Friday, 15 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, February 15, 2013

Malacanang says government to continue implementing the law to stop smuggling

Malacanang assured on Friday that the government will continue carrying out the law to stop smuggling in the country, particularly after Sen. Miriam Santiago expressed plans to investigate the alleged illegal entry of used cars in Port Irene in Cagayan.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will implement the law to stop the entry of used cars in Cagayan until the Supreme Court settles a legal dispute on an executive order regarding the issue.

“Meron ding legal situation when it comes to CEZA (Cagayan Economic Zone Authority) dahil pending ang challenge sa EO in the Supreme Court. So merong both sides—one side is saying, puwede; the other side is saying, hindi puwede ipasok kasi meron pang challenge sa EO,” Valte said.

“Since meron nang Supreme Court decision on the matter upholding that particular EO, the Bureau of Customs will act accordingly,” she added.

The Palace official also said BOC Commissioner Rufino Biazon still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President.

Asked about the possibility that the issue on used cars in Cagayan will be used as a campaign issue against Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and his son who is vying for a Senate seat, Valte said the concern of the Palace is to carry out the law.

“At least on the part of the Executive, ang lagi nating concern is just the implementation of the law. And now that the Supreme Court has settled the legal question then, the Bureau of Customs will act accordingly,” she said.

Commenting on the impending investigation by the Senate of the alleged used car smuggling in Cagayan, Valte said the Palace will leave the issue to the senators to investigate.

She also assured the lawmakers that Malacanang will cooperate in the investigation and is open to providing the Senate information on the issue. PND (as)

Philippines working with Malaysia to resolve Sabah standoff, Malacanang says

Filipino officials are currently coordinating with thier Malaysian counterparts to resolve a standoff allegedly after a group of 100 armed Filipinos from Mindanao entered an area in Sabah.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing on Friday in Malacanang that the Philippine government and military officials are working with their counterparts in Malaysia to determine the situation.

“Katulad ng sinabi ng DFA, we are trying to ascertain the facts that are attendant to the story. The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia had already dispatched our police attaché to that particular area to see kung ano na ‘yung nangyayari and we continue to monitor the situation,” Valte said.

She said the Palace received information from the Department of National Defense that the 100 Filipinos involved in the standoff weren’t armed.

She also said the Philippine government is ready to provide assistance to those involved in the standoff after the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia has made a thorough assessment of the situation.

“As a general rule tungkulin ng ating pamahalaan na tulungan… to help extend assistance to any Filipino abroad where ever they may be. At this point, however, we would like to ascertain the facts first,” she said.

Malaysian authorities said an armed group of 100 Filipinos claiming to be members of the royal armed forces of the Sultanate of Sulu entered Sabah and reportedly forced villagers out of said area out. They also demanded that they should not be expelled from the state.

The gunmen had been cornered by security forces and Malaysian authorities are negotiating for them to leave the area peacefully.

The Philippines has been claiming much of the eastern part of Sabah as part of the Sultanate of Sulu that was leased to the British North Borneo Company in 1878.

In 1963, Great Britain transferred Sabah to Malaysia. The Sultanate of Sulu claimed that it was a violation of the Sabah Lease of 1878. PND (as)

President Aquino inaugurates state-of-the-art facilities of the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City

President Benigno S. Aquino III formally led the inauguration of the state-of-the art facilities of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in celebration of the government hospital's 38th anniversary at East Avenue in Quezon City on Friday.

The Chief Executive, assisted by Health Secretary Enrique Ona unveiled the marker of the newly expanded Philippine Heart Center Operating Room Complex. This year’s PHC anniversary theme is “Hawak Kamay Para sa Kalusugan.”

The newly-inaugurated Hybrid Operating Room, located on the 2nd floor of the hospital, is the most advanced operating suite in the country to date. The facility allows the cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists and radiologists and the cardiovascular healthcare team to perform combined open, minimally invasive and catheter-based procedures in the same operative setting.

The President also formally opened other facilities namely, the dedicated Pediatric Cardiovascular Operating Room, new General Surgery Operating Room, Endoscopic and Special Procedures Operating Room.

The entire Operating Room Complex of the Philippine Heart Center now includes 10 operating rooms, eight of which were dedicated for cardiovascular surgery.

The Pediatric CV Operating Room aims to increase the number of children that the Heart Center can treat with heart surgery. It has only Intraoperative Transesophageal echo 3D TEE for infants, neonates, young children and adolescents in the country.

Following the unveiling ceremony, the President toured and inspected the hospital facilities and then proceeded to the Dr. Avelino P. Altura Hall where he attended the anniversary's program.

The Philippine Heart Center had earlier launched three top-of-line cath labs and life support training programs that have earned for the government's hospital the status of an internationally certified life support training center.

As a beneficiary of President Aquino's Kalusugan Pangkalahatan Program also known as Universal Health Program, the PHC became the first hospital to have a Hybrid Operating Room that is equipped with built-in robotic imaging systems for advanced cardiovascular procedures.

For his part, Dr. Gerardo "Gerry" S. Manzo, PHC Assistant Director Medical Services and Chief Medical Officer said other facility improvements of the hospital have recently been completed, including the total renovation of the original Presidential Suite, a Wellness Clinic to take care of outpatient check-up services, and a new Children's Ward.

The PHC is also currently constructing 38 new "garden villa-type" rooms on the roof deck of the hospital and a hospital cafeteria to better cater to the dinning needs of PHC staff, patients and visitors.

It will soon start constructing the 3rd level at the PHC Annex intended for the expansion of the Service/PhilHealth Wards, the renal and metabolic dialysis unit, a 'one-stop shop' cardiovascular diagnostic area and also a new separate parking building.

The PHC is the first hospital in the Philippines to be chosen as pilot organization of the Qmentum Program of Accreditation Canada International recognizing that the PHC Quality of healthcare is at the level of international best practices. It is the first hospital in Asia and second to the world to use the Philips HealWell lighting system that programs the circadian rhythm in patients' room to promote healing.

Present during the event were House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona, PHC Executive Director Dr. Manuel T. Chua Chiaco Jr., Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, among others. PND (js)

President Aquino assures establishment of more heart centers in various provinces in support of administration’s goal of securing people’s health and welfare

President Benigno S. Aquino III assured that more heart centers will be established in various provinces in the country in fulfillment of his administration's goal of securing the people’s health and welfare.

In his speech during the 38th anniversary of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) on East Avenue, Quezon City on Friday, the Chief Executive said that the government is allocating funds for the establishment of heart centers in a bid to provide better health treatment for the people suffering from heart illness.

"Natatanaw na rin po natin ang araw kung saan hindi na kailangang lumuwas ng Maynila ang ating mga kababayan para ipatingin ang kanilang karamdaman sa puso. Sa kasalukuyan po, mayroon na tayong dalawang operational heart centers sa labas ng Maynila --- ang Southern Philippines Medical Center sa Lungsod ng Davao, at ang Vicente Sotto Medical Center sa Lungsod naman ng Cebu," the President said.

"Sa ilalim ng ating PPP Projects, inihahanda na rin ang dagdag pang heart centers sa mga lungsod ng Cabanatuan, Legazpi, Bacolod, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, at San Fernando sa La Union," he said.

The President said the establishment of heart centers and facilities across the country would greatly help in lessening the burden for medical expenses especially of the less fortunate Filipinos who have heart ailments.

"Ang nais po nating idiin dito ---ang lunas sa mga malulubhang sakit ay hindi lamang para sa maykaya sa buhay, mas lalong dapat itong inilalapit sa mga gipit at kapos sa buhay," the President stressed.

The government, through the Department of Health, is pursuing reforms dubbed as Kalusugan Pangkalahatan Program which focuses on the health needs of the poor and the marginalized.

"Isa pa po sa ating mga inisyatiba ---ang pagpapalawak ng ating PhilHealth wards dito sa Heart Center. Gamit po ang isandaang milyong pisong pondo ng DOH, ang dating tatlumpung kamang nakalaan para sa mga nakatatanda, at ang lalabindalawang kama naman para sa kabataan, ay dodoblehin natin para umabot sa isandaang kama. Ang target natin ay makahiga na nang mas maginhawa ang mas maraming pasyente dito bago matapos ang 2013," he said.

The President also commended the unshakable commitment of the Philippine Heart Center in accelerating their efforts to provide better health services to the public.

"Nalulugod din po tayo sa pagtutulungan ng Heart Center at ng PhilHealth para palawigin ang sakop ng PhilHealth benefits. Hindi po magtatagal, hindi na lang catastrophic diseases tulad ng breast cancer, prostate cancer, at acute leukemia ang libreng maipapagamot sa pamamagitan ng No Balance Billing Policy; isasama na rin sa listahan ang coronary bypass o bara sa ugat ng puso," he said. PND (js)