Sunday, 17 March 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, March 15, 2013

Improving global economy seen to bode well for Philippine growth

The Philippine economy is seen to continue on its record-breaking upward trend and become the “standout” economy in Southeast Asia in 2013 as the economies affected by a global recession improve, world renowned debt watcher Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) and British banking giant Standard Chartered Bank said in separate reports recently.

S&P’s said it projects Philippine growth to hit 5.9 percent this year as the recession in Europe and America eases.

"For the Asia-Pacific region, which has endured half a decade of leaden skies hanging over the global economy, some rays of sunshine could burst through in 2013," the debt watcher said in a report.

“External risks to the region have abated with the European recession easing. The United States is also expected to grow faster despite spending cuts, while China seems to have avoided a hard landing,” it explained.

It noted that the lower growth “than the better-than-expected 6.6% notched in 2012” was attributed to the dip in base effects.”

S&P’s also pointed out that more investments in tourism and the business process outsourcing industries have spurred economic growth to become more broad-based.

"These structural changes, combined with increased fiscal space for higher public infrastructure investment, are putting the Philippine economy on a higher growth trajectory," it said.

The country holds a BB+ credit rating with S&P, one notch below investment grade. It also bagged a positive outlook last December, indicating that an upgrade could be announced over the next 12 to 18 months.

For its part, the Standard Chartered Bank said that a survey of more than 900 investors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations recently saw the Philippines emerge as the frontrunner among other key cities in the region.

It further said that the “Philippines was the standout country in terms of the strength of on-the-ground sentiment…as the Philippines is expected to see stronger investment growth this year, sustaining the strong momentum from 2012."

The survey showed that 74 percent of investor-respondents in Manila expect to see better business prospects in 2013 compared to the year before, dwarfing scores in Jakarta (46%), Bangkok (44%), Singapore (44%) and Kuala Lumpur (41%).

The survey also found that investors in Manila are most worried about the European, American and Chinese markets this year. No one cited the Philippines as a concern. In comparison, 47% of investors in Kuala Lumpur said their own country worried them, followed by 43% in Singapore, 35% in Jakarta and 19% in Bangkok.

The peso is expected to get stronger, with 86% of investors in Manila saying they expect to see their currency appreciating against the dollar in 2013. Only 67% of investors in Bangkok, 52% in Kuala Lumpur, 50% in Singapore and 35% in Jakarta thought the same.

"We are optimistic that the Philippines will outperform the region and enjoy another year of strong growth momentum in 2013," Standard Chartered Bank said.

With these developments, the Philippines now has the long-awaited chance to achieve “tiger” status during President Benigno S. Aquino III’s term as his administration has been successful in laying down the foundations for inclusive growth.

All these, coupled with the positive shift in the engines of the world economy (the US, Japan, and Europe) will definitely boost the country’s economy to higher levels of growth. PND (rck)

President Aquino says more allies in government means more development projects for Pangasinan

DAGUPAN CITY: President Benigno S. Aquino III exhorted the people of Pangasinan Friday to support candidates allied with his administration to easily realize the province’s potential in trade and tourism.

The President said the government hasn’t changed its strategy to develop Pangasinan, he said in his address during a meeting with local leaders here.

He pointed out that part of the strategy is investing on building new infrastructure such as roads, bridges and irrigation system.
One of these projects includes the 88-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway Project that will connect the three provinces in the region.

The first phase of the project is currently under construction and the President said that before he steps down from power in 2016, he expects phase three, the final part of the project, will be completed.

According to the President, once the project is completed, the three and a half travel time from Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union will be shortened to one hour. Around 20,000 daily motorists are expected to benefit from the project.

The President also noted that before the end of March, he expects the completion of the San Nicolas-Natividad-San Quintin-Umingan-Guimba Road, which, he said, will also cut travel time in the area.

He said that more than 5,400 daily motorists will benefit from the project adding that the travel time will be cut from one hour to half an hour.

The administration is also focusing on developing the province’s agriculture sector, he said. The government has released P10 million to complete the Poblacion-Quinaoayanan Farm-to-Market Road project for the benefit of local farmers.

The government also released the fund for the P360-million Macidem Small Reservoir Irrigation Project that will supply water to 600 hectares of farmland in the province.

The President also reported that there is a separate 17 other irrigation projects in Pangasinan that received more than P150-million budget from the national government. The project will irrigate more than 2,100 hectares of farmland in Pangasinan, he said.

The Aquino government also prioritized providing quality healthcare to the people of Pangasinan. Part of his visit in this city is the inauguration of the Emergency Room Complex Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City.

The national government allotted P15 million for the project, he said. Fifty million pesos was spent for the procurement of modern medical equipment of the new emergency room complex.

“Wala pa po tayo sa kalahati ng ating termino, pero nararamdaman na po natin ang positibong resulta ng malinis at mapagmalasakit na pamamahala,” the President said during his address.

Among those who joined the President during his visit here in Dagupan City were Sen. Franklin Drilon, the coalition candidates of the administration and Pangasinan local leaders. PND (as)

President Aquino inaugurates medical facility in Dagupan City

DAGUPAN CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III led the inauguration Friday of the P23.9 million Emergency Room Complex of the Region I Medical Center here that is expected to boost the government’s medical services to the people of Pangasinan and nearby provinces.

The Chief Executive said the completion of the Emergency Room Complex of the hospital is one of the fruits of the government’s reform and anti-corruption initiatives.

The project, which will serve not only the people of Pangasinan but also those coming from Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales, was completed under the 2013 Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the national government.

The government allotted P15 million for the rehabilitation of the Emergency Room Complex and a separate P50 million was used for the procurement of modern medical equipment of the facility, he said.

“Wala pong duda: sa mahigit dalawang taon at walong buwan nating panunungkulan, napatunayan nating ang serbisyong idinadaan lang dati sa tsamba’t pangako, matagumpay nang tinutupad sa tuwid,” the President said.

He said that the installation of modern equipment was matched with the deployment of 166 nurses in the Region I Medical Center under the RN Heals Program of the Department of Health (DOH). The government spent P24 million for hiring nurses to work at the medical facility.

The Region I Medical Center is a DOH-accredited tertiary training, teaching and research hospital committed to deliver world-class health services in Northern Luzon.

Previous typhoons damaged the old emergency complex prompting the government to rehabilitate and expand the facility to serve the growing number of patients in the region.

The complex was upgraded with modern diagnostic and therapeutic tolls and equipment that are being manned by experienced medical staff. It is designed to respond to victims of disasters, terrorist attacks and contagious diseases.

The Region I Medical Center, which is expected to receive ISO certification in May this year, has the capacity to accommodate 300 to 600 patients.

Among the features of the Emergency Room Complex include sectionized clinical department (medical, pediatrics, surgical and OB-Gyne), animal bite center, toxicology room, isolation room, pharmacy, operating rooms, delivery room, ambulance bay, and counseling room. PND (as)

Aquino assures that government continues to provide government funding for Pangasinan's development

ALAMINOS, Pangasinan) President Benigno S. Aquino III assured the people that his administration continues to provide government funding for various development projects to further develop the agriculture, fishing, commercial and tourism industries in the province.

In a meeting with local leaders and the community held at the Don Leopoldo Sison Auditorium, Poblacion in Alaminos, on Friday, the Chief Executive said his administration continues investing in the necessary infrastructure projects to boost the province's agriculture.

"Sa Bani, bukod sa Poblacion-Quinaoayanan Farm-to-Market Road Project, naglaan din tayo ng tatlongdaan at animnapung milyong pisong pondo para sa Macidem Small Reservoir Irrigation Project na didilig sa animnaraang ektarya ng pananim. May kabuuang labimpitong irrigation projects din tayong nagkakahalaga ng mahigit 150 milyong piso para tuloy-tuloy ang produktibong ani ng mga taga-Anda, Infanta, Bugallon, Mangatarem, Sta. Barbara, San Fabian, Laoac, Pozorrubio, Rosales, San Nicolas, Umingan, Mapandan, Binalonan, Lingayen at San Carlos City," the President said.

President Aquino expressed support for the fishing industry in the province, including Alaminos. For the first time in several years, the Aquino administration is appropriating bigger budget for the fishing sector.

"At hindi naman po puwedeng makalimutan ang Alaminos City ---halos 32 million pesos ang inilagak natin para sa pagpapatayo ng Regional Mariculture Technology Development Center, na magsisilbing research and training center para sa pagpaparami ng siganid at iba pang isda," he stressed.

The President said various road projects are now in place to boost the tourism and business sectors.

"Oras naman na makumpleto ang Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, ang dating halos apat na oras na biyahe mula Tarlac papuntang La Union, magiging isang oras na lang. Tinatayang dalawampung libong motorista ang gagaan ang biyahe dahil dito, at ito rin ang magsisilbing lagusan upang hindi na abutin nang siyam-siyam ang biyahe ng mga turistang gustong mag-island hopping at dumalo sa inyong Galila Hundred Islands Festival," he said.

Various programs aimed at improving health services, upgrading the capacities of the schools, and other social services, are now in place.

He said the government is also implementing an infrastructure development program to improve access to power.

"Sa katunayan, kayong mga Pangasinense mismo ay natatanglawan ng ating pagpapailaw ---mahigit isandaan at tatlumpung sitio mula sa inyong probinsya ang hindi na muling mangangapa sa dilim, at doble-kayod tayo upang sa lalong madaling panahon, bawat isla sa bansa ay mapailawan na," he said.

Anchored on the principle of "Tuwid na Daan," the President stressed that his government was able to build on the gains of the anti-corruption campaign and reduce poverty.

"Tignan po natin ang Araneta-Quezon Avenue Underpass: ang proposal dati, 694 million pesos ang kakailanganing pondo. Subalit dahil sa tamang pamamahala at tapat na paggugol ng DPWH (Department of Public Works ang Highways,) naibaba na natin ang gastos sa 430 million pesos, 100 days ahead of schedule pa tayo," he said.

"Nang binigyang-lakas naman natin ang mahigit 3.85 milyong kabahayan gamit ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, iisa lang po ang tuon ng aming malasakit at serbisyo ---Kayo.

Dito sa Pangasinan, lampas 112,400 na pamilya ang kinakalinga ng Department of Social Welfare and Development sa pamamagitan ng programang ito," he said.

The President assured the people that the government continues to promote investments by both local businessmen and foreign investors to accelerate the trade industry. PND (js)

Malacañang announces new appointments to Cebu Port Commission

Fresh appointments for the members of the Cebu Port Commission, which is under the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), were announced Friday by Malacañang to serve the unexpired term of office ending on June 2013.

They include Benjamin C. Akol and Marino M. Fernan (replacing Vicente T. Suazo, Jr.) as members representing the shipping sector, Joselito O. Pedaria and Tomas A. Riveral as members representing the cargo handling labor sector, and Carlos G. Co as member representing the business sector.

The Cebu Port Commission is the policy-making body of the CPA, separate from the Philippine Ports Authority, which was tasked to specifically oversee all ports located in Cebu by virtue of Republic Act 7621 signed on June 26, 1992 by then President Corazon Aquino.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Benigno S. Aquino III signed their appointment papers on Thursday (March 14) which were immediately transmitted to the office of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. PND (hdc)

Malacañang says media practitioners nationwide will have opportunity to vote every election through Republic Act No. 10380

Media practitioners nationwide will now have the opportunity to cast their votes every election as President Benigno S. Aquino III finally signed Republic Act (RA) 10380 otherwise known as the Local Absentee Voting for Media Law, Malacañang announced Friday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters in a press briefing that the pertinent provisions of this new law shall apply to all members of the media and their respective technical and support staff who are usually busy covering the election day.

They, however, are only allowed to vote for national positions including the president, vice president, senators, and party list representatives, according to RA 10380.

“The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) shall extend the right to vote under the local absentee voting system provided under existing laws and executive orders to members of media, media practitioners, including the technical and support staff, who are duly registered and who, on election day, may not be able to vote due to the performance of their functions in covering and reporting on the elections --- pjrovided, that they shall be allowed to vote only for the positions of President, Vice President, Senators, and Party-List Representative,” it stated.

RA 10380 added that the COMELEC shall, within 30 days upon the signing of the law, promulgate the implementing rules and regulations which shall include a system of accreditation and verification of the members of the media, media practitioners, the technical and support staff, who are qualified to avail of the local absentee voting.

With the implementation of this new law, Malacañang is encouraging everyone who works in the media industry to take advantage of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote ahead of the regular voting schedule.

“Marami ho tayong mga kasamahan sa media na ang hinaing nga po nila ay hindi sila nakakaboto dahil nga naman nagko-cover po sila usually kapag araw po ng eleksyon, so we encourage everybody to vote. So, finally, may pagkakataon na po kayo. Let’s take advantage of the new law so you can exercise your right to vote,” Valte said.

The initial funding for the new local absentee voting for the media shall be charged against the current budget or savings of the COMELEC and future expenses for the same exercise shall be incorporated in the annual General Appropriations Act.

President Aquino signed RA 10380 last Thursday, March 14, and was immediately transmitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate through Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile respectively. PND (hdc)