Sunday, 24 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, February 24, 2013

ES Ochoa: Reforms in gov't to preserve gains of EDSA People Power

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Sunday assured the Filipino people that the government under the leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino III will continue to pursue reforms in order to preserve the gains of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

Ochoa, who heads the EDSA People Power Commission (EPPC), said this year’s theme “Pilipinas Natin: Abot-Tanaw Na!” for the 27th anniversary of the bloodless uprising captures the core of the nation’s aspirations, which the President is working on to achieve.

“Under President Benigno S. Aquino III, we are building the foundation to attain these aspirations,” the Executive Secretary said, as he noted that the administration has made significant strides to restore confidence in the economy, guarantee food security and establish a just and lasting peace.

Ochoa, however, said Filipinos must continue to stand together because the fight is not yet over

“While our people today enjoy the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, there are still freedoms we must continue to fight for: freedom from poverty, freedom from hunger, freedom from want,” Ochoa said.

“These are the freedoms we continue to work for,” he added, “And we encourage our people to stay the course and work together to realize the hopes and dreams of all those who went to EDSA 27 years ago.”

According to Ochoa, he hopes that this year’s commemoration of the 1986 bloodless revolution, which has inspired peaceful democratic uprisings in other parts of the world, will renew the Filipino people’s desire for change and strengthen their resolve to continue to stay on the path of reform. PND

Malacanang says holiday to commemorate the 27th Anniversary of EDSA People Power applies to students, teachers, and non-teaching personnel based in schools

Aside from students, teaching and non-teaching personnel who are based in schools in the country will also enjoy the privilege of an additional holiday on Monday (February 25) commemorating the 27th EDSA People Power Anniversary, Malacanang clarified on Sunday.

In an interview aired over government-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte announced this clarification in response to the numerous queries about the inclusion of teachers and staff under said the holiday declaration.

She said Education Secretary Armin Luistro made the clarification during a meeting she held with Luistro this morning.

“Tapos, ang may pasok lang po sa mga DepEd personnel ay kung doon po kayo naka-assign sa division, sa central, at sa regional offices kasi hindi naman po kayo sa eskwelahan naka-assign. So kayo po may trabaho po kayo, pero ‘yung teaching and non-teaching personnel na sa eskwelahan po mismo naka-assign, kasama po kayo sa walang pasok. ‘Yun po ang linawin natin,” she added.

The commemoration of the 27th EDSA People Power Anniversary is included under Proclamation No. 459 signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last August 16, 2012 declaring regular holidays, special non-working holidays and special holiday for schools for the year 2013. PND (rck)

Malacanang hopeful that standoff in Sabah would end soon

Malacañang expressed hope on Sunday that the ongoing standoff in Sabah will be resolved soon, at least before the May elections, as the government continues to find ways to settle the issue without putting its good relations with the Malaysian government at risk.

Echoing President Benigno S. Aquino III’s recent statement, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government has already formed a team to look at the historical and legal context of the Philippines’ claim on Sabah.

Formerly known as North Borneo prior to the formation of the Malaysian federation in 1963, Sabah was being claimed by the Philippines through the Sultanate of Sulu led by Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his family.

Such territorial claim, however, remained dormant for years until Kiram recently made headlines when he sent over 200 members of the royal army in Sabah’s Lahad Datu city ostensibly to reclaim what they believe is their ancestral land.

In an interview over government-run radio station dzRB, Radyo ng Bayan, Valte said that while this issue generated interest over what happened to our country’s claim on Sabah, the Aquino administration has been working quietly with the Malaysian government and the Kiram family to resolve the standoff peacefully.

“As the President mentioned a few days ago, there is a team looking at the historical and legal context of the Sabah claim, and it will have to be dealt with separately at the proper time and under the correct conditions. I mean, in a way that it can uphold our national interest but also, on one hand, will not jeopardize the good relations that we have with our neighbor," Valte explained.

Emissaries have indeed been sent by the government to coordinate matters with the Malaysian government and the Kiram family but Malacañang could not specify their names. Valte only said they consist of 'a provincial official, a military, and a police officer'.

Valte described the situation right now as “relatively quiet” as Malacañang waits for updates on the request of Department of Foreign Affairs to have the four-day deadline set by the Malaysian authorities extended for the expatriation of the Sultan’s followers from Sabah. PND (hdc)