Monday, 12 November 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, November 12, 2012

President Aquino declares November 15 as special non-working day in Oriental Mindoro in commemoration of its 62nd Foundation Day
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared November 15, which falls on a Thursday, as a special (non-working) day in the province of Oriental Mindoro in commemoration of its 62nd Foundation Day.

 The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No.499 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Nov. 7 to give the people of Oriental Mindoro the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

 In 1950, Oriental Mindoro became an independent province by virtue of Republic Act No. 505 otherwise known as "An Act to Create the Provinces of Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro." PND (js)

President Aquino witnesses signing of purchase agreement for the sale of Food Terminal, Inc. to Ayala Land, Inc.
 President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the signing of a purchase agreement formally completing the sale of the Food Terminal, Incorporated (FTI) in Taguig City to Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) in ceremonies held in Malacañang on Monday.

 The sale, paid by Ayala Land to the National Government for P24.3-billion, is considered one of the largest in the history of government privatization and can be attributed to the Aquino administration’s policy towards transparency and competitive bidding.

 Under the terms of the purchase agreement, ALI will develop the FTI, which sits on a 74-hectare parcel of land located in Taguig City, into an integrated, mixed-use and sustainable business district that will offer excellent living and working spaces.

 It will have new infrastructure envisioned to spur economic activity in the area and will feature convenience-centric retail, dining and entertainment offerings set within generous spaces and surrounded by pockets of greens and will promote social interaction and an active community life.

 Signing for the government was Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima who was joined by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Chief Privitization Officer of the Privitization and Management Office Karen Singson, FTI president Rene Fuentes and Taguig City mayor Maria Laarni Lopez-Cayetano.

 Representatives of Ayala Land meanwhile, consisted of its chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala, and president and CEO Tony Aquino.

 In her opening remarks, Singson said Ayala Land's bid was chosen among Robinsons Land (P14.7-billion) and Empire East (P11-billion) for being the highest and most comprehensive.

 She said the proceeds of the sale would be used “to support the department of agriculture’s agriculture and fisheries modernization program and projects of the department of agrarian reform.”

 “We hope the re-development of the FTI complex will lead to a surge in economic activity and increase employment in the City of Taguig and the surrounding metropolitan area,” Singson said. PND (rck)

Aquino cites goals of Money Market Association to standardize and professionalize trading practices in support of country’s development
 President Benigno S. Aquino III said the government has taken steps to ensure that transparency and corporate responsibility are integrated in the operations of the country's financial establishments.

 "The Philippines remains vibrant and open for business; our economy now enjoys an upsurge in investor confidence, sustained by our efforts to maintain the stability we are now enjoying in our institutions," the Chief Executive said in his message to the Money Market Association of the Philippines on the occasion of its 41st Anniversary.

 The Money Market Association of the Philippines is holding its 41st anniversary and 15th Money Market Consciousness Week.

 "Your organization’s objectives to standardize and professionalize trading practices and to support our nation’s capital requirement for development are achieved through your solidarity with our communal mission," he said.

 As the government revitalizes the bureaucracy and infrastructure, President Aquino said his administration counts on the organization's partnership in sustaining the momentum of the nation’s growth.

 "May these events serve as a celebration of your milieu, and empower you to pass on your gains to the rest of the Filipino people," he said. PND (js)

President Aquino to lead 27th Anniversary celebration of Philippine Rice Research Institute
 President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the commemoration of the 27th Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) that will be held at the agency’s headquarters at the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on Tuesday.

 Joining officials and employees of PhilRice, the President will also formally launch 2013 as the National Year of Rice with the unveiling of the official logo as one of the event’s highlights.

 This launch is encapsulated in Proclamation No. 494 the President issued last October 18.

 The National Year of Rice 2013 is a social marketing and advocacy project of the Department of Agriculture led by PhilRice to enlist the support of producers, farmers, consumers and policy-makers in the country’s endeavor to be rice self-sufficient in 2013.

 It aims to boost the farmers’ morale and motivate them to adopt technologies to further improve farm productivity and encourage the general public to be responsible rice consumers.

 The event will also feature the Gawad Saka awarding ceremony, which is annually conducted by the Department of Agriculture to pay tribute to model farmers, fishermen, and similar groups who have excelled and made significant contributions in their respective fields.

 The Gawad Saka Award is the most prestigious award conferred by the Department of Agriculture to farmers and fisher folk who have showcased exemplary achievements in agriculture.

 Joining the President will be Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, PhilRice executive director Eufemio Rasco and Acting deputy executive director Cesar Joventino Tado. PND (rck)

Govt ready to assist MILF in translating Framework Agreement into different Muslim dialects
 Malacanang said it is ready to assist the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in translating and disseminating the Framework Agreement to several languages for the easier understanding of the Muslim population in the south.

 The MILF said it is seriously considering the translation of the Framework Agreement into different languages acknowledging however that they could encounter logistical difficulties in mass producing the peace pact translation.

 In a regular press briefing in Malacanang on Monday, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino government is ready to assist the MILF in raising awareness on the peace agreement by translating it into different languages.

 Lacierda said the Palace is ready to support initiatives that will benefit the people particularly the Framework Agreement for Mindanao peace. He added that they will consult with government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen on how the government could extend its assistance.

 “That’s something that we certainly would help. May mga nuances sa language so pag-uusapan pa ‘yun. Pero certainly it’s something that we would like to help,” he said.

 Lacierda also expressed hopes that both panels will be able to come up with a decision on the annexes of the Framework Agreement.

 The Palace official likewise expressed optimism that both sides could immediately complete the annexes of the agreement. A comprehensive peace pact is being eyed by the government and the MILF before the year ends.

 The peace discussions resumes today and the government and the MILF are tackling wealth-sharing, normalization as well as power-sharing concerns. PND (as/3:03pm)

President Aquino to choose next Supreme Court Associate Justice based on probity, independence and integrity
 President Benigno S. Aquino III will choose the next Supreme Court Associate Justice based on the constitutional standards of probity, independence, and integrity, a Palace official said on Monday.

 Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang that the Chief Executive has until November 22 or 90 days after the post was vacated to choose who among seven nominees would be the new associate justice.

 The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) recommended to President Aquino seven candidates for a vacant Supreme Court associate justice post.

 JBC ex-officio member and Senator Francis Escudero said the seven nominees are Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Rosemari D. Carandang, former University of the Philippines Law Dean Marvic M. Leonen, former Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Perpetuo M. Lotilla, CA Presiding Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr., CA Associate Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr., CA Associate Justice Noel G. Tijam, and founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law Jose Manuel Diokno.

 Lacierda clarified that the President Aquino has yet to decide who among the seven nominees who will be next SC associate justice contrary to reports that he is inclined to choose government chief negotiator Leonen.

 "The deadline is November 22. So let’s wait until the 22nd of November. Remember, he promised in Laos that he is going to meet the nominees. Each and every nominee will be given a chance to be heard by the President," Lacierda said.

 "Certainly, the fact that he has worked with the President and that the President has confidence in Dean Marvic Leonen as a peace negotiator cannot be denied. But the President is fair to all nominees. He has not preempted or neither has he informed us of his choice. And, in that aspect, he would like to evaluate each nominee based on the constitutional standards of probity, independence, and integrity; and, on that basis, he would be talking to all the nominees," Lacieda said. PND (js)

Palace says there are no plans to allow Americans to put up military bases in the country
 Malacanang made an assurance Monday there were no plans to allow the return of American military bases in the country despite the announcement of the Obama administration to increase military presence in the Asia Pacific region.

 “There are no basing arrangements with the Americans. That has been ruled out,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Monday during the regular press briefing in Malacanang.

 Allowing the US to revive its military bases in the Philippines is not consistent with the country’s 1987 Constitution, Lacierda said. The Philippine government will instead focus on the Visiting Forces Agreement to improve the capability of the Philippine military. Under the VFA, US and Filipino forces conduct joint military exercises to increase their combat readiness.

 The Philippine military is in the process of modernizing its military, Lacierda said, adding that during the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last weekend, the Philippines and Canada agreed for the purchase of military hardware for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

 During the commemoration of the Veterans’ Day at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City Sunday, US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said the US government has no plans of putting up military bases in the Philippines despite President Barack Obama’s Pacific Rim policy.

 Under the new US policy, the American military aims to refocus its forces in the Asia Pacific region.

 Thomas said, however, that the US military will continue giving extensive trainings to Philippine military personnel under the existing military tie up.

 Aside from providing the Filipino soldiers' training, the US military is also committed in assisting the Philippines by extending humanitarian assistance particularly during calamities, he said.

 Under its military engagement in the Asia Pacific region, the US government has increased its military presence in Singapore and Australia.

 In 1991, the Philippine Senate voted to shut down US military bases in Clark and Subic. The last American forces left in 1992. PND (as/5:10pm)