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)