Monday, 28 October 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, October 27, 2013


President Aquino declares November 7 as special non-working day in the municipality  of Cuenca, Batangas in celebration of 137th Foundation Day

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared November 7, which falls on a Thursday as a special (non-working) day in the municipality of Cuenca in the province of Batangas in celebration of its 137th Foundation Day."

The Chief Executive issued the declaration by virtue of Proclamation No. 672 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on October 17 to give the people of Cuenca the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

Cuenca was founded by virtue of the decree issued by the Superior Govierno on August 11, 1875. Once part of San Jose, it became an independent town in 1876. PND (js)


President Aquino leads the nation in exercising the right to vote

President Benigno S. Aquino III will cast his vote on Monday for the 2013 barangay elections in his hometown in Tarlac, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma, Jr. said on Sunday.

"Sa gaganaping pambarangay na halalan, pangungunahan ng Pangulong Aquino ang 54 na milyong botante sa pagpili ng mga mamumuno at maglilingkod sa ating mga barangay," Coloma said in an interview aired over government-run radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday.

Coloma said 54 million voters will troop to polling precincts on Monday for the barangay elections as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and other concerned government agencies expressed readiness to ensure the orderly, honest, peaceful and credible conduct of this political exercise.

"Kinikilala natin ang mahalagang tungkulin na ginagampanan ng mga gurong bumubuo ng mga Board of Election Inspectors na mangangasiwa sa maayos na daloy ng pagboto sa bawat isang presinto, at ng mga mamamayang bumubuo ng mga citizens’ arms na kaagapay ng COMELEC sa pagtiyak ng maayos na proseso ng halalan," Coloma stressed.

"Ayon sa COMELEC, 94,124 ang mga kandidato para sa 42,028 na posisyon ng punong barangay, samantalang 715,012 naman ang mga kandidato para 294,196 na posisyon bilang kagawad," Coloma said.

Deployment of ballots and other poll materials has already been completed while the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are now on full alert status to ensure peaceful and orderly polls.

The government called on the Filipinos to vote, reminding them of the importance of choosing the right leaders.

"Ang barangay ang batayang istitusyon ng ating lipunan. Ang bawat mamamayan ay may taya sa resulta ng halalang pambarangay. Ang mabuting pamamahala o good governance ay nag-uumpisa sa pagpili ng mabubuting pinunong pambarangay at mga kagawad ng barangay," Coloma stressed.

"Tiyakin nating ang mahahalal na mga punong barangay at kagawad ay may sapat na kakayahan sa pagsulong sa kapakanan ng mga mamamayan at mapagkakatiwalaang pangalagaan ang integridad ng pondo ng bayan," he said.

"Ang ating pagtahak sa daang matuwid ay nagsisimula sa barangay. Sa bawat pamilya at tahanang bumubuo ng barangay, pinapanday ang mga pagpapahalaga o values para sa katotohanan, katuwiran, at katarungan. Ang mga mithiin at pangarap ng mga mamamayan para sa maaliwalas na kinabukasan ay nagsisimula sa barangay," he said.

The government is calling on the youth to support democracy by casting their votes for the advancement of the country, Coloma said.

"Ang kabataan ang siyang bumubuo ng pinakamalaking bahagi sa hanay ng mga botante. Ang pagsanib ng ideyalismo ng kabataan at dunong ng kanilang mga magulang at mga nakatatanda ay makabubuo ng malakas na pwersa para sa pagbabago, mula sa barangay hanggang sa mga bayan, lungsod, lalawigan, rehiyon, at buong bansa," he said.

"Sa kasalukuyang panahon na madalas tayong dalawin ng bagyo at iba pang kalamidad, matingkad din ang kahalagahan ng barangay sa paghahanda, pagkalinga, at pagbibigay-seguridad sa ating mga mamamayan," Coloma stressed.

Coloma said the government is hoping for a good voter turnout.

"Nananawagan po ang ating Pangulo sa sambayanan, bumoto po tayo nang maaga at tiyakin nating ang halalang pambarangay ay magpapatatag sa ating pagpupunyaging pairalin ang mabuting pamamahala sa ating bansa," he said. PND (js)


Government agencies making necessary preparations for 'Undas 2013,' Palaca says

Government agencies especially those concerned with transportation and traffic management are now making the necessary preparations days before thousands of citizens troop to their hometowns for the annual Day of the Dead or “Undas”, Malacañang said.

Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) told Radyo ng Bayan (DZRB) on Sunday that they always expect a huge volume of people traveling home during these holidays to pay tribute to their deceased loved ones.

Coloma said the national government though the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is primarily focusing on maintaining the good condition of roads, seaports, and airports to ensure the safety of the traveling public.

“Sa lahat po ng larangan ng pagbiyahe at trasportasyon—sa kalupaan, sa karagatan, at sa himpapawid—ay puspusan ang pagtutok ng ating Department of Transportation and Communications. Meron po silang mga ahensya na may pangunahing responsibilidad sa pagtiyak sa kaligtasan at kaayusan ng trasportasyon,” he stated.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also will certainly deploy traffic enforcers to aid the Philippine National Police (PNP) in maintaining peace and order in various bus terminals, seaports, and airports, Coloma added.

People are expected to take advantage of the long weekend this week for Undas with November 1 and 2 declared as holidays by Malacañang, which would fall on Friday and Saturday respectively.

“Batay po sa karanasan, pinakamarami ‘yung bilang ng ating mga kababayan na bumibiyahe sa panahon ng Undas. Lumuluwas po sila mula sa lugar ng kanilang hanapbuhay o trabaho patungo sa kanilang mga hometown para magbigay galang sa mga yumaong kamag-anak at mahal sa buhay,” Coloma said. PND (hdc)


Malacanang lauds 2013 Nobel Peace Prize winning UN group with Filipino member

The Aquino government led the entire Filipino nation in lauding the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma, Jr. said on Sunday, considering that a Filipino is head for inspector training of the UN-backed group.

In an interview aired over government-run radio station DzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday, Coloma said the government congratulated the OPCW whose one of the officers is a Filipino.

Franz Ontal, 49, head of inspector training of OPCW, grew up in Victorias City, Negros Occidental. In 2005, he joined the OPCW as a medic for the chemical weapons inspector and disposal teams. He was promoted as head of inspector training, a position he still holds.

"May dahilang magbunyi ang buong bansa sa paggawad ng 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. Kabilang si Ginoong Franz Ontal ng Victorias City, Negros Occidental sa pangkat ng Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons na itinanghal bilang Nobel Peace Prize Winner sa taong ito," Coloma said.

"Tulad ng libu-libong overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), sinasalamin ni Ginoong Ontal ang kanilang bukod tanging husay, galing, at kasipagan kaya kinikilala natin sila bilang mga bayani ng bayan," he said.

"Bilang head ng inspector training ng OPCW, mahalaga ang papel na ginagampanan niya at ng kanyang organisasyon sa pagtupad sa puspusang kampanya ng United Nations na pigilin ang paggamit ng mga sandatang kemikal laban sa mga mamamayang apektado ng digmaan at karahasan," Coloma stressed.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Hague, Netherlands-based global chemical watchdog OPCW "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

The OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the first international treaty to outlaw an entire class of chemical weapons.

The OPCW, formed in 1997, currently has a team on the ground in Syria to destroy President Bashar al-Assad's reported stockpile of chemical weapons.

In its citation, the Nobel committee said the organization and the treaty under which it was founded in 1997 “have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law.”

“Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons,” the citation said. PND (js)

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, October 26, 2013


Government provides over P189-million worth of assistance to victims of Zamboanga City crisis

The Aquino government has extended over P189 million worth of assistance to the families affected by the armed conflict that occurred in Zamboanga City recently involving forces reportedly loyal to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari, a Palace official said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday that government will continue to address the needs of the families affected by the armed conflict last September.

"You may be interested to know that the total assistance that has been given by way of food assistance, by way of non-food items as well as financial assistance for transportation, medical costs or expenses, for burial, etc., as well as the cash-for-work programs that have been initiated in several barangays in Zamboanga City now come up to P189,520,762," Valte said.

The Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) continues to provide psychosocial and critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) to the victims of the Zamboanga standoff, Valte said.

"Siyempre, apart from the assistance for infrastructure, kasama sa mandato ng DSWD ang pagbibigay ng psychological assistance to the victims," she said.

To address the needs of women and children, Valte said the DSWD had set up special Day Care Centers and Child and Women-Friendly Spaces in the evacuation centers.

Valte said the children were provided with supplemental food in the evacuation centers. The DSWD also launched a program called Supervised Neighborhood Play to help ease the anxiety of the children.

"Kasama na siyempre diyan po iyon feeding for the breastfeeding mothers that have also been affected, as well as pre-natal care for pregnant women and health care for newly-delivered women," she said.

"At nakikitulong na rin po ang TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) when it comes to the cash-for-work program for the victims and evacuees," she said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways started conducting clearing operations at areas affected by the 25-day fighting between the government and the said MNLF faction.

"One of the challenges, again, of national government in Zamboanga City, now that unti-unti na pong bumabalik ang mga pamilya doon sa kanilang mga bahay kung meron pa silang babalikan ay ang clearing operations for the debris... isa ito sa mga immediate needs na pinupunan naman po ng DPWH," she said.

The Aquino government is readying the P3.9 billion funds to speed up rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts for the affected communities.

The government has already drafted a rehabilitation plan which includes the relocation, housing, shelter, livelihood, and other assistance for the affected families. PND (js)


Palace: Government has P2.3 billion Quick Response fund for Bohol Rehabilitation

Malacanang made another assurance on Saturday that the Aquino government has enough resources to fund relief and reconstruction efforts in Bohol.

“We would like to assure ang mga kababayan natin sa Bohol na meron tayong namo-mobilize na mga pondo para mas makatulong sa pagbangon ulit ng Bohol,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“So huwag tayong mag-alala, meron naman tayong sapat na pondo para doon sa pagtulong sa kanila, sa mga komunidad na tinamaan ng kalamidad sa Bohol.”

Valte reported that according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the government has approximately P2.3 billion in Quick Response fund under the different implementing agencies.

Quick Response Funds are standby allocations that are part of the budget that enables the government to provide quick assistance to areas struck by disasters.

The P2.3 billion Quick Response Fund allocation is as follows: Office of Civil Defense, P554 million; Department of National Defense, P326 million; Department of Education P455 million; Department of Agriculture, P196 million; and Department of Social Welfare and Development, P200 million.

The Quick Response Fund of the Department of Public Works and Highways, including its continuing appropriations is P600 million, according to Valte.

The DPWH has a huge task of repairing damaged bridges, roads and others infrastructures in Bohol following the October 15 earthquake that hit the province. PND (as)

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, October 25, 2013


Palace encourages people to vote, choose right barangay leaders

Malacanang asked the people to participate in the upcoming barangay election this Monday underscoring the importance of governance at the grassroots level.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing on Friday at the Palace that voters must vote wisely, choosing the right leaders that will respond and guide them during times of need and emergency.

The people shouldn’t belittle the importance of barangay leadership, being the basic body of governance, she said. For instance, barangay officials serve huge functions during times of disasters, she said.

“Ang isipin natin ay kung sino ba ‘yung makakapagbigay at makakapagresponde doon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating komunidad. Kasi bago dumating ang provincial, bago dumating ang munisipyo, barangay dapat ang nandoon. So it’s very, very important,” she said.

“And we ask everybody to go out on Monday and to vote and make sure that your officials, the ones that you vote for will reflect your inclination towards your needs, and the needs of your community.”

To ensure peace and order for Monday’s barangay election, Valte said the Philippine National Police (PNP) raised its alert level nationwide Friday morning.

The PNP has so far documented a total of 51 election-related incidents, which it monitored from September 28 to October 24. The government’s aim is to lessen the number of election-related incidents throughout the country, Valte said.

In 2007, the total number of election-related incidents is 101, Valte reported. This covered the period from September 29 to November 13, 2007. PND (as)


President Aquino declares November 13 as special non-working day in the municipality of Pantukan, Compostela Valley in celebration of 'Araw ng Pantukan'

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared November 13, which falls on a Wednesday, as a special (non-working) day in the municipality of Pantukan in the province of Compostela Valley in celebration of the “Araw ng Pantukan."

The Chief Executive issued the declaration by virtue of Proclamation No. 673 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on October 17 to give the people of Pantukan the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

November 13 marks the 77th Foundation Day of the municipality of of Pantukan.

Pantukan was created into a municipality on November 13, 1936 through Executive Order No. 64 issued by then President Manuel L. Quezon. The town's name was derived from the names of Pantu and Kan, two powerful datus who had ruled the place. PND (js)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, October 24, 2013

President Aquino directs energy and engineering sectors to speed up work to enable residents to return home

(LOON, Bohol) President Benigno S. Aquino III directed the energy and engineering sectors to speed up rebuilding efforts that will enable displaced residents to return to their homes the soonest possible time.

During his briefing with the Cabinet and Local Government Officials on Wednesday at the Loon Municipal Hall, the Chief Executive said restoring the living conditions of the affected residents remains to be government's urgent priority.

The President slept on Wedesday night inside a tent in Loon.

As of Wednesday, 60 were reported dead while several government vital installations, public buildings and commercial and residential structures were damaged by the strong earthquake in Loon and other municipalities in Bohol.

He said he returned to Bohol not only to check on the progress of the rehabilitation and relief operations for the various municipalities but to ease the anxiety of typhoon victims.

"Iyong primary, palagay kong problema is the mindset of the people. And the best way to explain ay ‘pag may bagyo, darating ang bagyo, aalis iyong bagyo at rebuild na tayo kaagad, ‘di ba? Medyo tapos na ang problema," the President said.

"Dito, ‘pag nararamdaman ninyo ang aftershocks, parang the problem persists, ano....Iyong getting the people who can go back to their houses seems to be the most urgent priority," he said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau reported that there is no imminent danger for the Bohol residents, President Aquino said.

He asked the engineers to speed up the conduct of evaluation on the structural soundness of all structures and repair works in all affected areas to enable the displaced residents to go back to their respective homes.

"So iyong normalcy has to be achieved as early as possible, nandoon na nga raw tayo sa -ber months, weather will be turning colder soon and we have a population that is exposed to more elements. That is a problem that can be avoided, and I think we are duty-bound to ensure that we minimize the risks," he said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways will build bunkhouses in a one-hectare property in Tubigon and in an 11-hectare property in Loon.

The President also reminded the electrical engineers and electricians to look into the safety of households in restoring power lines in the community. PND (js)


Government has enough funds for relief goods for earthquake victims, President Aquino says

(TAGBILARAN, Bohol) President Benigno S. Aquino III assured residents that the government has sufficient funds to finance the relief operations for the earthquake victims as he continued leading the relief assistance to displaced residents in the province.

On the second-day of his visit to Bohol, the Chief Executive checked out the Tubigon municipality to see the extent of damages and the condition of the families who were displaced following the magnitude 7.2 earthquake last October 15.

He first inspected the Tubigon Municipal Hall, St. Isidore Parish, the public market and the port in Tubigon.

The Chief Executive then proceeded to the Sagbayan Municipal Hall where he distributed food packs to over 600 families who were temporarily staying in tents in front of the municipal hall. He also inspected the town's San Agustin Parish and the public market.

Reports showed that there were 12 casualties and some 4,018 families were displaced in Sagbayan. The Department of Social Worker and Development had already distributed 6,080 food packs and 1,352 bottle waters to residents in Sagbayan. On the other hand, the provincial government had extended 7,200 food packs and 8,748 bottled waters while private groups distributed 5,687 food packs and 974 bottled waters.

Joining the President during the inspection were Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson Jr., Social Worker and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto and officials of concerned government agencies and local government units.

The Chief Executive flew on Wednesday afternoon to Tagbilaran City to visit the municipalities of Loon, Tubigon and Sagbayan.

Upon his arrival on Wednesday, the President first visited Loon South Central School which serves as one of the evacuation centers for displaced residents of Loon and nearby municipalities. At the school, President Aquino led the distribution of relief assistance to affected families.

He then toured Loon where he inspected the site of Our Lady of Light Parish which was totally devastated by the earthquake.

President Aquino also checked out the buildings of the public market and Congressman Natalio P. Castillo Sr. Memorial Hospital before proceeding to Loon Municipal Hall where he was briefed by officials from the national government and local government units on the progress of the rehabilitation and relief operations in the province.

Last October 16, the President flew to the provinces of Bohol and Cebu to assess the extent of damages brought by the earthquake. He also directed the officials to firm up strategies to minimize the impact of the earthquake to the communities

A state of calamity has been declared by the government in Cebu and Bohol provinces. PND (js)


Aquino once again encourages Boholanos to go back home

President Benigno S. Aquino III once again appealed to the people of Bohol to go home so that their lives could go back to normal.

The President, who spent the night in Loon, Bohol, said the Phivolcs has already made an assurance that there will be no repeat of the magnitude 7.2 quake that happened in October 15.

Although aftershocks will continue for two to three weeks, the full strength of the slipping fault has already been released so there will be no strong quake, he said in a media interview in Sagbayan.

To the people fearing the presence of sinkholes in many parts of Bohol, the President said there is an ongoing mapping using ground penetrating radar, which is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014.

But the mapping will be finished ahead of schedule, in the first quarter of 2014 because there are also ongoing studies being done for the construction of the Panglao airport.

“Sa pamamagitan ninyo (media) mag-aapela na rin ako, marami tayong mga kababayan nag-alala doon sa bahay nila; nasa loob ng tent, nasa evacuation centers,” the President said.

“Inulit-ulit natin kay governor, sa ating mga mayor, kung pwedeng pagtulungan kasama ng DPWH, dumaan ‘yung mga structural engineer, mga municipal engineer, electrical engineer, masigurado kung ligtas ang bawat tahanan.”

The people will be exposed to harm with their prolonged stay in the tent, and the President said he fears an outbreak of disease if the people continue to stay there.

“So ‘yon ang pakiusap natin. Hindi naman mag-aala-tsamba, ipaaral natin sa mga dalubhasa, at kung ligtas na ay dapat sana mabalikan ‘yung mga tahanan.” PND (as)


Aquino administration honors exemplary state workers

The administration of President Benigno Aquino III honored this year’s batch of outstanding government officials and employees in a ceremony held at the Heroes Hall of Malacañang Palace on Thursday.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. represented President Aquino in conferring the Presidential Lingkod Bayan, Dangal ng Bayan and Pagasa Awards to state workers who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and commitment in performing their duties.

In his speech, Secretary Ochoa not only commended the recipients of the prestigious awards but also those government workers and volunteers who responded and assisted disaster-stricken areas in Bohol and Cebu.

“Today, as we congratulate and commend the recipients of the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award, the CSC Pagasa Award, and the Dangal ng Bayan Award, allow me to humbly submit that thousands of nameless government workers in Bohol and Cebu deserve to be commended as well dahil tulad ninyo, sila ay tunay na naglilingkod sa bayan, tunay na nagbibigay ng pag-asa sa taumbayan at tunay na nagbibigay ng dangal sa pagiging empleyado ng gobyerno,” he said.

For the second time, the President visited Bohol last Wednesday after the province was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake causing massive damages to public and private establishments, historical churches and tourist sites.

Secretary Ochoa reassured that the all concerned agencies are attending to the needs of those affected and displaced by the quake.

The Executive Secretary, meanwhile, hoped that the exemplary works of the awardees would bring back the trust of the public to the government, which has been tainted with corruption in the past administration.

“We are extremely grateful to our awardees here today by committing yourselves to the public interest and by exhibiting acts of justness, leadership, and nationalism. You are living proof that there is still so much honor and rectitude in government work,” he said.

“You successfully show that there are civil servants who are incorruptible, that days can definitely change for the better in our government. You inspire our peers and colleagues to follow your examples of extraordinary public service and you aid in improving the capabilities of government agencies you serve,” he added.

This year’s nine awardees for the Presidential Lingkod Bayan are led by Albay Governor Jose Ma. Clemente Salceda, Police Chief Superintendent Rogelio Damazo, Philippine Coconut Authority Division Chief Reynato Dubongco, Police Senior Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, Health Insurance Department Manager Dennis Mas, Police Chief Superintendent Louie Oppus, Santol Mayor Daisy Sayangda of La Union, Rice Research Institute Specialist Roel Suralta and Anabel Ungcad, a public school teacher from Davao de Sur.

The recipients of the Presidential Lingkod Bayan group category are: Bayawan Integrated Waste Management Team of the City Government of Bayawan, Negros Oriental; Olongapo City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office; Department of Labor and Employment Single Entry Approach of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board; and Inclusive Finance Advocacy Staff of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

For the Dangal ng Bayan award, 11 individuals were chosen namely: Jail Officer II Joey Abia; Chief Administrative Officer of Leyte Normal University Pablo Amascual III; Senior Fire Officer IV of Tiwi, Albay Fire Station Simeon Ballon; Midwife from the Antipolo City Government Ofelia Buenconsejo; Municipal Health Officer from the Municapal Government of Sagada Evelyn Capuyan; Local Government Operations Officer from DILG Bangued, Abra Jimmicio Daoaten; State Auditor III Concepcion Guanzon of COA Cagayan de Oro City; Municipal Government Department Head Expedizitas Lenares of Dalaguete, Cebu; Traffic Aide Dionisia Liquido from Antipolo, Rizal; Senior Jail Officer II Richard Recososa from Butuan City; and Elementary School Principal Darwisa Sajili-Radah Hja of Hji Yunos Jumdain Elementary School in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

Meanwhile, the CSC Pagasa awardees are: Mayor Linda Gonzalez of Ligao City, Albay; Laboratory Technician 1 Martina Nepomuceno of the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines-Los Baños; Education Program Supervisor Lynn Padillo of the Department of Education Region V, Legazpi, Albay; Dean Erlinda Relucio of the Bicol University-College of Industrial Technology, Albay; Mayor Jose Ricafente Jr. of the Municipality of Rosario, Cavite; Director IV Marivel Sacendoncillo of the Local Government Academy, Department of Interior and Local Government; and Administrative Aide 1 Kulafu Seballos of the City Government of Bayawan, Negros Oriental.

For the group category, the awardees are: ABRA Renal Disease Control (REDCOP) Team of the Provincial Health Officer, Bangued, Abra; Albay Public Safety and Management Officer; Department of Trade and Industry-Kalinga Management Review Team, Tabuk, Kalinga; and Masaganang Bukas Team of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

Awardees of both the Presidential Lingkod Bayan and Pagasa Award received a gold-gilded medallion crafted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, a plaque containing the citation and signatures of the President of the Philippines and the Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission, respectively, and cash prize of P200,000 and P100,000, respectively.

The Dangal ng Bayan awardees, meanwhile, received a trophy designed b National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva and a cash prize of P200,000. They are also entitled to incentive such as directorships in government-owned or controlled corporations, local and foreign scholarships grants, and automatic promotion to the next higher position suitable to their qualification or commensurate salary.

Secretary Ochoa was assisted by CSC Chairman Francisco Duque III during the ceremony. The CSC holds an annual nationwide search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees in government under its Honor Awards Program (HAP. The program serves as the core of the government employees’ incentives and rewards system. PND (jb)


Aquino says Bohol could rise again through cooperation

President Benigno S. Aquino III rallied the support of all sectors in Bohol assuring them that the government has the resources to rebuild damaged communities there.

“Huwag kayong mag-alala, may kakayahan ang gobyerno ninyong tugunan ang pangagailangan ninyo, at yun ang pakay ng gobyerno talaga, ang asikasuhin kayo. So magtulungan tayo dito, malalaktawan natin itong pagsubok na ito at kakayanin natin ito,” the President said in an interview in Sagbayan, Bohol.

The government is prepared to do everything to rehabilitate Bohol and bring back to normal the lives of Boholanos, he said.

“Yung lahat ng nagsasabing wala nang pondo, etc, nagkakamali sila. Syempre, bago natin maitayo ito hindi naman ura-urada. Katulad doon sa port ng Tubigon, pinapaaral ko ‘yung design na ginawa ng port mismo, dahil kung ibabalik natin, sana hindi lang katulad ‘nung dati, baka mas maganda pa kaysa sa dati,” the President said.

The government will also help rebuild historical landmarks like churches in Bohol damaged by the October 15 quake, he said.

Government agencies are finalizing the data to identify areas to be rebuilt and to know the structures that have to be prioritized, the President noted.

The President also underscored the need of the people to go back home once an assessment of their houses is made so their lives could return to normal.

He said there’s no strong quake happening again because experts made an assurance that the energy of the fault that slipped has been released. Experts said there will be continuing aftershocks in two to three weeks.

The President arrived in Bohol Wednesday afternoon to oversee the ongoing relief efforts, assess affected infrastructures and assure the people about safety of going home.

President Aquino spent the night in Loon, Bohol in a military tent. PND (as)


Government extended substantial volume of relief goods to Bohol quake victims, says Aquino

Both the national and the local government were able to provide 163,000 food packs to 60,000 families affected by the October 15 quake in Bohol, President Benigno S. Aquino III reported on Thursday.

In an interview in Sagbayan, Bohol, the President said the local government of Sagbayan was able to do five rounds of relief operations to the victims. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) made at least three rounds of providing packs which could last for two to three days, he said.

These figures are separate from the assistance being extended by private donors, the President said, which include various organizations like the World Food (Programme), the Philippine Red Cross, Shelter Box and other foundations.

There are also members of the private sector that can not be considered NGOs who extended help, he said.

The President also asked relief organizations and local government units to coordinate with one another so that relief goods could reach everyone.

In the government’s efforts to rebuild damaged infrastructure, the President said that although its takes time, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be working hard to connect isolated areas in Bohol.

He said the DPWH made an assurance that the four damaged bridges in Bohol will be repaired in less than a month. By November 20 or earlier, these bridges could be rebuilt, the President said. PND (as)


DOE energizes whole of Bohol, says Palace

Malacanang reported Thursday that the energy department was able to restore power to all towns of Bohol affected by the quake.

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing Thursday that 100 percent of all the towns have been energized, of which 83 percent of barangays have also been energized, and 62 percent of the households now have power.

“Ulitin natin: Lahat po ng bayan sa lalawigan ng Bohol, 100 percent po sa lahat ng munisipalidad at bayan at siyudad ay mayroon ng enerhiya o kuryente,” he said.

The government has considered many factors in restoring power, Coloma said noting energy wasn’t fully restored at barangay and household levels because of the concerns on the integrity of the structures.

Experts want to ensure that there are no structural defects or exposed power lines, before electricity is restored to avoid accidents.

Coloma said Task Force Kapatid is helping the Department of Energy assess homes in Bohol damaged by the quake. Task Force Kapatid is composed on 215 volunteers, he said.

The Palace official also thanked fuel dealers in Bohol after they made a commitment of not increasing gasoline prices, at least this week.

Reporting on the conditions of hospitals in Bohol, Coloma said that based on the assessment by the Department of Health (DOH), there are three hospitals that need rehabilitation.

“Nauna nang gumawa ng assessment ang mga engineers sa Department of Health, at tutulungan po ng DPWH ang DOH na ibalik sa tamang kondisyon ang lahat ng mga naapektuhang pasilidad,” Coloma said during the press briefing.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is also active in relief operations, using its naval and air assets, Coloma said.

According to him, the military reported that a total of 262,176 kilos of relief goods were shipped by the Philippine Navy, mostly coming from Dumaguete, Aklan, and Cebu.

The Philippine Air Force on the other hand used its C-130 planes to deliver the goods, logistics, and supplies coming from Manila. The air force is also using seven helicopters to reach isolated areas.

Out of the 411,680 kilos delivered, 36,287 kilos have been distributed, Coloma said.

The DSWD spearheads the repacking of relief goods, each food pack good for a family of five, Coloma noted.

“Ang direktiba ng ating Pangulo ay dapat kumpleto ‘yung distribution ng two-week food packs. Ibig sabihin, ang bawat pamilyang apektado dapat makatanggap ng pagkain na puwedeng mag-sustento sa kanilang pamilya sa loob ng dalawang linggo. At ang direktiba sa DSWD, dapat ay maganap na ito by October 30 or six days from now,” he said.

Coloma also said Bohol Governor Edgar Chato, who heads the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Bohol, reported to the President about the launch of Diskwento Caravan in cooperation with the trade department.

The caravan will cover the towns of Loon, Antequera, Maribojoc, Tubigon and Sagbayan. This is aimed bringing back to normal trade in the province.

The caravan will also help residents have access to goods in the market following the October 15 quake, Coloma said. PND (as)


Department of energy is working to ensure enough fuel supply in Bohol, President Aquino says

(LOON, Bohol) The Department of Energy (DOE) has already implemented measures to address the concern on fuel supply in the province, President Benigno S. Aquino III said.

During his briefing with his Cabinet and other Local Government Officials of Bohol on Wednesday at the Loon Municipal Hall, the Chief Executive said the DOE is still closely coordinating with oil companies to supply the fuel needs of Bohol which was severely affected by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake last October 15.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla reported to the President that the DOE personnel have inspected all gasoline stations in the provinces that were hit by the earthquake.

"Mr. President, lahat halos ng gas station ay nag-o-operate na ngayon. Nadaanan natin iyong iba. Ang report sa ABS-CBN at one point, saka sa GMA na ang gasoline dito ay P120—P100 to P120, ito po ang bote-bote" Petilla said.

"At sa Maribojoc po, hindi natin maiwasan ang bote-bote kasi talagang wala silang gasolina kundi iyong bote-bote. Mr. President, meron tayong nakausap na taga-Petron. Ang plano naming gawin dito is lagyan ng temporary tangke at saka temporary na pump—manual. By Friday, may generator na sila; electric na ito. At ang gagawin natin dito, we will try to eliminate the bote-bote," he continued.

Petilla said 83 percent of the barangays in Bohol now have electricity, adding that he expects electricity in Bohol will be completely restored by October 30.

"On a per household basis, ang may kuryente is about 62 percent. Iyong iba ayaw magpa-ilaw kasi hindi sila sigurado sa structure nila; iyong iba naman, walang nakatira, so ayaw pa nilang pailawan," he said.

"Right now, we have 215 katao, Mr. President, from Eastern Visayas, from Cebu, just about anywhere na puwedeng pumunta dito at tumutulong sa assessment on a per household basis na, Mr. President—hindi lang per town, per barangay, pati iyong bahay ina-assess na natin," he said.


The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor were among the hardest hit areas. PND (js)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Aquino government vows to strictly enforce the intellectual property rights to fight piracy

The Aquino government is working harder to strictly enforce the intellectual property rights (IPRs) in its quest to fight against piracy and counterfeiting, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said.

"Government believes that stricter intellectual property enforcement and raising the level of IP awareness in the country through education are consistent with our overarching agenda to combat organized and transnational crime," Ochoa said in his message to organizers and participants of the 3rd Philippine Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit held at the Marriot Manila Hotel on Monday.

Ochoa noted that the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) has made significant progress in addressing piracy and counterfeiting activities in the country with the record breaking seizure of fake goods worth 6.13 billion pesos this year.

"The latest numbers from the IP Office reveal that from January to September this year, the government seized pirated and counterfeit goods worth 6.13 billion pesos, with the Bureau of Customs contributing the most to this effort, as it seized 3.17 billion pesos-worth of fake goods," Ochoa said.

"These encouraging figures are a result of an intensified and continuous government campaign against piracy and counterfeiting. In the first three quarters of the year, the multi-agency task force National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights managed (NCIPR) to conduct 1,812 inspections and issued 514 search warrants and 10 seizure warrants," Ochoa stressed.

In 2012, Ochoa noted, the Philippines was removed from the list of “Notorious Markets” for piracy and counterfeiting of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for 2013 after being on the list for six years.

Ochoa said the government, through the IP Office, is working hard to remove the Philippines from the Watch List of the USTR for 2013.

Another breakthrough this year in the government's efforts against piracy was the enactment of Republic Act No. 10372, which amends and updates the copyright laws in the Philippine Intellectual Property Code.

"This bestows an enforcement mandate on the Philippine IP Office, a first among the IP Offices in the whole of Southeast Asia. This is expected to boost the IP enforcement programs of the government," said Ochoa, adding that inter-government cooperation remains the key element to succeed in its anti-piracy fight.

Ochoa said the NCIPR composed of the IP Office, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Customs, National Telecommunications Commission, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, Optical Media Board, National Book Development Board, and the Bureau of Food and Drugs, must ensure that IPRs are protected and its violators will be apprehended.

He emphasized the need for the concerned government agencies to continue working together in increasing public awareness about the ill-effects of piracy.

"What many of our people do not understand, and what we must endeavor to inform our citizens of, is that the manufacture and distribution of the counterfeit and pirated products are often linked to organized crimes, with the sales from these reportedly being used to fund other criminal activities, such as money laundering and illegal drugs," he said.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in a report released in February this year, found that the shipments of fraudulent pharmaceuticals in West Africa are being carried out by transnational organized crime syndicates which are also engaged in cocaine trafficking and the smuggling of migrants.

"The same link is also evident in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. According to the World Customs Organization, around 75% of counterfeit products seized worldwide between 2008 and 2010 were manufactured in East Asia, and primarily China," said Ochoa, citing the UNODC report.

According to the report, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam are cited as key East Asian departure points for counterfeit goods.

As much as 30% of medicines in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America could be fraudulent, the UNODC report said.

"This poses serious risks to the health of the Filipino consumers as the counterfeit drugs are either less effective than the real thing, or contain no active ingredients to address illness, or worse, contain poisonous ingredients. It is in the context of these realities that piracy has become one of the priority crime areas of the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, which houses INTERPOL Manila," Ochoa said, stressing that government vows to make vigorous efforts to strictly enforce the IPRs.

"Rest assured that the Aquino Government has and continues to take intellectual property rights violations seriously, and will continue to be supportive of the education, capacity building and enforcement initiatives of the IP Office and of the multi-agency task force on the enforcement of IP, the NCIPR," he said. PND (js)


President Aquino sees press as guardian of democracy, nation builder

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he expects the media to continue protecting democracy and become part of nation building.

In a message during the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), the President asked the media to continue pursuing its journalistic ideals.

He said the government, media, and private citizens have a never-ending task of protecting and advancing Philippine democracy.

In the midst of so many issues that affects the country today, the President said he expects journalist to be able to separate important issues from the frivolous, the spin from the facts, and the lies from the truth.

“I am confident that you will pursue the type of journalism that those who came before us has fought for and at times died for. The type of journalism that builds nations,” he said in his message during the FOCAP forum at The Manila Hotel.

He likewise encouraged the press to continue reporting what is important to the public just as he continue his endless pursuit of giving Filipinos the government they deserve. The President expects the media to become the bearers of truth that the people deserve.

The President also highlights the significance of Wednesday’s FOCAP forum, which he said is a way to further strengthen the relationship between the government and media.

Through such forum, he said he and his Cabinet could gain greater feel of the pulse of the people and give rise to balanced, informed reporting that works for the public’s interest.

FOCAP, which consists of international agencies, publications, radio and television networks, is one of the country’s most prestigious media organizations. It was founded in 1974 to safeguard press freedom during martial law years under former president Ferdinand Marcos.

The presidential forum is an annual event of FOCAP where the President discusses key policies, answer questions on foreign affairs, politics, economy and other social issues. PND (as)


Government has many programs that will create more jobs, says Aquino

The government is carrying out measures to address joblessness in the country and attain inclusive growth, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.

In an interview during his attendance to the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), the President said his administration is to focused on expanding the conditional cash transfer program, enhancing education and tourism,as well as developing the country’s infrastructure.

He said that one of the proposals in the 2014 budget is to expand the CCT program to keep children in school and ensure safe pregnancy of women.

Keeping children in high school creates economic gains in the future, according to the President.

“Why are we insisting on this? The idea being that there is a study by the Philippine Institute for Developmental Studies that stated a direct correlation between finishing high school and having a 40 percent premium on income versus those who just graduate from grade school as one of the steps towards inclusive growth,” he said.

The government also started active partnership between the education sector and the industry, the President said. One example is TESDA’s work-for-scholarship program, he said, noting TESDA’s graduates have a higher percentage in having jobs in the BPO industry, in particular.

Another plan is revitalization, he said. For instance, intercropping in the coconut industry, he said. The President noted that when farmers adopt intercropping they could increase their income.

Developing the country’s tourism is also another area, since the sector creates a multiplier effect in job generation, he said. The government targets 5.5 million foreign tourist arrivals by this year, he said.

“We want access to all of our tourist sites that are much more efficient and more convenient,” the President said.

This is the reason why the government has been investing in improving various airports, as well as the construction of new airports.

He reported that finally, the government was able to resolve all of the issues with regards to the connector road between the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

“At the end of the day, we believe, people are our greatest resource and all of the investments are geared towards giving them the necessary skills so that they can take advantage of all the opportunities that are in existing already, and are forthcoming in the horizon,” he said. PND (as)


Aquino sees opportunities for the country once ASEAN becomes a single block

Philippine industries can compete well with other industries in the region when the Association of Southeast Asian Nations adopts a single community by 2015, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.

During the annual Presidential forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), the President was asked how local industries could compete once the Philippines opens to the rest of ASEAN in 2015.

“We have comparative advantages in certain areas, for instance, car manufacturing, truck manufacturing or assembly, might be better in certain areas within ASEAN but that doesn’t preclude us from participating in terms of producing the necessary parts for all of these vehicles. And there have been significant growth in that aspect,” he noted.

The President cited for instance, the B/E Aerospace, a locator company engaged in airplane parts manufacturing. Its Batangas plant is the first plant outside North America and Europe, he said, noting the advantages of Filipino skills and talent.

Another competitive sector is the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, he said. Other countries are looking at the efficiencies that they can gain by locating in the Philippines.

“I can go on and on about the list, the bottom line is, we have comparative advantages that enable us to be a good player within this ASEAN community and the bigger market redounds to more opportunities for our people in their companies,” he said.

The President also mentioned that Mexico is interested in working with the Philippines to have an access to ASEAN particularly on trade and commerce given their close ties during the colonial period.

President Aquino attended the 23rd ASEAN Summit in Brunei this early month in preparation for the implementation of the regional block's planned single community in 2015. PND (as)


Aquino says he’s confident of attaining  2013 Gross Domestict Product target

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he is confident that his administration will meet its 2013 gross domestic product (GDP) target given the current developments in the economy.

The President attended the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at the Manila Hotel where he was asked about his expectations about the economy.

“Can I just say that we’re confident we’ll reach our targets. But I will not be displeased if we surpass the targets,” the President said when asked for comments.

Analysts expect the Philippine economy to grow over seven percent this year, eclipsing the high end of the government’s official 6-7 percent target. The country posted a strong 7.6-percent expansion in the first half.

In September, the New York-based think tank GlobalSource Partners and the Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) said the GDP growth would hit 7.2 percent this year, coming off a strong 7.6-percent expansion in the first half.

The country’s GDP expanded 7.5 percent in the second quarter, matching China as the fastest-growing country in Asia, sustaining the over seven percent pace for a fourth straight quarter. PND (as)


Aquino optimistic about MILF peace deal before 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he is confident that his administration could seal a peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) before he steps down from power in 2016.

Some issues have been raised about the current pace of the peace negotiations with the MILF with some airing concerns about the delay of the conclusion of the Framework Agreement.

But during the annual Presidential forum of the FOCAP on Wednesday, President Aquino said that both parties acknowledged that the annexes will have the most contentious issues to iron out. But he said the talks are progressing.

“Of the four annexes, we’ve concluded discussions on two. We have the remaining two. That doesn’t stop us from having the Sajahatra program---I hope you’re familiar with that---and actually acting on it and showing them the benefits of peace,” the President told the forum.

Although the government and the MILF were not able to meet their targets, the President acknowledged that coming up with a binding agreement takes time.

“Crafting the correct agreement that is livable and doable by all will necessarily take time, and we are cognizant of that fact. And better to have the good deal rather than to have any deal that is not livable by all parties,” he said.

The Philippine government and the MILF, the country’s largest rebel group, signed a landmark peace agreement on October last year, which will give the rebels a larger share of power and wealth in a new autonomous political region by 2016. Malaysia brokered the peace talks.

The peace deal is aimed at ending a four-decade-old conflict that killed hundreds of thousands in Mindanao. PND (as)


Aquino flies to Bohol to ease anxiety of earthquake victims

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he was flying to Bohol Wednesday afternoon to join people near the epicenter of the quake to ease their anxiety on the possible dangers on the ground.

The President told the participants of 39th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel that he won’t be able to attend his intended appearance on Thursday because he will be in Bohol Wednesday and Thursday.

“I’m scheduled to speak before you tomorrow but unfortunately there is an issue that I have to address in Bohol. As you know, a lot of our countrymen are still, shall I say, unsettled because the aftershocks will be continuing for about two to three weeks,” the President said in his message.

He said he received text messages from the residents in Bohol fearing that there are impending dangers that are still lurking. He said easing the anxiety of the people in Bohol is a very high priority at this point.

He will be in Bohol Wednesday afternoon and will stay overnight in the most hard-hit area and to tell the people to believe the PHIVOLCS and the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau statements that said major danger has already lapsed or has already passed.

“And I believe it is my duty to be with them at this point in time because the unnecessary anxiety is creating far more problems for the community that I think as President I should be at the rescue,” he said.

At the same time, the President said he will also assess the efficiency of government’s relief efforts and tell the people about the government’s initiatives to rebuild damaged infrastructures in the province.

“I thank you on behalf of our countrymen. I wish you success in all of your endeavors and as always we pledge government support for all of the worthwhile and noble intentions to the full uplifting a lot of our countrymen,” the President said. PND (as)


President Aquino returns to Bohol to get updates on the rehabilitation and relief efforts

(LOON, Bohol) President Benigno S. Aquino III visited anew the province to check on the progress of the rehabilitation and relief operations for the various municipalities that were devastated by magnitude 7.2 earthquake last October 15.

At 3:10 p.m. Wednesday, the Chief Executive left for Bohol to visit Tagbilaran City and the municipalities of Loon, Tubigon and Sagbayan.
After landing in Tagbilaran airport, President Aquino was welcomed by Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto and other local officials.

The President first visited Loon South Central School which serves as one of the evacuation centers for displaced residents of Loon and nearby municipalities. At the school grounds, President Aquino led the distribution of relief goods to some 166 affected families.

He then proceeded to the site of Our Lady of Light Parish which was totally devastated by the earthquake. The President also distributed relief goods to affected families who were temporarily staying at the evacuation center in front of the parish.

President Aquino also checked on the buildings of the public market and the Congressman Natalio P. Castillo Sr. Memorial Hospital before proceeding to the Loon Municipal Hall where he was briefed by officials from the national government and local government units on the progress of the rehabiliation and relief operations in the province.

Joining the President at the Loon Municipal Hall were Defense Secretary and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Chairman Voltaire Gazmin, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson Jr., Social Worker and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, and other officials of concerned government agencies and local government units.

The President assured the Bohol residents that the government has P20 billion savings to fund the rehabilitation and relief efforts for the residents. He said the government has already distributed 163,000 food packs for the affected families in the province.

"Narito ako para damayan kayo. Huwag kayo matakot. Ngayon gabi nga ay dito kami matutulog," he said.

The President decided to stay over night in Loon.

On Thursday, President Aquino is scheduled to visit the municipalities of Tubigon and Sagbayan that were also severely affected by the earthquake.

Classes are still suspended in the province because of the occurrence of aftershocks.

The Department of Public Works and Highways deployed personnel in Bohol to conduct evaluation on the structural soundness of all affected areas. The DPWH-V had coordinated with District Engineering Offices regarding the effects of earthquake in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros Oriental, Iloilo and other areas.

The DPWH personnel are also conducting assessment of damaged roads, bridges and buildings in Bohol while engineering teams are currently conducting repair of damaged roads and finding passable detour roads in the province.

Last October 16, the President flew to the provinces of Bohol and Cebu to assess the extent of damages brought by the earthquake. He also directed the officials to firm up strategies to minimize the impact of the earthquake to the communities.

A state of calamity has been declared by the government in Cebu and Bohol provinces.


The President directed his officials to immediately restore the living conditions of the affected residents. PND (js)