Monday, 3 February 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, February 2, 2014

Palace congratulates DOF Secretary for Finance Minister of the Year Award

Malacañang on Sunday congratulated Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima for being named the Finance Minister of the Year for Asia-Pacific from a global financial intelligence site.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the award is a reflection of Purisima's dedication to his work in helping President Benigno S. Aquino III manage the economy.

"Siguro it reflects how Sec. Purisima, as part of the economic managers team of the President, also has a hand in how our policies are crafted with the President (The award reflects how Purisima as part of the President's economic management team had a hand in how our policies are crafted)," she said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

"Nakikita rito ang dedication ni Sec. Purisima (Here we see the dedication of Sec. Purisima)," she added.

Valte also said the award should be doubly sweet for Purisima, who she said "is also a new father."

Earlier reports indicated Purisima's latest award came from The Banker, a global financial intelligence group. PND (jl)

Palace: No special birthday plans for President Aquino so far

At least for now, President Benigno S. Aquino III has no special plans for his 54th birthday on Feb. 8, Malacañang said Sunday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President may use the day - a Saturday - for some much-needed rest.

"This year, his birthday will fall on a Saturday. Perhaps baka makapahinga nang kaunti (He may take the opportunity to get some rest)," she said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

She added she has not been advised of any other "special plans" at this time.

On his birthday last year, the President visited a 15-year-old bone cancer patient at the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City.

The President has always treated his birthday as an ordinary working day. PND (jl)

Amid fighting with BIFF, government reiterates commitment to peace in Mindanao

Amid days of fighting between government troops and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Malacañang on Sunday reiterated the Aquino administration's commitment to peace in Southern Philippines.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while many are suffering because of the fighting, the government ultimately wants to attain peace in Mindanao.

"Pagdating diyan, ang hinahangad ng pamahalaan ay magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa Mindanao. May lugar diyan na nagsa-suffer dahil sa ganitong nagiging insidente. Gusto natin lahat magkaroon ng kapayapaan at tahimik (The government wants peace in Mindanao. We are aware there are people there suffering because of the fighting. We want to attain peace)," she said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

The BIFF has been linked to recent attacks in Mindanao. It is a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is involved in peace efforts with the government.

Last Jan. 25, the government and the MILF signed an annex that would pave the way for a comprehensive peace agreement.

Meanwhile, Valte reiterated the government's appeal to critics to give the peace efforts, including the annexes and the upcoming comprehensive peace agreement, a chance to succeed.

"Let’s look at the annexes. Let’s look at how beneficial (the peace agreement) will be to our brothers and sisters in Mindanao," she said. PND (jl)

Palace welcomes top US bishop's planned visit to Yolanda-hit areas

Malacañang on Sunday welcomed the plan of a top bishop from the United States to come visit and extend help to areas affected by super Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the visit will reassure the affected residents that help is still coming three months after Yolanda devastated the Visayas.

"I think ... maganda naman po ‘yang mga ganitong pagbisita para nakikita rin po nila mismo kung ano po yung nangyari doon sa ating mga kababayan at kung ano ho yung mga ginagawa ho natin. At [ang] maganda rin po, they can also bring home the point of the continued help that is necessary for our people there (I think the visit is good because it gives the officials a firsthand look at the extent of the devastation, while assuring the residents of continued help)," Valte said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

This week, Louisville Archbishop and US Conference of Catholic Bishops president Joseph Kurtz is visiting Yolanda-hit areas.

Expected to join him are officials of the Catholic Relief Services.

Kurtz is the latest high-profile personality to visit the Yolanda-hit areas in recent weeks.

Valte said such a visit should boost the morale of residents affected by Yolanda.

"We’ve been seeing a lot of these visits and at least it also does a lot for the morale of our brothers and sisters who are there. Nakikita po na hindi sila nakakalimutan (We've been seeing a lot of these visits and at least it does much for the morale of people there. At least they are assured they are not forgotten)," she said. PND (jl)

Government standing firm on no-build zones in Yolanda-hit areas

The government is standing pat on its policy to implement no-build zones in coastal communities of areas affected by super Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan), Malacañang indicated Sunday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government cannot sacrifice the safety of residents, especially those in coastal communities.

"The reason for that is very apparent to everybody and it’s really for the safety of everybody who will possibly be put in danger if you violate the no-build zone," Valte said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Earlier, a group of Yolanda survivors called for the abolition of the no-build zone policy on or before Feb. 14.

The government is implementing a no-build zone along the eastern seaboard of Eastern Visayas to ensure the safety of residents from storm surges.

Last year, Yolanda ravaged the Visayas and parts of Southern Luzon, leaving behind more than 6,200 dead. PND (jl)