Thursday, 13 March 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, March 13, 2014

President Aquino enjoins Ateneo professionals to help build better nation

President Benigno S. Aquino III urged fellow Ateneans to join hands in building a better nation for the country’s future generation.

In his speech during the 40th anniversary of the Ateneo Professional Schools (APS) Wednesday night, President Aquino reminded Ateneo professionals about their ultimate goal of “collectively” building the nation through their skills and expertise.

“Kasabay ng pagdiriwang at pagsasariwa sa Four as One, nawa’y huwag nating makaligtaan na itong Four as One ay Four as One for Others. Manindigan sana tayo na ang ating pagpapakadalubhasa ay hindi para sa ating mga personal na interes kundi para sa mga nasa labas ng bakod at pader ng Professional Schools,” he said referring to the APS theme “Four as One,” which reflects the collective nature and identity of APS.

The APS is the collective entity gathering four graduate schools of the Ateneo: the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB), the Ateneo Law School (ALS), the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG), and the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH).

During the ceremony, the President witnessed the signing of the four commemorative bricks, inscribed with the Ateneo seal and brand, by the dean of four schools as well as the President of the Ateneo University. The four bricks represent the strong foundation of the APS and their existence over the last forty years.

The deans were Dr. Antonio G.M. La ViƱa (ASOG), Mr. Alberto L. Buenviaje (AGSB), Dr. Manuel M. Dayrit (ASMPH), and Associate Dean Lily K. Gruba (Officer-in-Charge, Ateneo Law School).

President Aquino entertained three questions from the deans where he recounted the problems he and his officials had to face in steering the country towards the straight path.

“In my mind, ‘baka pwede pa akong go another 20 rounds of the — everything that has to deal with this job’ pero I don’t think I am prepared to sacrifice everybody else’s lives,” he said when thinking about his stint as President.

The President believed that he has done so much in reforming the government and yet he wanted to do more with God’s grace.

“I pray to God and say ... I ask that we be made instruments of His will; That we be able to create His kingdom here on earth; and the third is to shield us [from harm],” he said.

President Aquino ended his speech by recalling Padre Roque Ferriols’ words saying: “Nasabi na ang dapat masabi, pero ang pinakamahalaga ay hindi pa rin nasasabi, ito’y magagawa lamang.” PND (jb)

President Aquino tells youth to join government’s efforts for change

President Benigno S. Aquino III underscored the importance of “collective effort,” particularly the participation of the youth, to effectively implement reforms in government.
In an interview with students of Ateneo Professionals Schools (APS) in Makati City Wednesday night, President Aquino stressed that the youth will determine the country’s future and they have the power to change the government system, which has been tainted by corruption over the years.

“If the youth do not participate in trying to change society and you would be the inheritors of this society, did you, by non-participation, guarantee that that which is wrong continues? Hindi ba, iyong tutol hindi sumali e o di lahat ng natira sumang-ayon. Tuloy ang ligaya ng iilan, kawawa yung nakakarami,” he said.

He refused to describe corruption in the country as “very rampant” saying that he himself has not been tagged in any corrupt practice.

“If the top is corrupt, then everybody will have a justification to be corrupt, okay. Now, kailangan ko naman sabihin, nahihiya naman ako kay Leila de Lima and others, the Ombusman, et cetera, who have been filing the necessary cases and we are awaiting adjudication of [these cases],” he further said.

President Aquino reminded the youth that people on the good side are often pilloried and besmirched but these should not discourage them to fight for what is right.

“The fundamental question is ‘You see something, it's wrong. You have two choices: you fight against it or you accept it’,” he said.

He noted that in the end, the youth are the ones who will chart the future of the country and it will be up to them how to make it a better place to live in.

“Your generation really should provide the necessary muscle, the energy that drives, because at the end of the day, you really will inherit that, which is better or worse, due to our collective efforts or lack of effort,” the President said referring to a third year law student of APS who asked him question during the event. PND (jb)

President Aquino thanks ADB for supporting government recovery efforts after typhoon ‘Yolanda’

President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his gratitude to the Asian Development Bank for helping the country recover from the devastation by Typhoon Yolanda last year by extending grants and loans amounting to billions of dollars.

“In the aftermath of the storm, the ADB reached out to our government and to the Filipino people—in a sense, clearing paths through the rubble, and showing us where we could pick ourselves up and continue to journey towards inclusive growth,” the President said in his message during ADB’s reception in its headquarters in Mandaluyong City Wednesday.

The ADB provided the country with assistance in the form of loans and grants, which is expected to exceed one billion dollars. At the same time, the bank set up an office in Tacloban City to coordinate the use of funds, and to give guidance to local governments, the President said.

“Indeed, with this kind of help from your organization—and from the rest of our friends in the international community—affected communities will be back on their own feet in the soonest possible time.”

In the wake of previous disasters, the ADB provided the Philippines grants after the massive mudslide in Southern Leyte in 2006. It also helped the country in crisis recovery efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, he noted.

Extending this assistance is an act of a true partner, he said, an ally that exhibits concern for the welfare of the Filipino people. This gives Filipinos great confidence that they have a partner they can rely on to rebuild.

The relief, rebuilding, and reconstruction phases that follow calamities are only one aspect of Philippines and ADB partnership, he said.

“The true essence of these is found in our joint undertakings over the years: our combined work to accelerate the Philippines’ journey on the path of true and holistic development. From the very beginning, you have helped us to take great strides along this path,” he added. PND (as)

Aquino: ADB, government’s partner for national development

The Asian Development Bank is a major partner that helped the Philippines set the momentum to continuous economic growth, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.

During a reception at the ADB’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City Wednesday, the President spelled out its assistance to the Philippines.

He said that from 1966 to the end of 2012, the ADB has loaned the country with more than $13 billion, which was used by the government to build vital infrastructure projects such as roads, airports, and power plants.

Currently, the ADB is the country’s sixth largest source of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), with overall net commitment reaching more than $833 million, he added.

The President noted that with ADB’s help, the government was able to push its flagship conditional cash transfer program and has registered 4.3 million households in 2014. More than 600,000 were financed through ADB loans.

Under the program, families receive cash grants on the condition that children are sent to school, pregnant mothers are assessed regularly, and infants and children are vaccinated.

Another ADB-funded project in the country is the Philippine Energy Efficiency Project, he said. The ADB loaned the Philippines more than $30 million for the program, helping the government distribute 8.6 million compact fluorescent lamps to more than 3.5 million Filipino households.

The projects reduced the country’s annual electricity demand by 321 gigawatt hours and has shrunk its carbon footprint, he said.

“And with organizations like you supporting our efforts, we have been able to work with our people to turn those collective aspirations into reality,” the President said.

The country was previously considered the Sick Man of Asia, but today there is optimism among Filipinos, he said.

With the reforms being initiated in government, the administration has done away with the vicious cycle of dishonesty, corruption, and self-interest that crippled the economy.

Today, there is empowerment, transparency and integrity that foster confidence and true participation of the people, he said.

“Today, we have the social and economic momentum towards becoming one of the world’s most dynamic economies in the years to come.”

If the ADB and the government further strengthen their partnership and work shoulder to shoulder towards one goal, they could empower millions of Filipinos for national development, the President said. PND (as)

Next President must be competent, selfless, says President Aquino

President Benigno S. Aquino III advised young people to vote for a presidential candidate who is competent, selfless and firm.

During a question and answer portion with Hope Christian High School students in Manila Thursday, the President was asked about the major qualities of a presidential candidate that first-time voters must look for.

President Aquino said the next president should be competent, should not flip flop with his positions, and should put people’s interest first.
“Alam n’yo ba kung ano 'yung ampaw na pagkain? Yung ampaw malasa pero sa loob hangin,” the President said in describing an incompetent leader.

He also told students that a leader must be firm in his positions and shouldn’t change his views. A president should also earn the respect and trust of the people for everyone to follow.

A leader must also be selfless, he said.

Yung third value, talagang ito bang taong ito na-demonstrate ang pagiging para sa iba as opposed to para sa sarili?” he asked.

”Klaro ba na 'yung gawain niya tungo sa kapakanan ng iba o kapakanan ng sarili? Kung manonood lang tayo ng commercial niya noong panahon ng kampanya kulang ang ginawa natin.”

The President also mentioned his fear about a leader who is over confident.

“Siguro kakabahan ako 'pag sumama kayo sa akin gagawin ko ito, gagawin ko 'yan, gagawin ko 'yon’—para bang masyadong bilib sa sarili. Kailangan may humility rin,” he said.

“At the end of the day there really has to be continuity between his actions and his words, and that has to be demonstrated consistently before he can start or you should start imparting your trust on him or her,” he told students. PND (as)

Palace now studying PMA Cadet Cudia’s appeal

Malacanang said it is studying the appeal of Philippine Military Academy cadet Jeff Aldrin Cudia who will not graduate for allegedly violating the Honor Code.

“The Office of the President is currently studying the appeal. The PMA Honor Code is an essential building block on the character formation of future leaders and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement Thursday.

“The basic objective of the PMA honor code is to prepare and fortify the mindset and the value set of the prospective Armed Forces officer as these will eventually be put to a severe test in the battlefield and arenas of conflict, where the officer will be deployed upon commissioning.”

Assuring Cudia’s family on the Palace’s review, he said: “Truth and fairness are the primary guideposts in deciding this appeal.”

The PMA had dismissed Cudia and he will not be among the March 16 graduates of the academy.

Cudia, the batch salutatorian, will be separated from service after having allegedly violated the academy’s Honor Code, the PMA said. It added that Cudia couldn’t acquire his degree and other distinctions.

Cudia was accused of having lied about his reason for tardiness in class. After Cudia appealed his case, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista ordered a reinvestigation of the incident.

The fate of Cudia will rely on President Aquino’s decision. The beleaguered cadet is currently discharged and on indefinite leave. PND (as)

Government spells out measures to address Mindanao power shortage

The government is carrying out several measures to address the power shortage being experienced in Mindanao, the Palace said on Thursday.

In a statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the President met with Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla last Monday and directed him to pursue efforts addressing the tight power supply situation in Mindanao that occurred last February 27.

“The President also directed the Department of Energy to coordinate with the Department of Science and Technology in monitoring the inquiry into the causes of the unexpected breakdown. According to the DOE, the tightness in the Mindanao power supply situation is expected to persist through the months of March, April, and May,” he said.

Coloma said Petilla enumerated three measures to address the Mindanao power shortage.

First is the interruptible load program that is expected to generate around 93.71 megawatts.

Under this program, distribution utilities may tap into their generator sets, instead of availing themselves of the system power supply, and they will be compensated for the cost differential through a formula already determined by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), he explained.

The ERC approved the petition of Davao Light for rules change on cost recovery that resulted to significant gain in capacity, he noted.

Another measure is the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market, which is similar to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

It is a transparency device by which the available supply in a particular grid is made open and public, so that those that need additional supply may buy directly from offerors of power in that market. This scheme is expected to generate 124 megawatts, according to Coloma.

The government is also considering the Mindanao modular generator set program that is expected to generate 48 megawatts. The President already issued an executive order enabling the acquisition of modular generator sets.

“Through the additional capacity of 265 megawatts that will be generated from these three measures, the DOE hopes to be able to bridge the gap between demand and supply, and thus, lessen the frequency and duration of the rotating brownouts,” Coloma said. PND (as)

Philippines continues to post two percent increase in employment each year, says labor department

While the government admitted that unemployment continues to be a challenge, the labor department said the country has posted two percent increase in employment annually.

“Pag sinabing unemployment tinatanggap ng gobyerno ‘yan—hanggang ngayon may problema tayo kasi bagama’t nakaka-create tayo ng jobs in the earlier slide ay taun-taon may two percent increase din na pumapasok annually sa labor force,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday.

“So nagbabalanse lang siya, o steady ‘yung unemployment natin, and it continues to be a big challenge sa sinuman po ang umupo sa gobyerno.”

Baldoz said that since 2010, the country has experienced employment increases—2.8 percent in 2010, 3.2 percent in 2011, 1.1 percent in 2012, and 0.8 percent in 2013. In the first quarter of 2014, it posted 0.8 percent, she added.

The government continues to create absolute employment figures—974,000 in 2010, 1.15 million in 2011, and 408,000 in 2012, and 317,000 in 2013. In the first quarter of this year, there are 283 net employments, she said.

Baldoz said two percent job seekers enter the labor force while two percent of job is created annually.

The labor secretary discussed the labor situation in the country after the Philippine Statistical Authority released the Labor Force Survey last Tuesday.

Baldoz said the labor department does comparisons on data each time the Labor Force Survey is released. It also conducts more in-depth analysis on the survey results on the year-on-year employment situation in the country, she added. PND (as)