Thursday, 31 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, January 31, 2013

President Aquino offers administration’s anti-corruption policies to participants of global convention on anti-corruption as ‘basis for change’
 President Benigno S. Aquino III offered his administration’s policies on combating corruption from which participants attending a global convention on anti-corruption in Manila could draw insights, lessons and first-hand knowledge on how to stem this global cancer from spreading and become the “basis of change” in their respective home countries.

 Speaking before 500 attendees to the 5th Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) during its opening ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Thursday, President Aquino highlighted the importance of attacking corruption “strategically” and “always with the long-term in mind” in order “to usher in an enduring mainstream of good, honest governance.”

 “The problem of corruption must thus be approached strategically, always with the long-term in mind. Reforms cannot be mere blips in the radar—they must usher in an enduring mainstream of good, honest governance,” the President said.

 “Only through legislation can the bedrock of inclusiveness and positive, meaningful change be set. As parliamentarians, this is your task, and perhaps you will be interested in the policies that have gotten us to where we are now, and which can also form the basis of change in your respective home countries,” he added.

 Among these policies which government agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Technical Educational Skills Development Authority, and other key agencies have started implementing include the strict adherence to bidding procedures and thorough negotiations to lower the cost of projects; establishing internal measures or offices to police themselves; implementing a “zero-base budgeting system,” to ensure that the money our agencies spend on their projects will yield the best equivalent benefit to our countrymen; and adopting a full disclosure policy on government financial activities.

 “While policy formulation can at times be a complex matter, the overarching idea behind our efforts is simple: To put the people front and center in any agenda, and to go back to the basics of public service; in short, to do the right thing,” the President said.

 He pointed out that through the hosting of the GOPAC, the Philippines will march on with its campaign to weed out corruption and graft within its ranks and end the desire of those who only wish “to establish, or maintain, an undeserved upper hand over the common citizen.”

 “Today, we are forming a more cohesive force against corruption; and the more we share our ideas, the more we listen to one another—the sooner we will achieve our goal of eliminating corruption and reforming the system for the benefit of our people,” the President said.

 “It is now up to us to reach out to the most cynical of our people and show them that here is a group of people working past geographical boundaries, convinced that, if each and every one of us works towards a better world, then it is possible to push human civilization into its next great chapter—an era of honesty, transparency, inclusiveness, and genuine people empowerment,” he added. PND (rck)

Malacanang elated over 6.8 percent growth of Gross Domestic Product in fourth quarter of 2012
 Malacanang welcomed reports that the Philippine economy grew by 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, assuring that the Aquino government will continue to work even harder to maintain the economy’s upward trajectory, a Palace official said.

 Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday following reports that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.8 percent due to the robust performance of the services sector led by trade and real estate, renting and business activities as well as the substantial improvements in manufacturing and construction.

 "The Philippine economy grew by 6.8 percent in the 4th quarter of 2012, bringing full-year growth for 2012 to 6.6 percent. This is higher than the government’s official target of 5 to 6 percent," Lacierda said.

 "What is particularly important to note is that while growth was initially driven by government stimulus, it is now being increasingly driven by private sector activity, including investments, which grew by 8.7 percent in 2012. This means growth is becoming more sustainable from a fiscal and macroeconomic perspective," Lacierda noted.

 Lacierda said the continued growth of the GDP is proof of the country's ability to sustain a united march towards equitable progress.

 "Private sector activity has been enabled by the Aquino administration’s dedication to positive reform. Without doubt, good governance means good economics," Lacierda stressed.

 "The administration’s vision for the economy has always been to ignite a virtuous cycle of growth and empowerment—to enable business and enterprise to flourish; to open doors of opportunity for each citizen; and to invest in them so that they can truly take hold of their own destinies," he said. PND (js)

Aquino appoints Mehol Sadain as member of government negotiating team with MILF
 President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III designated lawyer Mehol Sadain as member of the government panel for peace talks with the Moro Islamic Front (MILF).

 The Aquino government signed with the Muslim rebels the Framework Agreement for Mindanao peace last year.

 Sadain filled the post vacated by Miriam Coronel-Ferrer who became chair of the peace panel. Its former head, Marvic Leonen became an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

 Sadain was appointed previously by President Aquino in April 2012 as secretary/chief executive officer of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and also as amirul hajj, the head of the Philippine Hajj Mission for Hajj 2012.

 A former commissioner of the Commission on Elections, Sadain was born on December 24, 1955 in San Raymundo, Jolo, Sulu.

 After completing his basic education in Mindanao, Sadain graduated Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies from the Institute of Islamic Studies of the University of the Philippines in 1978.

 He studied law also in UP, and ranked 16th in UP’s law class of 1986. Sadain also completed the Shari’ah Training Course sponsored by the Office on Muslim Affairs in 1992 also in UP.

 Prior to his post in government, Sadain was a lecturer at the UP College of Law. PND (as)

Palace: President’s  Switzerland trip, a worthy long-term investment
 The money spent for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s trip to Switzerland to to join other leaders for the World Economic Forum is a small price to pay for all of the expected influx of investments in the Philippines, the Palace said on Thursday.

 “This was an event that highlighted what the Philippines has been doing. From the very start, it was not meant to bring dollars and cents. It was an opportunity for us to showcase the Philippines and the President is our salesman in showcasing what the Philippines has been doing; the reforms we have undertaken,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference in Malacanang on Thursday.

 Lacierda was responding to questions whether the P49 million spent by the government for the President’s attendance to the World Economic Forum was worth it.

 Lacierda said the President’s trip was a long-term investment for the Philippines and while the government spent money for such efforts, the country could reap its economic benefits in the future.

 “Para tayong magsasaka, we’re planting the seeds right now, knowing that in the future there will be a harvest,” he explained.

 The forum in Davos is a conference of ideas, he said. Participating countries share ideas and the President seized the opportunity to showcase what is currently happening in the Philippines so that investors will notice and put their investments in the country, he said.

 The President highlighted the Philippine efforts on good governance which translates to good economics, Lacierda said noting that the country has been doing the right thing, and the administration will continue its thrust on good governance and poverty alleviation.

 The President’s message was positively perceived by the global business leaders who attended the forum, the Palace official said.

 There is renewed interest among companies to put their money in the Philippines and for those who already have operations here, they took pride for having invested in the Philippines, Lacierda said.

 “There’s some sense of pride for those businesses who have invested here, and for those who have not invested in the Philippines yet, they have called on their business units and told them, ‘Look at the Philippines, look at what they are doing; we would like to have some presence there,’” he said.

 “So, these things that we have done, and primarily, the CEOs were able to see the President in action in how he conveyed his sincerity and his seriousness in good governance.”

 Among the Philippine high-level chief executive officers (CEOs) who were present during the forum where the Zobel de Ayala brothers and Tony Tan Caktiong, Lacierda said. PND (as)

Aquino appoints new officials in the Judiciary and other government agencies
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed new officials in the Judiciary and other government agencies, a Palace official said.

 Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda announced the appointments during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday.

 The Chief Executive signed the appointment letters of Virgilio S. Almario as Commission on the Filipino Language Chairman and Full-time Commissioner, representing Tagalog Language; Purificacion G. De Lima as Full-time Commissioner, representing the Ilokano Language and Jerry B. Gracio as Full-time Commissioner, representing the Samar-Leyte languages.

 President Aquino, likewise, signed the appointment letters of Abdon M. Balde Jr. as Part-time Commissioner, representing the Bikol language; Noriam H. Ladjagais as Part-time Commissioner, representing Muslim Mindanao languages; Orlando B. Magno as Part-time Commissioner, representing Cebuano languages; and Jimmy B. Fong as Part-time Commissioner, representing languages of Northern Cultural Communities.

 The other presidential appointees are the following:

 - Judge Beatrice Alvarez Caunan-Medina as presiding judge of San Mateo, Rizal Regional Trial Court Branch 75.
 - Judge Emmanuel R. Recalde as presiding judge of Boac, Marinduque RTC Branch 38
 - Judge Redan A. Acal as presiding judge of Cervantes-Quirino, Ilocos Sur 10th Municipal Trial Court (MTC)
 - Judge Jesse P. Cabrillos as presiding judge of Balaoan, La Union MTC
 - Judge Maria Celestina De Mayo Cabaguio as presiding judge of Candon City, Ilocos Sur Municipal Trial Court in Cities
 - Judge Barry Boy A. Salvador as presiding judge of Antipolo City, Rizal Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 1
 - Judge Evangeline Cabochan Santos as presiding judge of Antipolo City, Rizal Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 2
 - Mario A. Deriquito as Undersecretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Lorna D. Dino as Assistant Secretary of DepEd
 - Ardeliza R. Medenilla as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, and
 - Lilibeth L. Signey as Acting Regional Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources under the Department of Agriculture. PND (js)

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coloma leads inauguration of National Printing Office operations for the printing of Automated Official Ballots
 Preparations for the holding of the 2013 national and local midterm elections is now in full swing with the formal opening of the National Printing Office's operations for the printing of Automated Official Ballots.

 Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Jr. joined NPO Director Emmanuel Andaya and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chair Sixto Brillantes in ceremonies marking the start of the national government's official printing press to print out 52 million ballots in the next three months for the elections that will be held in May 2013.

 The ribbon cutting and blessing ceremonies were held at the NPO headquarter's basement area along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City.

 In his remarks, Coloma lauded the partnership between the Comelec and the NPO for ensuring the conduct of honest, safe and credible elections through the construction and development of this “world class printing facility” of automated ballots and other government forms which he said could stand up to any public scrutiny as this was conducted in an “open, transparent and accountable manner.”

 He called on partners such as the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting led by its Chair Henrietta De Villa and members of media to join this partnership to ensure this year's election remain free and credible.

 “We look forward in having a very fruitful partnership with all of you para tiyakin natin na ang darating na eleksyon sa Mayo 2013 ay magiging credible, honest at katanggap-tangaap sa ating mamayang Filipino,” Coloma said.

 In his welcome remarks, Andaya touted the NPO's automated ballot printing office as the agency's share in the conduct of credible elections.

 “Today, we want to tell the Filipino people that the National Printing Office will contribute its major share in the conduct of credible elections. We have prepared well for the printing of the ballots for 2013,” Andaya said.

 For his part, Brillantes called the formal opening of the automated ballot printing office as the “commencement of our electoral processes.”

 The National Printing Office was established in 1987 by then President Corazon Aquino by virtue of the signing of Executive Order 285. This executive order abolished the General Services Administration and merged the Government Printing Offices with the printing offices of the Philippine Information Agency to form what we now know as the National Printing Office. This office was then put under the Office of the Press Secretary. Since then it has since been the agency tasked with the printing of various government forms and documents including official ballots and public information materials.

 The automated ballot printing office was constructed at a cost of P30-million sourced from the NPO's own budget for the development of infrastructure improvements to the basement area of the NPO and P780-million from the lease and printing contract entered into by the NPO, Holy Family Inc., and Canon Marketing for the use and possible purchase of three Canon Color Stream series printers, the most advanced printing machine in the world, according to NPO Assistant Director Raul Nagrampa.

 Nagrampa said that once fully operational, the printers will be able to churn out one million ballots a day under an 18-hour a day work schedule run by highly trained NPO and Comelec staff. PND (rck)

President Aquino receives  Daly City Mayor Raymond Buenaventura of San Mateo County, California
 President Benigno S. Aquino III received Mayor Raymond "Ray" Buenaventura of Daly City, California, United States in Malacanang Palace on Wednesday.

 Buenaventura, of Filipino descent, was accompanied by Consul-General Marciano Paynor Jr., of San Francisco, USA, during his courtesy call held at the Music Room of Malacanang Palace.

 Also in attendance were Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, Foreign Affairs Chief Coordinator Cecilia Rebong and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta.

 During the meeting, Buenaventura expressed his firm belief and confidence in the Aquino administration. He told the Chief Executive that he was honored to meet him and look forward to a good relationship between the Philippine government and the Daly City.

 Elected mayor of Daly City in December, 2012, Buenaventura oversees the largest city in San Mateo County with a population of over 102,000. Daly City has one of the highest concentrations of Filipino migrants in the US.

 He remains committed to work to address the diverse and changing needs of residents, businesses and employees in the city of Daly.

 His five guiding principles in setting priorities include facilitating community building and civic engagement, promoting an aesthetic community environment, enhancing the quality of life for residents, creating a healthy citizens and healthy community opportunities, and fostering economic vitality and financial sustainability.

 Previously, Buenaventura served as vice mayor of Daly City for one year in December, 2011, after having been appointed councilman to fill in a vacant seat due to a resignation in April of that same year.

 Prior to his appointment as a councilman, Buenaventura was a Commissioner on the Library Board of Trustees for Daly City.

 He is an attorney licensed to practice law in California and Washington D.C and a certified specialist in Criminal Law. He served as a Commissioner on the California State Bar Advisory Commission on Criminal Law.

 In addition, Buenaventura worked as professor at Lincoln Law School in San Jose where he taught Election Law and Evidence. He held several positions in several organizations in the past years. PND (js)

President Aquino receives  World Maritime University President Dr. Björn Kjerfve
 President Benigno S. Aquino III received World Maritime University (WMU) President Dr. Björn Kjerfve in Malacanang Palace on Wednesday.

Dr. Kjerfve, who has dual United States and Swedish nationality, paid a courtesy call on the Chief Executive at the Music Room of the Malacanang Palace. Also in attendance were Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and lawyer Nicasio Conti, Administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority.

Dr. Kjerfve was appointed as President of the WMU in Sweden in 2009. He was the former Dean of the College of Geosciences and professor of Oceanography at Texas A&M University from 2004 to 2009.

While at Texas A&M, he oversaw four academic departments, the Texas Sea Grant Program, and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, including the 475 ocean sciences drilling vessel, D/V JOIDES Resolution.

Kjerfve was previously Professor of Marine and Geological Sciences at the University of South Carolina (1973-2004) and served as the Director of the Marine Science Program (2000-2004). He received Ph.D., M.S., and B.A. degrees from Louisiana State University (Marine Sciences), University of Washington (Oceanography), and Georgia Southern University (Mathematics), respectively.

Professor Kjerfve’s expertise is coastal and estuarine physical oceanography. He has published some 12 books and 250 scientific journal papers, book chapters, and reports; has supervised 14 Ph.D. dissertations and 24 M.S. theses, and taught more than 6,000 oceanography students.

His research includes problem-solving in estuarine and coastal waters as well as climate change. Dr. Kjerfve was elected as a corresponding member of the Academia Brasileira de Ciências, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in 2012. PND (js)

US Congressmen support the country's West Philippine Sea position
 A US congressional delegation supported the position of the Philippines to bring the West Philippine Sea dispute to the United Nations arbitral tribunal to resolve the issue peacefully, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

 The US delegation headed by Rep. Ed Royce of California met President Benigno S. Aquino III in a courtesy call in Malacanang Wednesday morning.

 Congressman Royce was joined by Representatives Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, Vernon Buchanan of Florida, Matt Salmon of Arizona, and Eliot Engel of the 16th District of New York.

 “The US delegation supported the position of the President in bringing the dispute to the UN arbitral tribunal, consistent with our policy of maintaining a peaceful resolution to the West Philippine Sea dispute,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference on Wednesday in Malacanang.

 Also, the President explained the Philippine’s position why it had to bring the issue to the arbitral tribunal, Lacierda said.

 Aside from discussing the West Philippine Sea issue, the President also mentioned the Philippine economy to the visiting US delegation, particularly the country’s strong stock market.

 The American delegation was very bullish about the economy, Lacierda said, adding Congressman Buchanan of Florida mentioned that the Philippines should have more business and investment opportunities to explore.

 The President thanked the American congressmen especially Congressman Ed Royce for co-sponsoring the Save Our Industries Act or the SAVE Act.

 Also on Wednesday, the President received Daly City Mayor Raymond Buenaventura in a courtesy call. The President shared to Mayor Buenaventura the reforms that the administration has undertaken, Lacierda said.

 “Overall, we had a very good courtesy call by these two delegations. We look forward to deeper business relations and the opening up of more economic opportunities between the US and the Philippines,” Lacierda said. PND (as)

Govt buying modern fighter jets for training, disaster response, Palace says
 The Philippines is buying 12 fighter jets from South Korea primarily for training, interdiction, disaster response, Malacanang said on Wednesday.

 The Department of Defense announced on Wednesday that the Philippines is purchasing combat aircraft from South Korea as part of its modernization program.

 “We are buying. I confirmed it with Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. They are primarily for training, interdiction, disaster response. These planes have camera capabilities to monitor and also take pictures of disaster areas. So it will be used in a number of ways,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference in Malacanang on Wednesday.

 The new planes will be deployed whenever it is necessary, he added.

 “If there is a disaster, it will be deployed to monitor and see the extent of damage, for instance, in a disaster area. It will be deployed whenever there’s a need for these planes to be deployed,” he explained.

 The military hardware upgrade is already a priority even before the country’s latest incident with China, Lacierda said, noting the dispute wasn’t an issue when the government decided to upgrade its military hardware.

 The government is modernizing the country’s military air assets after the air force decommissioned its fighter jets, Lacierda said.

 “We don’t have any existing jets right now that are in use, therefore, it is necessary for us to upgrade based on our commitment to upgrade our military hardware and this is part of the ongoing process of modernizing our military,” he said.

 The Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act has been a priority for the administration, he said, noting that the plan to buy new fighter aircrafts is part of the modernization program. PND (as)

Palace: Govt on top of  peace and order situation in the Metro
 Malacanang made an assurance Wednesday that the government is responding well to the spate of crimes happening in the metropolis.

 In a press briefing in Malacanang, President spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is on of the situation with regards to government’s response to criminality.

 “The DILG is on top of it. Secretary Manuel Roxas is on top of it. He knows the situation. He gets daily reports on the criminal activities or apprehensions done by the PNP. So I’m certain that Secretary Mar Roxas is talking to PNP chief Alan Purisima with respect to these matters, Lacierda told reporters when asked about the attacks happening in Metro Manila.

 He said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Director Leonardo Espina is following up the SM Megamall robbery.

 “There are things being done right now to determine and identify and to apprehend these lawless elements,” he said.

 Asked if the Palace is alarmed by these criminal activities, Lacierda said: “We are looking at the overall picture. It just so happened that there’s a number of highlighted crimes reported. So we’re looking at the overall picture of the criminal activity in Metro Manila.”

 The Palace expects Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas to make a report on the actions being undertaken by the police, he said.

 The President also has trust and confidence on Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima, Lacierda said although he assumed office just a few months ago. PND (as)

President Aquino to  keynote Global Anti-Corruption Conference Thursday
 President Benigno S. Aquino III will keynote the 5th Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption that will be holding its opening ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Thursday.

 The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) is an international network of parliamentarians dedicated to achieving good governance and combating corruption throughout the world. Since its inception, GOPAC has provided information and analysis, established international benchmarks, and improved public awareness through a combination of global pressure and national action.

 From January 30 to February 2, the Philippines will play host to almost 500 delegates consisting of parliamentarians, concerned government representatives and passionate civil society individuals from 78 countries across the globe in their quest to connect, educate and absorb how legislature can fight corruption.

 The GOPAC Global Conference is a biennial event that brings together leaders, members, prospective members, stakeholders and funders to further inspire, educate and equip GOPAC Chapters and its individual members in the ongoing fight against corruption. The conference is a multi-day event that includes workshops as well as meetings to assess progress and explore new topics of common concern.

 This year's theme is: "Good Leaders, Good Laws, Good Citizens."

 Joining the President will be Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator and GOPAC Vice Chairman Edgardo Angara, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, GOPAC Chairman Naser Al Sane, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., GOPAC CEO John Williams, Pasay City Mayor Antonino G. Calixto, Pasay City Representative Imelda Calixto Rubiano, and PICC General Manager Renato B. Padilla. PND (rck)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Aquino declares February 11 as a special non-working day in Iriga City in Camarines Sur
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared February 11, which falls on a Monday, as a special (non-working) day in the city of Iriga in the province of Camarines Sur in celebration of the Tinagba Festival.

 The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 538 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on January 28 to give the people of Iriga the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion.

 Iriga City celebrates the Tinagba Festival, an ancient Bicolano First-Harvest Offering, every 11th of February. The festival coincides with the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

 The word Tinagba is derived from the Bicol word "Tagba" which means "to gather the first harvest and offer it to God." PND (js)

Aquino highlights NEDA’s contribution to nation building
 President Benigno S. Aquino III acknowledged the contributions of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in nation building as the agency celebrated Tuesday its 40th anniversary.

 The Philippine economy is growing, the President said in his message during the celebration held at NEDA’s head office in Pasig City.

 The chief executive said that while the economy grows, NEDA must strive hard to attain sustainable and broad-based growth for the benefit of the Filipinos.

 “We have much left to do, and NEDA will become an even more important partner in the years ahead. If we want to be sure that our efforts will yield the best results, our next moves must be calculated,” he said.

 “We are counting on you. Today, I am asking each one of you to strive for even better performance of your duties,”

 To sustain this growth, the government must continue its efforts to level the playing field, weed out corruption, and step up the country’s competitiveness in the global market.

 The government will also continue to invest in human capital through education, health, and social services, he said adding the administration also identified key sectors for growth and have put in place initiatives that will facilitate growth.

 The President said he’s glad NEDA is truly dedicated to fulfilling its mandate and serving the people not based on political convenience or self-aggrandizement.

 This is the reason why in 2010, NEDA translated the administration’s commitments in its Social Contract with the Filipino People into specific strategies and programs.

 NEDA formulated the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, which set the administration’s goals of achieving inclusive growth, creating employment opportunities, and reducing poverty, as well as the strategies it employs to realize important goals, the President said.

 The President also thanked former Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, and current Secretary Arsenio Balisacan for their dedication to make the NEDA event better.

 Also present during Tuesday’s event were Secretary Balisacan, former Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, and employees of the NEDA and its attached agencies. PND (as)

Unity could propel the Philippines to progress, says Aquino
 The Philippines could fully succeed economically in the future if there is national unity and every Filipino makes individual commitments, President Benigno S. Aquino III said during the 40th anniversary celebration of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Tuesday.

 The President, who arrived last weekend from attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Switzerland, recounted his experiences while in the European country.

 There is a disparity in terms of the number of people between the Philippines and Switzerland, he said, noting that the latter even had to deal with a more hostile environment.

 But despite the challenges, he said Switzerland has become a very rich country after striving hard to maximize the effects of its comparative advantage particularly in finance.

 “Simple lang ---talagang mapaparating tayo sa paroroonan natin kung lahat tayo kumakayod at humahatak tungo sa isang direksyon, kung ibibigay natin ang kaya natin. Kung lalampasan natin ang akala nating kaya natin ay baka naman mapadali ang parating natin doon,” the President said in his speech.

 The use of timely and accurate government data is also important so that economic managers can formulate the right strategy and decision for the national good, he said.

 “May kasabihan sa mahilig sa computer, ‘Garbage in, garbage out.’ Kapag mali ang datos, o hindi naaangkop ang lunas, lalong maaantala ang desisyon,” he said.

 The country also changed a lot since the administration took office more than two years ago, he said. Today, foreign investors are scrambling to put their businesses here. Several years ago, the Philippines wasn’t even in their radar, the President said.

 The country is also an example to other countries for its anti-corruption fight, he said. The President noted that while other countries are struggling to make an effective anti-corruption strategy, the Philippines has been successful in carrying out anti-graft and corruption initiatives. PND (as)

Monday, 28 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, January 28, 2013

Malacanang urges mall operators to review security measures to ensure safety of patrons
 Malacanang appealed on Monday to all mall operators to review their respective security measures and ensure that these conform to strict monitoring and detection protocols in order to prevent the entry of firearms and other illegal weapons into their premises.

 Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the appeal in light of the recent robbing of a jewelry store at the ground floor of the SM Megamall Department store in Mandaluyong City last Saturday.

 Speaking to reporters during his regular press conference in Malacanang, Lacierda said mall operators should conduct this strict review in close coordination with the Philippine National Police to “reassure the public that patronizing their malls is a safe weekend venture to go to.”

 “In that regard, we would like to appeal to the mall operators to study their security measures and make sure that the security equipment that they have installed in their premises does in fact detect the presence of firearms,” Lacierda said.

 “What they have to study (is) their security features again and try to see (if) there was a failure of security measures undertaken by the mall operators, in the hope that they can reassure the public that patronizing their malls is a safe weekend venture to go to,” he added.

 Lacierda said it was important to maintain the safety within malls and other centers of recreation as “there’s an emphasis on gathering in malls in spite of the fact that these are... These malls have assumed a quasi-public character where, despite being owned privately, people do patronize malls and spend their weekends in malls whether they’re buying (something) or not..” PND (rck)

Malacanang assures government working towards bringing Amalilio back to the Philippines to face charges
 Malacanang said on Monday that the failed attempt by National Bureau of Investigation agents to repatriate Aman Futures, Inc. owner Manuel Amalilio back to the Philippines was just a “temporary setback” that the government is working on in order to facilitate his immediate return.

 In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda expressed confidence that Amalilio, who is facing charges for duping thousands of residents of Pagadian and other cities in Mindanao and the Visayas to invest their money in his firm, with a promise that it would earn huge profits within a short period of time, would eventually be brought back to the Philippines to face charges.

 “Yes, we can (assure them). Ito pong pagkabinbin lang sa pagpapabalik kay Ginoong Amalilio ay, sinasabi nga ni Secretary Leila de Lima, temporary lang. We are confident that, with the coordination of our Malaysian counterparts, we will be able to bring back Mr. Amalilio,” Lacierda said.

 “What happened last Friday was a mere temporary setback. We are in the process of bringing Mr. Amalilio back into the Philippines. So rest assured that we are taking all efforts to ensure the repatriation of Mr. Amalilio to the Philippines,” he added.

 Escorted by NBI agents, Amalilio was about to board a flight from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for the Philippines last Friday when Malaysian officials prevented his leaving due to issues regarding his citizenship. PND (rck)

Aquino lauds UP College of Medicine-PGH Iloilo Alumni Foundation for efforts in improving health care in the country
 President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded the University of the Philippines College of Medicine - Philippine General Hospital (UPCM-PGH) for its contribution to provide comprehensive medical assistance for all citizens.

 "The UPCM-PGH has produced exemplary physicians, whose dedication to improving health care in our country magnifies our efforts to provide comprehensive medical assistance for all our citizens," the Chief Executive said in his message to the UPCM-PGH Iloilo Alumni Foundation Inc. on the occasion of its 20th UPCM Grand Scientific Symposium on Monday.

 President Aquino said the event serves as an opportunity for the alumni foundation to broaden its horizons and address today’s pressing medical concerns.

 "Your contributions to research, technology, and the expansion of knowledge in your field will accelerate our collective development and inspire our doctors to work harder for the benefit of our communities," the President said.

 He noted that a healthy and productive citizenry will guarantee the Filipino society’s progress.

 "May this occasion strengthen your solidarity with the Filipino people as we secure our country’s revitalization," he said. PND (js)