacierda said.

Lacierda said the government commended the efforts of the Ifugao Provincial Government, its Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office, the UNESCO NatCom, and other agencies that have contributed to this continuing success.

"With this reclassification and future responsible stewardship, Filipinos may take pride once more in having one of our own as a globally-recognized and important cultural landscape," he said. (js)

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Aquino to keynote conference of public administration and governance practitioners

President Benigno S. Aquino III will keynote the conference of public administration and governance practitioners at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday (June 27).

The International Conference on Public Administration and Governance will be held in commemoration of the 60th Founding Anniversary of the University of the Philippinesz–National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG).

This year’s conference theme: “Tradition and Transformation,” highlights the significance of reviewing legacies of the past, challenges of the present and agenda of the future for the study and practice of public administration and governance.

Established in 1952 as the Institute of Public Administration, the UP-NCPAG has been active in developing the discipline of public administration in the Philippines, strengthening it as a profession, and in serving as a social critic and support to government and non-governmental organizations for policy advice and technical assistance.

UP-NCPAG Dean Edna Co explained that the conference will serve as a venue to “reexamine the study and practice of public administration and governance as it builds upon tradition, confronts challenges, and envisions its continuing contributions in public service.”

The conference’s three sub-themes: “Public Administration and Governance Education: Pedagogy, Tradition and Emerging Challenges,” “Excellence, Professionalization, Innovation and Transformation” and “Public Service Today and in the Future” will tackle theory, practice and trends in public administration and governance education and research, operations of bureaucratic institutions, public policy and the environment, people participation, public service reforms, public service in the context of human rights, democratization, localization of policies, and international cooperation for development.

Other government officials expected to participate in the conference include Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Rosales, Civil Service Commission chairperson Francisco T. Duque, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Presidential Adviser on Environmental Concerns Nereus Acosta, Governor Joey Salceda of Albay, UP President Alfredo Pascual, and Mandaluyong City Mayor Benjamin Abalos, Jr.

Public administration and governance scholars and practitioners from Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Botswana, Zambia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Germany, India and the Philippines will share their knowledge and expertise. (rck)

Malacañang says $1-billion loan to IMF to help Europe’s economy, OFWs

Malacañang defended on Tuesday the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ decision to loan $1-billion to the International Monetary Fund which would use the loan to help countries, specifically those located in Europe, affected by the global economic downtrend.

In a briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said it was “in our interest” to help as a sizeable number of overseas Filipino workers who work and live in Europe.

He added that the OFWs would be adversely affected should the economy of the country they work and live in continues to slowdown.

“It’s in our interest to protect—to help those economies because we have a substantial number of Filipinos there,” Lacierda said.

And tingnan na lang ay kung bumabagsak… Kung ang simpleng pagbagsak lang po ng dollar sa peso ay marami ng nangangamba. Ano pa kaya kung biglang nawala ang mga OFWs natin sa Europe at pinauwi silang lahat dahil wala ng trabahong maibibigay sa Spain, sa Italy,” he added.

He assured Filipinos that the loan was not a waste of money as it is meant to help a fellow country in need.

“Hindi po natin inaaksaya. We are not wasting the money. It’s a loan. IMF would pay us back the loan. Non-monetarily, it’s going to help us because it’s going to help the economy of Europe,” Lacierda said. (rck)

Monday, 25 June 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, June 25, 2012

Stronger LP will sustain bureaucratic reforms even beyond 2016, Aquino says

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: Organizing a stronger Liberal Party with the help of the people will ensure that the reforms spearheaded by the present administration are sustained, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Monday.

Speaking during the oath-taking ceremony of the new members of Liberal Party here, the President said LP can proudly present party members and leaders who truly served the people and remained loyal to the party.

“Niyaya namin kayo sa partido, salamat po sa pagsapi n’yo sa amin. Hindi tayo nandito ngayon para magpasikat; nandito tayo lahat ngayon para siguraduhing matatag po ang ating plataporma de gobyerno,” the President told the new LP members.

The President stressed that creating a stronger LP will ensure that there will be a new pool of leaders that will serve the people even after he and other senior party leaders bowed out of office.

“Tunay na maninindigan dahil ito po ang tama. Tunay na naniniwala na kaya nating baguhin ang ating nakagisnan. Ang kailangan lang ay mayroong tumayo rito para sa ating lahat at manguna. Yan po ang inaasahan namin sa inyong lahat,” he said referring to the new breed of leaders.

The President noted that it would be regrettable if the reforms initiated by his government will not be sustained. During the event, President Aquino, the Liberal Party chairman, led the mass oath-taking of 300 new LP members in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) at the Benguet State University.

LP officials are committed to advance the party’s political ideology and philosophy to sustainably increase the number of its supporters in advancing the President’s rallying call for a righteous path.

Joining the President during the ceremony were Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo, House Deputy speaker Erin Tanada and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat.

The incoming LIberal Party members of the Cordillera Administrative Region are composed of incumbent and local officials and sectoral leaders from the provinces of Ifugao, Benguet, Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga and Apayao and Baguio City. (as/12:57pm)

Aquino declares July 4 as special non-working day in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared July 4, which falls on a Wednesday, as a special (non-working) day in Cadiz City in the province of Negros Occidental in celebration of its 45th Charter Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 411 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on June 18, 2012 to give the people of Cadiz the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies

On July 4, 1967, Cadiz was inaugurated as a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 4894.

Cadiz City is a gateway and premier center of agro-fishery resources of Negros Island. (js)

Gov't may charge ship-owner who hit Filipino fishermen in West Philippine Sea, Aquino says

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: President Benigno S. Aquino III said he has ordered an investigation into the reported ramming incident allegedly by a Chinese vessel that killed a Filipino fisherman adding that the government may file charges against the owner of said vessel once the investigation is completed.

“We are gathering all the necessary evidence --- we are not accusing anybody at this point,” the President told reporters after the oath-taking ceremony of the new Liberal Party members here.

“Once we have gathered the necessary evidence, then if there was a ramming incident and iniwan yung mga tao sa dagat that is in clear violation of the laws governing the seas. We can go to the appropriate fora to file the necessary charges for justice for our fishermen,” the President said.

The President said that there is still an on-going operation to rescue four fishermen reported still missing. The government is giving assistance to the three fishermen who were hospitalized because of hypothermia.

The President also appealed to the public not to finger-point and accuse anybody to avoid complicating the already tense situation in the West Philippine Sea.

It was reported last week that a Chinese vessel rammed a Philippine fishing boat north of the disputed West Philippine Sea killing a Filipino fisherman and leaving four others missing.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) the said vessel might have intentionally hit the fishing boat and left the Filipino fishermen at sea after the incident.

Although the Department of Foreign Affairs reported that there are no Chinese and Philippine vessels inside the Panatag Shoal, the President reiterated that he’ll send back coast guard ships in the contested area once the weather improves. (as/1:31pm)

Aquino says government to support Recto Bank gas exploration

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: Businessman Manuel Pangilinan will have the government’s full backing regarding his plans to expand the consortium undertaking gas exploration in the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea as long as he complies with government guidelines, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Monday.

Recto Bank is part of the territory disputed by the Philippines and China. “This is a major project. There will be a lot of finances that are needed and it is incumbent upon him to source this financing also. So, so long as it complies with the terms and conditions as stipulated in the service contract, we have no issue with this venture,” the President said after he spearheaded the oath-taking ceremony here of the new members of the Liberal Party members.

With regards to the concerns on the Philippines’s assertion of its sovereignty over the Recto Bank, the President said there should be no question about it because the Philippine government is the one issuing the service contract.

“It is our service contract. It is not a joint service contract. So Mr. Pangilinan will be undertaking the venture based on authorization coming from the Philippine government,” he said.

Pangilinan said the Philippine-based Philex Petroleum Corp. (PXP) is preparing to work with the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) on the project subject to a framework acceptable to both the Philippine and Chinese governments.

The move is aimed at internationalizing and de-politicizing the concession area while boosting the financial and technological muscle for the project, he said.

But before pursuing the venture, Pangilinan noted that his group should make it clear to both the Philippine and Chinese governments that they were neither qualified nor authorized to talk about the sovereignty issues.

Expanding the consortium is necessary because of the large cost and technical capability involved in gas exploration, Pangilinan said adding that it will need the companies that have expertise like CNOOC, Shell or Exxon Mobil. (as/1:58pm)

Ochoa declines nomination for Supreme Court Chief Justice

Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr. declined his nomination for the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

In his letter to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) dated June 22, 2012, Ochoa formally declined the nomination.

“The undersigned has received information that I have been nominated for the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines,” the letter read.

“I respectfully decline the nomination,” it added.

Reports revealed that a certain Egay Bigay was responsible for Ochoa’s nomination.

It will be recalled that the JBC has extended the submission of nominations for the Chief Magistrate post up to July 2 to give more chance to the public to nominate their bets.

The deadline was supposed to end last June 18.

The JBC will be releasing the list of applicants and nominees for the post on July 7. It is expected to submit a shortlist to President Benigno S. Aquino III by the end of July. (jcl/3:00 p.m.)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, June 23, 2012

Aquino declares July 2 a special non-working day in Pasig City to mark its Founding Anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared July 2 which falls on a Monday as a special (non-working) day in Pasig City in celebration of its 439th Founding Anniversary.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 410 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on June 18 to give the people of Pasig City the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasions with appropriate ceremonies

Known as one of the oldest towns in the Philippines, Pasig was created by the Augustinians 439 years ago.

Pasig was the former capital of the province of Rizal until 1975 when the Metro Manila Commission was created under Presidential Decree No. 824. By virtue of PD No. 824, Pasig is presently one of the city-municipalities of Metro Manila. (js)

Palace congratulates 'coach Spo' of Miami Heat

Malacañang extended its congratulations to the Filipino-American head coach of the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra, for successfully steering his team through the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship after beating the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder in a decisive game five last Thursday (Friday morning in Manila).

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte conveyed the message over Radyo ng Bayan (DZRB) Saturday, saying that while the government doesn’t want to pick a side over the competing teams, they would like to give a congratulatory shoutout to the Fil-Am basketball coach.

“Congratulations to Coach Erik Spoelstra. We did not want to… As I mentioned earlier, we do not take sides but special mention and a very big congratulations to Coach Erik Spoelstra,” Valte said.

Valte also welcomed Spoelstra’s reported statement that he would bring the NBA trophy to the Philippines. “That would be good. Maraming fans si ‘Coach Spo’ dito sa Pilipinas that would like to also convey their congratulations and I’m sure a lot of fans will be excited,” she said.

With the Miami Heat’s recent victory, the 41-yearold Spoelstra becomes the first Asian-American head coach to have won an NBA championship. He is often regarded by fans as the “Heart of the Heat” and is well-respected among the team’s staff and players.

A proud Filipino, Spoelstra has been visiting the Philippines during NBA’s off-season to promote a healthy and active lifestyle among youths through basketball clinics via the NBA FIT program. He was welcomed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last year when he paid a courtesy call in Malacañang.

Spoelstra is the son of Elisa Celino, a Filipina from San Pablo, Laguna, and Jon Spoelstra—an American of Dutch and Irish descent—who was an NBA executive for the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Buffalo Braves and New Jersey Nets.

Financial Action Task Force upgrades Philippines

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) reported that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) responded positively to the initiatives of the Philippine government to enhance its transparency and accountability mechanisms in financial transactions, a Palace official said on Saturday.

In an interview aired over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement following reports on the non-inclusion of the Philippines in the FATF’s black list of non-cooperative countries.

In his letter to President Benigno S. Aquino III, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr., in his capacity as Chairman of the AMLC, said that the FATF has recognized the reforms instituted by the Philippine government by upgrading the Philippines from the “dark grey list” to its “grey list.”

According to Governor Tetangco’s report, the FATF took notice of the passage of key legislative reforms certified as urgent by the President. In particular, the bills recently signed into law – “An Act To Further Strengthen The Anti-Money Laundering Law” and “The Terrorism Financing Prevention And Suppression Act of 2012” – strengthened the capability of government to identify and prevent financial transactions related to illegal activities and those that undermine global security.

"These reforms enabled the Philippines from being classified and downgraded to the “black list,” which would have resulted in stricter inspections of financial transactions in the country, delayed remittances, and higher transaction fees,” Valte said.

Valte reiterated that transparency and accountability are among the foremost guiding principles of the Aquino administration.

"And while we recognize that more needs to be done to strengthen our existing anti-money laundering and anti-financial terrorism measures, we take the satisfaction expressed by the FATF as affirmation of the institutional reforms that we have constantly advocated," she said.

The Financial Action Task Force was established by the G-7 Summit that was held in Paris in 1989 in response to mounting concerns over money laundering. This inter-governmental body sets the standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. (js)

Palace lauds conviction of Indonesian terrorist involved in Bali resort bombings in 2002

Reiterating its strong and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, the Aquino administration lauded the conviction of Indonesian terrorist Umar Patek who helped in building explosives used in the deadly 2002 Bali nightclub attacks.

In an interview aired over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement following reports that Patek was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Indonesian court last Thursday.

Patek, 45, a leading member of the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, was found guilty of all charges by the West Jakarta District Court of violating the country’s anti-terror law for his role in the October 12, 2002 Bali resort island attacks that killed 202 people.

"That’s a welcome development— the conviction of Umar Patek. Anti-terrorism is a global effort. Kasama tayo doon sa mga bansang lumalaban sa terorismo," Valte said.

"Magandang balita po ito lalo na para doon sa mga pamilya ng mga naging biktima sa Bali bombing," she said.

Reports said the five-member judge panel concluded that Patek played an important role in building the explosives used in the Bali bombings. He was also sentenced for his involvement in a Jakarta church attack on Christmas Eve in 2000 that killed 19.

“The acts of the defendant have created many victims and caused deep suffering to the victims’ families,” the verdict said. (js)

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, June 22, 2012

Aquino cites Philam Life for its contribution to national development

President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life) for its contributions to national growth particularly on education.

In his speech during it’s 65th anniversary in Makati City on Thursday, the President assured Philam Life of government support in doing its business recognizing the significance of its operation in the Philippines.

Last year, the President said Philam Life spent P15 million for various corporate social responsibility projects, the second largest corporate social responsibility (CSR) contribution in the life insurance industry.

The money helped coconut farmers in Davao improve the marketability of their products as well as increasing the environmental knowledge and scientific skills of elementary and high school students in Antique, according to the President.

“This money paid for the school fees of over 500 schoolchildren in Lamitan, Basilan, and made sure that they had uniforms, books, and school supplies,” he said.

“I would also like to thank you for the 65 classrooms that you will be building as part of your Philam Paaralan program over the next five years. These classrooms will directly benefit over 3,000 students in that time, and thousands more in the future.”

At present, the Philippines has 66,000 classroom shortage which is being address by the government through the public private partnership program and with the help of the private sector.

Another contribution of Philam Life is its P5-billion worth of educational plans released to plan holder since 2004, which translates to thousands of dreams fulfilled for Filipino parents and their children in the past eight years, the Chief Executive said.

Aside from education, Philam Life also poured large amount of investments in infrastructure development and has been the driving force in financing projects like the Skyway, the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex), the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

The Philam Life, President Aquino said will remain as one of the top insurance companies in the country. He asked the company to continue to do its work in the best way possible to empower the Filipino people towards national progress.

“Ventures that seek to empower Filipinos will always have my admiration and, more importantly perhaps, support. After all, our administration believes that if we invest in our countrymen and help them stand on their own two feet, we will be able to better ensure success for all: for Juan dela Cruz, for companies like Philam Life, and for the whole country,” he said.

Philam Life which was established in 1947, helped in the recovery of post-war Philippines up to its present status as the leader in the life insurance industry. It is the largest life insurance company in the country and the market leader for over 60 years.

Philam Life offers an extensive line of products in the industry that provides solutions to various financial needs including life protection, health insurance, savings, education, retirement, investment as well as group and credit life insurance. (as/12:10pm)

Aquino declares June 29 a special non-working day in Koronadal City, South Cotabato

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared June 29, which falls on a Friday, as a special (non-working) day in Koronadal City in the province of South Cotabato in celebration of various events to mark the Culmination Program of the Environment Month and the 2nd Tree Growing Festival.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 409 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on June 18, to give the people of Koronadal the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasions with appropriate ceremonies.

In line with the National Greening Program of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the celebration of the Environment Month this June, Koronadal City government will hold its 2nd Tree Growing Festival.

As part of its effort to create a culture of caring for the environment and to intensively campaign for the restoration and preservation of forest areas, the city government is targeting to double the figure from 131,028 forest and fruit trees planted in 522.78 hectares last year to 250,000 in 1,000 hectares of land this year. (js)

Aquino confers Order of Sikatuna to outgoing Malaysian Ambassador

President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the Rank of Datu (Grand Cross, Gold Distinction) to outgoing Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dato Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad during his farewell call, Friday.

The award was given to Dr. Saad following his two-year tour of duty in the country in recognition of his vital contribution in strengthening and deepening the bilateral relations between Malaysia and the Philippines.

It also cited his outstanding and dedicated service in the field of international relations and for representing his government in the country.

The outgoing Malaysian Ambassador led in facilitating high-level meetings between the two countries, pushed for efforts to ensure the success of the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) in Manila in April 2011, and the facilitation of the visits to the Philippines of Foreign Ministers of Malaysia, other Cabinet Officials and distinguished members of the Parliament.

He also contributed efforts to assist the on-going negotiations for a lasting resolution of the conflict in Mindanao. The Malaysian envoy played a very important role in enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries making Malaysia a valuable partner of the Philippines in trade and investment.

Dr. Saad has encouraged his Government to fully support various Philippine initiatives in regional and multilateral fora in his effort to bring the people of Malayisa closer to the Filipinos.

Dr. Ibrahim Saad is from the northern state of Penang, a highly developed city also known as the Silicon City of Malaysia.

The Malaysian envoy started out in the academe, graduating with a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Wisconsin in America.

He later on joined the government as a member of the State Assembly, became a deputy chief minister of and vice governor of Penang before he moved to a higher post in the Prime Minister’s department.

Perhaps the call of the academe proved stronger then, because he left politics again and went back to the world of academe, becoming vice chancellor and president of a prestigious university in his beloved city until the government recalled him into active service and he accepted the post of Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines in 2010.

Also present during the event were Dr. Saad’s wife Madame Datin Seri Dato Zainab Adb Kader and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, among others.

Malaysia is considered as one of the country’s important partners, the 7th largest export market and 8th largest import market of the Philippines. Malaysia is also the second main source of foreign investments for the Philippines among all of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. (jcl/3:00 p.m.)

Aquino monitors Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project

President Benigno S. Aquino III inspected on Friday the Pasig River to check on the construction and improvement of revetments, parapet walls, and other structures, under the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project, in a bid to mitigate floodings in Metro Manila.

During the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ramon Carandang said Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson reported to the Chief Executive the substantial completion of Phase 2 of the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project.

"There have been projects ongoing with the DPWH and the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) that are part of a comprehensive program to prevent the kind of systemic flooding that we’ve seen throughout Metro Manila," Carandang said.

"Phase II of the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project is about 99 percent complete. So that’s what we saw, that’s what we looked at. Then there is Phase II-B which is about 87 percent complete. We began in Bahay Pangarap, and we went all the way up to the Pasig-Marikina area, the Napindan Hydraulic Flood Control Structure," he said.

The Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement aims for the improvement of the river channel stretching from Pasig River in Manila to the junction of the Pasig River and Marikina River.

In order to mitigate the flood damage in Metro Manila caused by the overflowing of the Pasig-Marikina River Basin, the project involves the creation of a detailed engineering design for flood control, information campaign and the clearing of obstructions along river waterways that impede the flow of water.

"Again, the idea here is to increase the holding capacity of the river so that it doesn’t overflow so easily the next time there’s a storm," Carandang said.

Carandang said the DPWH, the DENR and other concerned government departments are coming up with a master plan for flood management in Metro Manila and the surrounding areas.

“Basically, what causes flooding in Metro Manila is when you have strong rains, the Wawa River tends to overflow into this tributaries and eventually lead to Pasig River. And because the volume of water is so great, you end up with floods in the Metro Manila area," he said.

Funded under a loan agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the project, under two contract packages with contractor Toyo Construction Company Limited, was implemented by the DPWH Major Flood Control Projects (Cluster 1)-Project Management Office under supervision of Project Director Patrick Gatan, according to the DPWH in an earlier statement. (js)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aquino declares June 27 as special non-working day in El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental in celebration of its 5th Charter Day

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared June 27, which falls on a Wednesday, as a special (non-working) day in El Salvador City in the province of Misamis Oriental in celebration of its 5th Charter Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 396 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on June 6 to give the people of El Salvador the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

On June 27, 2007, El Salvador became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 9435. (js)

Philippines hopes to assist struggling nations with $1 billion IMF contribution

As part of the global community, it is the responsibility of the Philippines to assists other nations in financial distress that is why it has contributed $1 billion to the International Monetary Fund’s coffers.

“We have been a recipient of IMF assistance for the past 40 years. Now that we have been considered a creditor nation, we feel it’s our obligation to assist those nations who require funding from the IMF,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday. This will also help in stabilizing the crisis that is going on in Europe,” he added.

Reporters asked Lacierda how the government can guarantee the people that the $1 billion loan to the IMF wouldn’t be mismanaged.

“As to whether it is risky or not, we believe that the IMF will act judiciously on the funds. There is now a standby fund for around $456 billion, and we have contributed $1 billion to that fund,” Lacierda said.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in a statement on Wednesday that the Philippines is extending a $1 billion loan to the IMF to support global efforts to stabilize the world economy and maintain it on a growth path.

The Philippines, as a member of the global community of nations, has an obligation to ensure economic and financial stability across the globe, it said. IMF loans assist countries going through financial difficulties to minimize its adverse impact on their people.

For nearly 40 years until 2006, the Philippines was a net borrower from the IMF following the implementation of continuing reforms that made the country’s economy stronger, according to the BSP.

“This is a loan to the IMF and we will get our money back with interest. In effect, by extending a loan to the IMF that will earn money for the Philippines we are also able to help other nations saddled with financial problems,” the BSP said. (as/1:53pm)

Government vows to maintain efforts to curb human trafficking

The United States (US) State Department's 12th Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which kept the Philippines in the Tier 2 Category is a recognition of the Aquino administration's multi-pronged and aggressive initiatives to curb human trafficking in the country, a Palace official said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement following the release of the US State Department's 12th Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report which underscored several key achievements of the Philippine government in its drive to eliminate human trafficking.

"We will continue to improve our efforts and we would like to be taken out from Tier 2," Lacierda said.

He said the government is currently tightening the noose against illegal traffickers and recruiter who prey on our hapless countrymen.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) formulated programs to ensure that human trafficking across the country is put to a stop.

Other gains cited in the 12th Annual Trafficking in Persons Report include the apprehension and filing of criminal and administrative charges against government personnel suspected of conniving with human trafficking syndicates or aiding their operations.

The TIP report also highlighted the continuing accomplishment of the government in the prosecution and conviction of trafficking offenders as well as in helping victims.

The US State Department also lauded the importance placed by the Philippine government in training public officials, particularly in establishing human trafficking indicators, with reference to Filipino migrant workers' pre-deployment overseas.

The report also cited the cross-border efforts of the government to secure the interests and rights of overseas workers through bilateral agreements, particularly labor-related accessions with foreign countries

A total of US$ 1.5 million or about P65 million was appropriated by the Philippine government to support its operations against human trafficking, prosecution of offenders, and for the protection of the public from this global menace, according to the report.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Tier 2 status officially recognizes a country's significant efforts to adhere to the benchmarks prescribed by the US State Department to meet the minimum standards.

Tier 1 countries fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) minimum standards while Tier 2 countries do not fully comply, but are making significant efforts. (js)

Palace enjoins nation to pray for Dolphy’s immediate recovery

Malacanang asked the Filipino nation Thursday to pray for the speedy recovery of Rodolfo Quizon Sr. popularly known as “Dolphy” who has been hospitalized and now reported to be in critical condition.

“We enjoin the Filipino people to pray for the health of Mr. Rodolfo Quizon Sr., whom the entire nation fondly knows as “Dolphy.” We are united in our intentions for our revered icon of the Philippine entertainment industry. The President’s thoughts are with Mr. Quizon and his loved ones in these trying times,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement released on Thursday.

The President very recently, awarded Dolphy the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart. So we recognize his contribution to the field of entertainment. He personally believes that Dolphy has contributed immensely to the arts,” Lacierda said.

The Quizon family is asking for prayers for Dolphy who is back on respirator and in critical condition after a recent blood transfusion.

Dolphy, considered as the “Comedy King” of Philippine cinema, was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a progressive disease, five years ago. (as/3:45pm)