Sunday, 16 February 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, February 16, 2014

Palace lauds religious group for showing solidarity with Yolanda survivors

Malacañang on Sunday lauded a religious group for showing solidarity with survivors of super Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) by holding a walk for a cause in Manila over the weekend.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said that while the Iglesia ni Cristo set a world record, what is more important is the sympathy it showed.

"Ang mahalaga sa naganap kahapon ang pagpapakita o manifestation ng pakikiisa sa ating kababayan na nasalanta ng kalamidad. Hindi ba ang titulo ng event ay 'Walk for a Cause?' Ang cause ay ang Yolanda assistance, ang pagbibigay ng tuwirang tulong sa nasalanta ng Yolanda (What is important is that they showed solidarity with those affected by the calamity. Isn't it the event was titled 'Walk for a Cause?' The cause was the assistance for Yolanda survivors)," Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

On Saturday, the Iglesia ni Cristo set a new Guinness world record for the largest charity walk set in one venue. The 1.9 kilometer walk started at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and ended near Diamond Hotel along Roxas Boulevard with some 175,000 participants.

The world record was previously held by Singapore for The New Paper Big Walk on May 21, 2000. That Singapore walk had some 77,500 participants on record was organized by The Singapore Press Holdings, The Singapore Amateur Athletic Association and The Singapore Sports Council to promote healthy living. The proceeds went to education, sports and charity organizations.

Kirstie Bennett, Guinness adjudicator in the Philippines, confirmed that Saturday's charity walk figure was based on the number of wristbands worn by participants and dropped in a box by the finish line. According to reports the said walkathon, simultaneously held in 54 other provinces and 27 other countries, sought to raise funds for survivors of Yolanda, which devastated Visayas and Southern Luzon last November.

Coloma noted the new world record was a "consequence" of the religious group's solidarity, something that merits the Palace's commendation.

"Ang pagkakaroon ng world record na yan ang naging consequence ng pagkakawanggawa at pagmamalasakit na pinupuri natin (The world record was a consequence of the solidarity and sacrifice the group's members showed. And we commend them for that)," he said. PND (jl)

Palace: 100 days after Yolanda, recovery still a long road ahead

One hundred days after super Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) left a trail of destruction, the government sought continued participation by the people in helping survivors of the calamity as the road to recovery remains a long one.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said the government has not relaxed in providing assistance to those affected, and remains open to suggestions on how to improve its efforts.

"As we mark the 100th day after super Typhoon Yolanda hit the country, government is firmly determined to carry out massive rehabilitation efforts in all 171 municipalities and cities affected by this unprecedented calamity," Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Coloma cited the advice of United Nations resident humanitarian coordinator Luiza Carvalho that no one can afford to become complacent at this time.

Quoting Carvalho, he said "authorities, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and the Filipino people should be commended for the pace of progress in relief and rehabilitation efforts (but) we cannot afford to be complacent.”

He also called on Filipinos to practice the spirit of the 1986 EDSA People Power revolt, whose 28th anniversary will be marked on Feb. 25, by continuing to work together.

"We call on all Filipinos in the spirit of bayanihan and in the spirit of EDSA People Power that we will be celebrating soon to continue working with government and all donor and aid agencies in extending a helping hand to our countrymen who are rebuilding their lives and seeking a better future," he said.

"We realize that despite its best efforts, government is unable to adequately respond to all the needs of all the affected families and individuals. We continue to welcome suggestions on how we can improve our response and assistance," he added.

In the meantime, Coloma said President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed the Cabinet to prepare a detailed roadmap for effective response to disasters before the onset of the rainy season in June. This includes new emergency alert protocols for storm surge, floods, and landslides, as well as the strict implementation of no-build zones along coastlines and higher standards for disaster resiliency of buildings and infrastructure.

Another priority is the setting up of an all-weather communications systems including satellite phones and mobile communications kits to ensure connectivity even if power is knocked out.

"The President has also said that, with the worsening effects of climate change, we must make even greater measures to adapt including reinforcing our supply of power," he said.

He added affected families living in bunkhouses and temporary shelters will be provided permanent housing in new human settlements with facilities for livelihood activities.

"New school buildings, municipal halls, public markets, and town centers will be constructed," he said.

On the other hand, he said the Philippines and other disaster-prone countries must break the cycle of prediction, devastation, and rehabilitation by adopting the principle of build-back-better and being more productive.

Meanwhile, Coloma thanked the UN, foreign governments, international and domestic organizations, civic organizations, and volunteers who "extended and continue to provide financial and logistical support, as well as valuable time, talent, and treasure to affected families in the calamity zones."

"We also thank leading business organizations and humanitarian foundations that have signified their willingness and commitment to become development sponsors in 24 priority areas in partnership with the Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR)," he said.

He said PARR Secretary Panfilo M. Lacson has already prioritized local government units that have done their homework in preparing a post-disaster needs assessment analysis and corresponding rehabilitation plan.

"Secretary Lacson is currently coordinating the efforts of Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government, and National Housing Authority in preparing relocation and rebuilding sites for new permanent housing and local government facilities," he said.

For its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development continues to attend to the basic needs of families still occupying temporary shelters.

Coloma said Department of Health doctors and paramedics are on the lookout against the outbreak of diseases.

The Department of Labor and Employment is providing cash-for-work and temporary employment opportunities while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority is conducting skills training, he added. PND (jl)

28th EDSA-1 anniversary to be marked in Palace, govt eyes shift in focus of future EDSA celebrations

To avoid inconvenience to motorists and commuters, this year's anniversary celebration of the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution will be held inside the Malacañan Palace grounds.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said this was the decision made by the EDSA People Power Commission under Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

"Para sa kapakanan ng mga mamamayan at upang hindi na lumikha ng dagdag na problema ng trapik sa EDSA, ang magiging sentro ng pagdiriwang sa ika-25 ng Pebrero ay ang Malacañan Palace grounds (So we will not disrupt traffic at EDSA, the center of this year's anniversary celebration will be held at the Malacañan Palace grounds)," Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

He said these include the flag-raising and traditional "salubungan" between the people and soldiers in the 1986 revolt that ousted then President Ferdinand Marcos.

The 1986 revolt had catapulted President Benigno S. Aquino III's late mother Corazon Aquino to the presidency.

Other activities include a "pulong-bayan" (town hall meeting) between President Aquino and representatives of various sectors.

Meanwhile, Coloma said this year's anniversary will have the theme “Kapit-bisig para sa Pagbangon (Linking arms together toward recovery).”

He said the administration is shifting the focus of EDSA 1 celebrations from those who took part in the 1986 revolt, to modern-day Filipinos working together to fight poverty.

"Unti-unti nating inilalayo ang sentro ng selebrasyon sa kabayanihan ng mga nanindigan sa EDSA noong 1986 tungo sa pagbabayanihan ng mga Pilipino sa kasalukuyang panahon upang maibsan ang paghihirap na dulot ng maraming dekada ng korapsyon at pagsasamantala ng mga nasa kapangyarihan (We are moving the focus of the celebrations away from those who took part in the 1986 revolt, to modern-day Filipinos who work together to fight corruption)," he said.

"Nais nating pagtuunan ng pansin ang pagpapa-angat sa antas ng kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino na patuloy na nakararanas ng ‘di makatarungang kahirapan. Pinahahalagahan natin ang pagpupunyagi ng mga mamamayan sa pagpapabuti ng kanilang pamumuhay, pagtutulungan, at pagmamalasakit sa isa’t isa sa panahon ng pangangailangan (We want to focus our efforts on improving the lot of Filipinos who continue to suffer from poverty. We want Filipinos to have better lives and to be there for each other in times of need)," he added. PND (jl)

Palace: Warm welcome awaits Olympian Michael Martinez

A warm welcome awaits Michael Christian Martinez for representing the Philippines at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Malacañang said Sunday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said Martinez, who competed in figure skating, did the country proud with his performance.

"Ang tinitiyak ko lang po ay kinikilala natin ang mahusay na performance ni Michael Martinez, at nakikiisa tayo sa ating mga kababayan, at tiyak na makatatanggap siya ng mainit na welcome at pagkilala sa kanyang pagbabalik (We acknowledge his fine performance and are one with the Filipino people in making sure he will get a warm welcome upon his return)," Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

While he failed to advance to the next rounds, Martinez awed audiences - including Filipinos who watched the televised coverage - with his performance in figure skating.

Many were particularly impressed that Martinez did well in an event where Filipinos are not expected to excel as the Philippines is a tropical country.

In the meantime, Coloma urged the private sector to help support Philippine athletes since the government lacks resources to do so by itself.

He said this is why President Benigno S. Aquino III had instructed that support be prioritized for events where Filipino athletes have a good chance of winning.

"Ang problema lang naman po kasi ay ‘yung paglalaan ng kaukulang pananalapi o resources dahil limitado po talaga ang resources ng pamahalaan dahil batid naman po natin ang prayoridad ay sa pagbabawas ng kahirapan, pagbibigay ng pagkalinga sa mga mahihirap at mga nangangailangang sektor (The problem is that the government has limited resources, and is prioritizing the use of such resources for poverty alleviation)," he said.

"Doon naman sa mga ibang larangan ay pwede rin namang himukin ang private sector na patuloy na sumuporta dito. So tulong-tulong lang po ang nakikita nating solusyon. Kung pagtutulungan po ng sambayanan, magbibigay tayo ng suporta sa mga mahuhusay na atleta katulad ni Michael Martinez at iba pa, ay sigurado naman pong makakamit natin ‘yung mga layunin natin sa larangang ‘yan (We can ask the private sector for help. The only solution we see is cooperation between government and the private sector to support excellent athletes like Martinez)," he added. PND (jl)

Palace appeals for patience as NCR infrastructure works starts Monday

Malacañang on Sunday appealed to Metro Manila residents for patience as traffic is likely to get slower as work for some major infrastructure projects starts on Monday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said the inconvenience is short-term and will lead to faster travel and more productive living in the long run.

"We call on our people to share in the burden of sacrifice and bear with the short-term inconvenience so we can build better roads that will ensure faster travel and more productive living in our highly congested National Capital Region," Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

On Monday, work is to start on some key infrastructure projects such as the Skyway 3 and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway Phase 3.

The work is expected to slow down traffic in some areas of Metro Manila.

"Nananawagan tayo sa mga mamamayan na makiisa sa mga isasagawang proyektong pang-imprastruktura tulad ng Skyway III na mag-uumpisa bukas (We call on the people to share the burden while the infrastructure project is ongoing)," Coloma said. PND (jl)