Thursday, 14 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, February 14, 2013

President Aquino joins La Sallians in commemorating 68th anniversary of De La Salle massacre

President Benigno S. Aquino III joined De La Salle University faculty and students in commemorating the 68th anniversary of the De La Salle massacre in ceremonies held at the University’s campus in Manila on Wednesday.

The massacre happened on February 12, 1945 when a group of Japanese soldiers entered the De La Salle College campus on Taft Avenue and attacked and killed 24 men, women, and children, and 16 La Salle brothers who were living there.

The President said in his speech keynoting the unveiling of the Cory Aquino Democratic Space marker at the DLSU campus that it was discovered that some of those killed “were relatives of mine.”

“Just yesterday, we observed the 68th anniversary of the massacre in De La Salle College, which happened during the Second World War. Sixteen brothers and twenty-four civilians were killed that day, some of whom were relatives of mine,” the President said.

“As we pay tribute to their memory, we are again reminded of how peace is the bedrock of happiness, prosperity, and national progress,” he added noting that “It is the foundation upon which the La Sallians that followed helped rebuild not just a prestigious university, but an entire country.” PND (rck)

President Aquino unveils Cory Aquino Democratic Space marker at campus of De La Salle University in Manila

President Benigno S. Aquino III officially opened the Cory Aquino Democratic Space (CADS), a sprawling park dedicated in honor of the President’s mother and democratic icon, in ceremonies held at the De La Salle University (DLSU) main campus in Manila on Wednesday.

The President, who was accompanied by DLSU president and chancellor Ricardo Laguda, FSC; Education Secretary Armin Luistro and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. president Hans Sy, unveiled the marker of CADS which is located at the front portion of the university campus.

In his speech, the President said the CADS will serve to remind the community the importance of “discourse and consensus-building” and provide the students and faculty of La Salle, a venue to practice their right to stand up for what is right.

“Today, we are likewise inaugurating the Cory Aquino Democratic Space. My mother, during her life, seldom took pleasure from praise—but this patch of green, and the ideals it stands for, would have made her proud,” the President said.

“As my mother’s memory always reminds me, so too will this space remind your community of the importance of discourse and consensus-building. More importantly, it provides a venue in which La Sallians can continue to practice their right to stand up for what they believe to be right,” he added.

“This democratic space embodies the righteousness and the bravery of those who have come before, and it will continue to become a source of courage for all your students, your teachers, your administrators, your donors, and anyone who sets foot in it,” the President said.

The President also cited the newly constructed Henry Sy, Sr. Hall located at the rear of CADS, saying it showed that our “educational institutions are continuing to improve their facilities” to serve the students better.

“The Henry Sy, Sr. Hall will undoubtedly add to La Salle’s capacities to equip students with the knowledge they need to etch their own marks in our country’s history,” the President said.

A major project of DLSU during its centennial year in 2011, the new building’s main feature is the Learning Commons: a central hub that will house one million books, electronic databases, and special collections.

More than a repository of books and reference materials, the Learning Commons is a place of transformative learning and collaborative, multi-disciplinary research.

Named in honor of the Philippine retail magnate, the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall is a 14-storey modern and eco-friendly building which houses various academic service units, study areas, learning spaces and select offices.

In ending, the President called on the students of La Salle to continue the academic excellence achieved by their fellow La Sallians who came before them in order help build the country.

“As President, I am counting on you to continue the good work in the coming decades. This is not just about finding your personal success, but also about contributing to your community and to your country. In the same way that the former students, the teachers, the administrators, and the donors whose names decorate the history of La Salle have given part of their life to the community. You have an obligation to fulfill your potential and continue the great Lasallian tradition of helping build this country,” the President said.

“You have the natural talent—a combination of intellect, creativity, and compassion—and your school is doing everything it can to nurture that talent. And it is my hope that you can grow to surpass even those who have come before you,” he added. PND (rck)

President Aquino visits International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Laguna

LOS BANOS, Laguna) President Benigno S. Aquino III visited on Thursday the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to get an update on the progress of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the institute with the aim of enhancing their collaboration in support for the Philippines' Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP).

Upon his arrival here, the chief executive was welcomed by Dr. Emerlinda Roman, IRRI Board of Trustees chair, Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI Deputy Director General for Communications and Partnerships and other IRRI officials.

The President's visit coincided with the celebration of the 2013 National Year of Rice. Also in attendance were Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad.

The President also visited the IRRI to help highlight the important role of the research in boosting the country's rice production.

During the visit, President Aquino was given an overview of the IRRI's history since 1960, and an update on the collaboration between the DA and IRRI to support the (FSSP).

Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman and Dr. Achim Dobermann made a presentation on IRRI's research agenda at the Board Room located at the FF Hill Building at the IRRI headquarters. They presented a statistic to the President showing no slowdown in global rice consumption and discussed with him the global per capita rice consumption and the productivity and proficiency growth.

They, likewise, briefed the President on the various IRRI programs such as Home of the Green Revolution, the new breeding products, mechanized diversified cropping systems, ecological intensification platform at IRRI, Solar bubble dryer prototype, the new business models for smallholder farming, training of extension agronomists from Africa, among others.

Sec. Alcala and Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino also conducted a presentation regarding several programs and initiatives launched through IRRI-Philippines partnership such as the Green Revolution, Restoring Ecosystem resilience to control inspect pests, Alternate Wetting and Drying Rice Knowledge Bank, among others.

"The Philippines is more focused than ever before on improving productivity in its rice sector to meet its rice self-sufficiency targets," Dobermann said in a statement.

"We are also working closely with Philippine agencies to develop real-time maps of rice production. So, at any point of time, we will able to tell the state of the nation's rice crop," Dobermann said

Sec. Alcala and Director General Robert Zeigler of the IRRI signed in December, 2012 the MOA which aims to support the delivery research and extension services of the FSSP. The program is aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in rice and other food staples by 2013 – the National Year of Rice.

Under the FSSP, the DA aims to strenghten national resilience to impacts of climate change in attaining the objective of meeting the domestic requirements of riceit his year.

The President’s visit to IRRI was highlighted by a tour to the IRRI’s International Rice Genebank that conserves more than 117,000 different types of rice, including nearly 10,000 from the Philippines. The rice seed preserved in the International Rice Genebank is the source of valuable traits for the development of new and improved rice varieties for future generations.

A total of 101 bred varieties have been released in the Philippines suited to irrigated, rainfed, upland, low-temperature and saline environments.

The collaboration between the IRRI and the Philippines has helped enhanced the Philippines' excellent international standing and impact in agricultural research productivity.

The Philippines was the first country to get the IRRI's Nutrient Manager for Rice Mobile and App that deliver site-specific nutrient management advice to farmers via their mobile phones. PND (js)

Palace welcomes court’s approval of motion to consider Badal as state witness

MalacaƱang on Thursday welcomed a regional trial court’s (RTC) decision to approve the motion filed by the government prosecution panel to turn a former suspect in the infamous Maguindanao massacre into a state witness.

In a press statement, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Quezon City RTC Branch 221, which is under Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, granted the prosecution’s move to drop former Vice Mayor Sukarno Badal from the charge sheet and turn him into a state witness instead.

“Today, the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 221 approved a motion by the prosecution to consider Sukarno Badal a state witness. Badal, former Vice Mayor of the town of Sultan Sa Barongis in Maguindanao,” Lacierda’s statement read.

Lacierda added that Badal is expected to testify on the planning, execution, and cover up of the mass murders of over 50 journalists, lawyers, and civilians in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in November of 2009.

“We hope the inclusion of Badal as a state witness serves not only to strengthen the prosecution’s hand but also to move the trial forward at a faster pace. Like all Filipinos, we want to see this case resolved at the soonest possible time,” Lacierda said. PND (rck)

Aquino defends achievements, says addressing social problems, unemployment takes time

SAN PABLO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III defended Thursday the gains that his administration has achieved saying that addressing poverty and unemployment can’t be done overnight.

Critics of the government said the current economic gains of the government have not trickled down to impact and alleviate the conditions of poor Filipinos.

But the President said, in an interview during his visit here that there is no quick fix in addressing these concerns. For instance, he said that to solve the problems in unemployment, the government must invest on education and training people to get necessary skills for them to get employed.

“Gusto natin hindi lang may trabaho, pero gusto natin magandang trabaho. Para maging maganda ang trabaho kailangan ng edukasyon.

‘Yung edukasyon hindi naman puwede overnight,” the President said noting that thisgovernment thrust will take some time.

But the good thing is that the Department of Education has started to carry out the K to 12 program and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has intensified its initiatives to train more people.

So as a result, based on the recent statistics, the President said a lot of people belonging to the self-employed category have decreased in number because many of them have gone back to school as a result of the enhanced government skills programs.

“So nabigyan ng pagkakataong makapag-aral, magkaroon ng kaukulang talento o skills na mas magandang trabaho ang mapapasukan,” he said.

Another good development on the country’s economy includes the improved retail sector sales figures, the President said adding that the retail sector reported a double-digit increase in sales year-on-year.

It only means, the President said, that the public’s purchasing power has improved recently owing to better jobs and economic conditions.

Instead of criticizing the government on its achievements, the President said government critics must present to the people their platform of government in a healthy public discourse.

The President visited San Pablo City Friday to endorse the administration’s candidates for the midterm elections in May. He appealed to the people to support his candidates, the candidates of Team PNoy, so that he could continue the reforms he started in government. PND (as)