Sunday, 10 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, February 8, 2013

President Aquino declares February 13 as special non-working day in Paranaque City in commemoration of its 15th cityhood anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared February 13, which falls on a Wednesday, as a special non-working day in Paranaque City in commemoration of its 15th cityhood anniversary.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration by virtue of Proclamation No. 543 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on February 1, to give the people of Paranaque City the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion.

ParaƱaque City was converted as the 11th city in Metro Manila in 1998.

The name "ParaƱaque" is derived from the phrase "para na aque," which was commonly used in the past when people wished to disembark from kalesas (horse-drawn carriages). PND (js)

President Aquino visits bone cancer patient on his birthday

President Benigno Aquino III visited a bone cancer patient at a hospital in Quezon City as he celebrates his 53rd birthday Friday.

In a press briefing at Malacanang Friday, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang said that the President started his day by visiting a 15-year-old boy named Jericho Rafols at the Philippine Orthopedic Center.

“You might be wondering what happened this morning, the President visited a young boy – Jericho Rafols – he is a 15-year-old bone cancer patient at the Philippine Orthopedic Center,” Carandang said.

“It was Jericho’s wish to meet the President. And so the President took time off from his schedule. He also had a meeting with the Presidential Management, then he took time off from his schedule to personally greet the boy,” he related.

In his interview in Davos, the Chief Executive said he wanted his birthday celebration to be simple by spending it with his family and some friends.

“You might be wondering kung sino ang unang nakabati kay Pangulo? and I will tell you that it was the Presidential Security Group. The PSG greeted him this morning as he left to begin his day. So as they are the ones who have access to him earliest, sila ang unang naka-greet sa Pangulo," Carandang said.

Carandang earlier said that the President’s birthday will just be another ordinary working day.

Aside from visiting the cancer bone patient, the President is also set to preside over a full Cabinet meeting this afternoon.

“We will be talking mostly about economic matters. There will be reports from Secretary Abad about the fiscal condition. There will be some discussion about the macroeconomic numbers also. As you know, the Cabinet tends to meet in clusters but occasionally, we will need to convene the entire Cabinet just to be able to more efficiently share information. So that is the purpose of today’s Cabinet meeting,” Carandang said when asked about the agenda of the Cabinet meeting. PND (jb)

Palace says government to enforce the law in response to fighting in Sulu between MNLF and the Abu Sayyaf Group

The government will enforce the law once civilians affected by the ongoing fighting between and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have been secured, a Palace official said on Friday.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang said that aside from removing the civilians from harm’s way the military is also working to contain the conflict in Sulu.

The MNLF, which forged a peace deal with the government in 1996, has to explain later on its recent actions against the Abu Sayyaf, Carandang said.

“Everybody has to follow the law and the law will be enforced but, as I said yesterday, what’s the most important thing right now is for us to ensure the safety of the civilians,” he said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Friday.

“Nagkakaroon ng bakbakan diyan sa Sulu; the most immediate danger is there will be innocent people, who have nothing to do with this (fighting)... who will get caught up in this. And priority number one is to ensure their safety and keep them out of harm’s way. Later on, we’ll deal with the issues of law enforcement and what has to be done.”

Asked by reporters if the MNLF should have coordinated with the military in launching its attack against the Abu Sayyaf, Carandang said, the President didn’t sanction MNLF’s Sulu operations.

“As the President said, that’s not sanctioned. So we just need to wait until the first priority has been dealt with before we deal with other things,” the Palace official said, adding that government's major concern is the safety of civilians in the conflict area.
The military said it would deploy troops in areas in Sulu to contain the fighting.

Reports said eight MNLF fighters were killed and beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group, while 18 of the bandits were confirmed dead in the fighting that started Saturday. PND (as)