Thursday, 13 March 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, February 24, 2014

Palace announces new appointments

Malacañang announced the appointment of 35 officials to various government posts.

Jess Anthony Yu was appointed undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office. The appointment was dated February 19.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte announced the other appointments in an interview on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan last weekend.

The other new appointees include:

Department of Education:
Director IV: Diosdado M. San Antonio
Directors III: Rebecca V. Delapuz and Malcolm S. Garma
Acting Directors III: Bettina D. Aquino, Nenita E. Lumaad and Beatriz G. Torno

Department of Interior and Local Government:
Director IV: Francisco R. Cruz
Acting Local Government Operations Officers VIII: Moh Taha S. Arakama, Jerome G. Gonzales, Arnel F. Gudio, Victoria H. Ramos, and Romeo A. Solis

Department of Justice:
Acting Directors IV: Maria Charina V. Buena-Dy Po, Liza B. De Leon, and Ma. Monica P. Pagunsan

Department of Transportation and Communications:
Undersecretary: Edwin R. Lopez

Department of Public Works and Highways:
Acting Directors IV: Ernesto Gregorio Jr., and Judy F. Sese
Acting Directors III: Samson L. Hebra and Loreta M. Malaluan

Office of the Executive Secretary:
Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement, executive director Eduardo SL. Oban, Jr.

Professional Regulation Commission:
Board of Respiratory Therapy: member Jesus M. Espinas.

Department of Finance:
Undersecretary Jose Emmanuel P. Reverente

Department of Tourism:
Duty Free Philippines Corp. Chief Operating Officer: Lorenzo C. Formoso

Department of Trade and Industry;
Undersecretary Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba

Department of Labor and Employment:
Acting Directors III: Nelson C. Hornilla and Geraldine M. Panlilio

Department of Science and Technology:
Acting Director IV: Belma G. Martinez

Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority:
Board of Directors: Mark T. Lapid; Lucas M. Nunag (Representing the Accommodation Enterprises); Roberto U. Teo (Representing the Travel and Tours Enterprises); Maria Vida H. Stoifl (Representing the Air, Sea and Land Tourism Transport Services); Catherine Brillantes-Turvill (Representing Other Tourism Enterprises); and Roy B. Martin, (Tourism Estate Development and Management Services). PND (jl)

Davao Oriental thanks national government for its assistance toward recovery from typhoon ‘Pablo’

(CATEEL, Davao Oriental) For mobilizing the entire national government machinery to address their urgent concerns following the onslaught of super typhoon ‘Pablo’ (Bopha), the people of Davao Oriental thanked President Benigno S. Aquino III during the ‘Pulong Bayan sa Cateel’ program held Monday morning in this town’s municipal plaza.

Speaking on behalf of her constituents, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon said they consider it as a ‘great honor and privilege’ to have Cateel chosen as one of the venues for this year’s commemorative celebration of EDSA, graced by President Aquino and some members of his Cabinet.

“The historical incident of EDSA was triggered by political upheavals, yet it has a striking similarity to the climate-related ‘Pablo’ incident our province had just experienced. EDSA Revolution was a story of resiliency, of faith and hope, of rising from the rubbles; our ‘Building Back Better Davao Oriental’ is also a story of resilience, of faith and hope that we shall overcome, and of rising from the devastation of typhoon ‘Pablo’,” Malanyaon said.

Malanyaon reported to the President various forms of aid gained by her province from different national government agencies that helped them get back on their feet after being hit by the monstrous storm in December 2012.

Super typhoon ‘Pablo’ claimed hundreds of lives, displaced thousands of families, and destroyed billions worth of infrastructures, private structures, and properties in Davao Oriental alone, which prompted President Aquino to create a special task force led by Secretary Rene Almendras to facilitate a smooth disaster response mechanism for all the affected areas.

“A one-year period with some disruptions seemed too short to regain some semblance of normalcy, and to heal from our painful ‘Pablo’ experience, yet we have done and achieved so much. But all these would not have been possible without the support of the national government under the present leadership,” Malanyaon said.

In terms of housing, Malanyaon said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) managed to immediately construct temporary shelters for homeless families and distributed cash assistance to those whose houses were partially damaged by the storm.

The DSWD also already provided Davao Oriental initial funds to be used in the construction of permanent shelters pegged at P70,000 per unit. In addition, the National Housing Authority acquired lands as well for its own housing projects for the province, which could provide shelter for 3,391 families.

Meanwhile, two significant bridges destroyed by ‘Pablo’—the San Jose and Mandurigao bridges in Caraga—were immediately repaired through the quick response teams sent by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), restoring access to the towns of Cateel, Boston, and Baganga, which were left isolated by ‘Pablo’ at the time.

The same bridges plus three others were also damaged by last month’s low pressure area caused by ‘Agaton’, but have since been fixed by the DPWH, including the Presidential Bridge of Lumao, Alegria of this municipality.

In terms of public health, Department of Health (DOH) augmented the support received by Davao Oriental from international non-government organizations and other healthcare-related groups as it helped repair a number of barangay health stations, including the Cateel District Hospital.

Students in the affected towns are currently occupying new school buildings donated by the charity wings of different media networks such as ABS-CBN, GMA-7, TV-5 and other donors from the private sector as both the Department of Education and the DPWH will still complete the construction of 570 new classrooms.

While over a year has passed since ‘Pablo’ swept Davao Oriental, debris clearing activities still continue in the province, hence Malanyaon is grateful for the Debris Management Fund assistance provided by President Aquino through the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The Department of Agriculture also remains consistent with its support by distributing rice, corn, and vegetable seeds, and cacao and cassava seedlings to over 8,000 farmers for their livelihood. Livestock, draft animals, and poultry were also distributed.

Davao Oriental was also declared insurgency-free by the Philippine Army four months after ‘Pablo’ hit the municipalities of Cateel, Baganga, and Boston, making it easier for both the local and national government to deliver basic services to affected residents.

As regards to their climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, together with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology under the Department of Science and Technology, assisted Davao Oriental in determining geohazard areas, which are now strongly observed in the establishment of resettlements, and in the updating of the local land use plans.

If there is one area that remains to be a concern for Davao Oriental until now, that would be power supply, as Malanyaon reported that 24 barangays or 57 percent of their province are still not re-energized.

In line with this, she is hoping that the fund requested by the Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative from the National Electrification Administration and the Department of Energy would be granted soon to restore energy in all the affected villages.

Malanyaon acknowledged the fact that more has to be done in order to translate the ‘build-back-better’ principle into concrete reality, but having a solid support from the national government and other development collaborators enables them to go a step further towards reaching that goal.

“And so, in behalf of the people of Davao Oriental, let me acknowledge and extend our wholehearted thanks and appreciation to His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III, for mobilizing the whole national government machinery to address our urgent concerns… We can do more and we can do better in the coming years… Always with that undaunted spirit ‘to move on and to move up’ as our mantra goes,” Malanyaon said. PND (hdc)

President Aquino visits Cateel, Davao Oriental

(CATEEL, Davao Oriental) Despite the erratic weather currently being experienced in this part of Mindanao, President Benigno S. Aquino III was able to push through with his planned engagements here to personally pay tribute to the resiliency displayed by the victims of super typhoon ‘Pablo’.

President Aquino arrived here Monday to start his five-province tour this week, in solidarity with survivors of natural calamities that hit the country recently, as part of this year’s celebration of the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution.

Upon his arrival, President Aquino conducted an aerial inspection of some of Davao Oriental’s chili farms, amusingly dubbed by local folks as ‘Hot Pablo’, rice plantations, and the Presidential Bridge of Lumao, Alegria on his way to Cateel Municipal Plaza where a short program was held.

Residents of Davao Oriental patiently waited for the President, who came two hours late at the Cateel Municipal Plaza, given the presence of thick rainclouds prompted his aircraft to take a different route.

“Hihingi pala ako ng paumanhin, ano, late na late ho kami. Ang dahilan po diyan hindi ko akalain pati sa helicopter ho pala may 'rerouting.' Kasi may ruta ho kaming dinadaanan, ‘di medyo maulap; ‘nung palapit na kami nang palapit, pakapal nang pakapal ho, hanggang dinesisyunan ng mga piloto: ‘Sir, baka hindi na po natin makita ‘yung pupuntahan,’” President Aquino explained prior to delivering his speech.

President Aquino said he was amazed at seeing how much Cateel has changed since the last time he visited the area in the wake of super typhoon ‘Pablo’. What used to be a picture of devastation has turned into a resilient community.

During the program, three beneficiaries of various rehabilitation and recovery projects being implemented by both the national and local governments here stood before the President to share their stories and thank him for the assistance his administration has extended.

President Aquino’s visit in Cateel lasted for about 20 to 30 minutes as he is scheduled to be in Loon, Bohol for the second-leg of his trip, where he is expected to hold a townhall meeting with the victims of last year’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake. PND (hdc)