Wednesday, 9 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Malacanang says strong performance of Philippines Stock Exchange index reflective of sustained investor confidence

The strong performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) is reflective of sustained investor confidence in the local bourse, a Palace official said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement after the PSEi broke the 6,000-point mark and closed at another record high of 6,044.91 points on Monday - the fourth day of trading in 2013.

The PSEi closed at a new all time high at 6,044.91, gaining 73.46 points or 1.23 percent. This level eclipsed the record close posted on January 4 at 5,971.45.

Valte said this record-breaking advance is an indicator of the bullishness and vibrancy of the Philippine economy.

"The strong performance of the PSEi is a validation of the Aquino administration’s bold reforms and tireless commitment to good governance that has resulted in growth," she said. PND (js)

Palace assures no whitewash in ongoing Quezon shootout probe

No whitewash.

This was the assurance echoed by MalacaƱang on Tuesday regarding the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation on a shootout between the government security forces and the alleged criminals at a checkpoint in Quezon province last Sunday.

In a briefing held in MalacaƱang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the President was intently following the proceedings of the investigation and was awaiting its official results.

“There won’t be any whitewash. You can be assured that there won’t be any whitewash. The President is interested in the details of the case and whatever the results will be we will look into it, and we will make a judgment call but certainly we can assure you that there will be no whitewash in so far as PNP, and in so far as the NBI investigations are concerned,” Lacierda said.

“Interesado ang Pangulo diyan, he wants to get to the bottom of it. So you can be assured na magkakaroon ng resulta ang imbestigasyon dito at isa-submit kay Presidente,” he added.

He pointed out that although the President did not specify a timetable as to when the investigation should conclude, Lacierda said, the President wants “a full and exhaustive investigation into the incident.” PND (rck)

Aquino to meet Japan’s Foreign Minister in Malacanang

President Benigno S. Aquino III is meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in a courtesy call in Malacanang on Wednesday where he is also expected to discuss a wide range of issues with the visiting Japanese official.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda made the announcement during the regular press briefing on Tuesday in Malacanang.

“The Japanese Foreign Minister will be discussing their new foreign policy directives and I remember Japan is our strategic partner. The DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) already issued a press release on the visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to the Philippines,” Lacierda said.

Citing a press statement from the DFA, Lacierda said the visit of the Japanese official is an opportunity for both countries to advance the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership under the new Japanese administration.

“Japan is one of only two strategic partners of the Philippines, and is one of the most important economic partners in terms of trade, investments and development assistance,” Lacierda said quoting the DFA press release.

Kishida and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario will discuss bilateral and regional issues on the ministerial level, Lacierda said, adding that the President will also join the talks.

Asked by reporters if the Philippines is looking for a multilateral solution that may involve Japan in resolving the West Philippine Sea dispute, Lacierda noted that the Palace will await the conclusion of the discussions between Del Rosario and Kishida.

Kishida is visiting the Philippines after the assumption of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the new Japanese premier in December.

Abe, 58, has become Japan’s prime minister for the second time following the landslide win of his conservative Liberal Democratic Party last month.

Abe’s top priority is to revive the stalled economy of Japan since taking office on December 26. He also wants to loosen the limits of Japan’s 1947 pacifist constitution on the military and recast wartime history with a less apologetic tone. Education reform is also his current major priority.
During Abe’s 2006-2007 stint as premier, he revised a key education law to put patriotism back in Japan’s school curriculum. PND (as)

Aquino government appeals to devotees of Black Nazarene to avoid over crowding Quezon and Macarthur bridges during procession

The Aquino government appealed to Black Nazarene devotees to avoid overcrowding parts of the Quezon and MacArthur bridges which are found to have corroded, a Palace official said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda announced the government's appeal during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday to ensure the safety of the devotees in celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow is the January 9 (Feast of the Black Nazarene) and Secretary (Rogelio) Singson issued an advisory regarding the use of Quezon Bridge. He has coordinated already with the mayor of Manila, the diocese, the Church leaders in Quiapo Church for the use of the MacArthur Bridge," Lacierda said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways cautioned the devotees who will participate in the annual Black Nazarene activities in Quiapo, Manila, on the use of the MacArthur Bridge and Quezon Bridge.

Lacierda said that Public Works and Highways Secretary Singson had already coordinated with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the City Government of Manila, and the Archdiocese of Manila regarding the status of the structural integrity of these two bridges

Singson informed Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim that based on the technical inspection done by the Bureau of Design, the two bridges "are found to have corroded members which affect their structural integrity."

“We need to ensure public safety, thus, there is a need to reduce the live load on either the MacArthur Bridge or the Quezon Bridge during the translacion activities. Those joining the procession shall use only one lane of the MacArthur bridge, while, the other half can still be utilized for light vehicle traffic,” Singson said.

In a statement, Singson said there is a possibility for devotees to crowd the Quezon Bridge to view the Black Nazarene when it passes under the bridge.

“We should exercise extreme caution on the use of the two bridges in order to avoid untoward incidents to happen,” Singson added.

According to an earlier media report, the procession will begin at the Quirino Grandstand at the Luneta Park, cross the MacArthur Bridge, turn right at Palanca, and pass under the Quezon Bridge towards other routes. PND (js)

Aquino government welcomes drop in number of families who experience hunger in December 2012

The Aquino government welcomed reports that the number of families who experienced hunger in December 2012 dropped to 16.3% from 21% in August 2012, a Palace official said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte issued the statement following the release of the Fourth Quarter 2012 Social Weather Survey on Hunger indicating the drop of the number of families who experienced hunger last year.

"This translates to one million fewer families who have experienced involuntary hunger in the fourth quarter of 2012," Valte said.

The Aquino administration remains committed to addressing hunger as a result of poverty, Valte noted.

"Through social interventions such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program which puts a premium on purchasing food for family beneficiaries and supplemental feeding programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, government continues to expand and enhance efforts to uplift living conditions for our countrymen," Valte stressed.

Valte said the CCT program and other government initiatives mitigate and lay the foundations to help families rise above poverty and better their lives. PND (js)

Palace sees 2013 a fruitful year

Malacanang expects 2013 to be an exciting year considering the achievements the government posted in 2012, as it assured the public that President Benigno S. Aquino III will remain focused on good governance.

Some political analysts and critics have been saying that the chief executive will set his sight on the 2013 midterm polls instead of steering the country.

In response, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a regular press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday that 2013 is an exciting year for the administration.

“It’s the midterm elections but it does not take away the fact that the President is fully devoted to his job of governing the country. We have seen a tremendous increase in our performance in 2012 and we are not going to shortchange ourselves and the President is not going to do that,” Lacierda told reporters.

The President is devoted to governing, but since he’s the chairman of the Liberal Party he will do some campaigning for the senatoriables under the party, the Palace official said.

“That’s part of his work as the LP chairman. But hindi mawawala sa kanya ang trabaho. Focused pa rin ang Pangulong Aquino sa pag-govern sa ating bansa,” he added.

According to Lacierda, criticizing the President at this time is premature. While there’s a tendency for critics to pigeonhole the chief exectuive, President Aquino has actually defied public expectations. The President has done things which people never thought that he’ll be doing, Lacierda said.

The year 2013 augurs well for the Philippines, Lacierda said, adding that the administration hopes that the country could have an investment upgrade this year and the economy to keep going strong.

The Palace has previously said that the President’s top priorities for 2013 will be land use, conditional cash transfer (CCT) and public-private partnership (PPP) program.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in one interview that the President has set new targets in the implementation of the CCT program as well as the PPP projects in the country next year.

The administration said that among its major achievements for 2012 include the 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.

The Philippines also recorded high gross domestic product growth for the third quarter and posted the strong performance of the stock market. The peso also appreciated and analysts projected that it would gain more strength this year. PND (as)