Wednesday, 20 March 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

President Aquino cites role of doctors as partner of government in proviidng better health services to Filipinos

President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the role of the doctors as important allies of the government in carrying its mandate of providing the people with better health services and defend them from the threat of cancer.

"Our people are our most valuable asset: They lend our nation its vibrancy and fuel its industries, and collectively, their individual struggles and triumphs compose the Filipino narrative," the Chief Executive said in his message to the Philippine Society of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the Asian Society of Head and Neck Oncology (ASHNO) on the occasion of the 3rd ASHNO Congress.

The ASHNO opened the 3rd congress which has for its theme "The Challenges of Head and Neck Oncology in the 21st Century" on Wednesday at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu. The event would end on Friday.

"It is government’s duty to protect this precious resource, and as doctors, you are important allies in this mission. You lead our drive towards health, defending our people from the threat of cancer," the President said

The President expressed hope that the 3rd ASHNO Congress would help the doctors in their efforts to combat the dreaded disease.

"This event is timely, as it coincides with the passing of the landmark Sin Tax Reform Law of 2012. Through it, we seek to drive our collective task of building a better, more equitably progressive Philippines by channeling the gains of our resurgent economy towards vital social services such as healthcare," he said.

"This forms part of our roadmap to inclusive growth, and your active participation in its effective implementation will be integral to its success," the President said. PND (js)

President Aquino signs bill into law ‘revitalizing’ People’s Television Network

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law a Bill that will “revitalize” the operations of government television station PTV-4 (People’s Television Network, Incorporated) to be at par with global standards with programming relevant to the times Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said.

Coloma, in a press conference held at Malacanang on Wednesday, said that the President signed into law Republic Act No. 103901 or An Act Amending Republic Act No. 7306, entitled “An Act Providing for the Establishment of the People’s Television Network, Incorporated, Defining Its Powers and Functions, Providing for Its Sources of Funding and for Other Purposes” last March 14, 2013.

“Ikinagagalak ko pong ibalita sa inyo na, noong ika-14 ng Marso, nilagdaan ng Pangulong Aquino ang batas na ngayon ay alam natin na Republic Act 10390, an Act Revitalizing the People’s Television Network. Ang original title po niyan ay an Act Amending the Charter of People’s Television,” Coloma said.

He pointed out that the new law addresses two main problems of the government-run television station: the “financial hemorrhage” marked by the depletion of the station’s capital and the lack of a stable source of income.

“So that was the situation and President Aquino directed the crafting of a proposed bill, later on, this bill was included in the priority list of the LEDAC (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council). And so we worked on the Senate and the Congress to pass a new charter for People’s Television that had two important features: number one, infusion by government of fresh capitalization in the amount of P5-billion; and, number two, giving the network authority to collect commercial revenues,” Coloma said.

He noted that out of the P5-billion, P3-billion would be sourced from the General Appropriations Act in the next three years (P1-billion/year) while the remainder will be sourced from revenue generated from advertising and airtime sales.

“So it was important that the new law provided for new capitalization and permitted the network to generate commercial revenues, so that there will be a stable source of sustenance for the network,” Coloma stressed.

Aside from addressing these problems, Coloma said that the new law will introduce reforms relevant to the dispensing of PTV-4’s operations through the nomination of an advisory council “to advise the network on relevant programming that will bolster the character of PTV as a public service broadcasting network” and the shifting of focus towards a “new global best practice of public service broadcasting which means that government television becomes an active partner or an active instrument for promoting the public welfare.”

“So, with the enactment of the new PTV law, we hope to broaden the participation of the citizens in having a network that will mirror their aspirations. We want to invite the various sectors to give concrete suggestions on programs that will be beneficial to the community and to society. That is the rationale for the formation of an advisory council,” Coloma said.

With regards to content, Coloma said that programs on PTV-4 would allow block time programming (the scheduling of similar television programs back-to-back) “provided that it is focused on education, history, propagation of Philippine culture and quality entertainment.”

He added that the majority of programs would focus on “news and public information” and will not “compete directly” with private station’s programs.

“We do not intend to produce entertainment shows like the telenovela of the type that they have produced. Perhaps we can have a telenovela featuring the heroism of our Medal of Valor or Gold Cross awardees, or of the Dangal ng Bayan awardees of the civil service, or outstanding public school teachers, outstanding policemen, soldiers,” Coloma said.

“Telenovelas that will edify the nobility of the Filipino public servant, that will be our orientation, not the telenovela that is commercially available at present. So it is farthest from our intention to compete directly with private media,” he added.

He said that the new law will “also enable the network to keep abreast with latest technological developments” such as digital television and transmission upgrades to improve signal quality.

“We all know that by 2015, the ASEAN standard will be digital television. We have made some acquisitions of basic digital equipment in our studios now but we need to do more. Of course, we are still awaiting the promulgation of official policy on digital television but we’re confident that we can keep abreast with the rest of ASEAN and with the commercial broadcasting industry,” Coloma said.

“Because when digital transmission is fully in place, we will also be able to multiply the channels of government television—from one free TV station to at least two more cable stations—and we may be able to dedicate the cable stations to educational programming or cultural programming. There are also those who say that we should have programs on Philippine history and culture,” he said.

RA 103901 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3316 and House Bill No. 6703 passed by the Senate and House of Representatives on January 21, 2013 and December 19, 2012, respectively. PND (rck)

Malacanang elated over latest Pulse Asia survey showing President Aquino's continued high trust and performance ratings

The Aquino administration expressed elation over the latest Pulse Asia survey showing that President Benigno S. Aquino III continues to enjoy high trust and performance ratings, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang following the release of the Pulse Asia’s February 2013 Nationwide Survey on the Performance and Trust Ratings of the Country’s Top Government Officials and the Trust Ratings of Key Government Institutions.

Based on the firm's latest survey released Wednesday, President Aquino has a 68% approval rating, up by 2 percentage points from the January 2013 survey result (66%). His "undecided" rating went down 4 percentage points, while his disapproval rating is still at 6%.

According to the survey, the Chief Executive got a 70 % trust rating.

"Yes, we are certainly happy that despite all the concerns, the people continue to repose their trust in the President. This is an affirmation of the governance of President Benigno S. Aquino III," Lacierda said.

The President has consistently received the highest ratings since he assumed his post in 2010.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from February 24 to 28, 2013 using face-to-face interviews.

According to Pulse Asia, some of the major events that occurred during the survey period were election-related events such as mock elections and the start of the national campaign period, the Sabah standoff, the release of the report on the Atimonan incident, the salvage operations for the USS Guardian in Tubbataha Reef and the 27th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution.

A total of 1,800 registered voters aged 18 years old and above formed the pool of respondents, coming from across the country. The nationwide survey has a +/-2% margin of error at the 95% confidence level, the Pulse Asia said.

The Aquino administration continues to pursue its relentless pursuit of reform towards positive change. PND (js)