President Aquino leads ceremonial switch-on of christmas lights at Malacanang Palace Grounds
Despite being the season for merry-making and cheer, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that the focus of Christmas time is the birth of Jesus Christ, who was brought into this world to save man from his sins.
In his speech delivered after leading the ceremonial switching on of the Office of the President Christmas Tree in Malacañang, the President said the birth of Christ and the following visit of three kings to the Child King stood as constant reminder to him and to those in government of the importance of humility, faith and devotion.
“Sa likod po ng mga paghahanda natin sa darating na Kapaskuhan; sa pagsasabit man ng mga parol at makukulay na dekorasyon, o sa pagsisindi ng Christmas lights, batid po natin ang bukal ng ating pagdiriwang. Ito po ang pagsilang ni Hesukristo, hindi sa harap ng luho’t karangyaan, kundi sa munting sabsaban,” the President said.
“Nariyan din ang tatlong haring sinuyod ang mahabang paglalakbay, upang bigyang pugay ang pagdating ni Hesukristong tutubos sa ating mga kasalanan. Lagi’t lagi po nitong ipinapaalala sa atin ang halaga ng pagpapakumbaba, at taimtim na pananampalataya,” he added.
The Holy Bible narrates the story on the birth of Jesus Christ who was visited by three kings: Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar. The trio travelled far and long to bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus, who was born to Joseph and Mary in a manger in Bethlehem.
The President said this story serves as an inspiration to those in government about good governance as it shows the importance of serving the people.
“Ito po ang diwang gumagabay at nagbibigay inspirasyon sa ating mabuting pamamahala. Narito ang ating gobyerno upang paglingkuran ang nangangailangan, at hindi para maghari-harian. Anuman pong hirap ng mga pagsubok ang ating pinagdaanan, nalampasan natin dahil sa pakikibalikat ng masisipag na kawani ng Office of the President,” the President said acknowledging the vital role employees of the OP play in the day-to-day running of the government.
“Kayo po ang frontliners sa pagtataguyod ng pagbabago, at nagbubunsod ng pag-asa at higit na pagkakataon para sa mas nakakarami. Hindi po ako magsasawang magpasalamat sa ipinapamalas ninyong sipag at sigasig,” the President said.
He pointed out the symbolism attached to the ceremonial lighting of the gigantic Christmas Tree that stands 43 feet and is festooned with 2,500 white Christmas lanterns (parol) with individual incandescent bulbs within.
He said the Chirstmas Tree stands for the ability of every Filipino to become a source of light and once this light is gathered as one, can become a source of good.
“Kaakibat po ng tradisyon natin ng pagsisindi sa ating Christmas lights, ang pagpapa-ningas ng isa pang simbolo ---ang paghahandog ng liwanag para sa ating kapwa at bansa. Tandaan po nating may kanya-kanya tayong tungkulin at kakayahang magtanglaw ng liwanag, hindi lang para sa sarili, kundi upang makatulong sa mas nangangailangan,” the President said.
“Narito tayo para maglingkod; hindi para makasilaw at manlamang. Gaano man kaliit, basta tama ang ating ginagawa, ay magdudulot ng dambuhalang ambag sa ating pag-unlad,” he added. PND (rck)
NEDA Board approves 11 major projects
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino III, approved 11 major projects to ensure the country’s development particularly in the rural areas.
The President approved the projects during the NEDA Board Meeting in Malacanang on Thursday (November 29).
These projects include the P1.14 billion Albay West Coast Road Project, the P43 billion ,Cavite-Laguna Expressway (approved in principle, pending a review of the cost), the P2.1 billion Tacloban Airport Redevelopment Project, and the P8.8 billion acquisition of Multi-Role Response vessels;
The P8.87 billion Mactan, Cebu International Airport Terminal, the P1.7 billion Contactless Automatic Fare Collection System, the P68 million (Component A only) Convergence on Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment Approved and the P7.39 billion extension of the Mindanao Rural Development Project 2.
Also approved by the NEDA board are the P1.16 billion rehabilitation of Angat Hydroelectric Plant (Turbines 4 and 5), the P13.14 billion school infrastructure project (10,679 classrooms), and the P25.56 billion NLEX-SLEX Connector (approved in principle, pending a review of the cost). PND (as)
President Aquino urges Filipinos to emulate the ideals and positive traits of Andres Bonifacio
President Benigno S. Aquino III urged the Filipino people to keep alive the ideals and positive traits of Andres Bonifacio as he challenged them to strive hard in bringing the nation to sustainable progress and development.
In his speech at the 149th Birth Anniversary of Andres Bonifacio and the kickoff celebration for "Bonifacio@150" at the Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City on Friday, the Chief Executive urged the Filipinos to remember the patriotism and bravery of Bonifacio in combatting all forms of oppression
"Mahalaga ring mamulat ang mga tao sa katotohanan... na sa bawat sagupaang kaniyang pinamunuan, ni minsan, hindi nanaig si Bonifacio. Gayumpaman, ang bawat munting kabiguan, ang bawat buhay na naibuwis, ang bawat patak ng dugong dumanak, ay siyang dumilig sa lupang uhaw sa kalayaan; siyang nagpataba sa mga tigang na bisig ng mga Katipunero, siyang nagpasibol sa diwa ng kabayanihan sa bawat sulok ng ating kapuluan," the President said.
"Makailang beses man siyang nabigo, hindi nagbago ang paninindigan ni Bonifacio... lalaban tayo, hangga’t hindi natin nakakamit ang kalayaan. Nakatutok siya sa kaniyang adhika: matalo man tayo sa mga munting laban, hindi magtatagal ay magtatagumpay rin tayo sa digmaan; makakamit din natin ang tunay na kasarinlan," he said.
The President Aquino said Filipinos must emulate the example set forth by Bonifacio and our ancestors whose supreme sacrifice for the nation brought us freedom.
"Ngayon, isa tayong malayang bansa. Walang banyagang mananakop; wala ang tanikala ng mga Kastila. Pinatunayan natin sa lahat ng mga nagtangkang alipinin ang ating lahi na hindi tayo papasindak, at handa tayong ipaglaban kung alin ang tunay na sa atin," he said.
"Hindi rin kalabisang isipin, na kung may maituturing man tayong rehas sa nakaraang dekada, ito ay ang katiwalian at kahirapan. Subalit, dahil na rin sa ating pagkakaisa’t malasakit sa kapwa, nababaklas na rin ito sa tuwid na daan," he added.
The President said that the Filipino citizenry... all of them have great responsibilities to fulfill for our nation
"Bilang pagkilala sa sakripisyo ni Bonifacio, at ng libu-libong ninuno nating nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay, simple lang ang tungkulin po natin: Lahat tayo ay may papel na maaaring gampanan sa paghubog ng ating bayan. Huwag tayong papasakop sa sarili nating limitasyon. Huwag tayong papasakop sa takot at pagdududang nagsisilbing pilat ng ating kasaysayan. Huwag tayong papasakop sa mga magtatangkang ibalik ang pang-aapi ng nakaraan," he noted.
"Lagi nating tatandaan ---lahi tayo ng mga bayani. Hindi tayo mauubusan ng Bonifacio. Hindi tayo mauubusan ng Rizal. Hindi tayo mauubusan ng Ninoy. Hindi tayo mauubusan ng mga Pilipinong handang tumugon sa ngalan ng bandila at bayan,” he said.
In closing, the President urged Filipinos to remain on the straight and righteous path towards a progressive future. PND (js)
President Aquino to lead awarding rites for ‘Belenismo’ in Tarlac Saturday
President Benigno S. Aquino III will grace this year’s awarding ceremony for the "Belenismo sa Tarlac," an annual tradition promoting the art of Belen-making, on Saturday at the Tarlac College of Agriculture Gymnasium in Brgy. Malacampa, Camiling, Tarlac.
The President is expected to lead the awards rites for the first prize winners in the six categories of ‘Belenismo’: high school diorama, personal diorama, church, monumental, grand municipal (local government units) and grand non-municipal (government agencies and business establishments).
Upon his arrival, the President will be received by ‘Belenismo’s’ founding chairpersons Isabel and Isa Cojuangco Suntay of the Tarlac Heritage Foundation, Camiling Mayor Neil Agustin, and Dr. Max P. Guillermo, president of the Tarlac College of Agriculture.
Dubbed as the “Belen Capital of the Philippines” by the Department of Tourism, the provincial government of Tarlac organizes ‘Belenismo’ every year drawing entries from different individuals and institutions for the belen-making contest.
A belen is a tableau depicting the nativity scene which is a common adornment that can be found in Filipino households every Yuletide season.
Since its inception in 2007, ‘Belenismo’ has become not only an annual competition for belen makers in Tarlac but also a gathering for tourists who wish to relive the spirit of Christmas through various artistic interpretations of how Jesus Christ was born. PND (hdc)
Aquino to ask lawmakers to decide on RH Bill
President Benigno S. Aquino III said he’ll meet with the lawmakers on Monday to discuss the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill for its immediate passage.
In an interview in Mandaue City on Friday at the sidelines of his meeting with the Liberal Party members, the President said he will ask legislators to ensure a quorum and a decision is reached for the proposal.
“Makikiusap ako sa kanila. Number one, siguraduhin ang quorum; number two, siguraduhin na madesisyunan. ‘Pag iniwan nating nakabinbin, meron itong divisive factor,” the President said.
“Pero sana malaktawan na natin ang division. Kailangan magkaroon ng desisyon, either way. Kung anong ipasa nila, ‘yun ang ipapatupad ng Executive,” he added.
Asked if he’ll agree with whatever the House decision would be, the President reiterated his stand on the issue, noting that he is for responsible parenthood.
“I’m pro... for Responsible Parenthood that this is a matter of conscience. Lahat tayo may value system, may belief system, at kailangan tugunan natin ang sinasabi ng ating konsensya,” he stressed.
According to the President, the Liberal Party won’t impose anything on any member when they decide on the issue, adding that he believes every party member will decide based on their conscience.
He also said there might be a decision to certify RH Bill as urgent, depending on the necessity. But he noted that he’s not keen on certifying bills as urgent because there are certain guidelines for such proposals to be certified as urgent.
“As a general rule, napakatipid kong mag-certify ng urgent kaalinsunod nang nakalagay sa Saligang Batas na kung kailan puwedeng maging urgent. So hindi basta-basta ‘yun na ilalagay na urgent,” he said.
The meeting on Monday to discuss the proposal with House members will be the second time for President Aquino.
In a meeting at Malacanang last August, the President pleaded with the lawmakers to end floor debates on the said measure. They eventually voted to move the proposed law to the period of amendments.
RH supporters believe the President’s intervention, particularly by certifying the bill as urgent, would get the measure approved, ending a 13-year fight for the proposed RH law. PND (as)
President Aquino orders Department of Foreign Affairs to clarify new territorial policy of China
MANDAUE CITY: President Benigno S. Aquino III said he has instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to ask China to clarify reports saying that Chinese authorities will board ships that will enter its territorial waters in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
In an interview here during a Liberal Party meeting, the President said he told Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to raise the issue with China to know whether the actions is an official state policy.
“Kung mapatunayan na meron talagang ganoong kautusan, hindi proposal, at talagang gagawin nila... maglo-lodge tayo ng isang diplomatic note or formal protest. And it also tells us where to go to in terms of advancing our interest,” the President said.
“We might accelerate and bring it before the appropriate international tribunal to finally settle the matter, or at least start the process of settling it legally and concretely,” he added.
Asked if he’ll consider appealing to China not to exacerbate the situation, the President said he made it clear during the 21st ASEAN Summit in Cambodia, particularly during the East Asia Summit, that countries must work together to ease the tensions in the West Philippine Sea, and that everyone must show goodwill.
But the President said he doesn’t want to jump into conclusions that’s why he asked the DFA to clarify the issue with China first before the Philippines does an appropriate response.
“Hintayin natin ma-determine fully kung ano ba talaga ang kanilang bagong patakaran, kung meron man. At kung mapatunayan..., kikilos tayo nang kaalinsunod doon sa…kung may kilos silang ganyan. Kung wala naman ay hindi tayo magdadagdag ng tensiyon,” the President said.
China’s state media said on Thursday that police in the Hainan province will board and search ships that will enter into what China considers its territorial waters in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
The new rules come into effect on January 1 and will allow Hainan police to board and seize control of foreign ships said to be illegaly entering Chinese waters.
China claims sovereignty over most, if not all of the West Philippine Sea that is believed to be rich in natural gas and mineral deposits.
Aside from these resources, the area is important because it serves as a major sea lane to world’s trade and commerce.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia all lay claims to the disputed territories.
The President also said the country may have a new ambassador to China by February to replace Sonia Brady who vacated the post a few months ago for health reasons.
He said that he will discuss the matter with Secretary Del Rosario on Monday. He said the Foriegn Affairs Secretary had told him about a very capable candidate for the post.
“Siyempre may proseso pa tayong dadaanan. We will have this talk by Monday...ang final discussions namin on the matter, tapos ang process nang pag-nominate natin, haharap sa Commission on Appointments for approval bago siya makaupo,” he said. PND (as)
President Aquino to attend thanksgiving mass for Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
Fresh from attending a national thanksgiving mass in honor of San Pedro Calungsod in Cebu, President Benigno S. Aquino III will again grace a similar event this time in celebration of His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s recent elevation to the College of Cardinals.
The thanksgiving mass for Cardinal Tagle will be held on Saturday morning at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish in Paco, Manila.
Archbishop Tagle, 55, officially became a cardinal along with five others following a consistory held in Vatican City last November 24 presided by no less than Pope Benedict XVI. He is the seventh Cardinal produced by the Philippines since the time of Pope John XXIII.
President Aquino has welcomed the Vatican’s decision to name Archbishop Tagle among its new cardinals immediately upon being apprised of it while on a state visit to Australia last October.
“Archbishop Tagle is somebody I really admire from way back and it’s really a credit to what he has done for the church and for its followers to be recognized and given this singular honor,” he said in a previous interview. PND (hdc)
President Aquino leads nation in celebrating 149th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio
President Benigno S. Aquino III led the nation in celebrating the 149th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio and kick-off celebration for Bonifacio@150 at the Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine, San Juan City on Friday.
The Chief Executive graced the event that has for its theme "Bonifacio: Dangal at Kabayanihan" (Bonifacio: Honor and Heroism") as guest of honor and speaker.
The nation on Friday begins a year-long commemoration of the life, works, and achievements of Bonifacio, culminating in the sesquicentennial of his birth on November 30, 2013.
With the support of the uniformed services, cultural agencies, local government units, and non-government organizations, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines has lined up numerous activities, publications, and events for Filipinos to remember Bonifacio, the Supremo of the Katipunan.
During the event, President Aquino led the unveiling of the "Bonifacio@150" logo. The highlights of the celebration included the Little Katipuneros Fun Run and the inauguration of the E-Learning room at the Museo ng Katipunan where interactive history lessons will be featured.
Other sites for the simultaneous flag-raising and wreath-laying include the Bonifacio National Monument in Caloocan City, Bonifacio Memorial Shrine beside the Manila City Hall, Bonifacio Monument Balintawak in Cloverleaf, Quezon City, Bonifacio Monument in Tutuban Mall, Manila and the Bonifacio Trial House and Execution Site in Maragondon, Cavite.
Among those who attended the event were San Juan Lone District Representative Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro; Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino; NHCP chair Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno; San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez; former Prime Minister Cesar Virata; former Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora; and lawyer Gregorio Bonifacio, a descendant of the hero, among others. PND (js)