Sunday, 16 February 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, February 8, 2014

Palace wishes Phl bet to Winter Olympics good luck

As it wished good luck to the Philippines' bet in the ongoing Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Malacañang on Saturday called on Filipinos to show their support for him as well.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Palace is confident Michael Christian Martinez will excel in figure skating despite the lack of snow in the Philippines.

"We hope the Filipino people are behind Christian and his quest for gold at the Sochi Olympics," Lacierda said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Martinez, 17, is representing the Philippines in the figure skating competition.

Lacierda said the Palace is "very, very proud" of such athletes, and is confident they can excel when given the chance.

"Sana pagpalain kayo ng ating Panginoon. Kayang kaya natin yan (We hope God will be with you. You can do it)," he said. PND (jl)

Palace: Latest PDAF scam witness to undergo usual state witness procedure

Ruby Tuason, a potential state witness in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, will undergo normal procedures in the case, Malacañang said Saturday.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there are requirements Tuason must meet to become a state witness in the case.

"Meron tayong batas at standard na tinitingnan (We have laws and standards to observe). Kung pumasok sila sa standard, pwede sila mag-avail of the witness protection program. This does not apply only to Ruby Tuason. For any criminal offense where a person who participated in the crime (and) whose participation is not the most guilty, the law allows them to testify and shed truth to the matter," he said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

He said that even in the United States, the law allows whistleblowers to "help facilitate and expedite the revelation and uncovering of (the) truth" in a judicial proceeding.

But Lacierda stressed there are procedures and requirements for one to become a state witness.

Tuason returned to the Philippines on Friday and offered to testify on the PDAF mess.

For now, Lacierda said the Ombudsman is evaluating Tuason's testimony. PND (jl)

President Aquino attends Elsie Gaches Village 50th anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III attended Friday the 50th anniversary of the Elsie Gaches Village (EGV) in Muntinlupa City praising the facility for its continuing dedication to serve individuals with developmental disorders.

“Personal ko pong ipinapaabot ang isang espesyal na pasasalamat sa bawat indibidwal at grupong naging bahagi na ng mayamang kasaysayan ng Elsie Gaches Village,” the President said in his message during the event.

“Sa paglipas ng panahon, dalawang henerasyon na ng Pilipino ang inaruga at pinagsilbihan ninyo. Wala kayong pinipiling araw o pagkakataon sa pagseserbisyo. Tunay kayong ehemplo sa kakayahan nating makamit ang permanenteng pagbabago.”

With several decades of dedicated service to the country, the President said Elsie Gaches Village is a real role model and a success story of the country’s quest for long-term reforms.

He said that institutions like Elsie Gaches Village must receive necessary government support. Starting 2010 to 2013, the Department of Social Welfare and Development allocated a yearly budget of P21 million for the EGV, he said.

And in 2014, the DSWD increased the allocation to P26.4 million to widen the scope of EGV’s services, he noted.

Located in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, the Elsie Gaches Village was founded on February 3, 1964 with funding assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Philanthropist couple Samuel Gaches and Elsie McCloskey donated their 16-hectare summer villa to the government to be used as asylum for the sick, aged and handicapped. The facility originally started with three buildings and a handful of patients.

At present, the EGV has 14 cottages providing 24-hour residential care services to 589 male and female patients from all levels of developmental category.

The facility has social workers, psychologists, doctors, nurses, teachers, house parents, therapists, dieticians, and administrative support personnel. Each of them has a defined task and responsibilities geared towards caring, training, and rehabilitating individuals with developmental disorders.

The EGV is supported by the Valencia Foundation, Knights of Columbus, lawyer Rodolfo Robles, the Kiwanis Club, Catholic Women’s Club, Friends of Elsie Gaches Village Inc. and other local and foreign organizations.

Joining the President Friday were Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, DSWD Regional Director Alicia Bonoan, Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi and other stakeholders. PND (as)

Palace announces new appointments

President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed Amable Aguiluz V as Special Envoy of the President to the Gulf Cooperation Council and he will serve that post starting February 11, 2014 until February 10, 1015.

Aguiluz is the Chairman and President of AMA Rural Bank of Mandaluyong Inc. and is the pioneer of IT education in the Philippines.

Considered as the “Father of Computer Education,” Aguiluz built the AMA Education System to a P6-billion conglomerate with 200 schools and 150,000 students.

Aguiluz is a Business Administration graduate from the University of the Philippines, and received his Doctorate in Business Administration from Columbia College, Missouri in the US.

He also completed the Top Management Program at Bali, Indonesia and Business Management Programs at Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and the Owners and President Management Program of the Harvard University.

The President also appointed Andres F. Ibarra as new member of Board of Trustees of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and Sevillo David Jr. as acting executive director of the National Water Resources Board.

President Aquino also designated new members of the board of trustees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines that include Emily Abrera, Raul Sunico, Maria Cristina Turalba, Carolyn Espiritu, Jaime Laya, Florangel Rosario-Braid, Arsenio Lizaso, Isabel Caro-Wilson, Zenaida Tantoco, Nestor Jardin and Danilo Dolor.

The new CCP board of trustees will serve until June 30, 2014. PND (as)

Palace open to third-party help for understanding with Hong Kong

Malacañang said Saturday it is open to help from third parties in getting closer to an understanding with Hong Kong despite recent sanctions stemming from the hostage tragedy in Manila in 2010.

But presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the actions by the third parties should be consistent with the position taken by the Philippine government and be consistent with national interest.

"Our intention has always been there. (If) it is a private initiative that will effect better relations with Hong Kong and (is) consistent with national interest, why not?" Lacierda said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Earlier reports said a Filipino-Chinese doctor plans to appeal to Hong Kong chief executive C.Y. Leung to reconsider the decision of the Hong Kong government.

The Philippines had expressed regret over the tragedy that killed eight Hong Kong tourists, but remained firm in not issuing an apology.

Hong Kong revoked the visa-free privileges of holders of official Philippine passports after the Philippines refused to apologize for the 2010 tragedy.

In August 2010, eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a botched rescue attempt by police for a busload of tourists taken hostage by a dismissed policeman seeking reinstatement. PND (jl)

Palace: Despite 'word war' over territory, other aspects of Phl-China ties continue

Despite a recent exchange of words, the Philippines and China continue to enjoy close ties in other aspects, Malacañang maintained Saturday.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said both countries are "responsible enough" to continue other aspects of their ties despite conflicting positions in one subject.

"Patuloy ang ating relationships with China on different levels (such as) tourism, culture (Our relationships with China on other aspects continue, such as in tourism and culture)," he said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

The Philippines and China are engaged in a territorial dispute over parts of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Earlier this week, President Benigno Aquino III was criticized in an article of China's state-run Xinhua News Agency over the territorial row between the two countries.

But on Friday, the President noted criticisms that appeared in Xinhua, a state-owned publication, that resorted to vicious name-calling instead of addressing the maritime conflict.

Instead of getting offended, the President said the criticism bolstered the country’s position in the territorial row with China.

“Nagpapasalamat nalang ako sa Xinhua dahil ang sabi nga parang nire-reaffirm iyong validity nung ating posisyon (I thank Xinhua because it reaffirmed the validity of our position),” the President said in a media interview after the change of command ceremony at the Philippine Army.

The President however pointed out that if the Xinhua writer believed China has a good case, (the article) should have focused on the facts to argue and explain its position. PND (jl)