Wednesday, 13 March 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

President Aquino confers Order of Sikatuna with rank of Datu Katangiang Ginto on outgoing President of Asian Development Bank

President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu Katangiang Ginto (Grand Cross, Gold Distinction) on outgoing outgoing Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Haruhiko Kuroda, in simple ceremonies at the Music Room of the Malacanang Palace on Wednesday.

The Chief Executive presented the award on Kuroda, in recognition of his contribution for making the ADB an invaluable partner in the Aquino administration's pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), through various initiatives such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT); technical assistance projects, including the Social Protection Reform; and the delivery of multiple forms of loan assistance to spur the needed reforms in the Philippines.

The award was also given to Kuroda "in recognition of eight years of dedicated leadership at the helm of the Asian Development Bank, contributing to the over-all economic development of the Philippines as well as other countries in Asia."

Kuroda was likewise cited for tripling ADB's capital base from US$55 billion to US$165 billion, bolstering the Asian Development Fund and enabling the ADB to further support important socio-economic initiatives in the fields of poverty alleviation, climate change, infrastructure, agriculture, science and technology, social services, education, among others.

He was also recognized "for the ADB's support of a new financing framework for Philippine national government projects, which gives the government greater flexibility in arranging for Philippine development initiatives."

Kuroda helped in promoting the Philippines as the location of the ADB's 2012 Annual Meeting which provided an invaluable opportunity to showcase the country's economic achievements and national beauty.

He was awarded for utilizing his post to foster goodwill, enhance cooperation and deepen fellowship among the world's nations and peoples, through regional macroeconomic stability. Kuroda was recognized "for being a good and steadfast friend of the Filipino people".

Last February, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated Kuroda as the next governor of the Bank of Japan, a key post in Tokyo's bid to overhaul the economy.

Kuroda, 68, was named along with two deputies – Kikuo Iwata, an economics professor at Tokyo's Gakushuin University, and Hiroshi Nakaso, the BoJ's executive director. Kuroda submitted his resignation from the ADB on February 28.

Kuroda was accompanied by his wife Kumiko Kuroda to Malacanang for the conferment rites. Present during the event were Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, Tomoyuki Saisu, Chief Advisor to the ADB President and Kunio Senga, Director-General of the Southeast Asia Department.

The Order of Sikatuna was established in 1953 and is conferred by the President of the Philippines to give recognition to individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Philippines, and to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered conspicuous services in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines as well as personnel of the Department of Foreign Affairs both in the Home Office and in the Foreign Service. PND (js)

President Aquino swears in new government officials, new officers of Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas in Malacanang

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the mass oath-taking on Wednesday of newly-appointed government officials and officers of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) in simple ceremonies in Malacanang Palace.

The officials who took their oath before the President include: Foreign Affairs Undersecretary (USEC) Erlinda F. Basilio, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to the People's Republic of China; Education USEC Mario A. Deriquito; Social Welfare and Development USEC Angelita Gregrorio Medel; Agrarian Reform USEC Jose Z. Grageda; Transportation and Communications USEC Catherine Jennifer Francis P. Gonzales; Science and Technology USEC Amelia P. Guevara, and Office of Political Affairs, Office of the President USEC Tomasito S. Villarin.

Also inducted into the office were Public Works and Highways Assistant Secretary (ASEC) Ardeliza R. Medenilla, Education ASEC Lorna D. Dino, Energy ASEC Daniel A. Ariaso Sr., Presidential Communications Operations Office ASEC Jess Anthony Q. Yu, Office of the Cabinet Secretary ASEC Janice F. Santos, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chairman Eugenio H. Villareal, Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) commissioner Vicente L. Gengos, Jr., National Dairy Authority Administrator Grace J. Cenas, panel chair for Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Parole and Probation Administration Deputy Administrator Arturo O. Gabrieles and Intellectual Property Office Deputy Director-General Allan B. Gepty.

The 2013 KBP Board of Trustees and officers who administers their oath of office were, Ruperto S. Nicdao, Jr. of Manila Broadcasting Company, Chairman; Butch S. Canoy of Radio Mindanao Network, Vice-chairman, Herman Z. Basbaño of Bombo Radyo Philippines, President; Rosario S. Bartolome of ABS-CBN, Executive Vice-president; Francisco L. Cardona of Radio Corporation of the Philippines, Vice-president for Radio; Joselito G. Yabut of Primax Broadcasting Network, Corporate Secretary; Fr. Manuel Bongayan, SVD, of Radio Veritas Global Broadcasting System, Treasurer; Engineer Erwin V. Galang of GV Broadcasting System/Mediascape Inc., Director; Jose M. Locsin Jr., of the Philippine Broadcast Network, Director and Albert Sikat of the Tamaraw Broadcasting Corporation, Director.

The President also swore-in Wilhelm D. Soriano, legal counsel of the Progressive Broadcasting Corporation, who was elected Deputy Chairperson.

The KBP Standards Authority Directors who took their oath of office before President Aquino include Jose Alberto Ante of the Transradio Broadcasting Corp, Atty. Nicolas Bondoc of ABC-5, Ric D. Climaco of the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation, Manolito Cruz of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation, Noel C. Galvez of the Vanguard Radio Network Co., Rev. Ephraim Guerrero of the Intermedia Philippines, Orly Pangcog of the People's Broadcasting Service and George M. Salabao of the St. Jude Thaddeus Institute of Technology. PND (js)

Malacanang says government providing enough assistance, food to Sabah evacuees

Malacanang assured that the government is providing enough assistance to Filipinos affected by the ongoing conflict in Sabah by helping them return to the country and feeding those who have returned to Mindanao.

In a press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman reported that there are 500 individuals who returned to Tawi-Tawi from Sandakan in Malaysia through the assistance of the Philippine Navy.

Soliman said, the evacuees are part of the 1,500 Filipinos who reportedly returned to the country on Tuesday. The evacuees will then proceed to Sulu and Basilan, where most of them reside.

Soliman also noted that 600 people arrived in Jolo and Tanduao Tuesday night who were given food and other assistance by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office of Jolo. Most of them returned to Basilan and Zamboanga Peninsula after receiving government assistance.

She assured those returning from Sabah that there is enough food supply for them particularly rice and other basic commodities.

“Nais ko lang i-assure ang ating mga kababayan, gaya ng aming pagpupulong kahapon, noong Lunes nagpadala na ng isang libong sako sa bawat bayan sa Jolo at sa Bungao,” Soliman said.

The government is providing 1,000 sacks of rice as well as canned goods. The government has set up repacking stations in Jolo and Bungao, she said adding that there are additional 2,000 sacks that may arrive from Pagadian City and Zamboanga City for the National Food Authority’s (NFA) commercial use.

The government expects the price of rice to go down in those areas once the NFA rice arrives, Soliman said.

Providing enough supply of basic commodities especially rice, should not be a problem because the country had a bumper harvest in Luzon, according to Soliman.

Soliman also reported that there is a Rapid Response Team in Sabah that has recently visited Lahad Datu, the conflict area, where the followers of the Sulu sultanate was previously holed up.

The Rapid Response Team is composed of personnel from the Department of Foreign Affairs, DSWD, and the country’s Police Attaché in Malaysia.

Soliman explained that the Rapid Response Team visited Felda in Sabah where three evacuation centers are set up. Among those who are staying in the three evacuation centers are Filipinos, Indonesians, Timuris and local villagers. Local reports said more than 500 Filipinos affected by the Sabah conflict are staying in three evacuation centers in Felda.

There are 451 Filipinos working in Felda and are not threatened by the Sabah conflict, Soliman said.

“Inaasahan na itong Rapid Response Team and the Humanitarian Welfare Desk ay tutulong para doon sa mga gustong umuwi, makauwi; at doon sa mga gustong manatili, matulungan kung wala silang dokumento na mabigyan sila ng dokumento, nang sa ganoon malaya silang makapagtrabaho sa lugar na kanilang pinagtatrabahuan,” she said.

The Sabah conflict, which started February 12, has claimed the lives of more than 60 Filipinos and nine Malaysians, based on recent reports. PND (as)

Government has enough measures to prevent politicians from exploiting Conditional Cash Transfer

The government assured that politicians can’t exploit the conditional cash transfer (CCT) for political purposes because of existing measures.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said in a press conference in Malacanang on Wednesday that her department launched the Anti-Epal Campaign three weeks ago to prevent politicians from using the CCT for political purposes as they start to campaign late this month.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also rolling out information dissemination campaign through radio programs to tell the public that they will remain in the list of beneficiaries as long as they are qualified to receive the assistance.

“Walang makakapag-alis ng pangalan mo—hindi si mayor, hindi si governor, hindi si congressman or congresswoman. Ang makakapag-alis lang ng pangalan mo sa Pantawid ay ikaw,” Soliman said.

“Kung hindi ka sumunod sa kasunduan, hindi ka gumagamit ng pera nang tama, ang magbubura ng pangalam mo ay DSWD.”

No politician can add to the department’s list of beneficiaries, Soliman said, explaining that the DSWD is the one screening people to qualify as beneficiaries.

Those who will qualify must be 0-14 years old and poor, Soliman said adding that the DSWD determines whether a person belongs to the poor or not.

DSWD’s grant of CCT became an issue as the country prepares for the May election this year and such assistance is banned under the law. Soliman said they had a hearing Tuesday with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the issue.

Aside from the CCT program, Soliman said the DSWD also implements the Family Development Sessions, the Grievance Redress System and biometrics registration in Maguindanao and Lanao provinces.

The CCT program is aimed at supporting children go to school and keep them healthy.

“We have provided the January-February, which is usually disbursed after March 15, na-disburse na namin ngayong February,” Soliman said stressing that the DSWD will check the compliance for January-February.

The DSWD will withhold the assistance for the month of May for those who didn’t comply, she added.

The government eyes to finish providing all the cash grants for 3.8 million families by March 27, based on government schedule, Soliman said. PND (as)

President Aquino appoints new officials in Court of Tax Appeals and other government agencies

President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed Roman G. del Rosario as Presiding Judge of the Court of Tax Appeals.

In a transmittal letter dated March 13, 2013, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. informed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno that del Rosario replaced Presiding Judge Ernesto D. Acosta who retired last December.

The Chief Executive, likewise, appointed former Cadiz City mayor lawyer Rowena V. Guanzon as ad interim Commissioner of the Commission on Audit, for a term expiring on February 2, 2020. She replaced Juanito G. Espino Jr.

The other presidential appointees are the following:

- Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III as Undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, replacing Lourdes M. Trasmonte

- Napoleon B. Imperial as Deputy Executive Director IV of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)

- Maria Teresita M. Semana as Director III of CHED and,

- Rolando P. Gosiengfiao as member of the Board of Directors of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, replacing Felicito C. Payumo. Gosiengfiao will serve Payumo's unexpired term of office ending on June 30, 2013. PND (js)