Tuesday, 4 December 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, December 4, 2012

President Aquino says contingency measures in place to help mitigate impact of typhoon 'Pablo'

 President Benigno S. Aquino III said the necessary contingency measures are now in place to mitigate the impact of typhoon “Pablo” which already entered the Philippine area of responsibility.

The Chief Executive assured that the government, through various concerned agencies, have already pre-positioned all available resources in terms of manpower response teams, equipment, rescue assets, and relief goods.

"Ayon sa PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration) kasalukuyang nasa Philippine area of responsibility na po ang bagyong ‘Pablo’ na inaasahang magdudulot ng malalakas na hangin at ulan sa malaking bahagi ng Visayas at Mindanao taglay ang bugso ng hangin na umaabot ng 205 kilometers per hour," President Aquino said in a statement held at the President's Hall of the Malacanang on Monday.

"Hindi po biro ang potensyal na pinsalang dulot nitong bagyong si ‘Pablo.’ Tinataya po na siya ang pinakamalakas na bagyong papasok sa ating bansa ngayong 2012. Intense rainfall po ang dulot ng bagyong ito, ibig sabihin isang antas na lang po ‘yung tinatawag na torrential rain ang magiging kategorya niya. Maraming-maraming tubig po ang ibubuhos nito," he stressed.

President Aquino said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has started coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) that will be affected by typhoon "Pablo" for the activation of their respective disaster operations centers.

"Ang DILG po ay inatasan na ang lahat ng ating mga LGU na naka-standby, nag-activate na ang LDRRMC (Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils), at nagkakaroon na rin po ng preemptive evacuation sa mga lugar na kakailanganin ito," the President said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Council (NDRRC) Operations Center is on red alert status to monitor and disseminate the weather bulletins on Typhoon “Pablo” to all Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Centers through SMS and facsimile, and among others.

"Ang PAGASA po ay nag-i-issue ng hourly bulletins, kung pwede po ay sundan po natin sila sa Facebook, sa Twitter, at saka sa kanilang website," he said.

 President Aquino said the Department of Social and Welfare (DSWD) has also positioned the standby funds and family packs ready to be distributed to LGUs that will be affected by the typhoon.

"Ang DSWD po ay nag-position nang 42.248-million pesos worth of food packs and other relief goods. Ang Armed Forces of the Philippines po ay prini-preposition na ang ating search and rescue vehicles, nilagay sa mga safe na lugar na malapit sa mga lugar na tinatayang maaapektuhan," he said.

"Kasama na rin po ang Philippine National Police sa paghahanda sa ating search and rescue operations, evacuations and also to ensure that all our roads remain clear," the President added.

According to the President, the Philippine Coast Guard has already advised the fishing boats and sea crafts not to sail into the Eastern seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao.

President Aquino appealed to the public to cooperate with the authorities as the country braces for another typhoon.

"Sana po seryosohin natin ang lahat ng mga babalang ito. ‘Yung bagyo ho talagang dinadalaw tayo nang hindi bababa sa 20 bagyo kada taon at hindi natin mapipigilan ang pagdating niyan," he said.

"Pero kaya po nating mabawasan ang pinsala na pwedeng madulot nito at kawalan ng buhay kung tayo po ay magtutulungan at makikisama sa isa’t isa," he said.

The President likewise thanked the media for helping the government in disseminating information to the public and asked the people to pray to spare the country from another disaster. PND (js)

President Aquino expresses his support for Responsible Parenthood Bill, Malacanang says
President Benigno S. Aquino III has expressed support for the Responsible Parenthood Bill even as he said that the country's leaders and lawmakers have the responsibility to craft the best possible measure for the future of the children, a Palace official said on Monday.

 "The President met today with members of the House of Representatives to discuss the Responsible Parenthood Bill. The President began his remarks by telling the gathered representatives that, if he were still a member of the House, he would vote for the Responsible Parenthood Bill," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement issued on Monday.

 Lacierda said that the President "shared with the gathered congressmen the discernment that led to his taking this position."

 During his meeting with the lawmakers in Malacanang Palace on Monday, Lacierda said, the President pointed out that the House of Representatives must act on the pending bill the soonest possible time.

 "He suggested that a week should be adequate time to consider amendments that genuinely improve the bill—in contrast to “killer amendments”—and that at the end of that period, it is incumbent on representatives to vote," Lacierda stressed.

 "There are material issues that we need to address—and we must address them in conscience, the President said. He further told the lawmakers that we are taught that our conscience is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong—and that at the end of the day, we will all be asked: What did you do to the least of your brethren?," Lacierda said. PND (js)

President Aquino urges Filipinos to continue working harder to build greater economic progress for the country
Despite the rosy output and sterling performance shown by the Philippine economy this year marked by “record highs, increase in equities, and outstanding GDP (gross domestic product) growth,” President Benigno S. Aquino III called on the Filipino people not to rest on one’s laurels and bask in the glory of this global achievement but continue working even harder in order to “build even greater things on top of the foundations we have already laid down.”

 Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the Philippine Stock Exchange, Incorporated (PSEi) held at the Makati Shangri-la on Monday, the President said that the Philippines has come a long way since he assumed the reins of government two and half years ago.

He said that as of July 2012, the PSEi has recorded 56 record highs (closing at an all-time high of 5,672.70, up by 32.25 points or 0.57%, largely led by property and banking issues) with the average daily turnover pegged at P7.61-billion. This, the President said, coupled with the 7.1 percent GDP growth for the third quarter of 2012, has “surpassed all expectations” and showed that the Philippines has come a long way since then.

“While we certainly have much to be thankful for, I have always believed that every achievement must not only be cause for celebration, but must also motivate us to work even harder. After all, the record highs, increase in equities, and outstanding GDP growth are symbols of the potential we have to create a broader and more dynamic Philippine economy,” the President stressed.

 He noted that other countries have started to take notice at the remarkable performance of what has been dubbed, the “sick man of Asia” and has begun to show interest at investing here.

“The entire world has begun to train their spotlight on us. Let us prove to them: we are not yet done, we have more to show, and we will build even greater things on top of the foundations we have already laid down. It is up to all of us to harness our potential and steer the economy towards inclusive growth that satisfies the pursuit of profit, promotes equal opportunity, and elevates the standard of living of every Filipino,” the President said.

The President lauded the Philippine Stock Exchange for partnering with the government in coming up and implementing various anti-corruption programs “to show prospective and active investors alike that the Philippines is open for business under new management ---management that is putting an end to backroom deals and suspect transactions, so that business, trade, and investment can flourish in an honest and level playing field.”

 He pointed out that the PSEi has taken the initiative to reciprocate government programs to end graft and corruption such as the Investor Protection and Surveillance Department of the Securities and Exchange Commission to guard against insider trading and other illegal investment schemes and a Capital Market Development Blueprint to improve and expand the Philippine capital market, including proposals to strengthen investor education, through an integration of various programs already offered by the SEC, PSEi and other similar entities, and to improve the equity market by promoting online trading, among others.

These PSEi initiatives include extending trading hours significantly to expand opportunities for the Philippine market and launching the PSEi trade which will open up direct access to our stock exchange; thus speeding up the execution of trades.

The Capital Markets Integrity Corporation, or CMIC, which was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary and tasked with monitoring the activities of trading participants; and the PSEi Bell Awards for Corporate Governance, which contributes to the promotion of integrity by recognizing outstanding listed companies and trading participants are two other PSEi-led initiatives “to uphold the integrity of operations in your sector.”

“Measures like these are important because investors need to know we are serious about protecting their interests, especially now that confidence in the Philippines is growing by leaps and bounds,” the President said.

“In a sense, your efforts mirror the reforms we are undertaking in government. You are demonstrating that good governance is a winning strategy, and that by fostering it in your industry, we are able to level the playing field; we are able to establish an atmosphere where outcomes are predictable, where uncertainty is minimized, and where stability allows business to function smoothly,” he added.

“This makes our country a more attractive destination for investments, which creates jobs, empowers consumers, and sustains the virtuous cycle that we are determined to institute—a virtuous cycle whose results we have seen in your achievements,” the President said.

Joining the President during the event were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. PND (rck)

President Aquino declares December 5 as ‘National Competition Day’ to promote competition and level the playing field in the market
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared December 5 of every year as “National Competition Day," to underscore the need to promote competition and level the playing field in the market.

 The Chief Executive issued the directive by virtue of Proclamation No. 384 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on May 18.

 "Sections 13 and 19, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution provide that the State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity and shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when the public interest so requires," President Aquino said.

 The President said Executive Order No. 45 (series 2011) has created the Office for Competition under the Office of the Secretary of Justice. The EO, likewise, designated the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the country’s “Competition Authority” to ensure fair domestic trade.

 Under EO No. 45, the DOJ is tasked to investigate all cases involving violations of competition laws and prosecute violators to prevent, restrain, and punish monopolization, cartels, and combinations in restraint of trade. The EO, likewise, ordered the DOJ to enforce competition policies and laws to protect consumers from abusive, fraudulent, or harmful corrupt business practices; and supervise competition in markets by ensuring that prohibitions and requirements of competition laws are followed.

 The EO further directs the DOJ to monitor and implement measures to promote transparency and accountability in markets; as well as prepare, publish, and disseminate studies and reports on competition to inform and guide the industry and consumers. The DOJ is also tasked to promote international cooperation and strengthen Philippine trade relations with other countries, economies, and institutions in trade agreements.

 "In carrying out the mandate provided under EO 45, the Office for Competition had the occasion to observe from its foreign counterpart, particularly the Association of South East Asian Nations Region, the benefits of competitive markets and the harmful effects of anti-competitive practices to the citizens," the President noted.

 "As part of a global family implementing competition policy and law, we join our colleagues in the global competition network in the observance of “World Competition Day” on the 5th day of December of every year," he said. PND (js)

Palace says Framework Agreement with MILF constitutional
Malacanang expressed optimism on Tuesday that the Framework Agreement signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will pass constitutional scrutiny.

 Malacanang echoed this statement as two petitions were filed before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the draft Framework Agreement.

 One of the petitions was filed by lawyer Ely Pamatong asking the high court to stop the implementation of the agreement. He also wants President Aquino to explain the peace deal.

 In a regular press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government peace panel negotiation with the MILF was made after having taken into consideration the failed memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain during the Arroyo administration.

 “The panel was very mindful of what had happened in the past, and that every step they took was mindful of the mistakes of the past. We are confident that it will pass constitutional scrutiny,” Valte said.

 Pamatong, a nuisance candidate in 2004 presidential poll, said the government peace panel committed grave abuse of discretion, arguing that the Constitution only provides for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the creation of a “Bangsamoro” is nowhere cited.

 Pamatong claimed that the peace panel “usurped the power of Congress to enact, amend or repeal laws vested on it by the Constitution.”

 The government and the MILF signed the Framework Agreement for Mindanao peace on Oct. 15. President Aquino, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and MILF chair Murad Ebrahim witnessed the signing in Malacanang.

 In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain declaring it unconstitutional. The high court’s decision enraged some groups within the MILF, attacking villages that resulted to several casualties. PND (as)

President Aquino orders concerned government agencies to strengthen disaster mitigation and prevention strategies for typhoon ‘Pablo’ to prevent loss of lives, damage to properties
President Benigno S. Aquino III directed various concerned government agencies to strengthen the disaster mitigation and prevention strategies in order to prevent loss of lives and damage to properties as typhoon “Pablo” remains in the Philippine area of responsibility, a Palace official said on Tuesday.

 Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday that the Chief Executive is closely monitoring the situation to ensure that contingency measures remain in place to mitigate the impact of the typhoon.

 "Ang utos lang po ng Pangulo ay ipagpatuloy ang ating coordination, ---ang paglalabas ng mga assets na kinakailanga, at tinitingnan din po ng Pangulo kung sapat na ang ating mga preparasyon sa mga lugar na dapat daanan ng bagyong ‘Pablo'," Valte said.

 Valte said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) remains on red alert status to monitor and disseminate the weather bulletins on Typhoon “Pablo” to all Office of Civil Defense Regional Centers through SMS and facsimiles, among others.

 "In the meantime, we have been getting reports on power outages which will be normal. Ang iba po kasi nagpapatay na sila ng kuryente in their areas para lang po siguraduhing walang hindi magandang pangyayari dahil dumadaan po ang bagyo at patuloy iyon," Valte said.

 According to Valte, the President underscored the importance of disaster preparedness and the cooperation of the people are important in reducing the impact of disasters such as typhoon ‘Pablo’.

 "I’d like to also help our fellows in PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration) kasi may mga nagre-report po na kahit may public storm warning signal sa kanilang lugar ay maaraw naman daw at hindi naman daw umuulan. For the information of the public, ang PAGASA po kasi nagtataas ng tropical storm warning signal in advance—meron iyang lead time," she added.

 "Let us not be complacent. Let us keep our guards up at nandiyan ang lead time precisely to allow us to make sure that our preparations will hold," Valte said.

 The government, through various concerned agencies, have already pre-positioned all available resources in terms of manpower response teams, equipment, rescue assets, and relief goods.

 "Alam nating nakapag-preposition na po ang DSWD mga food and non-food relief items. Ang DOH naman nakapagbigay na po sila ng information as to the basic medicines and the kits that are necessary," Valte said adding that the local governments are likewise calling for suspension of classes nang maaga in all levels."

 Valte also said that many flights in the typhoon-affected areas were cancelled to ensure the safety of travellers.

 "May mga cancellations na rin po tayo ng mga flights. Ang total affected population po natin for Region VIII, X, XI, and XIII so far—the information I have (as of) 6:00 a.m. po—8,283 families and that translates to 41,608 persons doon sa mga rehiyon na nabanggit ko po kanina," she said.

 "When it comes to the ports, ang mga stranded passengers natin nasa 3,406. So hinihingi lang po natin ang kanilang pasensya, doon po sa ating mga stranded na passengers, dahil mas minabuti po natin na hindi payagan ang paglalayag para hindi tayo magkaroon ng ‘di inaasahang aksidente," she said. PND (js)