Monday, 26 November 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, November 26, 2012

President Aquino confers Quezon Service Cross on DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo (posthumous)
 President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Quezon Service Cross Award on the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in ceremonies held in Malacañang on Monday.

 In his speech, President Aquino said the Quezon Service Cross Award was a fitting tribute to Robredo whom he said embodied the ideal traits of a good leader and public servant: honesty, dedication and humility.

 “Kinakatawan ni Jesse ang mga katangian ng isang tunay na lingkod-bayan: matapat, masigasig, at mapagkumbaba. Batid niyang bilang kawani ng gobyerno, ang una at ang huli niyang tungkulin ay ang pagsilbihan ang bandila, at iangat ang kanyang kapwa—anumang pansariling sakripisyo ang kaakibat nito. Alam ito ng kanyang pamilya’t malalapit na kaibigan, alam ito ng kanyang mga kababayang Nagueño, at alam ito ng kanyang mga nakasalamuhang Pilipino ---nasa puso ni Jesse ang pagseserbisyo,” the President said.

 “Sa araw pong ito, nakamit ni Jesse Robredo ang pinakamataas na parangal sa bansa, sa paglilingkod na nakasandig sa pagpapakumbaba. Kanyang pinatunayan na hindi laging naipapamalas ang kadakilaan sa lakas ng puwersa, sa katapangan, o sa kagitingan. Isang simpleng taong kumakalinga sa simpleng tao ---dito po natin maaalala ang pangalang Jesse Manalastas Robredo,” he added.

 In response, Robredo’s widow Leni, who accepted the award in behalf of their family, expressed her deepest appreciation for the Quezon Service Cross Award which, she said, is truly a “huge honor.”

 “It is such a privilege for us to accept the highest national recognition of outstanding civilian service that the republic can give. To be awarded this award which was proposed by President Manuel Roxas in honor of our illustrious President Manuel L. Quezon, and to be mentioned alongside awardees Carlos P. Romulo, Emilio Aguinaldo, Ramon Magsaysay, and Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. is truly a huge honor,” Robredo said.

 “With the conferment of the Quezon Service Cross Award, we can only hope that there will be more people like him who will serve rather than criticize, collaborate rather than divide, build up rather than tear down, and engage in order to understand,” she added.

 The Quezon Service Cross Award is the highest recognition the State can bestow on its citizens. It was created through a proposal by former President Manuel Roxas in honor of President Manuel L. Quezon to serve as the highest honor of the Republic.

 With the award, Robredo joins former president of the United Nation General Assembly Carlos P. Romulo, former presidents Emilio Aguinaldo and Ramon Magsaysay, and the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr., as the fifth person to receive the prestigious award. PND (rck)
Abad says implementation of Performance-Based Bonus system to reform ‘bureaucratic culture’
 The government is working towards reaching a “truly genuine meritocracy system” for government employees in order to boost moral and improve the overall delivery of goods and services to the Filipino people, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said on Monday.

 In a press briefing in Malacañang, Abad said the implementation of the “ground-breaking incentive system” called the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) system will “reshape bureaucratic culture” with a “culture of excellence in the bureaucracy.”

 The Performance-Based Bonus is a strictly merit-based incentive system given to deserving government employees for exemplary work in government service. Unlike other bonuses, an employee receives the Performance-Based Bonus based on how well he serves the public with the ultimate objective of delivering public goods and services among our people.

 “Reshaping the bureaucratic culture through Performance-Based Bonus will be contentious at first because it is new and it has never been done before but we hope that eventually, it will ease itself into general acceptance among those in the bureaucracy,” Abad said.

 “When you institute such a culture of excellence in the bureaucracy and make it a regular way of doing public service, government employees will then make a habit of turning out exemplary work day after day,” he added.

 “This in turn reinforces the new culture of service in every agency, ultimately establishing a bureaucracy that is effective, efficient and decidedly service-oriented,” Abad said.

 He noted that with the new incentive system, a level-playing field where employee performance will be the basis of the distribution of incentives will be implemented.

 “When the government is able to provide better services and goods to all Filipinos, that means we are making the most of every peso spent by the government. At the very end, this means that none of your taxes are wasted from bureaucratic inefficiencies and performance gaps,” Abad said.

 “What we also want to communicate and emphasize to all government employees is that we are finally moving towards a genuine meritocracy in government. For the first time, we are instituting an accountable way of rewarding our government workers where personal biases or elbow grease won’t buy any favors,” he said. PND (rck)

President Aquino creates special teams to probe human rights violations
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the creation of special teams to investigate human rights abuses by state and non-state forces and ensure a focused probe and speedy resolution of all unsolved and new cases, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Monday.

 Ochoa said the special teams would form part of the inter-agency committee (IAC), which the President established under Administrative Order (AO) No. 35 he signed on November 22, that will exclusively handle cases of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of human rights violations.

 “This presidential directive reinforces the Aquino administration’s resolve to uphold and protect the rights of the people,” Ochoa said. “We believe that the creation of this high-level committee will be a more effective mechanism in handling and monitoring cases of human rights violations,” Ochoa explained.

 According to Ochoa, AO 35 takes effect immediately and replaces AO No. 211 issued in 2007 that created the Task Force Against Political Violence. The presidential directive directs the task force to turn over all documents, data, reports, supplies, resources and its remaining budget to the IAC.

 “The President envisions the administrative order to harmonize and standardize the government’s policies and action plan for resolving human rights abuses. This way we can have a focused investigation and speedy resolution of all the cases,” Ochoa added.

 One of the first tasks of the IAC is to organize special teams and a technical working group to carry out the immediate inventory of all alleged human rights violations committed by state and non-state forces; monitor the development of cases which are pending in courts or under investigation, and conduct an investigation into unsolved and new cases, as well as prosecute the perpetrators.

 Under AO 35, the secretary of the Department of Justice (DoJ) serves as chairperson of the IAC, which members include the head of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), the secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Defense (DND), the presidential advisers of the Peace Process (OPAPP) and Political Affairs (OPAPA), chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National police chief and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director.

 The chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Ombudsman sit as observers and resource persons in the IAC.

 The IAC is required to submit to the President every six months a progress report, a detailed inventory of pending human rights abuse cases, and accomplishment and recommendations, among others.

 The President has asked all other government agencies and local government units to give their full support and cooperation to the IAC to make sure that the AO 35’s objectives and the committee’s mandate are achieved.

 The initial budget requirement of the committee will be taken from the current appropriation of the agencies comprising the IAC and subsequent funding will be incorporated in their respective regular budgets.

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, November 24, 2012

18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women to be launched Sunday in line with Aquino government's efforts to protect and uphold rights of women
 The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is set to launch on Sunday the "18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women" as part of the Aquino government's efforts to protect and uphold the rights of women in times of armed conflict and disasters.

The PCW, which is under the Office of the President, will spearhead the campaign from November 25 to December 12, 2012. The event, which has for its theme "Violence Against Women --- Free Society in Times of Peace, Conflict and Calamity," will kick off on Sunday at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

The PCW is the primary policy-making and coordinating body on women and gender equality concerns.

Philippine Commission on Women chairperson Remedios Rikken will lead the kick-off activity on Sunday while Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim will give a message to the people.

The campaign is in line with the directives of President Benigno S. Aquino III for the PCW to spearhead the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women otherwise known as Republic Act No. 9710 and the promotion of gender equality.

Section 30 of the Magna Carta of Women classifies women victim-survivors of VAW during disasters and armed conflict situation as Women in Especially Difficult Circumstances (WEDC).

The 18-day campaign aims to raise awareness of the national government agencies, local government units, and the general public about gender-based violence in crisis situations. Gender-based violence refers to any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person's will on the basis of gender differences.

The drive also includes increasing support mechanisms to make it more accessible to Violence Against Women victim-survivors during disaster and crisis situation.

It also aims to forge partnership among stakeholders in addressing gender-based violence in crisis situation.

The event includes multi-media activities, launching of Barangay Violence Against Women Desk Handbook, information sessions for Internally Displaced Persons or evacuees, and forum by different organizations working in the conflict/disaster areas. PND (js)

President Aquino to lead conferment of Quezon Service Cross award on Robredo
 President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the conferment Monday of the Quezon Service Cross award on the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo who died in a plane crash off Masbate coast last August.

 Monday’s event in Malacanang marks the 100th day of the death of Robredo.

 The awarding of the Quezon Service Cross on Robredo was announced by Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda during a radio interview over state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

 “There will be a ceremony. This is the highest award that the Republic of the Philippines can give to any Filipino. It is an award bestowed with the approved concurrence of the two Houses of Congress,” Lacierda said.

 The Quezon Service Cross was proposed by former President Manuel Roxas in honor of President Manuel L. Quezon to serve as the highest honor of the Republic.

 In August 1946, President Roxas submitted a proposed Joint Resolution to Congress for the creation of the Quezon Service Cross, the highest award the republic could bestow.

 The Quezon Service Cross was created by virtue of Joint Resolution No. 4 s. 1946 enacted by both houses of Congress.

 Although Congress was abolished upon the declaration of Martial Law, the Quezon Service Cross remained but was not awarded to any individual.

 In the reforms of the awards system of the Republic in 2003, Executive Order No. 236 retained the original intention of President Roxas to have the Quezon Service Cross as the highest decoration of the Philippines.

 In the Order of Precedence of Philippine Honors and State Decorations the Quezon Service Cross is the top recognition a Filipino can receive from the Republic.

 Three individuals were awarded prior to the abolition of the Third Republic in 1972.

 Since its creation in 1946, only four people, to date, have been awarded the Quezon Service Cross. Among those include the former president of the United Nation General Assembly Carlos P. Romulo, former presidents Emilio Aguinaldo and Ramon Magsaysay, and the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr., the father of the present president. PND (as)

Government continues to dismantle private armed groups, says Palace
 Government’s campaign against private armed groups has been continuing and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already identified election hot spots in preparation for the election next year, Malacanang said on Saturday.

 There are some criticisms about government’s efforts to dismantle private armed groups in the country particularly after the country marked the third year of the Maguindanao massacre, in which several media men were killed.

 The government is dealing with private armed groups and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas already released a watch list, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan Saturday.

 Also he said there was an agreement issued by the DILG, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) regarding the government’s campaign against private armed groups.

 On November 23, 2009, some 200 armed men forced the group of 58 people – 20 Mangudadatu relatives and supporters in Maguindanao, 32 journalists and media workers, and 6 passersby – off the highway near Ampatuan town and executed them.

 The Maguindanao massacre brought to light the dangers posed by private armies, militias, and paramilitaries in the peace and order situation in the Philippines.

 Several members of the Ampatuan clan, the alleged perpetrators, are now in jail and on trial for the massacre. Out of 197 identified suspects, the government has arrested 99. PND (as)

Malacanang: DFA to continue advancing country’s interest in international fora
 The government made an assurance on Saturday that it would continue to protect the country’s interests and territory particularly with the dispute over the West Philippines Sea.

 During a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Department of Foreign Affairs has already issued a note verbale protesting China’s new passport that contains map of the contested territory.

 “The DFA will continue to be vigilant in ensuring that our interests are protected in the international forum, and we will continue to make the necessary representations to protect our territories,” Lacierda said.

 China has enraged other claimant countries after releasing newly revised passports having a dashed map showing its claim on the West Philippine Sea.

 China claims the West Philippine Sea in its entirety, though parts of the waters are also being claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

 China's act of including the said map in its revised passports could be seen as a provocation as it would require other nations to endorse those claims by affixing their official seals to the documents.

 Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said he sent a note verbale to the Chinese Embassy to strongly protest the image. According to Del Rosario, China is claiming an area that is clearly part of the Philippine territory and maritime domain. PND (as)

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, November 23, 2012

Aquino lauds nursing society for contributions towards advancement of nursing education
 President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded the academe and the nursing society for their contributions towards the advancement of the standards of nursing education, locally and across the globe.

"The academe creates avenues for intellectual stimulation among the youth, which leads to advancements in our respective professions and to the further empowerment of our nation’s future leaders, the Chief Executive said in his message to the organizers and delegates of the 2nd International Conference of Student Nurses on Friday.

The Cebu Normal University, in cooperation with the Nightingale Student Council and Philippine Nursing Research Society, Incorporated-Cebu Chapter, is holding today the 2nd International Conference of Student Nurses (2nd ICONS) at the Grand Convention Center, Cebu City with the theme "Merging Ideas: Promoting Patient Safety through Research."

"We in government look forward to working with an engaged and dedicated collective as our partners in securing the welfare of our countrymen," President Aquino said.

"In this highly competitive milieu, it is crucial that we keep curiosity and passion vibrant in our endeavors, that we may respond efficiently to the dynamic needs of the citizenry," he said.

The President expressed hope that the gathering will enliven the ideals of excellence, integrity, and compassion in each delegate.

"Let us hold each other to highest professional and ethical standards, as we secure the welfare of the Filipino people. I wish you continued success in your undertakings," he said. PND (js)

President Aquino cites media's contribution in nation building; urges them for a dialogue and work with government to address their concerns
 President Benigno S. Aquino III said he is ready to work with the media to address corruption and move the country forward for the benefit of the Filipino people.

In his speech during the 9th Media nation Summit in Tagaytay City on Friday, the President said like the bureaucracy, the media industry also suffers from corruption and this problem must be addressed.

The President however, acknowledged the efforts within the media industry to rid itself with corruption. Like the reform in the government, he said he is glad to see the beginnings of similar measures in the media industry.

He lauded the adoption of the summit theme: “Corruption in Media” noting it’s an acknowledgement of an existing problem.

“While the lack of standards that apply throughout your industry does not directly lead to corruption, it does make it easier for corruption to take place,” he stressed.

“The more discretion you give someone, the more leeway they have to make decisions—not necessarily based on a common set of rules and regulations, but on their own desires," the President said.

To address corruption in the media, the President said, reporters must be given decent compensation to make it commensurate to the highest standards of integrity demanded of them. This way there is less temptation for corruption among media men, he noted.

According to the President, this is the thrust being carried out by his administration in the government sector: by ensuring that government workers receive decent pay through rationalization and reform in the government system of pay, benefits, and bonuses.

The President said he always believed that the media is both the bulwark of freedom, and an instrument for empowering the people to take responsibility for their actions, and achieve positive change.

He pointed out that the government also wants to work with the media towards the advancement and protection of media practitioners, adding that it is focused on reforming the country’s justice system to achieve this.

 The President also invited the members of the media for a dialogue with the government in order to address issues like libel and media freedom.

“Instead of shutting the door, let us engage in respectful dialogue, so that we can reach a consensus that is fair to all concerned,” he said.

At the same time, the President likewise exhorted the media members to work with his administration to address other concerns.

 “My door is always open, and I am here to listen to you, and to work with you. I have said nothing that your own readers, viewers, and listeners have not already said themselves,” he concluded. PND (as)

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, November 22, 2012

President Aquino extols non-government organizations as partners of government in nation building and development
 President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded the non-government organizations as partners of government in nation building and development during rites commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Caucus of Development Non-Governmental Organization (CODE-NGO) Networks held at the Skydome of SM North Edsa in Quezon City on Thursday.

In his speech keynoting the event, the President called the civil society organization-members of CODE-NGO as “pillars of good governance” who act as “bridges” connecting the people and government through their active participation in his administration’s reform program.

He said that NGOs serve as the eyes and ears of government in getting the pulse of the nation and how to effectively address its needs and wants.

“Isa po sa mahalagang bunga ng mapayapang rebolusyon sa EDSA ang pag-usbong ng ating Non-Government Organizations. Sa pagbagsak ng diktadurya, bumangon ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag at lumawak ang pakikibahagi ng mamamayan sa mga isyung panlipunan. Dito tumingkad ang diwa ng sama-samang pagkilos upang maisakatuparan ang mabubuting adhikain para sa bayan,” the President said.

“Sa ating administrasyon, isa kayong matibay na haligi ng mabuting pamamahala. Mga mata kayong nagbabantay laban sa katiwalian; mga taingang nakikinig sa suliranin ng taumbayan; at mga tinig na inihahayag ang saloobin ng mga naisasantabi sa lipunan,” he added.

This year’s celebration coincides with the holding of CODE-NGO’s 5th Congress themed “Breaking Barriers in Civil Society’s Constructive Engagement for Development.”

It is considered the largest gathering of civil society leaders in the country which includes six national networks and six regional networks, representing more than 1,600 development NGOs, peoples’ organizations and organizations nationwide and serves as the culmination of CODE-NGO’s 20 years of influencing public policy and contributing to increasing the effectiveness of civil society’s social development work in the country.

CODE-NGO holds its Congress every 5 years, to evaluate its work for the past years and set its directions for the future. This year’s congress will approve the coalition’s Strategic Plan for the next five years.

Joining the President were Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, CODE-NGO chair Andrea Patricia Sarenas and Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles. PND (rck)

Aquino urges non-government organizations to help in choosing next set of leaders in coming polls
 Citing their invaluable role as partners of government in nation building and development, President Benigno S. Aquino III called on the non-government organizations, particularly those belonging to the Caucus of Development NGO (CODE-NGO) Networks to help in guiding Filipinos choose the next batch of leaders in next year’s mid-term elections.

The President, in his speech keynoting the 20th year anniversary and 5th Congress of CODE-NGO held at the Skydome of SM North Edsa in Quezon City on Thursday, said that these civil society organizations can help Filipinos make an informed choice of whom to vote for as they are now familiar with his governing style as compared to past administrations.

“Sa Mayo, muli tayong haharap sa sangandaan na huhubog sa ating kinabukasan at kasaysayan. Bukod sa pagbabantay ng mga balota, maging gabay sana tayo ng mamamayan sa pagpili ng mga itatalagang pinuno,” the President said.

“Sa matagal na panahon, nasadlak tayo sa pag-iisip na pare-pareho lang ang lahat ng gustong maglingkod sa gobyerno. Pero nakita ninyo ang pagkakaiba ng estilo ng aming pamumuno, sa dinatnan nating status quo. Hahayaan ba nating pamunuan tayong muli ng mga kawatan at nanlalamang? Huwag naman po sana,” he stressed.

He said his administration’s ability to implement government reforms in just two years in office was made possible through the efforts and support of the people who believe in treading the straight path and are concerned with proper governance.

“Sa susunod na mga taon, tiyak na mas mapipintog pang bunga ang ating mapipitas kung iisa pa rin ang direksyong ating tinatahak. Sa tulong ng ating NGOs, kompiyansa akong patuloy tayong makakapagpunla ng magandang bukas para sa Pilipinas at sa Pilipino,” the President said. PND (rck)

Malacanang says state of emergency in Maguindanao remains in effect to ensure peace and order in the province
 As the country commemorates the third year of the Maguindanao massacre on Friday, the Aquino government said the state of emergency in Maguindanao remains in effect to ensure the peace and order situation in the province.

 Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday that at present the government sees no reason that would warrant to lift the state of emergency in the province.

Former president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo placed Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City under a state of emergency on November 24, 2009, a day after the massacre occurred in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao. The massacre claimed the lives of 58 civilians, most of them mediamen.

The country commemorates on Friday, November 23, the third year of the Maguindanao massacre which was dubbed as the bloodiest single-day killing in the country’s electoral history.

Lacierda said the government has yet to receive requests from the local government officials to lift the state of emergency in the province.

"During the first year (of Aquino's term), December of 2010 if I remember it right, we had a meeting with the local government officials of Mindanao. And there was a discussion as to whether to lift it or not, the common consensus of the local government leaders, and I include also the Governor of Maguindanao, Governor (Esmael) Mangudadatu, they recommended that the state of emergency be maintained," Lacierda said.

"Now that there’s upcoming elections also, there is no call from them to lift the state of emergency and I think that is still the position taken by the local government officials there. So the state of emergency, as of this briefing, is still in place and to ensure peace and order in the area of Maguindanao, especially in these coming elections," he said.

Lacierda said Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas has already identified Maguindanao as one of the fifteen provinces in the priority election watchlist.

President Benigno S. Aquino III remains committed on his promise to provide protection for the witnesses and the victims’ relatives, Lacierda said.

He also said that the administration is doing everything in its power to serve justice for the slain victims of the massacre and appealed to the judiciary to expedite the trial.

"As to the others, in terms of hastening or expediting the judicial process, we have time and again made our plea to the judiciary to expedite the process, without of course sacrificing due process. Hopefully, with the appointment of Justice Marvic Leonen in the Supreme Court, they can find a way to answer the plea of the massacre victims," Lacierda said. PND (js)

Aquino government attributes new record high set by Philippine Stock Exchange index to country's sound fiscal and economic fundamentals
 The Aquino government attributed the new record high set by the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) to the country's sound fiscal and economic fundamentals in the midst of economic turmoil in the world.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday after the PSEi set a new record Wednesday.

Amid bullish sentiments, the index increased by 0.61 percent or 33.60 points, to 5,534.18 points, the reports said.

"We hope that the trend will still continue. It shows that our fiscal and economic fundamentals are sound. That’s the reason why we have renewed strength and vibrancy in our stock exchange," Lacierda said.

"This is a sentiment shared not only by the foreign investors, not only by the credit rating agencies, but also by the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. So, the Philippines is an investment oasis in the midst of economic turmoil in the world," Lacierda said.

"The PSEi high yesterday of 5,534.18 is the administration’s 50th high," Lacierda said. PND (js)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Malacanang says passage of  Sin Tax Bill is a vital step in improving, expanding health safety nets for Filipinos
 The move of the Senate to pass the Sin Tax Bill is a vital step forward in improving and expanding public health safety nets for all Filipinos, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

 Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday after the Senate passed the Sin Tax Bill, which was certified as urgent by the President Tuesday night.

 "This complements the Aquino administration’s relentless pursuit of universal health care which underscores the belief that healthcare should be a right and not a privilege in our country," Lacierda said.

 "We commend the unshakable commitment of Senator Franklin Drilon who steered this important piece of legislation through this long, drawn out process, and all the senators who voted for the measure," he stressed.

 The Aquino government also thanked the countless advocates in government and civil society for pursuing this urgent reform.

 "Recognizing and advancing the protection of public health is a commitment present in the Aquino administration’s social contract with the Filipino people. This goes beyond government, however, and begets the responsibility of all citizens to contribute to this cause," Lacierda said.

 The Sin Tax Bill aims to generate government revenues in a bid to strengthen the country’s health care system. PND (js)

President Aquino declares November 26 as special non-working day in Dasmarinas, Cavite in commemoration of its Foundation Day
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared November 26, which falls on a Monday, as a special (non-working) day in the city of Dasmariñas in the province of Cavite, in commemoration of its Foundation Day.

 The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 486 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on October 4 to give the people of Dasmariñas City the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

 Dasmariñas was incorporated into a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 9723 which was signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009. Residents ratified RA No. 9723 in a plebiscite held in November, 2009. PND (js)

Aquino appoints government peace panel chairman Leonen as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
 President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed on Wednesday government peace panel chairman Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (SC), a Palace official said.

 Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday that the Chief Executive appointed Leonen after having received the short list from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and interviewing each nominee.

 The JBC earlier recommended to President Aquino seven candidates for a vacant Supreme Court associate justice post.

 Leonen, 49, is the chairman of the government peace negotiating panel with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and former Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law. He received his Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines and Master of Laws from the Columbia University in New York.

 The newest appointment to the tribunal fills the seat vacated by Maria Lourdes Sereno who was appointed Chief Justice, Lacierda said.

 Last August, President Aquino appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Punzalan Aranal-Sereno as the 24th Chief Justice.

 Lacierda said President Aquino views his appointment of Leonen as "a contribution to his vision of an empowered, independent, and reformist Judiciary."

 "Dean Leonen had contributed significantly to the cause of a just, dignified, and lasting peace with our Muslim brothers and sisters while keeping with the spirit and letter of the Constitution. The appointment of Dean Leonen is one that the President views as a lasting legacy of his administration, consistent with his desire of a Judiciary imbued with the highest standards of independence, probity and integrity," Lacierda stressed.

 "A revitalized Supreme Court, with the renewed confidence and public trust of our people, is essential to the fulfillment of the President’s Social Contract with the Filipino People: a truly impartial judicial system that delivers equal justice to rich or poor," he said.

 The historic signing of the Framework Agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front occurred during the chairmanship of Leonen.

 Last October, the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement was signed to serve as a roadmap for the creation of a Bangsamoro entity that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and lay down the groundwork to achieve lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao. PND (js)

Aquino government hopes signatories to Kyoto Protocol would be able to resolve Climate Change issues in Doha
 The Aquino government hopes that the countries that are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol would be able to resolve several issues surrounding Climate Change when the representatives meet during a conference in Doha, Qatar, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

 Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice-chairman Mary Ann Lucille Sering said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday that the future of the Kyoto Protocol will be tackled during the "18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)" and the "8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol."

 The events will take place from November 26 to December 7, 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar.

 The Kyoto Protocol is the only international treaty limiting greenhouse-gas emissions that expires in 2012.

 "This is a very important conference for us, especially developing countries like the Philippines, because we will talk about the Kyoto Protocol. There is a talk of extending the second commitment period," Sering said.

 "Last year, Canada, one of the big developed countries, pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol. Ang isa namang magandang balita namin is Australia who was a late signatory of the Kyoto Protocol already signified its intention to still be part of the second commitment period," Sering said.

 The Philippines wants the second commitment period would span from 2013 to 2017.

 "Ang posisyon ng Pilipinas ay sana limang taon lang ang second commitment period, at ma-review na kaagad kung gaano na ba karami ang na-reduce na greenhouse gas na tinatawag nito. Ano pong ibig sabihin nitong Kyoto Protocol second commitment period? ‘Pag hindi po kasi kami nagkasundo, ang buong mundo, maraming implikasyon ‘yan," she said.

 "So kung wala tayong Kyoto Protocol second commitment, maaaring ang tinatawag nating pag-increase ng temperatura ay hindi na natin mapipigilan ito, at ito’y masamang pangitain dahil tumitindi na talaga ang pagbabago ng klima. Ang projection natin 2020 pa, pero nararamdaman na natin ngayon; ‘yung impact nang pag-init ay lalong iinit; ang pag-ulan ay lalong pag-ulan," she said.

 Last August 16, President Benigno S. Aquino III, who is the Climate Change Commission (CCC) chairman, signed into law the People's Survival Fund (PSF) Bill to enable the government to effectively address the problem of Climate Change.

 The Chief Executive signed Republic Act No. 10171 otherwise known as "An Act Establishing the People's Survival Fund to provide long-term finance streams to enable the government to effectively address the problem of Climate Change, amending for the purpose Republic Act. No. 9729, otherwise known as the Climate Change Act of 2009," and for other purposes."

 The People's Survival Fund Law amended the Climate Change Act of 2009 by establishing the People's Survival Fund with an initial P1 billion per year.

 "Ito ay intended to help local government to do feasibility studies, to do their land-use planning, to make sure na nakapasok ang vulnerability assessment," Sering said.

 The Climate Change Commission, which is attached to the Office of the President, is an independent and autonomous agency with the same status as that of a national government office. It is the sole policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government relating to climate change.

 It has formulated the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change, the National Climate Change Action Plan, and guidelines for a Local Climate Change Action Plan. PND (js)