Sunday, 24 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, February 21, 2013

President Aquino leads ceremonial groundbreaking of Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II in Iloilo

ILOILO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III led the ceremonial ground-breaking of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) Stage II that is considered as the first large scale reservoir dam outside Luzon.

The Chief Executive attended the event on Thursday which has for its theme "Tubig from Jalaur to Bigas for Pinas" held at the Provincial Capitol Building on Bonifacio Drive,Iloilo City.

The P11.21 billion project features the construction of three dams – Jalaur Reservoir, Jalaur Afterbay and Alibunan Catch Dam.

The project aims to sustain the region's rice self-sufficiency and contribute to the annual increase in the country's rice production target by 7.6% under the Food Staples Self-Sufficiency Roadmap 2011-2016.

The JRMP Stage II project will provide the year-round irrigation for increased agricultural production to the 22,340 hectares of the five existing irrigation systems and 9,500 hectares of currently rain-fed areas in Iloilo.

The project also involve the establishment of a 6.6 megawatts hydro-electric power plant plant comprising of two units of a 3.3 megawatt per hour turbine to supplement the power supply in the province.

It will likewise augment the supply of good quality and potable water for domestic and industrial consumption in the nearby municipalities, including Iloilo City. It also aims to realize other intangible benefits including flooding mitigation and promotion of eco-tourism in selected dam/reservoir areas.

Expected benefits and opportunities of the project include the generation of employment for 17,000 workers during construction which is equivalent to 1.3 billion in basic wages per year and provision of livelihood opportunities such as fishery and tourism.

Other benefits that the Iloilo province will derive from the project include increased irrigable lands, upgrade the economic condition and living standard of the project-affected families and project stakeholders, conversion or enhancement of the 2,500 hectares sugarcane area (already provided with irrigation facilities), diversified cropping and third cropping in selected areas and increase in delivery of water supply to fishery farms.

Twenty-five municipalities in the province of Iloilo namely, Calinog, Passi City, Lambunao, Badiangan, Janiuay, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, Alimodian, Leon, San Miguel, Oton, Tigbauan, DueƱas, San Enrique, Anilao, Dingle, BTAC Nuevo, Dumangas, Mina, New Lucena, Pototan, Zarraga, Leganes and Iloilo City.

Among those who attended the event were Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Senator Franklin Drilon and Iloilo officials led by Iloilo Governor Arthur D. Defensor Sr., among others.

Also in attendance were Team PNoy senatorial candidates Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino. PND (js)

International Intellectual Property Alliance cites Philippines’ progress in addressing piracy

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) lauded the Philippine government’s efforts to address piracy and intellectual property rights abuses in the country in its 2013 Special 301 Review submitted to Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation Stanford McCoy last February 8.

The IIPA, a private sector coalition, formed in 1984, of trade associations representing U.S. copyright-based industries working to improve international protection and enforcement of copyrighted materials, also furnished a copy of said report to Optical Media Board chair Ronald Ricketts who in turn, submitted the same to Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Jr. last February 15.

In the report, IIPA members lauded the leadership of the Philippine government, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines Director General Ricardo Blancaflor, and Ricketts “for taking novel and effective approaches to dealing with piracy in the Philippines and further modernizing protection.”

The report cited the government’s concrete steps such as: “the removal of piracy from Quiapo and markets located in areas like St. Francis Square in Mandaluyong and Makati Cinema Square; the passage of the anti-camcording law; the issuance of Supreme Court Rules of Procedure for Intellectual Property Cases, the establishment of administrative enforcement functions of the IP Office; and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine National Police and the Optical Media Board to "remove red tape” as proof of the government’s willingness to curb piracy.

This, the IIPA cited, “evidence the will of the Philippine government to tackle piracy and create space for legitimate creative businesses to grow.”

The IIPA also elevated the Philippines to a Commendable Special Mention Category “to denote positive progress in several key areas for protection of creative content warranting recognition” thereby removing the country from its Watch List category. PND (rck)

Aquino says Sabah standoff must be resolved peacefully

President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that resolving the Sabah standoff through the use of force is not the effective way to deal with the problem.

“Pag tinapatan mo ng armas siyempre ang kabilang panig iisa lang ang magiging puwedeng tugon sa mga hamon na yun. So hindi yun ang solusyon,” the President said in an interview in Iloilo on Thursday.

“We have been dealing with this. We have been talking to parties concerned including the family of the Sultan to ensure na may peaceful resolution.”

Resolving the standoff doesn’t rest entirely on the government’s hands, he said, adding that there has to be cooperation among all other entities to achieve a resolution on the current crisis and later on a long-term solution to the dispute.

The President also acknowledged the good relationship between the Philippines and Malaysia, having helped the country in forging a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“They (the Malaysians) have been very, very friendly to us. And they have been very, very supportive to us. And we have to, as a brother nation in ASEAN, also have to respond.”

The government has been studying the Sabah issue and has compiled available data, the President said.

One of the information mentioned by the President includes the treaty or agreement that was signed in 1878, which contain so many amendments. It was also written in several languages—English, French and even Tausug, the chief executive said. He admitted that the existing documents aren’t easy to understand and has to be studied thoroughly.

Asked by reporters if the long-term solution is to keep the Philippine claim dormant or it must be revived, the President retorted that it must be studied and analyzed by the government’s legal team.

The government will also determine whether the Sultan of Sulu owns Sulu and whether he surrendered the sovereignty to the Americans when they colonized the Philippines.

Documents and agreements written in British and German must also be reviewed, the President stressed.

“I am not an expert. I have tasked the experts to study all of this and to find out precisely all of our standings. Where do we stand? And from where we stand where do we move forward?” he said.

The standoff in Sabah has entered a second week with the Malaysians saying the situation is under their control.

The armed Filipinos reportedly holed up in Sabah are currently surrounded by the Malaysian police, military and naval forces waiting either to escort them out of Sabah or assault them if they insisted on occupying the territory they claim as their homeland. PND (as)

Aquino says he has the list of nominees for the Transition Commission that will draft proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law

President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that he already has the list of the individuals who will compose the 15-man Transition Commission from the government side.

The President will appoint seven persons while the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will designate eight individuals. The government and MILF signed the Framework Agreement for Mindanao peace last October.

“May list na ako ng transition commission. There is also a list that has been consolidated but I have to go through the positions,” the President said in an interview with the media in Iloilo on Thursday.

“On the Transition Commission… there seems to be unanimity already on the advice and the recommendations from all the stakeholders,” he added.

In December last year, the President issued Executive Order No. 120 creating a Transition Commission that will draft the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law provided for in the Framework Agreement signed by the government and the MILF on October 15.

The EO will provide a mechanism for authentic democratic collaboration in the crafting of a proposed law where the affected people themselves are actively involved.

Among the commission’s major work is to coordinate with Congress and other government agencies to craft the basic law that will pave the way for a Bangsamoro region Mindanao.

According to the Executive Order, the Transition Commission may also recommend to Congress and the people, when necessary, proposed amendments to the Constitution.

This month, the President made a historic visit to Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, a stronghold of the MILF, to formally launch a socio-economic program for the MILF community while both sides irons out the final peace agreement. PND (as)

Coloma leads official launching of ‘Hatol ng Bayan’

In a bid to promote responsible voting, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma formally launched on Wednesday the ‘Hatol ng Bayan’, a comprehensive nationwide coverage of the 2013 midterm elections by government news and information organizations and other media partners.

‘Hatol ng Bayan 2013’ aims to deliver blow-by-blow accounts of poll-related events before, during, and after Election Day via television, radio, print, and social media to inform, educate, and help the Filipino voters get the leaders they deserve.

In his speech, Coloma said it is important to come up with an initiative like ‘Hatol ng Bayan’ so the public can be properly guided in choosing the candidates as they cast their votes in polling places come May 13.

“Ang pagboto ay paggawad ng kapangyarihan na nagmumula sa pagtitiwala at pag-asa: pagtitiwala na ang ihahalal ay magiging tapat sa tungkulin; pag-asa na sa pagtupad sa tungkulin, ang mga pinuno ay maghahatid ng pagbabago—pagbabago at pagbuti ng kabuhayan, pag-asenso, at pagiging maaliwalas ng kinabukasan,” Coloma was quoted as saying in a speech.

Coloma noted that ‘Hatol ng Bayan 2013’ will be different from any other poll coverage because it will be focused on our ‘bosses’, the Filipino public, as it strives to hear the thoughts and opinions of citizens regarding the elections.

“Our ‘Hatol ng Bayan’ coverage will gather views of all sectors of Philippine society. We will endeavor to hear and amplify the voices of all stakeholders. It is a vital aspect of democracy to ensure respect and recognition of differences in opinion—for diversity can provide a strong foundation for principled unity,” Coloma said.

‘Hatol ng Bayan 2013’ is backed up by a battery of experienced field reporters, broadcasters, industry experts, bloggers, student journalists, and information officers from some of the finest news and information organizations in the country under the collective name ‘Media ng Bayan’.

Participating agencies include the People’s Television Network (PTV-4), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Philippine News Agency (PNA), Philippine Broadcasting System (PBS), and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC) with the Manila Bulletin and Informatics.

The pre-election coverage of ‘Hatol ng Bayan 2013’, dubbed ‘Ang Paghahanda’, airs every Monday to Friday at 3:30 p.m. on PTV-4 and simulcast over PBS-Radyo ng Bayan with a livestream via PND (hdc)

President Aquino bares plans to visit South Korea following the inaguration of South Korean President-elect Park Geun-Hye

ILOILO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III said he intends to visit South Korea after the inauguration of South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye in a bid to further strengthen and cement the special bonds of friendship cultivated by both countries in the past years.

In an interview after the ceremonial ground-breaking of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) Stage II held at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol in Bonifacio Drive here on Thursday, the Chief Executive said that he hopes to visit South Korea within six months.

"Well, of course Korea is really a very strong friend of ours. The President will assume office end of February if I am not mistaken. Siyempre hindi tayo makaka-attend dahil meron tayong Edsa Revolution (anniversary celebration) dito. Something like within six months pwede natin ma-schedule ang trip," President Aquino said.

The inauguration of Park Geun-hye, the first female president of South Korea, is set on February 25, 2013. She won over liberal rival Moon Jae-in.

Bilateral relations between the two countries started on March 3, 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to recognize the Republic of Korea, which was inaugurated on August 15, 1948.

The friendship was cemented by the Philippine deployment of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) during the Korean War in the 1950s to help South Korea defend itself from the invasion of North Korea.

The relationship between the two countries blossomed in the course of the decades through cooperation in both bilateral and multilateral fronts. PND (js)

Aquino to lead the 27th Anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25

President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the 27th Anniversary celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25 at the People Power Monument in EDSA in Quezon City.

Upon his arrival at the anniversary rites, the President will join the flag-raising ceremony. He is also expected to sign the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013. The landmark legislation is the state’s official recognition of the atrocities committed by the Marcos administration against its own people.

Aside from the reparations to the victims, one of the most important aspects of the law is the creation of the Human Rights Violations Victim’s Memorial Commission.

The commission is mandated to work with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to educate young people about the abuses committed by the Marcos regime and the heroism by those who opposed it.

The EDSA People Power Commission has been calling for national unity, and asking the public to participate in the commemoration of the 27thanniversary of the bloodless revolution.

The commission has prepared several activities during the three-day commemoration that will start February 23 to 25. This year’s EDSA celebration has for its theme “Pilipinas Natin, Abot-tanaw na!”

“Approaching the midpoint of the Aquino administration, EDSA 27 will be an opportune time for all Filipinos to gather together as an expression of unity and support behind the unprecedented political, legislative and economic gains of President Benigno S. Aquino III,” the commission said in a statement.

The highlight of the commemoration will be the re-enactment of the “Salubungan” to be held simultaneously in Manila, Virac, Dumaguete and Zamboanga on February 25. Businessmen, government officials, religious representatives and volunteers will commit for the fulfillment of the promise of EDSA during the simultaneous celebrations.

In the afternoon of February 25, Malacanang will welcome children from various orphanages to the Kalayaan grounds from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The program opens with storytelling activities that impart Filipino values.

Young leaders will inspire the children and will take the lead to make their own commitment on how to contribute their share for the benefit of the country.

On February 23, former president Fidel V. Ramos will lead a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

The EDSA People Power Commission, in cooperation with the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges Student Network-NCR, will hold a fun run at EDSA on February 24. Thirteen medical schools are expected to participate in the race aimed at promoting responsibility, patriotism and good governance. PND (as)

President Aquino says reforms are in place to address concerns of water sector that will revitalize country’s agricultural and energy sectors

IlOILO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III said that various reforms are already in place to effectively address all the issues and concerns of the water sector as part of the administration’s efforts to revitalize the country's agriculture and energy sectors.

In his speech during the ceremonial ground-breaking of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) Stage II held at the Iloilo Provincial Building along Bonifacio Drive on Thursday, the Chief Executive assured that the government continues to implement various programs to achieve the government's goal of rice self-sufficiency by year 2013.

He said the JRMP project in Iloilo province will boost the country's agriculture sector.

"Oras na matapos ang proyekto, apatnapu’t tatlong porsyento ng lupang agraryo dito sa Iloilo ang magkakaroon ng irigasyon. Ibig-sabihin, inaasahan natin na dodoble ang maaaning bigas sa rehiyon, at aangat nang tatlumpung porsyento ang produksyon pati na ng tubo. Ilan lamang po ito sa positibong ambag ng Jalaur River Project sa ating sektor ng agrikultura," the President said.

The P11.21 billion project will also boost the energy and trade sectors.

"Malinaw po, kung ang layunin natin ay ang pangalagaan ang interes at kinabukasan ng ating mamamayan, dapat lamang na karugtong nito ang paninigurong may maayos na mekanismo’t malinaw na istratehiya para sa sistemang patubig ng ating bansa," the President stressed.

The JRMP project will also augment the supply of good quality and potable water for domestic and industrial consumption in the nearby municipalities, including Iloilo City. It also aims to realize other intangible benefits including flooding mitigation and promotion of eco-tourism in selected dam/reservoir areas.

"Tunay nga pong maituturing na bukal ng buhay nating mga Pilipino ang tubig. Maliban sa pinapalibutan nito ang ating pitong libo’t isandaang mga isla, sa tubig din tayo umaasa para punan ang mga pangangailangan sa enerhiya, gayundin sa pagpapalago sa ating mga palayang pinagkukunan ng pagkain," the President said.

"Idiin ko lang kaunti sa inyo --- ang nasa dam, tinitingnan po ang tubig bilang resource, lalo na kung hydroelectric, kailangan i-preserve niya. Ang problema naman ng magsasaka, kailangan ang tubig pang-irigasyon at control naman sa pagbaha," he said.

The President also cited that the government has already finished crafting the water sector master plan to address issues concerning water.

He said Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson has likewise submitted the proposed Water Sector Restructuring and Implementation Plan to ensure the efficient flow of water resources.

"Inatasan po natin ang kalihim ng Public Works and Highways at naging Water Czar na si Babes Singson na pamunuan ang komiteng ito, at gaya po ng iba pa nating hamon kay Secretary Singson, hindi po niya tayo binigo ---naisumite na niya ang isang panukala para sa Water Sector Restructuring and Implementation Plan na titiyak na malinaw ang mandato ng bawat ahensiyang tutugon sa ating pangangailangang pantubig," the President said.

"Hindi lamang po basta pagbibigay ng malinis na tubig ang ating hangarin. Kailangan din na maiwasan ang pag-aaksaya nito, at mapabuti ang ating wastewater management system," he said.

The President also cited the government's partnership with the South Korean government and Korean Export-Import Bank in implementing projects for the Filipino communities.

"Hindi rin po natin maaaring makalimutan na magpaabot ng taos-pusong pasasalamat sa ating mga international partners—ang pamahalaan ng South Korea at ang Korean Export-Import Bank, na katuwang natin sa pagpapaunlad sa ating mga komunidad," he said.

He thanked South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for all the support extended to the government in implementing various projects and initiatives for the Filipino communities.

"Alam po n’yo si President Lee Myung-bak ay pababa na sa puwesto nitong buwan na ito, pero talaga naman hong kung turingin tayo ay para na rin tayong kamag-anak niya o kapatid niyang dapat tulungan dahil naalala raw po nila noong sila ang nangangailangan, tayo rin po ang tumulong sa kanila," he said. PND (js)