Palace: "Thank you' message for Yolanda help reached 1,894 million people
The Philippines' "Thank you" message to those who helped - and are helping - Filipinos recover from super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) managed to reach some 1.894 million people Saturday, Malacañang said Sunday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said the number may climb as this figure included only those reached by social media on Saturday.
"Sa opisyal na pagtatapos ng social media campaign, may naitalang 1,894,174 na katao ang narating ng mensahe, at patuloy na tumataas pa ang bilang na ito (At the end of our social media campaign, our message reached 1,894,174 people and the number continues to go up)," Coloma said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
On Saturday, the Philippines marked the third month after Yolanda ravaged Visayas and Southern Luzon by posting a "Thank you" video on social media.
Posters and photos expressing the Filipinos' gratitude for the international response were also visible in major cities worldwide.
"Kasama po sa kaugalian ng Pilipino ang pagtanaw ng utang na loob para sa kabutihan na ipinakita ng kapwa at pati na ng ibang mga bansa (It is a trait of Filipinos to express their gratitude for the kindness shown by the international community)," Coloma said. PND (jl)
President Aquino confident latest PDAF testimony may bring closure, palace calling on more witnesses
President Benigno S. Aquino III is confident potential state witness Ruby Tuason may help bring closure to the multibillion-peso mess involving the Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF).
Speaking on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also called on other people who may have knowledge about the case to come forward.
"Pangako natin sa sambayanan, kung saan tayo dadalhin ng ebidensya, doon tayo tutungo. Makakatulong ito sa pagsasara sa kabanatang ito na nangyaring pang-aapi sa ating sambayanan (Our promise to the people is that we will go where the evidence leads us. This will help bring closure to this chapter in our history)," Coloma recalled President Aquino as saying last Friday, when Tuason returned from the United States and said she would testify.
Last Friday, Tuason returned to the Philippines from the United States and said she is willing to tell all she knows about the scam.
Criminal charges including plunder had been filed against trader Janet Napoles and some legislators over the PDAF mess.
Meanwhile, Coloma urged other prospective witnesses to come forward and tell all they know about the PDAF issue, and the Department of Justice will evaluate their information.
"Kung meron pang ibang gustong maghain ng karagdagang impormasyon na makatutulong sa proseso ng pagtatahi o pagkumpirma sa mga nauna nang salaysay ng mga whistleblower, tatanggapin at susuriin ng DOJ ang kanilang iaalok na impormasyon (If other people would want to come forward and provide information that may help the case, the DOJ is ready to evaluate what they will provide)," he said. PND (jl)
Government to hold surprise inspections of public transport facilities
Following the tragic bus accident that killed at least 14 people in Mountain Province and with summer vacation approaching, the government is preparing surprise inspections of public transport firms' facilities to ensure road, air, and seaworthiness.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said Sunday such inspections would be necessary as Filipinos were expected to start flocking to the provinces in time for school break and Holy Week.
"Inaasahan na sa pagsisimula ng panahon ng bakasyon at sa pagdating ng mga Mahal na Araw, higit pang dadami ang bilang ng mga pasahero, kaya’t pag-iigtingin pa ang pagtiyak sa roadworthiness ng mga sasakyan at kaligtasan ng mga pasahero (We expect more people to go to the provinces for summer break and Holy Week so we will intensify our efforts to ensure roadworthiness of public utility vehicles and passenger safety)," he said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
He also stressed roadworthiness will be the focus of the government in ensuring public safety.
"Magsasagawa ng mga surprise inspection bukod sa mga regular na pag-inspection sa mga garahe at talyer ng mga kompanya ng bus (Our teams will hold surprise inspections aside from the regular inspections of bus garages and facilities)," he said.
‘Yung direktiba po dito sa ligtas na transportasyon, tiyak na kasama rin po yung sa karagatan, at pati na sa himpapawid...Patuloy na tinututukan ng pamahalaan ang pagiging ligtas ng lahat ng uri ng sasakyang pampubliko (The government will ensure the safety of all public transport)," he said.
Coloma stressed this two days after a bus fell into a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province last Friday. At least 14 people were killed in the accident.
In line with President Benigno Aquino III's directive to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board under Chairman Winston Ginez is now conducting inspections of public utility transport companies.
The LTFRB had suspended the operator of the bus in Friday's tragedy.
In the meantime, Coloma said the Department of Labor and Employment will ensure the occupational safety and health of the bus drivers and conductors.
"Kinakailangan po silang mag-comply diyan sa mga panuntunan na ‘yan, at kung matuklasan na mayroong paglabag, ay may karampatang penalty na isinasagawa para sa kanila—laban sa kanila (The bus company has to follow occupational safety and health measures. If it is found to have violated them, it will face the appropriate penalties)," he said.
Coloma also maintained Ginez has President Aquino's trust and confidence. PND (jl)
President Aquino to seek local leaders' support for Mindanao peace in ARMM summit
President Benigno S. Aquino III will seek the support of local leaders in fostering peace in Mindanao when he attends the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao local government summit this coming week, Malacañang said Sunday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said the President also expects to get a firsthand view of the issues affecting the region.
"Ang pangunahing layunin po ay himukin ang mga lider na lokal sa mga lugar ng ARMM na makiisa, at tumulong sa pagtataguyod ng proseso ng kapayapaan na sana’y humantong na doon sa pagtatatag ng Bangsamoro political entity, kapag ito ay inaprubahan ng mga mamamayan sa isang plebisito at naitatag na rin ang Bangsamoro transitional authority (The President wants the leaders in ARMM to unite and help the peace process that we hope will lead to the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity should the people approve it in a plebiscite)," he said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
The Bangsamoro political entity, which was taken up in peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, is being eyed to replace the ARMM.
Coloma said that with ARMM now part of a transition, the local government officials should help maintain peace and order.
"At aalamin din po ng Pangulo kung mayroong mga iba pang mahalagang usapin na local concerns ang mga local executives sa ARMM para matiyak na tumutugon ang pambansang pamahalaan sa kanilang mga pangangailangan (The President also wants to know if the local executives have concerns that the national government need to address)," he added. PND (jl)
Palace: No need to seek reassurance from US on protection from attacks
Malacañang on Sunday said it sees no need for the Philippine government to seek a reassurance from the United States that it will help defend Philippine territories that come under foreign attack.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said US Secretary of State John Kerry already assured the Philippines of continued cooperation and coordination with the US on various issues.
"Mula po sa ating perspektibo, ang Estados Unidos ay isa sa dalawa nating istratehikong kaugnay (one of two strategic partners)—the other is Japan—at patuloy naman po ang ating pananalig na sa oras ng pangangailangan ay paninindigan ng Estados Unidos ang mga commitment nito sa ating bansa na naaayon sa mga existing agreement na umiiral sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at Estados Unidos (From our perspective, the US is one of our strategic partners, the other being Japan. And we believe the US will honor its commitments to us, based on the existing agreements between the Philippines and the US)," he said on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
Coloma was replying to a question on whether the Philippines should ask the US for an assurance that it would defend Philippine territories, in the same way the US assured it would defend Japan against attacks over islands claimed by China.
Like Japan, the Philippines has a territorial dispute with China over some parts of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The Philippines has pushed for a rules-based approach to settling the territorial dispute in the area.
"Noon pong nandito si Secretary Kerry, ang kanya pong ipinahiwatig ay ang patuloy na kooperasyon at pakikipag-ugnayan sa pagitan ng Estados Unidos at Pilipinas (When Kerry was here, he already stressed continued cooperation and coordination between the US and the Philippines)," Coloma said. PND (jl)
President Aquino spent birthday with family, friends
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Saturday spent his 54th birthday in the company of family and friends, Malacañang said on Sunday.
But Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said there is no information yet on how the President will spend Valentine's Day.
"Ang batid ko po ay, ayon sa kanyang ipinahiwatig sa kanyang pakikipagpanayam sa inyo noong makalawa, ang kanyang kaarawan ay ipinagdiwang niya sa piling ng kanyang pamilya at ng mga kaibigan (From what I know, he spent his birthday in the company of friends and family)," he said.
President Aquino turned 54 on Saturday.
Two days before his birthday, the President personally went to the Land Transportation Office in Tayuman, Manila, to have his driver's license renewed.
But he did not seek special treatment and instead waited in line for his turn, just like the other applicants. PND (jl)