Sunday, 16 February 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, February 6, 2014

President Aquino renews license at LTO

Two days before he turns 54, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday went to the Land Transportation Office in Tayuman, Manila to have his driver's license renewed.

But the President, who has rejected the so-called wang-wang mentality since he assumed office in 2010, waited in line along with other license applicants.

Many applicants were surprised to see the President standing and waiting for his turn, while others greeted him.

Some even had photos taken with him.

The President wore a barong with a yellow ribbon.

With the President were Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and newly promoted Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Renato Marfil. PND (jl)

DOE advises power suppliers to conduct maintenance on power plants to ensure these will operate optimally in the summer

The Department of Energy has advised power suppliers to conduct periodic and regular maintenance of their respective facilities to ensure that these will operate and provide power optimally during the summer months, Presidential Communications and Operations Office Secretary HErminio Coloma, Jr. said on Thursday.

In a press conference in Malacanang, Coloma told reporters that Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla had called on the country’s power producers to conduct maintenance on their facilities to ensure uninterrupted delivery of electricity during the summer season.

“The Department of Energy has advised power plants to undertake preventive and regular maintenance of their facilities so that these will operate optimally during the peak demand months,” Coloma said.

He added that the government will tap the resources of the Malaya thermal power plant in Pililia, Rizal to augment the power demand that is expected to rise at the onset of the summer season and ensure continuity of power supply.

“To ensure continuity of power supply during the summer season, according to Secretary Petilla, the government is prepared to run the Malaya thermal power plant up to 70 days to boost supply during the summer months when demand is expected to rise especially in Luzon,” Coloma said. PND (rck)

Government taking steps to ensure power supply during summer, Palace assures

Malacañang assured the public Thursday the government is taking steps to ensure continued power supply during the hot summer months, when demand for electricity is expected to go up.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla had assured government is ready to run the Malaya thermal plant up to 70 days.

"Government is taking necessary steps to ensure continuity of power supply during the summer season. According to Secretary Petilla, the government is prepared to run the Malaya thermal power plant up to 70 days to boost supply during the summer months, when demand is expected to rise especially in Luzon," Coloma said at a media briefing.

But he also said the Department of Energy has advised power plants to conduct preventive and regular maintenance of their facilities so they will operate during the months when demand for power peaks.

Demand for electricity is expected to rise during the hot summer months as households and establishments operate appliances to beat the heat. PND (jl)

Palace: Understanding, not retaliation, to be guide in dealing with Hong Kong concern

Achieving understanding and closure, and not retaliation, will be the guiding principle of the Philippine government in dealing with the sanctions imposed recently by Hong Kong, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said suggestions to retaliate for Hong Kong's revocation of visa-free privileges for holders of official Philippine passports may be counter-productive.

"Sa anumang sitwasyon na may pagkakaiba ng pananaw, ano ba ang magpapalapit sa posisyon, ano ba ang option na dapat tahakin para madagdagan imbis na mabawasan ang pagtitiwala at pagkakaunawaan? (Ang) retaliatory options, kabahagi ba sila ng magpapalapit sa pagkakaunawaan o papalayo doon (In situations where there is a difference of opinion, what will bring the parties closer to an understanding and what would lessen trust and understanding? Will retaliatory options bring us closer or move us far away from an understanding)?" Coloma said at a media briefing.

"Ang focus ay sa hakbang na makapagpalapit sa pagkaroon ng pagkaunawaan at pagkalinga sa mga affected families. Yan ang primary concern natin (Our focus is to reach an understanding and help the affected families. That is our primary concern)," he added.

He added both sides are still continuing to engage each other through "continuing dialogues and conversations that hopefully would lead to achieving mutually satisfactory results and closure."

"All I can say is that we are purposively pursuing avenues for the possible attainment of closure on this matter. Our focus is on being able to provide direct support to the affected families, which is part of the framework for reaching and understanding," he said.

In the meantime, he said that in the face of all recent developments, the Philippine government "remains determined" to pursue the attainment of a mutual agreement.

Such a path will be the "most beneficial for our people especially Filipinos working and residing in Hong Kong," he added.

Coloma also reassured Filipinos in Hong Kong the government is prepared to help them and ensure their rights, including those of ease of travel and employment opportunities.

"Kaya sinasabi natin naghahanda naman ang ating pamahalaan ng karampatang hakbang para tiyakin ang kapakanan ng ating mamamayan ay mapangalagaan (The government is preparing the proper steps to uphold the welfare of Filipinos)," he said.

"Hindi natin makokontrol ang action ng external parties (We cannot control the actions of external parties). We can only control our response to these issues," he added. PND (jl)

Palace: Schools that adjusted calendars have their own charters

The schools that have adjusted their academic calendars are presumed to have weighed the pros and cons of their decisions, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. also noted that while UP is a government institution’ it has its own charter.

"Ang binanggit na paaralan ay may kanya-kanyang charter (The schools have their own charters). UP is a government institution but it has its own charter," Coloma said at a media briefing.

The Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines have approved a shift of the start of the academic calendar from June to August.

Coloma said there is nothing preventing these schools from adjusting their calendars.

"Siguro naman reasonable na isipin at sabihin na bago nila marating ang decision na yan pinagaralan nang mabuti (It would be reasonable to assume they studied their options well before arriving at their respective decisions)," he added.

He also said adjusting the school calendar is not new, noting this had been done during the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal, when Alejandro Roces was education secretary, though the start of the academic calendar was eventually reverted to June. PND (jl)

Palace: Government confident of keeping inflation rate within target

The country’s economic managers remain confident that inflation will be kept within their target and the government will closely watch recent economic developments to protect consumers from price adjustments, the Palace said on Thursday.

“The government also continues to monitor closely the movement of consumer prices in order to protect the citizens’ purchasing power,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

Coloma also said the government’s economic managers are aware of the pressures exerted by global developments, especially the tapering policies of the US Federal Reserve that have affected the peso-dollar exchange rates and are doing the necessary measures to protect the country from these adjustments.

“While the inflation rate in January rose to 4.2 percent, our economic managers are confident that inflation will be kept within the DBCC (Development Budget Coordination Committee) target, ranging from three to five percent,” he added.

The Philippines’s inflation rate in December increased to its highest level in two years as a result of devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas region, the government said.

The National Statistics Office said inflation in December was at 4.1 percent, the highest since December 2011 when the country's inflation rate was at 4.2 percent.

And while the Philippines and other emerging market economies are feeling the brunt of structural adjustments in the US and other leading markets, the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals makes it in a better position to reap the potential benefits from the economic recovery of the US and European countries that have significant trade and invest in the Philippines, Coloma said. PND (as)

President Aquino to attend Elsie Gaches Village 50th anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III will attend Friday the 50th founding anniversary of the Elsie Gaches Village (EGV), the first and largest government facility for people with developmental disorders.

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.

Among those who are expected to join the President will be Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, DSWD Regional Director Alicia Bonoan, local officials and stakeholders. PND (as)