Tuesday, 1 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, December 29, 2012

Govt, civil society groups can now work together after RH Bill signing, Palace says

 The government and civil society organizations can now move forward for greater cooperation with the signing of the Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, a Palace official said in a statement on Saturday.

 “The passage into law of the Responsible Parenthood Act closes a highly divisive chapter of our history—a chapter borne of the convictions of those who argued for, or against this Act, whether in the legislative branch or in civil society,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement.

 “At the same time, it opens the possibility of cooperation and reconciliation among different sectors in society: engagement and dialogue characterized not by animosity, but by our collective desire to better the welfare of the Filipino people,” she added.

 This kind of engagement and dialogue is the hallmark of a true democracy, Valte said noting this encourages people to debate through deeply-held beliefs and values that enrich and elevate public discourse.

 Whatever the disagreements, people must work together to find ways to improve the lives of Filipinos, she said.

 Asked by reporters how the administration intends to reach out to the Catholic Church after the approval of bill, Valte said during a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan also on Saturday that both sides can cooperate on many other areas.

 “While the Responsible Parenthood Bill may have been a very contentious issue between government and civil society and other sectors, there are so many areas that we can move forward on; we have many other areas of cooperation that are possible for us to be partners in, particularly environment and other advocacies,” she said.

 The Palace official also fended off accusations that the bill was signed by the President in secrecy. The President signed it on December 21 because he has engagements to attend to after Christmas and he wanted to make sure that he approves it before the year ends, Valte said.

 The President also signed other legislations aside from Republic Act No. 10354, which also been released to the media, she added.

 Valte also allayed fears that the new law would compel families to use artificial contraceptives and it would require families to set a particular number of children. She said the government will post the copies of the law on the Internet so that the public can look at its provisions.

 Also she clarified that the fund for natural family planning centers will be separate from the allocation intended for artificial family planning methods given to health centers.

 The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, has already been published online in the Official Gazette, after having been signed by President Aquino on December 21, 2012.

 The law will take effect 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation. PND (as)

Government to focus on land use, conditional cash transfer next year
 Land use, conditional cash transfer (CCT) and public-private partnership (PPP) will be among the top priorities of the Aquino administration next year, a Palace official said on Saturday.

 “Apart from the targets that we’ve already set, meron tayong Philippine Development Plan na the targets are being set year-by-year. The President mentioned something about land use and perhaps, we’ll be discussing that more extensively when we resume work in the New Year,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

 Valte also said the President has set new targets in the implementation of the CCT program, as well as the PPP projects in the country for next year.

 After the approval of the RH Bill and the Sin Tax Bill, reporters asked Valte whether the administration will prioritize the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill next year.

 As a response, Valte said: “The FOI (Bill) kasi meron silang mga bagong pinagdedebatehan, and as we have said before, we’d like to see how the debates will play out before we move further. We’d like to see the debates move on sa FOI because there are stakeholders that do raise other concerns that have not been extensively discussed before.”

 In a separate statement, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda outlined the achievements of the Aquino administration in 2012.

 Among these include the continuing fight against graft and corruption, judicial reform, the signing of the Framework Agreement for Mindanao peace, the continuing thrust in education, health care and poverty alleviation.

 He also mentioned the record high gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the third quarter, the Philippine Stock Exchange index and the appreciation of the peso, which is projected to gain more strength in the coming year. PND (as)

Government vows to sustain public optimism in 2013
 The government wants to ensure that inclusive growth benefits everyone next year through job generation and pro-poor programs, a Palace official said on Saturday.

 A recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey found that nine out of ten Filipinos are looking forward to 2013 with hope.

 In a radio interview over state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the administration is still focusing on job generation as well inclusive growth.

 “We see that the GDP (gross domestic product) has been surprising everybody; it seemed to be candid about it in the sense na the third quarter was really a very pleasant surprise for everybody,” she said.

 The survey results indicated that 92 percent of those surveyed were hopeful rather than fearful of the coming year. This was the predominant sentiment among respondents in Luzon (96 percent), Metro Manila (93 percent), and the Visayas (93 percent).

 The survey was conducted from December 8 to 11.

 Mindanao residents, however, were less enthusiastic about the coming year’s prospects. Only 85 percent of those polled in Mindanao said they were hopeful.

 Also, with 2013 being an election year, Valte said the administration wants to do away with too much politicking so it could focus on governance.

 “On the part of the executive, while it may be an election year, the work in government still goes on. The work in government will continue despite the fact that it is an election year,” Valte said.

 The Commission on Elections (Election) has already come up with the list of the dates that are important particularly the start of the campaign period for the local and national levels. PND (as)