Sunday, 10 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sajahatra Bangsamoro launch shows government's sincerity and seriousness in forging a 'just and lasting' peace in Mindanao, Malacanang says

The launch of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro, a socio-economic initiative aimed at uplifting the health, education and livelihood conditions of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) communitiese on Monday shows the sincerity and seriousness of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the government in “forging a just and lasting peace in Mindanao,” a Palace official said on Sunday.

President Aquino will join representatives of the government and the MILF for the historic launch that will be held at the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute compound in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao.

The ceremonial launch will include the distribution of health insurance by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth); upgrading of community-based health services by the Department of Health (DOH); college scholarships and technical-vocational training by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), respectively; educational assistance to madaris (Islamic schools) and private schools by the Department of Education, needs assessment of selected Bangsamoro communities; and Cash for Work Program, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, among others.

In an interview aired over government-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte lauded both sides for working towards achieving the milestone.

 “Yes, what kind of message is the President sending? First, that we are serious about forging a just and lasting peace in Mindanao; and even way ahead of the signing, alam po natin that both panels are working on the annexes of the Framework Agreement,” Valte said.

The Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, which was signed last October 2012, will pave the way for the establishment of the new autonomous political entity, the Bangsamoro, to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Under the agreement, the Parties agree to intensify development efforts for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the Bangsamoro, and institute programs to address the needs of MILF combatants, internally displaced persons and poverty-stricken communities.

 “Even before a peace agreement is signed, you will see that it’s about providing the social services to the MILF and to the Moros in Mindanao because of the Framework Agreement. It shows also the sincerity of both sides as a continuity to talk and to finalize the annexes in the Framework Agreement,” Valte said. PND (rck)

Palace says reports on Amalilio's extradition from Malaysia 'inaccurate'

MALACANANG on Sunday clarified reports that the extradition of investment scam leader Manuel Amalilio has already been rejected by Malaysia as it assured that the government is working hard to bring him back to the country.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippines is not giving up in making Amalilio accountable to his victims in the country even if Malaysia insisted of holding the scam suspect until he has served his two-year prison sentence for possession of fake passport.

“There were some inaccurate reports in some of the broadsheets today that the request for extradition was rejected,” Valte said in an interview over government-run radio station Radyo ng Bayan.

“That’s inaccurate kasi, unang-una po, papunta pa lang po ang state counsels ng DOJ (Department of Justice) to formally start the extradition process,” she added.

The Palace official said the Philippines can avail of the extradition process even if the country does not have an extradition treaty with Malaysia.

“Kahit wala po tayong extradition treaty with Malaysia, Malaysian law allows extradition under certain processes. Pupunta pa lang po ang ating state counsels doon para simulan ang formal extradition process,” she stressed.

Valte confirmed that Malaysian authorities have frozen Amalilio’s assets as requested by the Philippines under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

Amalilio’s imprisonment in Malaysia was earlier seen as a hindrance for him to face charges of syndicated estafa in a Pagadian court as Kuala Lumpur considered him a Malaysian citizen contrary to the claims of the Department of Justice that he is a Filipino.

The DOJ said Amalilio can be flown back to the country even before the end of his two-year imprisonment.

A Malaysian attorney general, meanwhile, reportedly assured that the Philippine authorities and prosecutors could access Amalilio while in prison.

Amalilio, who is the owner of Aman Futures, allegedly duped thousands of investors in the Visayas and Mindanao for an amount of P12-billion.

He went into hiding last November after President Aquino ordered his arrest.

He was then arrested in Malaysia in January but was prevented by Malaysian authorities from boarding a Manila-bound plane supposedly due to orders of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, who later admitted that Amalilio was a “distant relative."

Amalilio was found guilty of possessing a fake Philippine passport when he was arrested at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport last January 25 and was subsequently sentenced to serve two years in jail.  PND (jb)