Thursday, 7 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, February 7, 2013

President Aquino says operation of LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension expected to start in 2015

IMUS, Cavite) President Benigno S. Aquino III said that the operation of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension is expected to start by 2015

In his speech during the launch of the program "Alay sa Mamamayan" held at the Apostle Arsenio T. Ferriol (AATF) Sports Complex, Maranatha Christian Academy (MCA), Malagasang II-D in Imus City, Cavite on Thursday the Chief Executive said the line is expected to increase the ridership of LRT1 to 250,000 daily commuters.

"At siyempre, nananabik na po tayo sa taong 2015—hindi ho dahil isang taon na lang ako manunungkulan—kung hindi mapapabilis na ang biyahe mula Baclaran hanggang Bacoor, at madadagdagan din ng 250,000 pasahero ang maisasakay kada araw dahil sa LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension," he said.

The LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project aims to provide rapid and reliable access to and from the densely populated residential communities south of Manila, and the various strategic commercial, industrial, and educational districts in Metro Manila.

The President, likewise, assured that the government continues the implementation of major infrastructure and various projects to advance the development of Cavite.

"Kitang-kita naman po sa kaliwa’t kanang programa’t proyekto kung gaano natin kamahal ang Cavite. Nariyan ang Bangkal-GMA Bridge sa DasmariƱas; mababagtas na rin po ang mas pinalawak na Governor’s Drive sa Lungsod ng Trece Martires; gayundin ang Daang Hari–SLEX Link Road na magkokonekta sa Bacoor at SLEX," he stressed.

"Hindi po tayo titigil dito. Bubuo pa tayo ng ibang mga programang talagang magpapagaan sa buhay ng mga minamahal nating taga-Cavite, at mas mapapabilis ito, kung tunay na mga kakampi natin ang ihahahalal n’yo at hindi mga pabigat sa ating landas ng pagbabago," he said.

President Aquino spearheaded the multi-pronged project dubbed "Alay sa Mamamayan" for Cavitenos to address pressing issues such as poverty, food security, education, health, livelihood and other basic concerns of the people in the province.

"Muli akong nananalig sa lakas ng sambayanan; muli akong umaasa sa mga Caviteno --- huwag nating hayaang maging atrasado ang ating bayan. Umuusbong na po ang bunga ng mga ipinunla nating reporma sa unang dalawa’t kalahating taon sa tuwid na daan, at makatitiyak tayong mas lalago pa ang mga ito kung papanig tayo sa tama, at makikipagbayanihan tayo sa landas ng tapat at mabuting pamamahala," he said.

"Huwag po tayong umasa sa tsamba, o sa agimat o anting-anting. Matuto po tayong kumilatis ng mga susunod na leader ng bansa upang matiyak na aarangkada tayo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap at hindi na kailan man lumihis pa. Magtiwala po tayo sa tapat na paglilingkod, at sa serbisyong nag-aalab, may prinsipyo at siyempre may liksi," he said.

During the event, Cavite Third District Representative and Liberal Party's gubernatorial candidate in the province Ayong S. Maliksi lauded the President for his exemplary leadership marked by quality and true service to the people.

Also in attendance were Senator Panfilo Lacson, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, as well as public officials of Cavite City, among others. PND (js)

Aquino lauds medical institutions for efforts towards advancement of Universal Health Care

President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded medical institutions for their continued efforts towards the advancement of the administration's national agenda of Universal Health Care.

"Medical institutions such as yours are vital pillars in nation-building: They help secure the foundation of our health-care sector by providing their students with quality medical education, fostered by a culture of inquiry and innovation," the Chief Executive said in his message to the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges on the occasion of its 46th Annual Convention on Thursday.

The APMC is holding its 46th Annual Convention "Enhancing the Medical School's Participation in Nation Building," at the West Visayas State University, La Paz, Iloilo City. The convention started on February 7 and would end on Feb. 9.

"Your government counts on your continued efforts towards the advancement of our national agenda of Universal Health Care," the President said.

He hopes that the event may serve as a dynamic platform for research and information covering the varied disciplines in the medical field.

"Our collective task of sustaining the momentum of revitalization relies on our passion and dedication to our respective pursuits. Let us remain galvanized by the tremendous potential of the Filipino, as we bring forth lasting, meaningful reform in our country," he said. PND (js)

Palace says there will be no changes in budget for EDSA rehabilitation

MALACANANG on Thursday said there will be no changes in the budget for the rehabilitation of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) even as President Benigno S. Aquino III decided to defer its execution.

In a press briefing at Malacanang, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang said there is no reason to adjust the P3.1 billion budget for the repair of Edsa.
“We don’t anticipate any increase right now,” Carandang said.

“It shouldn’t take the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) very long to make a determination as to whether or not they have taken all the measures,” he added.

Carandang said the adjustment on the budget will depend on how long the project will be suspended but if it pushes through within the fiscal year, there should be no changes on it.

“It is not something that we expect to drag out until the end of this fiscal year. We don’t think it will take that long so we don’t anticipate any increase in the budget simply because of this review,” the Palace official said.

President Aquino has ordered the suspension of the DPWH project as he wanted the agency to find ways on how to mitigate the traffic on Edsa before the project is implemented. The repair was supposed to start in May.

“Suspended ‘yung target na May for the beginning of the rehabilitation until such time that we can be convinced that all actions that can be taken with regard to minimizing the impact of the EDSA rehab on traffic have been taken,” Carandang stressed.
He noted that 40 percent of the lanes will be unusable when the project starts.

Meanwhile, Carandang denied that the suspension has to do with the upcoming elections.

“No, absolutely, (it has) nothing to do with the elections. This is purely a logistical issue…. Even if we’re not on an election year, we would have done the same thing,” he said. PND (jb)

President Aquino receives visiting German Foreign Minister in Malacanang

President Benigno S. Aquino III received Thursday German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his delegation in a courtesy call at Malacanang’s Music Room.

Prior to Westerwelle’s courtesy call on President Aquino, he met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario during a bilateral meeting.

Among the issues discussed by Del Rosario and Westerwelle were the political consultation process between the Philippines and Germany, the Framework Agreement for Mindanao peace, economic relations and the Fraport issue, defense cooperation, West Philippine Sea issue, Filipino seafarers welfare, official development assistance (ODA), and the ongoing activities of German foundations in the Philippines.

Westerwelle arrived in the Philippines as both countries prepare for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

Despite the contentious Fraport issue which remains a challenge for both countries, Del Rosario said “this single case should not prevent German companies from working with their Filipino partners to exploit opportunities in the energy, manufacturing, business process outsourcing, tourism and other infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership and other schemes.”

The Philippines and Germany have built strong economic partnership in recent years. The Philippine-German economic relations remain robust, Del Rosario said.

Germany is the country’s largest trading partner in the European Union with bilateral trade amounting to $3.1 billion in 2011. Germany is also the biggest source of tourists for the Philippines in Europe with 61,193 arrivals for the same year.

German foreign direct investments in 2011 stood at $21.7 million. In addition, Germany is one of the leading sources of official development assistance to support the implementation of development projects in the Philippines, Del Rosario added.
Aside from maintaining vibrant trade relations, the two countries have been working to re-invigorate defense relations.

According to Del Rosario, Germany also expressed its support to the Philippine position towards a peaceful resolution of its territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.

Accompanying Westerwelle during the courtesy call were German Ambassador Joachin Heidorn, Director General for Asia, Latin America and the Near and Middle East Clemens von Goetze, and Private Secretary to the Foreign Minister Markus Kleft. PND (as)

Palace says government to provide incentives to investors with more benefits to consumers, economy

The government will give incentives to investors wanting to put their money in the Philippines as long as their businesses benefit the consumers and the economy as a whole, a Palace official said on Thursday.

Issues were raised after the Board of Investments (BOI) granted a six-year term tax incentives to a Thai company producing meat products. But the local hog and poultry industries complained that it negatively impacted on their businesses.

In a press conference at Malacanang on Thursday, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang said striking the balance between foreign investors’ interests and those of the local industries is the real challenge for the government.

“Exactly that’s the challenge—striking the balance. Certainly, no one will doubt that a large investment in our agricultural sector is something that we’re encouraging and it may or may not have negative effects on some of the players,” Carandang said.

“But in the end, if it leads to, first of all, better consumer prices, more stability, and a more reliable supply, and if it leads to more export earnings, then that’s something that we would weigh against the possible negative effects.”

Carandang also said that the fact that the BOI has issued the incentives to the Thai company means there has already been a process for weighing the positive and negative effects of its business.

Asked if the government is adopting similar policies of other countries, he said the premise is not really based on whether or not the Philippines is giving incentives but how to prioritize the grant of support.

Among the government’s priority areas include tourism, agriculture and infrastructure, he said.

“We have chosen these areas because these are areas where we believe that investments and jobs will do most to alleviate poverty. There are certain sectors kasi na ‘pag nag-invest ka diyan you won’t generate as many jobs as, say, other sectors,’” Carandang said.

“Agriculture is one sector where we feel that there’s a strong anti-poverty component so we’re encouraging that. It has nothing to do with whether or not other countries are granting similar incentives but it has everything to do with whether we want the economy to grow in a more inclusive way,” he added. PND (as)