Thursday, 31 January 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coloma leads inauguration of National Printing Office operations for the printing of Automated Official Ballots
 Preparations for the holding of the 2013 national and local midterm elections is now in full swing with the formal opening of the National Printing Office's operations for the printing of Automated Official Ballots.

 Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Jr. joined NPO Director Emmanuel Andaya and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chair Sixto Brillantes in ceremonies marking the start of the national government's official printing press to print out 52 million ballots in the next three months for the elections that will be held in May 2013.

 The ribbon cutting and blessing ceremonies were held at the NPO headquarter's basement area along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Quezon City.

 In his remarks, Coloma lauded the partnership between the Comelec and the NPO for ensuring the conduct of honest, safe and credible elections through the construction and development of this “world class printing facility” of automated ballots and other government forms which he said could stand up to any public scrutiny as this was conducted in an “open, transparent and accountable manner.”

 He called on partners such as the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting led by its Chair Henrietta De Villa and members of media to join this partnership to ensure this year's election remain free and credible.

 “We look forward in having a very fruitful partnership with all of you para tiyakin natin na ang darating na eleksyon sa Mayo 2013 ay magiging credible, honest at katanggap-tangaap sa ating mamayang Filipino,” Coloma said.

 In his welcome remarks, Andaya touted the NPO's automated ballot printing office as the agency's share in the conduct of credible elections.

 “Today, we want to tell the Filipino people that the National Printing Office will contribute its major share in the conduct of credible elections. We have prepared well for the printing of the ballots for 2013,” Andaya said.

 For his part, Brillantes called the formal opening of the automated ballot printing office as the “commencement of our electoral processes.”

 The National Printing Office was established in 1987 by then President Corazon Aquino by virtue of the signing of Executive Order 285. This executive order abolished the General Services Administration and merged the Government Printing Offices with the printing offices of the Philippine Information Agency to form what we now know as the National Printing Office. This office was then put under the Office of the Press Secretary. Since then it has since been the agency tasked with the printing of various government forms and documents including official ballots and public information materials.

 The automated ballot printing office was constructed at a cost of P30-million sourced from the NPO's own budget for the development of infrastructure improvements to the basement area of the NPO and P780-million from the lease and printing contract entered into by the NPO, Holy Family Inc., and Canon Marketing for the use and possible purchase of three Canon Color Stream series printers, the most advanced printing machine in the world, according to NPO Assistant Director Raul Nagrampa.

 Nagrampa said that once fully operational, the printers will be able to churn out one million ballots a day under an 18-hour a day work schedule run by highly trained NPO and Comelec staff. PND (rck)

President Aquino receives  Daly City Mayor Raymond Buenaventura of San Mateo County, California
 President Benigno S. Aquino III received Mayor Raymond "Ray" Buenaventura of Daly City, California, United States in Malacanang Palace on Wednesday.

 Buenaventura, of Filipino descent, was accompanied by Consul-General Marciano Paynor Jr., of San Francisco, USA, during his courtesy call held at the Music Room of Malacanang Palace.

 Also in attendance were Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, Foreign Affairs Chief Coordinator Cecilia Rebong and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta.

 During the meeting, Buenaventura expressed his firm belief and confidence in the Aquino administration. He told the Chief Executive that he was honored to meet him and look forward to a good relationship between the Philippine government and the Daly City.

 Elected mayor of Daly City in December, 2012, Buenaventura oversees the largest city in San Mateo County with a population of over 102,000. Daly City has one of the highest concentrations of Filipino migrants in the US.

 He remains committed to work to address the diverse and changing needs of residents, businesses and employees in the city of Daly.

 His five guiding principles in setting priorities include facilitating community building and civic engagement, promoting an aesthetic community environment, enhancing the quality of life for residents, creating a healthy citizens and healthy community opportunities, and fostering economic vitality and financial sustainability.

 Previously, Buenaventura served as vice mayor of Daly City for one year in December, 2011, after having been appointed councilman to fill in a vacant seat due to a resignation in April of that same year.

 Prior to his appointment as a councilman, Buenaventura was a Commissioner on the Library Board of Trustees for Daly City.

 He is an attorney licensed to practice law in California and Washington D.C and a certified specialist in Criminal Law. He served as a Commissioner on the California State Bar Advisory Commission on Criminal Law.

 In addition, Buenaventura worked as professor at Lincoln Law School in San Jose where he taught Election Law and Evidence. He held several positions in several organizations in the past years. PND (js)

President Aquino receives  World Maritime University President Dr. Björn Kjerfve
 President Benigno S. Aquino III received World Maritime University (WMU) President Dr. Björn Kjerfve in Malacanang Palace on Wednesday.

Dr. Kjerfve, who has dual United States and Swedish nationality, paid a courtesy call on the Chief Executive at the Music Room of the Malacanang Palace. Also in attendance were Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and lawyer Nicasio Conti, Administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority.

Dr. Kjerfve was appointed as President of the WMU in Sweden in 2009. He was the former Dean of the College of Geosciences and professor of Oceanography at Texas A&M University from 2004 to 2009.

While at Texas A&M, he oversaw four academic departments, the Texas Sea Grant Program, and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, including the 475 ocean sciences drilling vessel, D/V JOIDES Resolution.

Kjerfve was previously Professor of Marine and Geological Sciences at the University of South Carolina (1973-2004) and served as the Director of the Marine Science Program (2000-2004). He received Ph.D., M.S., and B.A. degrees from Louisiana State University (Marine Sciences), University of Washington (Oceanography), and Georgia Southern University (Mathematics), respectively.

Professor Kjerfve’s expertise is coastal and estuarine physical oceanography. He has published some 12 books and 250 scientific journal papers, book chapters, and reports; has supervised 14 Ph.D. dissertations and 24 M.S. theses, and taught more than 6,000 oceanography students.

His research includes problem-solving in estuarine and coastal waters as well as climate change. Dr. Kjerfve was elected as a corresponding member of the Academia Brasileira de Ciências, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in 2012. PND (js)

US Congressmen support the country's West Philippine Sea position
 A US congressional delegation supported the position of the Philippines to bring the West Philippine Sea dispute to the United Nations arbitral tribunal to resolve the issue peacefully, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

 The US delegation headed by Rep. Ed Royce of California met President Benigno S. Aquino III in a courtesy call in Malacanang Wednesday morning.

 Congressman Royce was joined by Representatives Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, Vernon Buchanan of Florida, Matt Salmon of Arizona, and Eliot Engel of the 16th District of New York.

 “The US delegation supported the position of the President in bringing the dispute to the UN arbitral tribunal, consistent with our policy of maintaining a peaceful resolution to the West Philippine Sea dispute,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference on Wednesday in Malacanang.

 Also, the President explained the Philippine’s position why it had to bring the issue to the arbitral tribunal, Lacierda said.

 Aside from discussing the West Philippine Sea issue, the President also mentioned the Philippine economy to the visiting US delegation, particularly the country’s strong stock market.

 The American delegation was very bullish about the economy, Lacierda said, adding Congressman Buchanan of Florida mentioned that the Philippines should have more business and investment opportunities to explore.

 The President thanked the American congressmen especially Congressman Ed Royce for co-sponsoring the Save Our Industries Act or the SAVE Act.

 Also on Wednesday, the President received Daly City Mayor Raymond Buenaventura in a courtesy call. The President shared to Mayor Buenaventura the reforms that the administration has undertaken, Lacierda said.

 “Overall, we had a very good courtesy call by these two delegations. We look forward to deeper business relations and the opening up of more economic opportunities between the US and the Philippines,” Lacierda said. PND (as)

Govt buying modern fighter jets for training, disaster response, Palace says
 The Philippines is buying 12 fighter jets from South Korea primarily for training, interdiction, disaster response, Malacanang said on Wednesday.

 The Department of Defense announced on Wednesday that the Philippines is purchasing combat aircraft from South Korea as part of its modernization program.

 “We are buying. I confirmed it with Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. They are primarily for training, interdiction, disaster response. These planes have camera capabilities to monitor and also take pictures of disaster areas. So it will be used in a number of ways,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press conference in Malacanang on Wednesday.

 The new planes will be deployed whenever it is necessary, he added.

 “If there is a disaster, it will be deployed to monitor and see the extent of damage, for instance, in a disaster area. It will be deployed whenever there’s a need for these planes to be deployed,” he explained.

 The military hardware upgrade is already a priority even before the country’s latest incident with China, Lacierda said, noting the dispute wasn’t an issue when the government decided to upgrade its military hardware.

 The government is modernizing the country’s military air assets after the air force decommissioned its fighter jets, Lacierda said.

 “We don’t have any existing jets right now that are in use, therefore, it is necessary for us to upgrade based on our commitment to upgrade our military hardware and this is part of the ongoing process of modernizing our military,” he said.

 The Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act has been a priority for the administration, he said, noting that the plan to buy new fighter aircrafts is part of the modernization program. PND (as)

Palace: Govt on top of  peace and order situation in the Metro
 Malacanang made an assurance Wednesday that the government is responding well to the spate of crimes happening in the metropolis.

 In a press briefing in Malacanang, President spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is on of the situation with regards to government’s response to criminality.

 “The DILG is on top of it. Secretary Manuel Roxas is on top of it. He knows the situation. He gets daily reports on the criminal activities or apprehensions done by the PNP. So I’m certain that Secretary Mar Roxas is talking to PNP chief Alan Purisima with respect to these matters, Lacierda told reporters when asked about the attacks happening in Metro Manila.

 He said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Director Leonardo Espina is following up the SM Megamall robbery.

 “There are things being done right now to determine and identify and to apprehend these lawless elements,” he said.

 Asked if the Palace is alarmed by these criminal activities, Lacierda said: “We are looking at the overall picture. It just so happened that there’s a number of highlighted crimes reported. So we’re looking at the overall picture of the criminal activity in Metro Manila.”

 The Palace expects Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas to make a report on the actions being undertaken by the police, he said.

 The President also has trust and confidence on Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima, Lacierda said although he assumed office just a few months ago. PND (as)

President Aquino to  keynote Global Anti-Corruption Conference Thursday
 President Benigno S. Aquino III will keynote the 5th Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption that will be holding its opening ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Thursday.

 The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) is an international network of parliamentarians dedicated to achieving good governance and combating corruption throughout the world. Since its inception, GOPAC has provided information and analysis, established international benchmarks, and improved public awareness through a combination of global pressure and national action.

 From January 30 to February 2, the Philippines will play host to almost 500 delegates consisting of parliamentarians, concerned government representatives and passionate civil society individuals from 78 countries across the globe in their quest to connect, educate and absorb how legislature can fight corruption.

 The GOPAC Global Conference is a biennial event that brings together leaders, members, prospective members, stakeholders and funders to further inspire, educate and equip GOPAC Chapters and its individual members in the ongoing fight against corruption. The conference is a multi-day event that includes workshops as well as meetings to assess progress and explore new topics of common concern.

 This year's theme is: "Good Leaders, Good Laws, Good Citizens."

 Joining the President will be Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator and GOPAC Vice Chairman Edgardo Angara, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, GOPAC Chairman Naser Al Sane, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., GOPAC CEO John Williams, Pasay City Mayor Antonino G. Calixto, Pasay City Representative Imelda Calixto Rubiano, and PICC General Manager Renato B. Padilla. PND (rck)