Thursday, 21 March 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, March 21, 2013

Aquino declares April 3 as special non-working day in Albay in commemoration of Albay Day

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared April 3, which falls on a Wednesday, as a special non-working day in the province of Albay in commemoration of Albay Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration by virtue of Proclamation No. 557 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on March 7, to give the people of Albay the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion.

On December 7, 2011, Congress passed House Bill No. 5617, entitled "An Act declaring April 3 of every year as a special non-working holiday in the province of Albay and commemorate the emergence of Albay as a province."

The province of Albay was created on March 10, 1917. PND (js)

President Aquino leads groundbreaking for Robredo Museum in Naga City

NAGA CITY: President Benigno S. Aquino III led the groundbreaking for the proposed Jesse Robredo Museum in the city on Thursday.

“Inilulunsad natin ang simula ng pagpapatayo ng monumento at museo ni Jesse Manalastas Robredo,” the President said in his speech following the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Hindi lamang upang magbalik-tanaw at gunitain ang kanyang buhay kundi upang maisakonkreto rin ang paninindigang ipagpatuloy ang mga adbokasiyang kanyang napasimulan upang bigyang-inspirasyon at lakas ang karaniwang mamamayan na makiisa sa pagtataguyod ng bayan.”

The government is also building a monument in honor of Robredo at the middle of Concepcion-Panganiban Rotonda in Naga City, the President said.

The museum, which will be part of the Naga City Civic Center, will showcase the life and legacy of the late Naga City mayor and former interior and local government secretary.

The President said that through the building of the museum, present leaders would be more innovative in governance and it will also encourage the people to participate on government initiatives.

The President expressed hope that more and more people will follow the footsteps of Jesse Robredo noting that his legacies will benefit the next generation of Filipinos who’ll fight for what is right.

Museum designers took the opportunity to create the edifice without cutting down trees in the area. The trees would be complementing elements to the architecture, creating a space that integrates the outdoor garden with the interiors.

The proposed museum is a two-storey building that will have cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries for contemporary exhibits.

The second floor will feature the Jesse Robredo gallery, depicting his story as a boy growing up in Naga City, a local public servant, a national leader and a family man. An audio-visual room which introduces the exhibits can also function as a venue for lectures, seminars and book launches.

Prior to the groundbreaking ceremony, the President visited the tomb of the former Naga City mayor and late interior and local government secretary at the Eternal Gardens in this city. He was joined by some of his Cabinet Secretaries, Robredo’s widow, Atty. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and other members of the family.

Robredo, who served as Naga City mayor for several years and then interior and local government secretary, died in a plane crash seven months ago.

The private plane carrying the late mayor and secretary, who was returning home from a Cebu trip, crashed off Masbate killing him and two of his companions. PND (as)

Government to impose stopgap measure to resolve Mindanao power shortage

NAGA CITY) The Department of Energy (DOE) will be presenting an immediate solution to the Mindanao power problem to relieve businesses from frequent power outages, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday.

It was reported that Mindanao businessmen have called on the President to use his emergency power to solve the power crisis in the region, which may affect trade as well as the upcoming elections in May.

The Chief Executive noted that the DOE made an assurance that major dams will have enough supply of water to ensure that there’s electricity particularly during the elections.

The problem in the hydroelectric system is siltation because of river waste in addition to illegal logging that destroys the region’s watershed, thus affecting the ability to generate electricity.

According to the President, the immediate solution will probably be diesel-powered generators, adding that diesel-powered plants of barges could be assembled immediately.

“May kailangan ng aksyon from Congress—joint resolution, I understand, to authorize us to purchase. Under EPIRA [Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001], hindi na kasi puwedeng bumili ng generating capacity ulit ang gobyerno,” he explained.

But once that is done, it will serve as a stopgap measure of the government, he added.

The President cited two schemes, he explained. One is either government buys it, or we will be renting from those that have the generating capacity to remedy power shortages in Mindanao, he said.

The government could also opt to cease using electricity from diesel-powered plants because of the high cost of electricity. Private companies will start generating cheaper power by 2014 and 2015 and diesel-powered generators will be towed to missionary areas or Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) areas, the President said.

He pointed out that the government is also imposing penalties and fines on those overdrawing beyond their stated use limits, he said.

For instance, the President said that Zamboanga City, located at the end of the grid, is getting less power because other areas closer to the grid are getting too much energy.

“Nakakawawa ang Zamboanga City, in particular, naubos na lahat bago umabot sa kanila, so sila ang pinakakawawa,” he noted. PND (as)

Aquino says government helping Camarines Sur harness its tourism, trade potentials

NAGA CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III said his administration is focusing on developing the Bicol region to further enhance its potential for trade and tourism.

In his speech during a meeting with local leaders and Naga City residents on Thursday here, the President said that the government has started rehabilitating the 34-kilometer railroad tracks that will connect Camarines Sur to Metro Manila, noting that the national government is also rehabilitating several bridges for the Bicol Commuter Train Service, the President said.

Once these projects are completed, tourists could easily reach and enjoy the beaches of Caramoan and join the festivities of PeƱafrancia.

“Oras na matapos ito, makikinabang at magkakaroon ng mas murang alternatibo ang 2,200 na pasahero ng tren. Alam naman po natin ang magiging epekto nito ---lalago ang inyong turismo, dagdag na trabaho sa mga Bicolano, mas maraming pinto ng oportunidad na magbubukas para sa Camarines Sur,” he said.

The President noted that the other projects of the government in the area also include the widening of the five-kilometer Maharlika Highway in Naga City, which he said is in addition to asphalt overlaying works being done in other areas in the area.

While ensuring that these projects are well-done, the government is also making sure that there’s no money being wasted in those projects, he added.

In this connection, the President said that the government saved around P3 million for the repair of the Almeda Highway: from the original project cost of 90 million pesos, after assessing and redesigning the project, the government was able to lower it to P87 million.

“Pagkatapos naman ng competitive bidding, halos nakalahati na ang presyo sa 46 million pesos. Ang laking diperensya, di po ba? At hindi lamang ang natipid nating pondo ang maghahatid ng ginhawa sa inyo,” the President said.

“Oras na makumpleto ang Almeda Highway sa darating na Setyembre, luluwag ang kalsada, at maiibsan ang traffic papunta sa mga kilalang destinasyon ninyo rito sa Naga.”

The government also completed six farm-to-market roads in Naga City that are expected to benefit 640 farmers in Barangay Panicuason, San Isidro, Carolina, at Cararayan.

The President also mentioned an upgrading of the Naga City Hospital that will be completed next month.

He added that the administration is also aggressively connecting Camarines Sur sitios without power to the major grid. Just recently, there are 125 sitios energized as part of the government’s electrification program.

“Lahat po ng proyektong ito ay bunga ng pakiki-ambag ng mga NagueƱo sa tuwid na daan; lahat po nang ito ay nagbukal sa suporta’t tiwala ninyo sa pamahalaan. Kayo po ang gumawa nito,” the President said.

President Aquino arrived here to visit the tomb of the late Naga City mayor and former interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo and lead the groundbreaking for a proposed museum to be built in his honor.

The government is likewise erecting a monument here as a tribute to the late mayor and former DILG secretary hoping that it will inspire young people to follow in his footsteps.

The President also met local leaders and residents here to ask support for the coalition’s senatorial slate. PND (as)

Aquino wants safe railway system in Bicol Region

NAGA CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III said he wants to make sure that the tracks of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) are safe before resuming its operations at least from Naga City to Legazpi City.

The PNR did a test run recently after rehabilitating its lines from Naga City to Legazpi City.

“Hindi natin papaandarin hanggang hindi tayo 1,000 percent sure na safe ito. Nakita naman n’yo nadiskaril kamakailan,” the President said in an interview here after attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Jesse Robredo museum to be built in this city in honor of the late interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo.

Meanwhile, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya confirmed the test run from Naga City to Legazpi City saying that the original plan is to extend the PNR lines to Sorsogon.

The long-term plan is to build lines from Cagayan, Isabela, Metro Manila, and then to the Bicol region. The goal is to create a fast transportation system that will help farmers bring their produce to Metro Manila from major Luzon provinces, Abaya said.

President Aquino also said that there is a proposal to extend the expressway in Batangas to Lucena City adding that a second phase will also be built to further extend to Bicol region.

“Hindi pa tapos lahat ang plano. Pero maliban doon sa railway system, magkakaroon tayo ng mga expressway dito. Sana abutan ko bago matapos ang termino ko. Uunahin muna siyempre, ang Quezon na dudugtungan papuntang Bicol,” the President said. PND (as)