Sunday, 4 November 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, November 3, 2012

President Aquino to push for  OFW rights and energy security in ASEM9
 VIENTIANE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (via PLDT) --- President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to push for the strengthening and protection of overseas Filipino workers’ rights and energy security when he joins world leaders from Asia and Europe for the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting that will be held here from November 5 to 6, Philippine Ambassador to Lao PDR Maria Lumen Isleta said on Friday.

 In an interview, Isleta said that despite the number of items to be discussed between leaders during the Summit such as climate change and the global economic and financial crisis, the President will focus on these two priority issues.

 “There is quite a lot of items on the agenda for ASEM9 such as discussions on climate change, sustainable development, the EuroZone Crisis, economic and financial crisis but I think for the Philippines the President will want to focus on priority issues for the Philippines with Europe and this will pertain on migration and also energy security,” Isleta said.

 She said since a great number of Filipinos have begun to live and work in European countries, it is only but right that the President bring to European leaders the importance of protecting their rights and well-being.

 In Lao PDR, Isleta said that there are around 550 OFWs who work in the mining, education, consultancy, accounting, and medical fields. She said the demand for Filipino labor is high as Filipinos are highly regarded as hardworking, honest and friendly.

 Aside from pushing for workers’ protection and energy security, the President will likewise showcase, during the summit, the reforms he has implemented to fight corruption and alleviate the lives of the Filipino people as well as his administration’s accomplishments in good governance and inclusive growth and at the same time call for an enhanced Asia-Europe economic partnership in the midst of global economic uncertainties. PND (rck)

Demand for Filipino labor high in Laos
 VIENTIANE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (via PLDT) --- The demand for Filipino labor here is high and remains high as Filipinos are highly regarded as a top work force, Philippine Ambassador to Lao PDR Maria Lumen Isleta underscored on Friday.

 She said the Filipino traits of being hardworking, honest, friendly and dedicated have proven to be the main factors endearing more and more Filipinos to their employers.

 She said that the embassy here has documented around 550 overseas Filipino workers who have chosen to live and work in Laos and is expected to increase over the coming years as demand for Filipino labor remains high.

 She said a “huge chunk” or majority of OFWs here work in the mining and education sector while others can be found as accountants, office workers, nurses, consultants, and engineers.

 She said that while the number of OFWs working in Lao PDR is small compared to other industrialized countries abroad, Filipino workers are a valued labor force.

 “When you talk to their employers and co-workers, then you see the value that they place on the Filipino workers who are with them and a common sentiment is that they are hardworking, honest and friendly,” Isleta said. PND (rck)

Lean delegation accompanies Aquino for 9th Asia Europe Meeting in Laos
 A 61-member delegation will accompany President Benigno S. Aquino III on Sunday afternoon when he leaves for Laos to attend the 9th Asia Europe Meeting from November 5 to 6, the Palace said on Saturday.

 In a radio interview over state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President and his delegation will depart 1 p.m. Sunday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 via Philippine Airlines flight PR001.

 The President and his delegation are expected to arrive in Laos at 4:10 p.m. (Philippine time). Laos’ time is one-hour behind the Philippine time.

 Among the members of the official delegation include Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, outgoing Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras, NEDA Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., and Philippine Ambassador to Lao People’s Democratic Republic Maria Lumen B. Isleta

 President Aquino will immediately meet with the members of the Filipino community in Laos once he arrives in that country on Sunday, Valte said.

 “He really makes it a point to be in touch with the Filipino community whenever he goes out of the country on official business,” Valte said reacting to reports saying Filipinos in Laos are eager to see the President.

 The President is expected to exchange views with his counterparts from the two regions on the Eurozone crisis, trade and investment facilitation, energy and food security, disaster management, counter-terrorism, migration, and regional issues during the two-day Summit, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

 It is President Aquino’s first attendance to the ASEM since he assumed office in 2010.

 Europe is the Philippines’ third largest trade partner after North America and Asia with trade pegged at $13-billion for about 12 percent of Philippine total trade in 2011, the DFA said.

 More than P33-billion investments came from the European Union during the same period, primarily from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, it added.

 The President will likewise showcase, during the summit, the reforms that have been implemented to fight corruption and alleviate the lives of the Filipino people.

 The Chief Executive is also expected to highlight Philippine’ accomplishments in good governance and inclusive growth and at the same time call for an enhanced Asia-Europe economic partnership in the midst of global economic uncertainties.

 He will also underscore the importance of upholding the rights of migrant workers, especially at a time when most European countries are having socio-economic difficulties.

 As of 2011, there are 746,701 Filipinos living and working in Europe, the foreign affairs department said.

 The ASEM is a dialogue process started in 1996 with the main objective of forging a comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. It is currently composed of 48 partners – all 10 ASEAN countries, 9 other Asian countries, the 27 member-states of the European Union, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat.

 It is the only forum where Europe and Asia engage one another at the highest levels of government to discuss international issues of common concern and to formulate mutually beneficial cooperation on a region-to-region basis.

 The President will return to Manila on November 6, Tuesday. PND (as/12:56pm)

Palace rejects re-imposition of death penalty; says justice system must first be fixed
 Malacanang said it won’t favor the re-imposition of capital punishment in the country underscoring the need to reform the Philippine justice system.

 Reacting to calls wanting death penalty be re-imposed, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview Saturday over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan that the President may favor death penalty if there’s an efficient administration of justice in the country.

 Valte was commenting on the call of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) to implement death penalty in the country after Cyrish Magalang, an honor student from the University of Santo Tomas was stabbed to death on her way home. Police said the victim was stabbed 49 times after being robbed.

 There will be a status quo until such time that the government feels confident that those who may be sentenced to death are really guilty of the crime that they are being accused of, Valte said.

 And as the government overhauls the justice system, the Philippine National Police must continue its strategy in fighting crime in the country, Valte said.

 “Ang strategy ng ating kapulisan ngayon is really to heighten ang kanilang visibility, itaas ang number ng nagpa-patrol, at bawasan ang man-hours sa desk. Makikita naman natin na nagkakaroon ito ng epekto in the way na nababawasan ang mga masasamang loob,” Valte said.

 Aside from combating gruesome killings, the campaign against illegal drugs must also continue, the Palace official said.

 “Dapat walang letup sa kampanya natin at hindi lang sa kontra droga kundi pati doon sa kampanya natin to bring down the crime rates. Ang intensiyon naman talaga ng ating kapulisan ay tuloy-tuloy at walang humpay ang kanilang kampanya para maiwasan ang mga ganitong krimen,” she said. PND (as/1:24pm)

Malacanang congratulates winners of Mathematics and Science Olympiad in India
 The Palace extended its congratulatory message on Saturday to the elementary students who won in the recently concluded 9th International Mathematics and Science Olympiad in India from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.

 In a radio interview over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the feat achieved by the Philippine team at the recently concluded math and science tilt must inspire other Filipino students in their pursuit of academic excellence, especially in the fields of science and mathematics.

 “Sana ipagpatuloy ninyo ang academic excellence especially in science and math,” Valte said as she congratulates the winners.

 The Philippine team bagged 23 medals from the tilt held in Lucknow, India, besting representatives from Taiwan, China, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, South Africa, and Singapore.

 Shaquille Wyan Que, 12, of Grace Christian College, topped the Mathematics category. The Philippine team also won five silvers and six bronzes.

 Seven members of the Philippine delegation earned silver medals in the Science category, while four took bronze medals. PND (as/1:40pm)
Palace looks for positive United Nations assessment of country's fight against human trafficking
 Malacanang hopes that the Philippines could get positive review results as the United Nations Special Rapporteur arrives in Manila Monday to assess the country’s fight against human trafficking.

 “We’re hoping that the development will be positive and that the review will be positive because we’ve had several positive actions when it comes to our fight against human trafficking,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

 Valte said the government has particularly made significant development against trafficking in women and children primarily through the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT). The Philippines got a positive review result in the last UN Special Rapporteur assessment, she added.

 Also, Valte said that based on their monitoring, the government continues to be effective in preventing human trafficking syndicates from doing their usual business.

 The New York-based Human Rights Watch said several countries acknowledged efforts of the Philippine government to improve human rights, including the ratification of treaties, the campaign against human trafficking, and training of security forces. PND (as/2:08pm)

Palace sees travelers’ recognition boosts tourist arrivals
 The Palace said it hopes a recent travelers’ recognition, citing Luzon, Cebu, and Mindanao as among Asia’s top ten islands, could boost tourist arrivals in the Philippines as the government targets higher number of visitors this year.

 International travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler's annual Readers’ Choice Awards considered Luzon, Cebu and Mindanao as Asia’s top 10 islands.

 “Hopefully, this particular review will bring more tourists to us, not just tourists from abroad but also domestic travelers natin lalo nitong nakaraang long weekend mukhang marami talagang pumunta hindi lang doon sa ibang bansa,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

 “It’s truly more fun in the Philippines. Kung three out of 10, hopefully more tourists come in,” she added.

 It’s evident that in today’s trend, there’s an increasing number of tourists visiting the Philippines, the Palace official said as she hopes visitors discover other beautiful places in the country.

 Luzon trailed Bali, Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand as the third best island in Asia, with a readers’ choice rating of 78.9, ranking high in the criteria of friendliness, scenery, and ambience.

 Cebu placed seventh with a score of 75.9, and Mindanao ranked at tenth scoring 62.8.

 Other Asia’s top 10 islands include Hokkaido in Japan, Lombok in Indonesia, Langkawi in Malaysia, Koh Samui in Thailand, and Borneo in Malaysia.

 Three Philippine hotels also ranked in Southeast Asia’s top 20 hotels—Makati Shangri-la (5th place), EDSA Shangri-la (7th place), and Manila Hotel (20th place). PND (as/2:28pm)