Thursday, 13 March 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Army Chief, 48 other new generals, flag officers take oath before President Aquino

Newly-appointed Philippine Army Chief Major General Hernando Iriberri and 48 other newly-promoted generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) took oath before President Benigno S. Aquino III at Malacanang’s Rizal Hall on Tuesday.

Other high-ranking officials who joined Army Chief Iriberri were Commodore Raul Ubando, commander Presidential Security Group; Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, AFP spokesperson; Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año, ISAFP chief; Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., commander of the North Luzon Command; Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz, commander of Eastern Mindanao Command; and Maj. Gen. Oscar Lopez, Philippine Military Academy superintendent.

Also promoted were Lt. Gen. Virgilio Domingo, Maj. Gen. Romeo Tanalgo, Maj, Gen. Edgar Fallorina, Rear Admiral Isabelo Gador, Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, Maj. Gen. Gamaliel Cruz, Rear Admiral Jose Renan Suarez, Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad, Maj. Gen. Jet Velarmino, Major General Rodelio Santos, Maj. Gen. Julius Cesar Guillermo, Maj. Gen. Eusaquito Manalo, Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, Maj. Gen. Yerson Depayso, Brig. Gen. Demosthenes Santillan, Brig. Gen. Arnold Quiapo, and Brig. Gen. Rolando Malinao.

Also joining them were Brig. Gen. Andre Costales Jr., Commodore Primitivo Gopo, Brig. Gen. Raymundo Elefante, Brig. Gen. Rodrigo Diapana, Brig. Gen. Teodorico Raqueño, Brig. Gen. Gerardo Barrientos, Brig. Gen. Richard Lagrana, Brig. Gen. Alex Capiña, Brig. Gen. Ricardo Jalad, Brig. Gen. Vic Castro, Commodore Bayani Gaerlan, Brig. Gen. Ivan Samarita, Brig. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, Brig. Gen. Ruben Carandang, Brig. Gen. Donato San Juan, Brig. Gen. Anselmo Junsay III, Brig. Gen. Victor Bayani, Commodore Aurelio Rabusa Jr., Brig. Gen. Roger Salvador, Brig. Gen. Manuel Gonzales, Commodore Severino David, Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Mutiangpili, Brig. Gen. Ronald Albano, Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Santiago, and Brig. Gen. Henry Sabarre.

After the oath-taking ceremony, the newly-promoted generals and flag officers along with their respective families had a photo opportunity with the President. The President was joined by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. PND (jb)

Malacanang calls on all working personnel to pay correct taxes

Malacanang called on all working personnel and professional organizations to join efforts in improving the overall economic development of the country by paying the correct taxes.

In a press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday, Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Jr. said the Bureau of Internal Revenue is stepping up efforts to improve the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio to 16 to 18 percent by 2016.

“Taxes are the lifeblood of the economy. In accordance with the Philippine Domestic Program goals, the BIR’s campaign is intensifying efforts to increase the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio to 16 to 18 percent by 2016. As of 2013, the country’s tax-to-GDP reached 13.6 percent, but still below the 17 percent recorded prior to the Asian financial crisis,” Coloma said.

He added that by working to achieve this target, the government is committed to strengthening its tax collection efforts to be at par with its ASEAN counterparts.

According to a World Bank report, the tax effort of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore stands at 17.6 percent,16.1 percent and 13.8 percent respectively.

“We call on all professional organizations to urge their members to pay the right taxes and help in the country’s overall economic development efforts. PND (rck)

Land reform to continue despite termination of CARPER, says Palace

The Palace made an assurance on Tuesday that land reform under Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) will continue even after its termination date.

Some groups in the land reform sector are asking the status of the implementation of CARPER, which is set to expire this June.

But in a press briefing on Tuesday in Malacanang, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the land reform program will push through despite its termination date especially land the owners who haven’t received notices of termination.

“At kapag meron ka nang notice of coverage, ‘yan ‘yung sinasabi nilang subject to proceedings. At sabi ni Secretary de los Reyes, kapag subject to proceedings, hindi ka naman made-deadline ng June 30,” Coloma explained.

“Puwede namang ipagpatuloy ‘yung usapin hanggang beyond June 30 hangga’t maresolba ‘yung isyu. Kaya sa aspetong ‘yan, sinasabi niyang hindi dapat mag-alala ‘yung meron pang mga nakabinbin na usapin at ‘yung hindi pa nabibigyan ng notice of coverage.”

Quoting Agrarian Reform Secretary de los Reyes, Coloma said that under the existing law—the Republic Act 9700, Section 30 says “land acquisition and distribution may proceed for land holdings with pending proceedings even after June 2014.”

Under Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) interpretation, discussions on CARPER could continue even after the termination, Coloma said.

People having queries on the CARP and CARPER issues could contact the Department of Agrarian Reform, which is always ready to assist the public.

With regards to helping land reform beneficiaries, Coloma said the DAR set up a dedicated group that focuses on support services. This group has been coordinating with other government agencies like Land Bank of the Philippines and Cooperatives Development Authority to help beneficiaries put up their own cooperatives.

“Ito ngang year 2014, lumalahok ang ating bansa doon sa International Year of the Family Farm. Ibig sabihin, ini-encourage talaga ang pagpapalago at pagkakaroon ng family farms para mas marami pang Pilipino ang lumahok sa pagsasaka,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture said the average age of Filipino farmers is 55 or older so there’s a need to broaden the base of farmers in the country to include those from the younger age group, he said. PND (as)

Palace condemns NPA landmine attack in Davao del Sur

Malacanang condemned the landmine attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bansalan, Davao del Sur that injured several soldiers and civilians.

“We join the AFP in condemning the latest attack of the NPA in Bansalan, Davao del Sur. This brazen act of the NPA is in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) that was signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front in The Hague, Netherlands in March 1998,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a press briefing Tuesday in Malacanang.

Sixteen persons, including 11 soldiers and five civilians, were hurt when the landmine exploded in Davao del Sur Sunday night.

The Armed Forces said the incident took place at around 7:30 p.m. Sunday night when the convoy that included three ambulances of the Davao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) and the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion were on their way to Barangay Managa in Bansalan.

The convoy was transporting soldiers injured in an earlier encounter with the NPA when the landmine exploded and damaged passing vehicles. PND (as)

Palace: PNP determined to maintain peace and order

The police continues to work to ensure peace and order in the country especially after the recent attack on a local official in Sarangani, the Palace said.

A lawmaker said there is a deteriorating peace and order situation in the country as reflected in the ambush on the Maitum Mayor George Perrett last week.

But in a press briefing Tuesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima issued a directive for intensified efforts to capture the assailants Mayor Perrett.

Perrett died hours after he was ambushed by unidentified suspects on Friday night. The Sarangani mayor was onboard his vehicle when ambushed along the national highway particularly in Sitio Bugo, Barangay Malalag in Maitum around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

In Central Luzon, the PNP leadership relieved an entire Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) contingent including the commanding officer, the Palace official said.

The CIDG contingent, including its commanding officer, were allegedly coddling criminals and stockpiling illegal firearms, Coloma said adding this shows the determination of the PNP in cleansing its ranks of people who are on the wrong side of the law.

“Bahagi din iyan ng pagpapahusay ng kapasidad ng PNP sa pagpapatupad ng batas,” he said. PND (as)