Thursday, 8 November 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Philippines gets Europe’s backing in protecting Filipino seafarers, Aquino says

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he advanced the interest of the country’s seafarers during his attendance to the 9th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Laos this week.

In his arrival statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 Tuesday evening, the President said he had a discussion with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso concerning the plight of more than 91,000 Filipino seafarers manning European-flagged vessels.

The Philippines is concerned on a possible blacklisting of the European Union, which will surely affect Filipino seafarers and their families, the President said.

The President noted that the previous administration neglected adhering to maritime rules mandated by the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) of the European Commission.

“Ipinaalam natin sa mga pinuno ng EU na doble-kayod tayo para makamit ang mga pamantayan ng European Commission at ng European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA),” the President said.

For the country to cope with the European rules, the Chief Executive said he signed Executive Order no. 75 instructing the Department of Transportation to make sure that Philippine maritime institutions follow the guidelines set by the STCW.

Because of government initiatives, the Philippines remains in the European Commission’s maritime whitelist, the President said adding that he will see to it that the country will continue to be included in the whitelist in the next EMSA audit.

“Ipinabatid natin ang kontribusyon ng libu-libong Pilipinong seaman sa shipping industry ng European Union at ng buong mundo, at ang potensyal na pagbulusok ng industriya kung mawala ang masisipag nating kababayan na sumasagwan para sa pag-unlad nito,” President Aquino stressed.

Around one-fourth of the world’s seafarers come from the Philippines.

According to the President, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg praised the Philippines for its reforms and pro-poor initiatives.

There are around 17,500 Filipinos manning Norwegian-owned, -managed, or -operated ships, compelling Norway to invest in putting up training centers to hone the skills of Filipino seafarers, the President said.

At the same time, Norway made a commitment to assist the Philippines to make sure that it gets the nod of the European Union maritime audit.

Aside from hiring Filipino seamen, Norway currently needs a huge pool of manpower especially in the medical sector and the Philippines could seize this opportunity, the President said.

Norwegian companies are also active in investing in the country’s stock market, he added.

The President joined 51 other leaders comprising the ASEM member countries in the two-day meeting in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic this week. PND (as/11:57pm)

Aquino says ASEM member-countries voice support for development of Mindanao

Member-countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) have committed to further support the development of Mindanao following the signing of the Framework Agreement for peace last month, President Beningo S. Aquino III said on Tuesday.

The President arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 Tuesday evening from a two-day attendance to the 9th ASEM held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

In his arrival statement, the President said leaders of ASEM have praised the Philippines for forging the Framework Agreement for Mindanao peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Nasa inisyal na bahagi pa lamang po ang kasunduan natin sa MILF, ngunit ang mga kaibigan natin, sunud-sunod ang nais na ipaabot na tulong, habang ang matagal na nating katuwang, dodoblehin pa raw po nila ang kanilang pagtulong,” the President stressed.

Aside from the peace deal with the Muslim separatists, the ASEM member-countries expressed their admiration for the Philippines, particularly in its reform initiatives, saying they want to take part in the transformation of the country, he added.

In his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the President said the discussion centered on the clear rules in the West Philippine Sea as well as the peace in Mindanao.

“Nagpasalamat din tayo sa bansang Hapon sa kanilang ambag upang masimulan ang kasunduang pangkapayapaan sa Bangsamoro,” he said noting the importance of Japan’s contribution in the peace process, particularly his Narita meeting with MILF top leaders in August 2011.

Japan, along with the UK, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, comprises the International Contact Group (ICG), established in December 2009 to pursue lasting peace in Mindanao.

Aside from Japan’s participation in the Mindanao peace effort, it is also a major partner of the Philippines in defense cooperation and anti-poverty campaign, he said.

The Philippine government and the MILF signed on October 15 the Framework Agreement, which lays down the groundwork for the final and enduring peace in Mindanao.

Present during the signing were President Aquino, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. PND (as/12:57pm)

Aquino declares Nov. 23 as special non-working day in Benguet in commemoration of its 112th Foundation Day

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared November 23, which falls on a Friday, as a special (non-working) day in the province of Benguet in commemoration of its 112th Foundation Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No.485 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on October 4 to give the people of Benguet the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

In November, 1900, the Provincial Government of Benguet was officially established by virtue of Act No. 48. PND (js)

Aquino cites contribution of country’s neurologists in government’s public health program

President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the contribution of the country’s neurologists in helping the government advance its goal of improving public health.

"The human mind is the great frontier of scientific inquiry. Your field’s endeavor to elucidate its workings is encouraging, especially as it contributes to our shared agenda of improving public health, one of our primary concerns in empowering the citizenry," the Chief Executive said in his message to the Philippine Neurological Association on the occasion of its 34th Annual Convention on Wednesday.

The association is holding its four-day 34th Annual Convention with the theme: "Molecular Targets and Therapy in Neurology" at the Camp John Hay Convention Center in Baguio City. The convention started on Wednesday (November 7) and would end on November 10, 2012.

"Through this convention, you help extend the boundaries of neurology and secure for our people the opportunity to live fuller, more meaningful lives," President Aquino said, adding that the sector is one of the government's important allies in nation-building.

"It is through efforts such as this that our Filipino doctors remain at par with the best in the world. May your gathering be guided by the standards of integrity, professionalism, and excellence, which have distinguished the Filipino in the diverse disciplines of science and medicine," he said. PND (js)

President Aquino congratulates Obama on his re-election

President Benigno S. Aquino III congratulated United States (US) President Barack Obama on his re-election Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) against Republican rival Mitt Romney.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the President extended his congratulations to President Obama by sending a letter to the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

Obama became the second Democrat, after Bill Clinton, to win a second four-year White House term since World War II.

"In his letter, the President of the Philippines recalled how four years ago, President Obama’s message of hope resonated with the American people and the world, marking the beginning of the long road back for one of the world’s greatest countries," Lacierda said.

"President Aquino wrote that the American people, in giving a new mandate to Mr. Obama, have trusted him to stay the course, move them forward, and to continue harnessing the voices and ideas of the American people," Lacierda said.

"The President also wrote that in their encounters, it has been easy for the presidents of both nations to understand each other given the common set of aspirations they have for their respective peoples—inclusive growth and renewed prosperity," Lacierda stressed.

As a treaty ally and strategic partner of America, Lacierda said, President Aquino told the US President that the Philippines looks forward to deepening the cooperation between the two countries in his second term.

"The President closed his letter by expressing best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Obama and their family, and to the American people," Lacierda said. PND (js)