Thursday, 7 March 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, March 7, 2013

President Aquino cites support of Davaoeños in making government reforms possible

(DAVAO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the people of Davao for supporting his administration’s reform program saying that with their help, his agenda of ridding government of graft and corruption is now bearing fruit.

In his speech during a meeting with local leaders and the community at the Rizal Park here on Wednesday, the President said that after a little over two years in office, the benefits of an efficient and effective government that is made for the people is nearing realization.

He said that through the implementation of infrastructure, education, and business programs in the province, more prosperity has been coming to the people and the province of Davao.

“Mula po sa ipinagkaloob ninyong tiwala noong nakaraang halalan, hanggang sa patuloy ninyong pakikiisa sa tuwid na daan, lagi po tayong makakaasa sa suporta’t pakikiisa ng mga Davaoeño. Daghang salamat sa mga kabag-uhan na inyong gihimo ug padayon pa nga ginahimo,” the President said to delight, loud applause and cheer of the residents of Davao.

“Mulat po ang mga Davaoeño sa mga tagumpay na nakamit natin dahil sa pagtitiwala ninyo sa ating agenda ng mabuting pamamahala,” he added.

For infrastructure, the President said that since July 2011 to April 2012, the Department of Public Works and Highways has been able to repair and upgrade the five-and-a-half kilometer Digos-Makar Road, the Davao-Cotabato Road and the Fatima-Malabog Road that has helped make travel time to and from the province faster and more efficient.

The President, also mentioned the construction of the Davao River Flood Control project, “Patitibayin natin ang mga river bank upang maiwasan ang pagragasa ng baha sa mga mababang lugar na nakapaligid sa Davao river. Kasalukuyan pong umaarangkada ang proyektong ito upang matapos ito sa Hunyo, he said.”

For education, the President said that the Department of Education has already constructed 220 kindergarten and elementary school classrooms to augment the existing 150 classrooms for the secondary level that forms part of the 66,800 classrooms backlog that the President expects to be completed by the end of this year.

“Malinaw ang hangad natin: bigyan ng sapat na kakayahan ang ating mga kabataan upang handa silang punan ang mga pagkakataong inilalatag natin para sa kanila,” the President said.

On the business front, the President said that the passage of the Common Carriers Tax and Tax on Gross Philippine Billings would pave the way for more positive economic activity and entice more investors to invest in the province and the country in the fields of aviation and tourism.

“Sa paglagda natin sa batas na ito, inaasahan nating magdudulot ito ng paglago sa ating ekonomiya, at makakahikayat ng mas marami pang namumuhunan, partikular na sa larangan ng aviation at turismo,” the President said.

“Patunay lang po ang magagandang balitang dala natin ngayon na walang espasyo ang panlalamang at kapabayaan sa tuwid na daan. Sa mabuting pamamahala, tinatapalan natin ang mga tagas sa pondo, at idinidiretso sa mga serbisyong panlipunan na taumbayan ang nakikinabang. Sinisiguro nating bawat estatistikang pahiwatig ng kaunlaran, ay may katumbas na pagkakataong umasenso si Juan dela Cruz,” he concluded. PND (rck)

President Aquino signs Common Carriers Tax Act into law

DAVAO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III signed on Thursday Republic Act No. 10374, otherwise known as the Common Carriers Tax Act, which rationalizes the taxes paid by international carriers in the country.

In ceremonies held at the SMX Convention Center of the SM Lanang Premiere shopping mall here, President Aquino signed the consolidated versions of House Bill No. 6022 and Senate Bill No. 3343 now known as An Act Recognizing the Principle of Reciprocity as Basis for the Grant of Income Tax Exemptions to International Carriers and Rationalizing Other Taxes Imposed Thereon by Amending Sections 28(A)(3)(a), 109, 11 and 236 of the National Internal Revenue Code, as Amended, and For Other Purposes.

Under the new legislation, foreign carriers – both air and shipping – are exempted from paying the three percent Common Carriers Tax (CCT) imposed on passenger traffic only. Carriers will also be VAT (value added tax) exempt for the transport of passengers.

The removal of CCT takes away the primary constraint on foreign carriers’ capacity growth and places the Philippines on an almost level playing field with that of other countries.

In his speech, the President said that the passage of this law “will only bring in more traffic, and facilitate connectivity among our countries.”

“Today, you also witnessed the signing into law of Senate Bill No. 3343 or House Bill No. 6022. Once it takes effect, this law will exempt all international and shipping carriers from paying the three percent common carriers tax on receipts and income derived from transporting passengers. The carriers are also exempted from paying tax on the gross revenue derived from the carriage of passengers, cargo, or mail—provided that the same exemption is granted by the carrier’s home country to the Philippines,” the President said.

“With this bill, everybody wins from our aviation industries, to our tourism industries, to the millions of our peoples who will have greater freedom in planning their trips,” he added. PND (rck)

President Aquino kicks off 2013 Meetings, Incentives Travel Conventions and Exhibitions/Events Convention in Davao City

DAVAO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III led the opening ceremonies for the 2013 Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions/Events Convention (MICECON) held at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang Premiere here on Thursday.

Joining the President for the ceremonial kickoff were Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and members of the House and Senate led by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senator Franklin Drilon.

In his speech, the President urged the participants to set aside competing with other industry players and come up with better products and services which can attract more tourists and domestic visitors in the coming years.

“The good news is that opportunities for success in tourism abound for all of us in the Asia-Pacific. In recent years, the rest of the world has increasingly turned to us—not only for the relative stability that makes our countries conducive to investments, but also because of our unique tourism offerings,” the President said, as he noted the Philippines’ vast coastline provides “more than enough beaches—or mountains, or lakes—to accommodate the millions in search of a getaway.”

“This is why I believe that there is no place for rivalry in the industry: rather, it should stimulate friendly competition, encouraging all of us to find ways to reinvent the business of fun. And this is precisely what we are doing here today: coming together and helping each other make the most of our countries’ potentials,” he added.

The MICECON brings together participants from resorts, hotels, travel and tour companies, airlines, professional congress organizers, academe, local and national tourism government offices and other industry suppliers and provides a platform for comprehensive educational program on improving the goods and services in their selected industry. PND (rck)

President Aquino announces two new members of COMELEC

DAVAO CITY) Two new members of the Commission on Election (COMELEC) were appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday to fill in the vacant positions left by two of its commissioners last month.

Former ambassador Macabangkit Lanto and election lawyer Bernadette Sardillo will replace Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco who both retired as commissioners on February 2.

Lanto and Sardillo were chosen by the President out of the three nominees he interviewed recently. The President said he already signed their appointment papers and these will be sent to Congress for their official confirmation.

Besides serving as the country’s top diplomat in Egypt and some of the countries in the Middle East, Lanto held several portfolios in government including a stint at the Department of Justice as undersecretary.

“He has proven his worth, I believe, during times that he performed or tried to perform his function when the higher ups were preventing him from doing what should have been done,” President Aquino said of Lanto.

Sardillo, on the other hand, is an experienced election law practitioner who has “demonstrated her mettle in defending the rights of the citizenry” in several particular election contests, especially in the last electoral exercise, the President said. PND (hdc)

President Aquino orders AFP to 'reassess' sending of troops abroad

DAVAO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III has tasked the Armed Forces of the Philippines to reassess the viability of sending Filipino troops to assist in humanitarian missions vis-à-vis the need to uphold the peace and security at the home front, saying a “delicate balance” between the two had to be reached.

In an interview here, the President said he wanted the “vital function” of Filipino contingents sent to the Middle East, Haiti, East Timor, Cambodia and the Golan Heights.

“Ngayon, ‘yung lahat itong deployment nga na ito, may vital function. We are part of the global community. Syempre, kung may katahimikan sa Gitnang Silangan ay nakakatulong rin sa ating sarili ito na, for instance, basta nagkaroon ng giyera diyan nagkakaroon ng the upward spiral ng price of oil; napapataas ang lahat ng bilihin, etc,” the President said.

“So tina-task ko ang ating AFP, in particular, to…parang to reassess, matagal na, na can we afford to send this number of people? I am told the number is about a thousand for all of the deployments everywhere when we also have our needs here in the country,” he added.

“So I’m still awaiting the results of that study. Ang balancing is meron naman tayong obligasyon na makatulong mag-enhance ng world peace, ano, pero meron rin naman tayong pansariling interes. Kailangan rin sigurong pagtugmain... ‘yung hindi napapabayaan ang alin man ditong obligasyon,” the President said. PND (rck)

President Aquino cites role of telecommunications in facilitating free flow of information

President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the role of the telecommunications sector in facilitating the free flow of information to our countrymen.

"Knowledge empowers our people and sustains the momentum of our nation’s ongoing revitalization. As part of the telecommunications sector, you act as conduits that facilitate the free flow of information to our countrymen," the Chief Executive said in his message to the Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP) on Thursday.

The FICTAP opened its 14th International Cable Congress and Exhibit on Thursday at the Manila Hotel. The event would end on Friday.

"It is necessary that we remain attentive to the advances in technology in your industry, that we may keep our countrymen informed and educated, bringing us closer to our goal of equitable progress," the President said.

President Aquino also lauded the FICTAP for undertaking initiatives that will promote healthy competition in the telecommunications sector.

The President said the initiatives likewise aim to improve the sector's service levels, thereby contributing to an aware and engaged populace.

"The nation is one with you in welcoming a new chapter in your history, with your organization’s recent change of name to encompass the new possibilities emerging in your field," he stressed.

"This move is both apt and timely, as it recognizes the potential of cable television not only in bringing news, current events, and entertainment, but also in transmitting communications and elevating the level of public discourse," the President said. PND (js)