Sunday, 24 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, February 23, 2013

Palace invites public to join 27th anniversary celebration of EDSA revolt on Monday

Malacanang is inviting the Filipino public to join the 27th anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution on Monday in EDSA in Quezon City considering its significance to the nation’s history.

“Nananawagan tayo at iniimbitahan natin ang ating mga mamamayan na dumalo, lumahok at makiisa sa pagdiriwang natin ng ika-dalawampu’t-pitong anibersaryo ng EDSA People Power Revolution na may temang, “Pilipinas Natin, Abot Tanaw Na,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Hermino Coloma Jr. said in an interview Saturday over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Monday’s event is important because it will raise awareness on the historic event that happened several decades ago when the Filipino people fought and ousted a tyrannical regime, Coloma said.

The celebration will have greater significance especially to young Filipinos who didn’t see and experience the people’s bloodless fight against the Marcos dictatorship.

Filipinos launched a civil disobedience movement to boycott institutions connected to the Marcoses following a failed snap election in February 1986, Coloma explained. The move culminated to the EDSA People Power revolt in that year.

President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the anniversary celebration at the People Power Monument in EDSA. The President will join the flag-raising ceremony and after that he will sign the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

The landmark legislation is the state’s official recognition of the atrocities committed by the Marcos administration against its own people.

Part of Monday’s event is opening the Malacanang grounds to young people for story-telling and sports events to impart Filipino values to the country’s youth.

“Bubuksan ang pintuan ng Malacanang Palace doon sa area ng Kalayaan Hall, para maranasan naman ng ating mga mamamayan, lalung-lalo na ng mga kabataan kung paano ‘yung nasa loob mismo ng Malacanang Palace,” Coloma said.

“Ito ay lalahukan ng mga youth leaders at ang karamihan sa mga dadalo doon at pupunta sa open house ay mga kabataan. Kaya rin naman idineklarang walang pasok para himukin natin ang marami sa mga kabataang nag-aaral pa na kunin din ‘yung pagkakataon na magpunta sa Malacanang at sa Kalayaan grounds.”

Children from different orphanages will join the event at the Palace. There will be story-telling and children are also expected to participate in traditional Filipino games like piko, patintero and tumbang preso, according to Coloma. Youth leaders will also deliver their messages.

“Tatak EDSA: Salo-Salubungang Pambata” is the theme of the Palace’s afternoon event for children. PND (as)

Coloma leaves for France to attend World Summit on Information

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said he is leaving for Paris, France to join the World Summit on Information this Sunday.

“Actually, magkatono itong tema ng EDSA at ‘yung dadaluhan natin sapagkat ‘yung United Nations sa pamamagitan ng UNESCO o United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, ten years ago, naglunsad ng tinatawag na Knowledge Society,” Coloma said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

“Kaya ang idaraos sa Paris sa darating na Linggo, kasabay nung ating EDSA celebration ay ‘yung World Summit on the Information Society Plus Ten. Ibig sabihin, ten years after,” he added.

The concept of UNESCO’s Knowledge Society is anchored on a free society having free-flowing knowledge and information, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in addition to other freedoms to raise people’s awareness.

The event in Paris is related to the 27th anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution because it deals with rights and freedom that Filipinos fought for a few decades ago, Coloma said.

“Ganoon din naman ‘yung pinagdiriwang natin sa EDSA, kung maaalala natin, noong panahon ng Martial Law, ay nabalam ang paggamit ng kalayaan sa pamamahayag, ‘yung kalayaan ng pagtitipon-tipon, ‘yung freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression ay hindi naramdaman at hindi naganap sapagkat tinitigil ito ng batas-militar,” Coloma explained.

“At noon namang nagtagumpay ang EDSA People Power Revolution, muling naging laganap ang paggamit ng mga kalayaang ito, kaya nga’t sa buong rehiyon ng Asya, masasabi natin at maipagmamalaki natin na sa Pilipinas, pinakamasigla, pinakamalusog, pinakalaganap ang kalayaan sa pamamahayag,” he added.

Coloma said he will highlight the country’s EDSA revolt anniversary when he joins the World Summit on the Information Society in France this weekend.

He said he will report to the members of the United Nations the progress of the Philippine’s push for media and information literacy, which is the country’s task in UNESCO.

The Philippines is the lead country in disseminating media and information literacy, he said adding it is a fitting recognition because of the state of press freedom in the Philippines. PND (as)

Aquino renews commitment to peace talks with communists

President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his strong resolve to move the peace process with the communist rebels following a meeting with Norwegian facilitators in Malacanang on Friday.

The President received the members of the Royal Norwegian government as well as the team of facilitators in a courtesy call at the Palace, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday in a radio interview over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“The President spoke about his resolve to move the peace process forward. Alam naman natin na medyo naaantala ng kaunti ang peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front),” Valte said.

“Maganda naman ang pagtanggap ng mga facilitators at positive ang kanilang response. The facilitators expressed that they felt that now is a good time to move the peace process forward,” she added.

Government peace panel chair Alexander Padilla said in a forum this week that the public must “guard and support” the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Despite the challenges in the peace talks with the communists, Padilla said the government remains optimistic that a final negotiated political settlement will be completed and implemented during the term of President Aquino.

One of the contentious issues is the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) as the insurgents insist for the release of political prisoners who they claim work as "consultants."

JASIG allows negotiators or consultants to freely discuss and move without the threat of being arrested.

It remains the biggest challenge in the talks, Padilla said. The NDF claims that these political prisoners arrested by government security forces are covered by the JASIG.

However, Padilla noted that despite predicaments the “government stands committed” to the peace talks.

Despite the hurdles, Padilla said he believed that “the parties will forge peace when time comes.” Both panels will come to an agreement because there is no other choice, he added. PND (as)

President Aquino signs law addressing election concerns of PWDs, Senior Citizens

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed last week Republic Act 10366, “An Act Authorizing the Commission on Elections to Establish Precincts Assigned to Accessible Polling Places Exclusively for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens,” the Palace announced on Saturday.

The law, that addresses the concerns of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizen advocates, was signed by the President February 15, deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

“Ang batas na ito will now require the registration, a record of Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens sa Comelec para malaman kung ano ang mga disability, kung may kailangang assistance para sa kanilang pagboto dahil kahit naman PWD at senior citizen sila, kailangang matulungan natin sila especially when it comes to voting,” Valte said.

The new law also mandates the establishment of separate polling precints intended only for PWDs and senior citizens, she said. These voting centers must have assistive devices and personnel that will assist PWDs and senior citizens.

“Dapat ang ating balota merong reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and senior citizens,” she said. “Siyempre kasama din dito ‘yung assistance in the accomplishment of the ballots.”

The PWDs and senior citizens will be assisted in filling the ballot by their relatives, either relative by consanguinity or affinity, within the fourth civil degree, or by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI).

The law also requires a sensitivity training program by the Comelec for those who will perform electoral duties including field officers, members of the BEI and accredited citizens' arms to familiarize themselves with the needs of PWDs and senior citizens.

On Friday, the President joined the 40th anniversary of the Tahanang Walang Hagdanan Inc. in Cainta, Rizal vowing continuous government support for PWDs in the country. The President also witnessed the awarding ceremony for PWD achievers during the event. PND (as)