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)