President Aquino welcomes visiting French Prime Minister in Malacañang
President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed visiting French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Manila by according the French leader arrival honors in Malacañang on Friday.
A booming 19-gun salute rendered during the playing of the national anthems of both countries signaled the start of the three-day State Visit to the Philippines of Ayrault, who arrived at Malacañang grounds at around 5:30 p.m.
The President then ushered Ayrault, who was accompanied by his wife Madame Brigitte Ayrault, into Malacañang Palace for the traditional signing of the Palace Guest Book, where visiting dignitaries affix their signatures during their visit.
The two leaders then held bilateral talks at the nearby Music Room to further develop a more dynamic and robust partnership between the two countries based on the theme: “Enhancing Philippine-France Relations through political, economic and cultural cooperation.”
After the hour-long meeting, the two leaders emerged to announce their countries’ agreement to work together on energy production and the furtherance of Filipino culture by showcasing Filipino artifacts in an exhibit to be held in France next year.
A state dinner was then hosted by President Aquino for Ayrault, his wife Madame Brigitte Ayrault, and his official delegation composed of ministers, members of parliament and business leaders at around 7:30 p.m.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said that the total bilateral trade between the two countries totaled $1.143-billion (P49-billion) in 2011. PND (rck)
Philippines, France ink agreements on energy and culture
The Philippines and France has agreed to work together in the fields of energy production and culture aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries whose diplomatic relations were formalized in 1947.
President Benigno S. Aquino III and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault witnessed the signing of a Declaration of Intent between the Government of the Philippines and the Government of the French Republic relating to a Study for Energy Production from Biomass and a second agreement on the Philippine Exhibition at the Musee Du Quai Branly in Paris, France.
The former was signed by France Minister of Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario while the latter by Minister Delegate of Foreign Affairs, in charge of French nationals residing abroad and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario.
The signing was made on the first day of the State Visit of Ayrault to the Philippines. He was accorded arrival honors by the President in Malacañang.
Under the Declaration of Intent, the French Government will extend a grant amounting to 372,272 euros to fund a feasibility study on rice straw as fuel to generate electricity using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology; while in the Agreement, the Philippines was chosen to be the featured country in a Grand Exhibition to showcase 300+ artifacts on pre-colonial Philippines.
In his speech after the signing, President Aquino cited the agreements as “an affirmation of how we value the development of a more dynamic and robust partnership between our two nations.”
“This is a partnership that enjoys firm foundations,” the President said.
For his part, Prime Minister Ayraule said his visit was “a good time to improve trust and confidence” between the two countries.
“And this is a good time to improve trust and confidence by investors because we do want to restore healthy exchanges both economically speaking and in terms of trade, and we would like a healthy balance of trade between our two countries,” Ayrault said. PND (rck)
Aquino thanks France for key role in the country's development
President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the important role of France in the Philippines’ development saying they were an important partner in upholding democracy and pursuing development.
The President expressed his appreciation to visiting French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the joint press conference the two leaders held for members of media after they held a meeting as part of the French leader’s three-day State Visit to the Philippines which began Friday.
The President said France’s Official Development Assistance mechanism, particularly in the areas of Climate Change, Sustainable Urban Development, and Capacity-building Projects for Local Government Units had helped the Philippines achieve its development priorities.
“France has remained a partner in upholding democracy and pursuing development: I thanked the Prime Minister for the continued contribution of France to achieving our development priorities through the Official Development Assistance mechanism, particularly in the areas of Climate Change, Sustainable Urban Development, and Capacity-building Projects for Local Government Units,” the President said.
He pointed out that Ayrault’s visit highlighted the interest of French businesses of the country's “efforts at reform and the positive economic developments” as both leaders committed to “accelerate the pace of our economic cooperation.”
“Prime Minister Ayrault’s visit here---and his business delegation who accompanies him---sends a strong signal... that French companies are noticing our efforts at reform and the positive economic developments these have brought to our country,” the President said.
“The Prime Minister and I agreed to accelerate the pace of our economic cooperation. Part of achieving this goal is easing the barriers that impede the growth of two-way trade and investment,” he added. PND (rck)
French Prime Minister cites strength of Aquino and Filipino people to rise from struggles
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault paid tribute to the strength of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Filipino people to rise above seemingly insurmountable odds, saying this trait was shared by the people of France.
In his statement delivered at a joint press conference in Malacañang on Friday, Ayrault also lauded President Aquino’s diplomacy to settle disputes amicably.
“I would also like to pay tribute to your people, Mr. President, and I would like to pay tribute to the strength of the people and to your own personal struggle for liberty, for freedom, for democracy,” Ayrault said.
“You have always fought also for the development of your country and for justice, and your country is grateful to you. And you have had to face several ordeals throughout your life but you have always carried on the struggle,” he added.
He also cited the President’s parents: former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino, whom he said served as examples to never give up the fight for democracy and freedom.
“You had to succeed your mother, this was one ordeal after also the death of your father killed by the dictatorship. But Mr. President, you never gave in, you never gave up. And I would like to salute you for the strength you showed and for your ability to fight for democracy, for justice, for human rights,” Ayrault said.
“And these are values that we share, you, the Philippines, and we, the French,” he added.
He further said that he "saluted" the peaceful method by which the President uses to settle disputes, whether international or domestic.
“I could not but salute the method that you used Mr. President. You have always opted for peaceful settlement of disputes be it domestically or be it with other countries,” Ayrault said. PND (rck)
Government agencies start preparations to ensure peaceful, orderly observance of all Saints Day and all Souls Day, Malacanang says
Concerned government agencies started doing necessary preparations to ensure peaceful and orderly observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, a Palace official said on Saturday.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has already beefed up police visibility in cemeteries, churches and other public places to ensure the safety of the public, according to Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte in an interview aired over government-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.
"Of course, police visibility is always a factor. Kailangan pong siguraduhin ng ating kapulisan na marami sa kanila ang nakikikitang rumoronda," Valte said.
A contingency force will be deployed to ensure the safety of passengers and adequacy of transportation alternatives amid an expected heavy influx of travelers on All Saints Day.
Valte reiterated the warning to the public to refrain from bringing deadly weapons in the cemeteries.
"Alam niyo naman po ang mga usual na bawal. Bawal ang magdala ng patalim, bawal uminom sa loob po ng sementeryo, bawal magsugal. The police will be there to ensure peace and order during the visit of our countrymen to their loved ones who have passed on. PND (js)
Malacanang expresses jubilation over proclamation of Blessed Pedro Calungsod as second Filipino saint
Malacanang expressed jubilation over the proclamation by the Catholic Church of Blessed Pedro Calungsod as the second Filipino saint, which, it said further proves the piousness and devotion of the Filipino people to their love for God as a Catholic nation.
In an interview over government-run radio station DzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte mentioned the forthcoming canonization of Blessed Calungsod at the St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy on Oct. 21, Sunday.
“On October 21, 2012, the Catholic world comes together as Pope Benedict XVI proclaims Blessed Pedro Calungsod as Saint of the Catholic Church. This is a day of great spiritual joy and national pride not only for Filipino Catholics, but for all those who call the Philippines their home, especially our countrymen in the Visayas and Mindanao,” Valte said.
She added that some officials of the government and leaders of the Catholic Church as well as throngs of pilgrims will be at St. Peter’s Square to witness the historic spiritual event.
“A delegation of officials led by the Vice President and Secretary Rene Almendras will be present in St. Peter’s Square together with the senior prelates of the Philippine Catholic hierarchy and a multitude of pilgrims to witness the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod who has been described as a protomartyr,” Valte noted.
“Filipino Catholics well recall that it was under the reign of Pope John Paul II - a pontiff who held Filipinos very dear to his heart - and upon the initiation of His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, that the beatification for Calungsod was initiated in 1994 and culminating in his beatification in 2000. In 12 short years, the canonical requirements for his canonization has been fulfilled. We join the Catholic world on this day of solemn commemoration and celebration,” she said.
Born in the year 1654 in the Visayas island, Blessed Pedro Calungsod also known as Pedro Calonsor was born in the year 1654 and died on April 2, 1672.
He was a young Roman Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist, who along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
While in Guam, Calungsod preached Christianity to the Chamorro people through catechism, while baptizing both infants, children and adults at the risk of being persecuted and eventually murdered. Through Calungsod and San Vitores' missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism.
Blessed Pedro Calungsod was formally beatified on March 5, 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. On February 18, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced that Calungsod will be canonized on October 21. PND (jcl)
President Aquino declares 4th week of October of every year as Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared the Fourth (4th) Week of October of each year as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week in order to emphasize the rights of every Filipino youth and child.
The Chief Executive issued the declaration by virtue of Proclamation No. 489 on October 11, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail F. Valte said in an interview aired over government-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday
Section 13, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides, that “the State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs," President Aquino noted.
The Philippines is the 31st party to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC), a legally binding international instrument which establishes the minimum entitlements and freedoms of children – ranging from civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights – that should be respected by governments.
The proclamation said the enactment of Republic Act (RA) No. 9344, otherwise known as the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006,” is an affirmation of the Philippine commitment to the obligations enshrined in the UN-CRC.
"The Filipino people should celebrate and recognize the Filipino children and youth as the most valuable asset of the nation," the proclamation stressed.
"There is a need to mainstream awareness and consciousness of the Filipino people on the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act in order to emphasize the rights of every Filipino youth and child, including children-at-risk and in conflict with the law, their role in nation-building, and the responsibilities of all duty bearers and stakeholders in ensuring the protection and promoting the welfare of the Filipino youth and children," it said.
The proclamation further said that Presidential Proclamation No. 267 (s. 1993) designates the month of October as the National Children’s Month to underscore the importance of the role of the child within the Filipino family and in the context of the greater Philippine society.
The President subsequently declared the fourth (4th) week of October of each year as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week, in conjunction with the annual celebration of October as the National Children’s Month by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 267 (s. 1993).
All Departments, Agencies, and Instrumentalities of the National Government, State Universities and Colleges, Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations and Local Government Units, with the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council as lead implementing agency, are hereby enjoined to support and extend the necessary assistance in the observance of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week. PND (js)