Wednesday, 6 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

President Aquino declares February 18 as special non-working day in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental in celebration of Tawo-Tawo Festival

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared February 18, which falls on a Monday, as a special (non-working) day in the city of Bayawan in the province of Negros Oriental in celebration of the Tawo-Tawo Festival.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 540 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on January 28 to give the people of Bayawan City the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion.

Tawo-Tawo Festival reflects the culture of the city being a rice granary of the southern part of the province of Negros Oriental.

The farmers in Bayawan are using scarecrows or tawo-tawo to drive away the little native birds called “maya” that feed on the ripening golden rice grains. This agricultural method was what led to Bayawan's Tawo-tawo Festival. PND (js)

Aquino renews commitment for Mindanao development

DAVAO CITY) The tremendous potential of Mindanao for development makes it a top priority for the government to set its sight on the region for further development, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Tuesday.

Speaking before the participants attending the 2013 Philippines Development Forum (PDF) on Tuesday at Marco Polo Hotel here, the President said Mindanao has always been known to be the Land of Promise, because of its great potential for growth and development, but unfortunately the region remains untapped.

“For the longest time, this potential remained untapped, and its promise, unfulfilled; instead, some parts of Mindanao were known by many for violence, inequality, and corruption in local governance,” he said.

“This history is precisely why the development of Mindanao is a priority for our administration. We know it is necessary to step up reform here if we are to foster inclusive growth.”

According to the President, among the major government initiatives to develop Mindanao began with the synchronization of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the national and local elections scheduled this year.

He noted that the government also alloted P8.59 billion for the ARMM’s transitional investment support plan, which will fund the construction of necessary infrastructure in transportation and health, improve the quality of education and strengthen the region’s food industry.

One of the major achievements is the signing of the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) he said, a move that will bring an end to the decades-long insurgency, and ensure lasting peace in Mindanao.

The President also thanked international donors and partners for helping Mindanao communities during the recent calamities, assisting local people strengthen their communities and build peace, work to improve access to social services, health and education.

Joining the President were Peace Adviser Teresita Deles, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. PND (as)

Aquino says US government to send volunteers for immediate Tubbataha Reef recovery

DAVAO CITY) The United States government will send Peace Corps Volunteers to speed up the rehabilitation of the damaged Tubbataha Reef aside from the compensation it promised, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Tuesday.

“It was Ambassador (Harry) Thomas who said that they are not just going to compensate us in terms of paying the necessary fines, but they are also envisioning how to assist the rehabilitation of Tubbataha to include posting Peace Corps Volunteers to the area to accelerate the rehabilitation of the reef,” the President said during an interview with the media at the Marco Polo Hotel following the 2013 Philippines Development Forum (PDF) here.

Asked if his administration is open at looking at other possible international conventions that can be applied to the incident, the President insisted that he wants to imposed the country’s laws as a response to the crisis.

“Palagay ko una muna rito ‘yung ating laws. There is a specific law governing Tubbataha,” the President said adding that he already met with US Ambassador Thomas and US Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Carney.

He noted that he hasn’t seen the salvage operations plan and he expects Transportation and Communications Secretary Jun Abaya to present the plan today or tomorrow.

The USS Guardian, a US Navy minesweeper, became grounded on the Tubbataha Reef on January 17 after visiting the Philippines. The reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in a remote part of the Sulu Sea. The incident damaged 4,000 square meters of reefs, officials said.

American authorities said they plan to dismantle the 224-foot ship to ensure that the reef will not be further damaged by salvage operations, which is expected to take a few months. PND (as)

President Aquino cites importance of public-private partnership towards development

DAVAO CITY) The assistance of government partners from the private sector, the academe and international backers make it easier for the government to push development and improve the lives of Filipinos, President Benigno S. Aquino III said Tuesday during the 2013 Philippines Development Forum (PDF) held at Marco Polo Hotel here.

In his message, the President said he wants to look back on both his government’s successes and its shortcomings as the administration approaches the midpoint of its term.

He said his government wants to make the most of this time to build on what it has achieved, to improve where it lacks, and to fulfill its promises to the people towards attaining inclusive growth, sustainable progress, and greater peace and stability.

“This is a daunting task, but knowing that there are those who are willing to share this responsibility with us—such as those of you present here today—makes it easier,” the President said.

“The Philippines Development Forum represents the very best of the ideals behind public-private partnerships, and I am glad to be here. It has been a while since we last met, so I hope you will allow me to share with you the progress we all have made.”

The Chief Executive also mentioned during the forum the successes of his administration such as the 6.6 percent full year growth for 2012, the improved consumption capacity of Filipinos, and the continuing commitment of the government to good governance and anti-corruption initiatives.

The Department of Public Works and Highways, once known to be a den of corruption, has posted a savings of P12 billion recently, a major feat for a government office, he said.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue is also performing well, collecting over P1 trillion for the first time in history last year, the President said.

The Filipino people are the country’s strongest competitive advantage and this is the reason why his administration continues to invest heavily on people.

Among these investments the President mentioned include the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the expanded PhilHealth coverage, and the launch of the K to 12 program that will help bring Philippine education up to international standards.

The President also underscored the importance of the forum to the government’s thrust towards development.

“Through this forum, we affirm the necessity of positive participation, not merely to point out the problems, but more importantly, to become part of the solution,” President Aquino said.

“Nation building is never about those at the top huddling together to impose their ideas on everyone else, it is about the whole spectrum of society pulling together, steadily marching together towards a single direction,” he added.

The PDF is the primary mechanism of the government for facilitating substantive dialogue among stakeholders on the country’s development agenda.

It also serves as a process to develop consensus and generate commitment among different stakeholders toward critical actionable items of the government’s reform agenda. PND (as)

Aquino says creating safe zones a top priority for government

DAVAO CITY) Relocating communities from danger areas will remain the government’s top priority despite its tremendous cost, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Tuesday.

In an interview after attending the 2013 Philippines Development Forum (PDF) at Marco Polo Hotel here, the President was asked about his plans on Davao City residents living along the city’s riverbanks.

Riverside communities in Davao City are considered vulnerable, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau after the recent flooding incident last week. But the Davao City local government complains of high cost of moving the people away from danger zones.

But the President said the important thing for the government is to find safe locations for those communities despite the cost.

“Pinaka-importante dito ‘yung saving lives. Kailangan nating gumawa ng paraan, maghanap ng pondo para pondohan ang magastos na trabahong ito dahil ang priority ng gobyerno ay paglingkuran ang taumbayan,” he told reporters. “Hindi tayo maglilingkod kung pababayaan natin sila doon sa mga risky areas.”

The government can find money if it has the will to help those communities, the President said. For instance, he said his administration could use the P12-billion savings by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) last year to fund the initiative.

“Palagay ko naman ang dami nang examples kung saan tayo nakatipid. Kanina binanggit ko ang
DPWH, P12-billion. Palagay ko malaki-laki na ang maililipat nating pondo sa mga savings mula ‘nung last year and even ‘yung 2011 na savings para pondohan itong pagsasaayos ng ating mga komunidad,” the President said.

The chief executive mentioned during the PDF the reforms at the DPWH, a department once known for rampant corruption. PND (as)

Aquino says all concerned government agencies working together to ensure jobs for Filipinos after graduation

President Benigno S. Aquino III assured that various concerned agencies are exerting all the necessary efforts to attain his administration's goal of providing employment for Filipinos after graduation.

The Chief Executive told the media after attending the Philippines Development Forum 2013 held at Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City on Tuesday that he directed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to work along with its partner agencies in implementing various job creation facilitation programs.

"Ang hinahabol nga natin dito ay ang pagtutulong-tulong ng Labor, CHED (Commission on Higher Education), pati na rin DepEd (Department of Education) at TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) na siguraduhin na meron ngang papasukang trabaho ang ating mga kababayan ‘pag nag-graduate sila," the President said.

President Aquino said the K to 12 program was designed to help address the country's employment concerns.

"'Yung pagtulak sa K+12 is meant to empower our citizens to have better paying jobs or to give them the necessary skills to be able to acquire job," he said.

The program also aims to address the prevailing jobs mismatch, the President noted.

"So, ulitin ko, imbes na 'bahala na system' talagang pinipilit natin alamin kung ano ang mga prospects ng trabaho—not today but two years, four years from now—ipaalam sa mga mag-aaral para naman bagay ang kanilang tinatalakay tungo doon sa kanilang pwedeng pasukan," he said.

Since the business process outsourcing (BPO) is a growing industry in the Philippines, the President bared that there are more schools that will be offering BPO courses.

The administration is trying to attract both domestic and international investors to create more job opportunities for Filipinos, he noted.

"Hina-highlight ko ilang beses ang Phil-JobNet na website ng ating Department of Labor na ‘nung nag-umpisa tayo mga 40,000 jobs available raw ang nandoon at mas maraming nag-a-apply," he said.

"Ang last na report sa akin ni Secretary (Rosalinda) Baldoz over 200—something like 230,000 postings on Phil-JobNet at ang aplikante parang mga 117,000. So tinatrabaho rin natin na siguraduhin na ang gine-generate na skills ay tugma or may papasukan na trabaho," he said. PND (js)

President Aquino cites Andres Bonifacio College as pillar of educational excellence in Region 9

DIPOLOG CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the Andres Bonifacio College (ABC) here for being a pillar of educational excellence in Region 9.

The President said in his speech during the inauguration of the ABC Graduate and Professional School building on Tuesday that from its humble beginnings in 1940, the ABC is now a respected educational institution whose students excel in every field of endeavor.

"Talaga naman pong bukal ng inspirasyon ang kasaysayan ng inyong paaralan. Mula sa isang maliit na istitusyong itinindig ni Ginoong Amatong noong 1940, na may pitong estudyante at limang guro lamang; isa na kayong ngayon sa mga tinitingalang sentro ng edukasyon sa Region 9, at talagang namang humahataw sa husay sa iba't ibang larangan ang inyong mga mag-aaral," the President said.

"Sagisag ng tagumpay ng inyong paaralan ang paglulunsad natin ngayon ng inyong bagong gusali. Bawat pundasyon nito ay simbolo ng matibay na kinabukasang pamana ninyo sa inyong mga estudyante; bawat palapag nito ay sumasalamin sa pag-angat ng kaalaman ng ating kabataan; bawat metro-pulgada nito ay matatag na sandigan ng mga Dipolognon tungo sa magandang kinabukasan," he added.

The President pointed out that just like leading the inauguration of new corporations and the increasing number of investors looking towards the Philippines as an alternative investment site, leading the inauguration of new school buildings symbolizes not only the people's trust in government but also the growing confidence of the international sector on the country under his administration.

"Ang ganitong pagpapasinaya ng mga bagong gusali, ang pagbubukas ng mga bagong kumpanya at industriya, ang sunod sunod na pagpasok ng mga namumuhunan sa ating bansa ay simbolo; hindi lamang ng tiwala ni Juan dela Cruz sa agenda ng pagbabago, kundi lalo na sa kakaibang kumpiyansa ng mundo sa mga Pilipino," the President said.

Built at a cost of P70-million, the ABC Graduate and Professional School building was constructed to meet the growing demand for an institution to host post graduate studies for students seeking even higher learning after college. PND (rck)
President Aquino vows infrastructure and social projects to continue in Zamboanga del Norte

DIPOLOG CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III assured the people of Zamboanga del Norte that his government would work tirelessly to provide infrastructure and social projects for the continued and sustained development of the province, as promised during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2012.

The President gave the assurance in his speech keynoting the inauguration of the Andres Bonifacio College Graduate and Professional School building here on Tuesday.

Among the projects the President said the government would prioritize for the development of the province include upgrading the Dipolog City Airport, which he said will be completed by 2016; and various road projects such as improving the Liloy-Siocon Road and the Sibuco Boundary Road project.

“Gaya ng nabanggit ko noong nakaraang SONA, kasado na ang pagpapaunlad natin ng Dipolog City Airport, na inaasahan nating makumpleto bago matapos ang aking termino sa 2016. Nagkaroon na po ng bidding at inaasahang sisimulan na ang pagpapagawa nito ngayong taon,” the President said.

“Bukod dito, tuloy-tuloy po ang pagpapaunlad natin sa imprastraktura ng Zamboanga del Norte. Isa na rito ang pagsasaayos ng Liloy - Siocon Road na natapos na noong Abril 2012. Nariyan din ang Zamboanga del Sur / Zamboanga del Norte Boundary Road - Sibuco Road, na target nating matapos ngayong taon,” he added.

“At ngayon pong 2013, tinaasan pa natin ang budget ng DPWH para sa inyong rehiyon sa 1.5 billion pesos, na pihadong ilalaan natin sa mga makabuluhang proyekto,” the President said.

He stressed that aside from infrastructure projects, development of the Filipino people through the Conditional Cash Transfer or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program would continue as part of his social contract with the people.

He noted that 84,520 people from the various parts of Zamboanga del Norte have benefitted or are continuing to benefit from this government program.

“Tulad ng ating panata: Walang maiiwan sa itinataguyod nating kaunlaran. Kaya naman tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang ating Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Ang mga dating isang-kahig-isang-tuka, ngayon ay binibigyang-kakayahan ng pamahalaan upang makilahok sa pagpapaunlad ng sarili at ng kalakhang lipunan. Dito po sa Zamboanga del Norte, umabot na sa halos 84,520 ang ating inaaruga sa CCT,” the President said.

President Aquino also vowed to provide electricity to the far-flung barangays and sitios of the province to further develop its potential as one of the country’s top tourist destination.

“Dito po sa Zamboanga del Norte, napailawan na natin sa loob ng labintatlong buwan ang apatnapu’t dalawang sitio, at makakaasa kayong madadagdagan pa ito,” the President said. PND (rck)

President Aquino calls on all Filipinos to be discerning in choosing the next set of leaders during May polls

DIPOLOG CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III called on all Filipinos to be extra discerning when choosing the next set of leaders of the Philippines during the national and local midterm elections that will be held in May 2013.

The President made the call in his speech during the inauguration of the the Andres Bonifacio College Graduate and Professional School building here on Tuesday.

He said that by weeding out the “false” candidates from the real ones who dedicate their lives to serve the people would ensure that the Philippines and the Filipino will achieve its dream of genuine change.

“Ang tanong ngayon: Gusto ba nating magtuloy-tuloy ang pagbabago? Sasagutin po ito ng taumbayan sa darating na Mayo. Ang hamon ko sa ating lahat, lalo na sa ating kabataan na magmamana ng ating kinabukasan --- makilahok, magbantay at makiisa sa pagtataguyod ng isang tapat at patas na halalan,” the President said.

“Kilatisin po natin ang bawat kandidato --- sino ang tunay na lingkod-bayan o nagpapanggap lamang?,” he added.

He expressed confidence that with the help of the people, especially the people of Dipolog, the gains achieved by his administration to move the country forward would continue beyond his term as President.

“Walang duda: Kinikilala na maging ng mundo ang pagbabagong tinatamasa ng ating bayan; na ibang-iba na ito kumpara sa ating dinatnan. Kompiyansa po akong sa pakikiisa ng mga Dipolognon at ng sambayanang Pilipino, magtutuloy-tuloy ang pag-usad ng bansa kahit matapos ang aking termino,” the President said.

“Sama-sama nating iangat ang bawat isa, kapit-bisig nating tugunan ang problema, na maghahatid sa atin sa isang bansang tunay na payapa at masagana,” he added. PND (rck)