President Aquino declares February 18 as special non-working day in Northern Samar in commemoration of centennial birth anniversary of Congressman Eladio Balite
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared February 18, which falls on a Monday, as a special non-working day in the province of Northern Samar, in commemoration of the centennial birth anniversary of Congressman Eladio T. Balite.
The Chief Executive issued the declaration by virtue of Proclamation No. 541 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on January 28, to give the people of Northern Samar the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion.
The then Northern Samar Congressman Balite and Congressman Felipe J. Abrigo of Eastern Samar authored Republic Act No. 4221 that divided Samar into three namely, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Western Samar. PND (js)
Aquino launches Sajahatra Bangsamoro in Maguindanao
SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao) President Benigno S. Aquino III led the formal launching of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro project Monday which is aimed at accelerating the transition of conflict-affected communities into productive areas while the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) iron out the final peace agreement with the Muslim secessionists.
In his message during the launching ceremonies here, the President said the program intends to provide education, health care and education to poor Muslim communities to empower them.
“Simula pa lamang po itong Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program; isang sangay sa malawak na istratehiya ng pag-aangat ng buhay ng ating mga mamamayan, at pagsigurong walang Pilipinong maiiwan sa pagtahak ng tuwid na daan,” the President said.
The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the MILF is expected to bring a lasting peace in the region after several decades of conflict, he said.
He pointed out that peace entails development for the benefit of the people, adding that this is the reason why the government is optimistic about pushing for further development in the country.
The President acknowledged that it wasn’t easy for the MILF leadership to immediately trust the government at the start of the negotiation because of many years of war.
He noted that the signing of the Framework Agreement became possible because of the mutual trust expressed by both sides. The government and the MILF built mutual trust after President Aquino and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad met in Japan in August 2011.
Despite the positive developments that happened, the President said there are groups who still want to derail the quest for a lasting peace in the region.
“Lahat po ng naghirap para makarating sa puntong ito—ang liderato ng MILF, mga LGU na nakikiisa sa ating adhikain, mga coordination agency, mga ulama, mga CSO—pati na rin po ang ating security sector, lahat po ng pinaghirapan natin, mapupunta sa wala... gayong abot-kamay na po ang bunga ng kapayapaang kay tagal nating inasam-asam, ngayon pa ba tayo panghihinaan ng loob?” he stressed.
The President also said the government and the MILF should work double time to seal the final peace deal so that bigger development projects could start in Mindanao. The President said the comprehensive peace pact may be signed by March this year.
“Mayroon pa tayong natitirang three years and four months. Dapat naman ho sana’y, sabi nga kanina ni chairman, kailangan maging permanente ito at hindi depende sa mga taong nag-uusap ngayon. So kailangan po nating paspasan lahat ng ginagawa natin para nga maging permanente na ito,” he said.
The project launching, rites which was held at the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), is part of the Aquino administration's socio economic initiatives designed to uplift the health, education and livelihood conditions of the Bangsamoro people.
The MILF, in collaboration with the government, identifies the target beneficiaries while the different government agencies extend the assistance. The government agencies involved are the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Agriculture and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Among those who accompanied the President Monday were DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro, Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Mindanao Development Authority head Lou Antonino, Commission on Higher Education chief Patricia Licuanan, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Health Secretary Enrique Ona and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. PND (as)
President Aquino says members of Transition Commission to be known this week
President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to name this week the members of the 15-man Transition Commission that will draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“Sana within this week, ano, matapos ko na,” the President said in an ambush interview with the media during the launching of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao, Monday.
He said the list of nominees from both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has already been submitted to him “late last week."
The President will be the one to appoint the 15 members of the Transition Commission, created through Executive Order 120, as provided for in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the MILF in October last year.
Eight members will be nominated by the MILF, including the chair, while seven will come from the government’s shortlist.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita “Ging” Deles earlier said that the search committee had submitted 15 names for the government’s seven slots.
She, likewise, noted that the MILF already submitted their shortlist to the President.
“We would want to give justice by reading all of the resumes and CVs submitted to come up with the best group of people that will come up with the organic law,” President Aquino said.
He confessed that he is a having a hard time in focusing on the composition of the Transition Commission since he has too many things on his plate now.
“Sinabayan rin ‘nung Atimonan, Quezon report; sinabay ‘yung sa Tubbataha; sinabay—maraming sinabay,” he said referring to the Atimonan shootout last January where 13 people were killed including police and military personnel.
“‘Yung Quezon na report, may mga nagmamadali sa inyo sa review namin. In case hindi pa ninyo nakita, it’s actually not that long a document. It’s just five inches thick... it weighs siguro over six kilos and the briefer on it is 64 pages. First time ko nagbasa ng libro na nakatingala ka habang nakaupo sa mesa mo,” he related. PND (jb)
President Aquino says his visit to MILF signifies the trust given to the government by MILF leadership towards achieving just and lasting peace in Mindanao
SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday said his visit to a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) community signifies the trust given to his government by the MILF led by its chairman, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and the entire central committee towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
The President made this statement when asked in a chance interview to describe his thoughts upon stepping into an MILF lair, which has not been done by any president before him, following the launch of the government’s Sajahatra Bangsamoro program at the Bangsamoro Leadership Military Institute (BLMI) compound here.
“Unang-una, pagkilala ito syempre sa pagtitiwala rin naman na ipinagkaloob ni Chairman Murad at sampu ng (MILF) Central Committee, sampu ng kanilang mga kasapi, tungo sa pagkakaroon ng kapayapaan,” President Aquino said.
“Hindi naman hingi ang nangyari. Pwede nating sabihin napakaraming ibinigay para nga maipakita ang sinseridad sa pagkakaroon ng tunay na kapayapaan at kaunlaran lalo na sa ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao),” he added.
Upon his arrival, the President said he was amazed at the community’s green environment adding that he could not help but imagine how great its potential would be once peace is achieved in Mindanao.
“Pagdating natin dito, syempre, hindi natin maiwasan na tingnan kung gaano kaluntian ang buong paligid; kung gaano kayaman… Hindi mo maiwasan na hindi i-imagine ‘pag may kapayapaan talaga kung gaano kaunlad—kung gaano kalaki ang potensyal at gaano kaunlad ang mangyayari sa lahat ng tao dito,” the President said.
“Kung lahat ng energies na naidulot doon sa pakikipag-bakbakan ‘nung araw, ngayon naman ay sa pagpapaunlad dadalhin, ay talagang mabilis ang pagbabagong mangyayari dito sa kapakanan ng lahat,” he emphasized.
President Aquino was at the BLMI to personally witness the official launch of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro program which is his administration’s concrete socio-economic initiative aimed to uplift the health, education, and livelihood conditions of the MILF communities.
The MILF has been collaborating with the government in naming the target beneficiaries of the services to be delivered by government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Agriculture, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. PND (hdc)
President Aquino orders NEDA to organize inter-agency planning committees to facilitate updating of Philippine Development Plan, revalidation of results matrix and public investment program for 2011 to 2016
President Benigno S. Aquino III directed the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to organize inter-agency planning committees to facilitate the updating of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the revalidation of the results matrix and the public investment program (PIP) for 2011 to 2016.
The directive was issued by virtue of Memorandum Circular No. 43 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on February 4.
Section 9, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution mandates the economic and planning agency of the Government to formulate and implement continuing, coordinated and fully integrated social and economic policies, plans and programs.
Guided by the President’s Social Contract with Filipino People, in furtherance of Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 3 (s. 2010), and in view of the need to evaluate the results of the strategies, programs and projects identified in the PDP and PIP, the NEDA is hereby directed to organize inter-agency planning committees in undertaking the updating and revalidation activities.
The NEDA was likewise directed by the President to enlist the participation of the executive and legislative branches of government, together with the regional and local development councils, in carrying out the tasks.
All government agencies, departments, offices and instrumentalities, including Government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), are hereby enjoined to participate in this activity and to fully comply with the guidelines and timetable to be issued by NEDA.
The updated PDP and the revalidated results matrix and PIP shall be submitted to the NEDA Board and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.
The President likewise directed the Department of Budget and Management to identify and facilitate the release of the funds necessary for the attainment of the objectives of this Circular, subject to the usual accounting and auditing requirements.
The Memorandum Circular No. 43 shall take effect immediately. PND (js)
President Aquino leads ‘Sports for Peace’ ceremonial kick off
DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao) President Benigno S. Aquino III led the ceremonial kick-off launching the Sports For Peace program which symbolizes the bayanihan spirit exuded by all participants – the government of the Philippines and the people of Mindanao – towards achieving lasting peace in the province in ceremonies held at Camp Gonzalo Siongco here on Monday.
In his speech, the President underscored the importance of sports in achieving peace as it brings together brothers and once sworn enemies and combatants to foster unity and trust.
“Sinasalamin nga po ng ating pagtitipon ngayon ang pinapanday nating pagkakaisa at pagtitiwala upang maisakatuparan ang pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa Mindanao,” the President said.
“…higit sa pagpapakitang-gilas, higit sa mga simpleng katuwaan, nangingibabaw sa ating Sports for Peace ang diwa ng kapatiran: Pinatitibay nito ang pagkakaisa sa pagharap sa mga hamon, ang respeto’t paggalang sa kabilang koponan anuman ang resulta ng laro, at higit sa lahat, ang pagpapalakas ng ating samahan tungo sa kolektibong pag-abot ng ating mithiin,” he added.
He pointed out that with the launching of the Sports For Peace program, which for its ceremonial game, pitted members of the 6th Infantry Division and members and employees of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Moro National Liberation Front in a friendly match of football, “we have started to form the foundation of peace in the province."
“Sinisimulan na nating hubugin ang kasaysayan at kinabukasan kung saan sa halip na bakbakan, pagdadamayan ang nagingibabaw; sa halip na hilahan pababa, sabay-sabay nating itinataas ang kapwa; at sa halip ng kawalang pananagutan, katarungan at pagkakapantay-pantay ang diwang ating isinasabuhay,” the President said.
“Mulat naman po tayong naging masalimuot ang pagtutulak ng peace process. Kaya naman ang hangad natin ---huwag nang ipamana sa susunod na liderato ang salimuot na pinagdaanan natin. Ang hiling at hamon ko ay tuluyan nating hilumin ang sugat na dulot ng deka-dekadang digmaan, at ilapit natin sa katuparan ang potensyal ng Mindanao bilang Lupang Pangako,” he added. PND (rck)