Wednesday, 6 February 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Malacanang says government to launch socio-economic initiative to uplift living conditions of MILF communities

The Aquino government is set to launch on Monday a socio-economic initiative dubbed "Sajahatra Bangsamoro" aimed at uplifting the health, education and livelihood conditions of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) communities, a Palace official said.

In line with President Benigno S. Aquino III's instructions to provide immediate socio-economic interventions for the MILF communities, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the national government will launch the “Sajahatra Bangsamoro” in partnership with the MILF leadership.

"Sajahatra Bangsamoro, an Arabic-Melayu-Bahasa derivative which means 'Peace Bangsamoro,' is the President’s concrete peace initiative and assistance for the MILF communities," Almendras said at the press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

Almendras noted that the program signifies the partnership between the government and the MILF in working towards peace and development of the Bangsamoro communities as well as the entire country.

The national government will take the lead in the ceremonial launch of the program to be held at the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute compound in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao.

Almendras said the Sajahatra Bangsamoro will focus on health, education and livelihood services that will be done through an-inter-agency mechanism.

"These will include provision of health insurance by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth); upgrading of community-based health services by the Department of Health (DOH); provision of college scholarships and technical-vocational training by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), respectively; educational assistance to madaris (Islamic schools) and private schools by the Department of Education, needs assessment of selected Bangsamoro communities; Cash for Work Program, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, among others," Almendras said.

A ceremonial turnover of the services to identified beneficiaries and medical missions will highlight the program launching to be attended by the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim, Government of the Philippines peace panel led by Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, representatives of the DOH. DSWD, PhilHealth, DepEd, TESDA, CHED, and Department of Agriculture.

Also invited to grace the event are Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Ab’ Ghafar Tengku bin Mohammed and Malaysian head of the secretariat Che Khasna.

Almendras stressed that the medical missions will be open not only to MILF-identified communities but also to neighboring communities as well. The Indigenous peoples and Christians are also encouraged to avail of the free health services.

The Office of the President, through the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, will oversee the implementation of the program. An inter-agency technical working group has been convened by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary to ensure the effective implementation of the program.

After the launching ceremonies, a caravan will visit selected Bangsamoro communities to provide the services for the beneficiaries.

"Sajahatra Bangsamoro will be rolled-out in partnership with the MILF leadership in the spirit of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro," he said.

The Framework Agreement indicated that the "parties agreed to intensify development efforts for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the Bangsamoro, and institute programs to address the needs of the MILF combatants, internally displaced persons and poverty-stricken communities, Almendras noted.

Mike Pasigan, MILF spokesperson for the Sajahatra Bangsamoro program, said the MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal has affirmed the partnership of the parties for the success of the program.

"Both parties have been working together in identifying and designing the projects that will address the immediate needs of the Bangsamoro communities," Pasigan said.

"The program will further strengthen the collaboration between the government and the MILF as we build on the gains of the peace process. We believe that the Sajahatra Bangsamoro is a step towards long-term development that will benefit not only the Bangsamoro people but all Filipinos," he said. PND (js)

Palace says government to do everything possible despite Amalilio’s conviction in Malaysia

Malacanang assured on Wednesday that the Philippine government will do everything it can so that justice is served despite the conviction of Manuel Amalilio in Malaysia.

Amalilio was tagged as the mastermind in a P12-billion syndicated estafa that victimized thousands of people in the Visayas and Mindanao. Amalilio was sentenced to two years in prison in Malaysia for using fake passports.

Although the Malaysian court sentenced Amalilio, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said it doesn’t necessarily mean that justice won’t be served to his victims.

“Hindi naman sinasabing hindi na sila mabibigyan ng hustisya. Ipagpapatuloy pa rin natin ang ating mga ginagawa para maibalik si Amalilio sa Pilipinas. At katulad ng sinabi ni Secretary De Lima, we will continue our efforts to make sure that there is a fitting end to this story,” Valte said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

Asked if the latest development in Malaysia is acceptable to the Philippine government, Valte said it’s not about being acceptable or not but it’s about respecting the legal process of another country.

“At this point, we do not wish to question their (Malaysia) legal process also. We have very high regard for the legal process of any country—not just of Malaysia but all of the countries that we have relations with,” she said.

Although accepting that Amalilio’s conviction in Malaysia may delay the justice department’s quest for justice, Valte said it will not deter the government’s efforts to bring Amallilo back to the country.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has been working to send Amalilio back to the country as soon as possible to face multi-million peso syndicated estafa cases filed against him.

On January 25, a high Sabah official allegedly blocked Amalilio’s deportation to the Philippines.

According to some reports, the Malaysian government is willing to turn over Amalilio to Philippine authorities provided that proper procedures under Asean’s Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002 are complied with. PND (as)

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board intensify its advocacy campaign to promote Filipino values

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) continues to intensify its advocacy campaign dubbed MTRCB Forum ‘Matalinong Panonood para sa Pamilya ni Juan at Juana’ in a bid to promote Filipino values.

Lawyer Eugenio “Toto” Villareal, new MTRCB chairman, said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday that the board started conducting the series of forum in various provinces late last year.

"Nagsimula kaming pumalaot at patuloy na umiikot ang aming mga board members—sa iba’t ibang mga lalawigan. And we would like to inform the public, that we actually have local regulatory council volunteers in various provinces and municipalities," Villareal said.

The activity aims to raise public awareness on the revised classification rating of the MTRCB for movies and television as well as inform the public on the mandate of the agency under Presidential Decree 1986

Villareal said the holding of the series of forum aims to reach the people, especially the children and the grassroots, and educate them on the roles and functions of the agency.

He said the campaign also aims to guide the public on the kind of television shows or films that should be watched according to the contemporary Filipino cultural values and standards.

"What’s the point of all this? We would want to revisit contemporary Filipino values. Alam niyo po, when we classify films, television programs, and other materials—even po ang mga posters, playbills, billboards kung masyadong sexy—sa amin po dumadaan ‘yan," he said.

He noted that the campaign also intends to empower the community especially the education sector to help the MTRCB in fulfilling its mandate.

"Saklaw na po namin, ang mga buses and ferry boats insofar as showing video entertainment is concerned. Under our rules and our circulars, only G and PG (General Audience and Parental Guidance) ratings are allowed for those which appear via video entertainment on buses, ferry boats, and other forms of public transportation," he said.

He said that the MTRCB will also hold this year the Family and Child Summit to increase awareness of the parents and adult members of the families on the different film and television programs classification.

"With this summit, the government shall partner with other stakeholders to empower the family, evaluate and choose media content," he said.

The MTRCB is not only confined in review and classification but as a prime catalyst of change by helping the movie and television industry to become globally competitive.

The agency recognizes the fact that television and movie media as indispensable tools for moral recovery and nation-building. PND (js)