Military to pursue modernization plans to attain minimum credible defense, says Palace official
The Aquino administration will continue to adhere on strengthening the country's military to attain what it called minimum credible defense, a Palace official said on Saturday.
A security expert said China is strongly after the Ayungin Shoal (Thomas Shoal) all because it is after a bigger catch that is Recto Bank (Reed Bank).
"The President's position has always been to strengthen our Armed Forces -- para magkaroon tayo ng minimum credible defense posture," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
"So patuloy ang pagbibigay ng --- at least to this particular President, he really walks the talk, in the sense that he funds the modernization program of the AFP. Pinaglalaanan talaga ng administrasyong Aquino ng budget 'yung pagmodernisa ng ating Sandatahang Lakas," she added.
Former military officer, politician and National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said in his blog that he believes China's next move is to seize and occupy the Ayungin Shoal, which would jeopardize the Philippines' Marine detachment there.
Golez said the Philippines must prepare for China's move on Ayungin in the event that its leadership adopts a military solution to their Ayungin objective.
Ayungin is part of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) that is claimed by China. It is 105 nautical miles from Rizal in Palawan and is within the country's exclusive economic zone.
The Philippines maintains its presence in Ayungin through the BRP Sierra Madre, a rusty ship that was purposely ran aground in 1999.
China warned the Philippines to abandon the shoal and prepare to face the consequences. Few weeks ago, the Chinese blocked two Philippine civilian ships that were supposed to deliver supplies to its troops.
The Philippines insists that Ayungin is part of its territory and maintained that it would continue to send supplies to its personnel there.
The country has been negotiating for an enhanced military cooperation with the US through an increased American military presence here aimed at protecting the country's interest in the West Philippine Sea. PND (as)
Palace welcomes Congress' support for Freedom of Information Bill
Malacanang said it welcomes the adoption of Congress on proposals raised by the Executive branch in connection with the deliberation on the Freedom of Information Bill.
In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace has always been open to engaging the legislators, especially on the provisions that Malacanang has proposed.
"At least for this Congress, natutuwa tayo at naging bukas sila doon sa mga provisions or proposals na pinropose (propose) ng Executive branch," Valte said.
"Kasi naniniwala tayo na ang mga provisions na 'yun ay naa-address nang buo ang mga concerns ng Pangulong Aquino tungkol doon sa paghabol ng burukrasya kapag nagkaroon na ng FOI," she added.
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Undersecretary Manolo Quezon met with some of the proponents of the FOI Bill in the Lower House and reiterated the Palace's position, she said.
Valte also recalled that even in the 15th Congress, the Palace worked with legislators from both the Lower House and the Senate on the FOI Bill.
"In the Fifteenth Congress, the Palace proposal was also adopted by the Technical Working Group on the Committee on Public Information.
"And even in the Senate noon those proposals were also adopted by the Committee under Sen. Gregorio Honasan," she said.
Malacanang will always participate in congressional deliberations to explain the wisdom behind the provisions that it has been proposing especially on the provisions regarding the posting of SALN of top government officials on websites.
Asked if the President will certify the FOI Bill urgent Valte said: "So far, the President has been judicious in exercising his certification power. Iniingatan ng Pangulo na kung ano 'yung nakalagay sa Constitution, kung saan posible ang certification power, ay doon na lang niya nae-exercise." PND (as)
Malacanang announces more new appointments
The Palace announced new appointments by the President of officials in different government offices.
Among those designated by the President include Prudencio M. Reyes Jr. as undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, and the transfer of Undersecretary Lesley Jeanne Y. Cordero to the office of Secretary Panfilo Lacson.
Originally, Cordero was an undersecretary in the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and was transferred to the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.
She was recently designated by the President to help the office of Secretary Lacson. Lacson is the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.
Other appointments include Jo Paolo Espiritu, Director IV of the PCOO, Gizela M. Gonzalez-Montinola and Magdaleno B. Albarracin, Jr. as members of the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines.
Their appointments were effective March 5, 2014.
Also appointed by the President were Bryan S. Lim, Registers of Deeds II, replacing Caroline L. Ruiz, and Quirino P. Revilla, succeeding Bethany G. Kapili.
Melanio C. Briosos and Melvin B. Navarro were appointed Director IV at the Department of Public Works and Highways replacing Angelito D. Twano and Veniedo O. Reyes.
The President also appointed Toribio Noel L. Ilao as Acting Director III of the Bureau of Equipment under the Department of Public Works and Highways. Ilao replaced Florendo B. Arias. PND (as)