Thursday, 3 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, January 3, 2013

Malacañang assures police retirees release of their pension benefits

 Malacañang assured retired personnel from the Philippine National Police on Thursday that their pension benefits would be released soon.

 Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda gave the assurance in a press briefing at Malacanang after Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that funds for the pension benefits of some 62,000 PNP retirees were already available.

 Lacierda, however, said the release of said funds would depend upon the submission by PNP top brass of its “cleansed pension roster,” a PNP-led program to determine qualified and eligible retirees who will receive their benefits.

 He added that these retirees should also comply with the PNP requirement of securing and submitting ATM (automated teller machine) accounts to which their pension benefits will be sent directly.

 “Nakatanggap po kami ng text kay Secretary (Florencio) Butch Abad. Ito ang sinabi niya ---makakasiguro sila na tiyak na mari-release ang funds. Available na po ang funds but the release is subject to PNP’s submission of its cleansed pension roster,” Lacierda said.

 “So we are aware that, at this point, the process of cleaning the pensioners’ list is 80 percent complete. This means that of the 62,000 pensioners about 50,000 pensioners have been vetted at meron na silang registered ATM accounts,” he added.

 He pointed out the need for PNP retirees to secure ATM accounts in order to verify their legitimacy as pensioners and to cleanse the pension roster of those who have already passed away.

 “The delay in the past was the refusal of some pensioners to secure their ATM which is an effective way of cleaning up their roster. Kaya required po sila ngayon na magbukas ng ATM account para, unang-una, i-verify po na sila po ay legitimate, at pangalawa po, para masigurado na sila ay buhay pa rin,” Lacierda said, underscoring that one effective way of cleansing the roster is through the ATM,” he added. PND (rck)

President Aquino appoints new officials in various government agencies
 President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed new officials in various 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 letter of Tomasito S. Villarin as Undersecretary of the Office of the Political Adviser which is under the Office of the President. His appointment is co-terminus with the appointing authority.

 The other presidential appointees are as follows:

 - Rodolfo T. de Ocampo as member representing the transport and motorist organizations of the Road Board, Department of Public Works and Highways

 - Felix Roberto M. Oca as member of the Governing Board representing the sea-based sector, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration under the Department of Labor and Employment

 - Eulogio T. Castillo as member of the Board of Administrators representing Luzon, Cooperative Development Authority under the Department of Finance

 - Herminio C. Runas Jr. as Acting Director III of the Department of Finance

 - Johann Carlos S. Barcena as Acting Director III of the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations

 - Henry Roy T. Abella and Katrina M. Manahan as Directors IV and Rafael Victor L. Ignacio, Immanuel Cedrik L. Forbes and Nancy Auroa D. Quimpo as Directors III, of the Presidential Management Staff

 - Maribeth C. Pilimpinas as Acting Director III and Annabelle C. Langbayan as Acting Director II, both of the National Statistic Office under the National Economic and Development Authority

 - Ma. Lourdes F. Rebueno as member of the Board of Directors of the National Development Company and Virgilio A. Yuzon as member representing the private sector of the Board of Directors of the National Development Company

 - Oliver Butalid as member representing the government sector of the Board of Governors, Board of Investments under the Department of Trade and Industry

 - Julius H. Cainglet as member representing the labor sector of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council under the Department of Trade and Industry

 - Ma. Celerina G. Afable and Resty C. Osias as Acting Directors III of the Department of Agrarian Reform

 - Ma. Lilia O. dela Rea as Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator and Renato P. Borromeo as Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator

 - Lourdes G. Ramirez-Zapanta as Prosecutor V, Office of the Provincial Prosecutor-Batangas, National Prosecution Service under the Department of Justice. PND (js)

Government ready to handle Typhoon Auring’s entry
 Concerned government agencies are prepared to handle any situation with the entry of Typhoon Auring in the country, a Palace official said on Thursday.

 In a regular press briefing in Malacanang, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is on top of the situation. He added that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already been informed about the new typhoon.

 “Our standard operating procedure is to identify areas that will be hit by the path of the LPA (low pressure area) and so we have pre-positioned goods already in those areas, and also the local government units have already been warned,” Lacierda said.

 “I think, our level of preparedness has improved, and the local government officials are more than aware of what they need to do in times of a storm,” he stressed.

 As a country being visited by more than 20 typhoons a year, Lacierda said a group of foreign scientists would come to the Philippines to observe the country’s climate.

 Lacierda also said that the government has been working on a more understandable storm warning system so that the public could do the necessary preparations if there’s an incoming typhoon.

 The President issued a directive a few months ago calling on government agencies to make their storm warnings more comprehensible to ordinary people after noting that the NDRRMC and Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA) reports were too technical to be understood, he said.

 Among the basic information that should be given and must be understood by the public during times of weather disturbances are wind gustiness and the amount of rainfall affecting a locality, Lacierda added.

 According to Lacierda, the Palace’s Communications Group, the NDRRMC and PAGASA are the agencies working together to improve the country’s storm warning system. PND (as)

Palace welcomes ceasefire 're-extension' by communist insurgents
 Malacanang welcomed the re-extension of the ceasefire by communist rebels until January 15 this month noting that this will benefit combatants on the ground.

 “The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has declared a re-extension of the ceasefire to January 15, 2013. The government welcomes this change of heart from their earlier position. This gives our soldiers and members of the CPP-NPA-NDF more time with their loved ones, which becomes difficult in times of conflict,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement on Thursday.

 “Despite unilateral statements to the contrary, the government is fully committed to honoring this ceasefire—a clear indication of our sincerity and determination to maintain peace and stability.”

 Representatives from the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) met in The Hague, Netherlands, last month and agreed on a holiday truce that would last from December 20, 2012 to January 15, 2013.

 Lacierda also said the Aquino administration is looking forward to resuming a fruitful dialogue with the CPP-NPA-NDF, with the vision of fostering a true and lasting peace in the country.

 The rebel group cut short its declared ceasefire with the government this week. Instead of January 15, ceasefire ended effectively Wednesday.

 The CPP-NPA-NDF said it had shortened the duration of the ceasefire because President Benigno S. Aquino III failed to issue a reciprocal declaration indicating said ceasefire would end on January 15. PND (as)