Sunday, 6 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, January 4, 2013

Palace says government ready to respond to typhoon-affected areas in Palawan

 Quick response teams from the government are currently on standby to respond to communities needing assistance as Typhoon Auring passes through Palawan area, a Palace official said on Friday.

 Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said she hopes that the government’s preemptive measures will hold and will be adequate to meet any of the effects of the tropical storm.

 Valte stressed that government agencies had carried out preemptive evacuation in low-lying areas in the typhoon’s path and also issued warnings to fishermen to avoid going to sea since the weather disturbance might affect small vessels and sea crafts.

 She added that the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) was also put on red alert.

 As response to Typhoon Auring, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has some P500,000 worth of standby funds. It also has P1.3 million worth of relief supplies ready to be released in Region IV-B.

 Based on a report from the NDRRMC, Typhoon Signal No. 2 was issued in southern Palawan, while Typhoon Signal No. 1 is currently in effect in other areas in Palawan, Valte said. PND (as)

President Aquino declares January 23, as special non-working day in Bulacan in commemoration of the First Philippine Republic
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared January 23, which falls on a Wednesday, as a special (non-working) day in the province of Bulacan in commemoration of the First Philippine Republic (also known as the Malolos Republic).

 The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 523 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on December 10 to give the people of Bulacan the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

 On June 12, 1898, the Philippine independence was proclaimed and The Act of Declaration of Philippine Independence was read at the Emilio Aguinaldo's ancestral home in Cavite.

 After gaining the independence, the Malolos Congress convened on September 15, 1898 and produced the Malolos Constitution.

 On January 23, 1899, the First Philippine Republic (also known as the Malolos Republic) was inaugurated at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. Emilio Aguinaldo was declared its first president. PND (js)

Aquino government elated over slow down in annual average inflation rate
 The Aquino administration expressed elation over the report of the National Statistics Office (NSO) that the country’s annual average headline inflation rate slowed down to 3.2 percent in 2012 from 4.6 in 2011, a Palace official said.

 "This is the slowest pace inflation has grown on a year-on-year basis since 2008," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement issued on Friday.

 Citing the NSO report, Valte said the monthly inflation rate for December increased marginally to 2.9 percent from November’s 2.8 percent.

 "The rate is considerably lower than the 4.2 percent inflation rate of December 2011. According to NSO, this was due to higher annual rates in the food and non-alcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages and tobacco indices," Valte said.

 "Considering the strong performance of the Philippine economy, which grew at 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012, the inflation rate has remained stable and well within the 3 to 5 percent target set in the Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016)," she said. PND (js)

Palace condemns Cavite shooting rampage
 Malacanang condemned on Friday the shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite that killed nine people and injured 11 others noting that the carnage will certainly fuel the government’s relentless efforts to clamp down on loose firearms.

A suspected drug addict went on a shooting rampage in Cavite Friday morning attacking his neighbors with a .45-caliber pistol.

The incident happened in Barangay Tabon 1 in Kawit, Cavite, at around 9:30 a.m. The suspect, who traded shots with responding policemen, was shot to death by the authorities at around 11 a.m.

In a briefing at Malacanang on Friday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace is condemning the attack considering that some of the casualties are children and given the large number of deaths.

“As of the moment, what we can say is that this incident will certainly fuel the efforts of the PNP into its drive against loose firearms,” she said.

Ronald Bae, the suspect, entered several houses and shoot everyone inside including children, according to witnesses. The police also found sachets containing suspected drugs inside the slain suspect’s house.

Witnesses also said Bae was assisted by a certain John Paul in the rampage. They said John Paul helped Bae reload his pistol.

 The Cavite provincial government has raised P100,000 for the immediate arrest of Bae’s alleged accomplice. PND (as)

DOH already looking into reports of deteriorating hospital equipment, buildings, Palace says
 The Department of Health is already validating a report by the Commission on Audit saying that P43-million worth of equipment were found rotting in several state hospitals.

In a press briefing in Malacanang on Friday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said she spoke with Health Undersecretary Ted Herbosa who said that the DOH is currently assessing the specific observations made by the COA.

“Undersecretary Herbosa told me that he will be validating the specific claims, the specific observations of the COA, and they will be acting appropriately on it,” she said.

Valte said that hospital equipment not being utilized and being left to deteriorate because there is no qualified personnel to operate the said tools is a matter of concern.

“The DOH is now, as we speak, validating the specific observations of the COA, and rest assured that the DOH will be taking appropriate steps to make sure that there is no wastage of public funds,” she said.

In its 2011 report, COA said that hospital equipment, buildings and other facilities amounting to P42.6 million were either unutilized or idle due to defects, incompatibility, non-conduct of repair and maintenance and lack of manpower training.

Among the hospitals mentioned by COA in the report were Philippine Orthopedic Center, the Tondo Medical Center and the San Lazaro Hospital.

COA also said that unused machines and buildings owned by government hospitals are located in the Cordillera Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol Region and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

State auditors made recommendations for the health department to immediately conduct repairs on items that can still be salvaged. PND (as)

President Aquino appoints more government officials
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed new officials in various government agencies, a Palace official said.

 Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte announced the appointments during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday.

 Valte said the Chief Executive signed last December 21 the appointment letter of Angelita Gregorio-Medel as undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Her term of office is co-terminus with the appointing authority.

 President Aquino also appointed Catherine Jennifer Francis P. Gonzales as undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Valte said.

 The other presidential appointees are as follows:

 - Edilberto D. Tayao as Acting Director IV of the Department of Public Works and Highways, replacing Sinaolan T. Macarambon

 - Maria Karen S. Olidan as Director III of the DOTC, replacing Jaime Raphael C. Feliciano

 - Dinna Anna Lee L. Cartujano as Acting Director III of the Department of National Defense, replacing Iluminada G. Afuang

 - Isidro Antonio C. Asper as member representing the labor sector of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Board for a term expiring on November 25, 2015.

 - Ferdinand B. Sales as Acting Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Department of Finance, replacing Benito A. Cataran. PND (js)