Friday, 9 May 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, April 4, 2014

Malacanang defends constitutionality of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro

The Palace on Friday defended the constitutionality of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“The instruction of the President in negotiating for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was to make sure that it will be within the parameters of the Constitution. We believe certainly that the CAB can withstand constitutional scrutiny, judicial scrutiny,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during a press briefing.

Reacting to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s statement that the CAB is unconstitutional, Lacierda said the senator’s opinion differs from that of other constitutional lawyers, who find the agreement constitutional.

He noted that Chair of the GPH Negotiating Panel in the talks with the MILF, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, would like to sit down with Senator Santiago to discuss the CAB.

“As we will do with all the legislators, because this bill … will be submitted to Congress for their legislation enactment,” he said.

“We are hopeful that those who have expressed doubts and reluctance will see that this will stand constitutional scrutiny and ultimately, it will redound to the peace and development of Mindanao and the Philippines,” said Lacierda. PND (ag)

Singaporean leader donates $7.5 M to rebuild Visayan region

Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam, patron of the Singapore Red Cross (SRC), on Friday presented $7.5 million in donations to SRC partners in the Philippines for rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts in areas damaged by super typhoon Yolanda.

The fund will be used to construct and rehabilitate shelters, schools and healthcare facilities; procure medical equipment and supplies; and ensure water supply and sanitation in Bantayan Island, Busuanga Island, Leyte, Ormoc, Panay Island, and Samar, the SRC said.

President Tan said he is glad that the SRC has chosen to work with trusted partners in the Philippines to help typhoon-affected communities.

He said he hopes his country's contribution, “a small gesture of friendship and solidarity with the Filipino people”, will make a difference in the devastated areas.

The Singaporean leader also said the SRC has raised $11.45 million through its Typhoon Haiyan public appeal.

President Tan earlier witnessed the signing of three agreements between the SRC and its Red Cross Movement Partners in the Philippines, such as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

He also presented contributions from the people of Singapore that were coursed through the Anglican Crisis Relief Outreach and Support, Singapore (ACROSS), Life Community Development (LCD), WYNASEAN, Humanitarian Assistance Network for Disaster (HAND), and Assisi Development Foundation.

SRC Secretary General Benjamin William said they will focus their efforts to help rehabilitate infrastructure and restore the delivery of critical services to the affected communities.

The SRC will ensure that the funds will reach the most affected communities to achieve significant impact, he said.

President Tan will travel to Basey, Western Samar on Saturday to present the first batch of medical supplies and equipment to Basey District Hospital.

The initiative is a joint rehabilitation project of the Singapore Red Cross, the Philippine Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Singapore Red Cross is a humanitarian organization dedicated to relieving human suffering, protecting lives and responding to emergencies since 1949.

It serves through its blood donor recruitment program, activity center for the disabled, transport aid, community first aid and capacity building through its training academy. PND (as)

President Tan of Singapore sees bright future for the Philippines

Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam said he foresees a bright future for the Philippines, given its rich resources and vibrant workforce.

Speaking before members of the Philippines-Singapore Business Council (PSBC) at the Philam Life Tower in Makati City on Friday, President Tan said the Philippines’ economic growth has been remarkable in recent years.

“It is consistently one of the strongest in Asia, and expanded an impressive 7.2 percent last year. Investment figures also recorded a 10 percent growth in 2013. With its rich resources and a vibrant workforce, the future shines bright for the Philippines,” he said.

These developments give Singapore’s businesses an opportunity to take part in the country’s success, he said.

The Singaporean leader also said he observes a growing number of businesses from his country coming to the Philippines to look for possible investments.

Last year, the International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) conducted seven business trips to the Philippines and hosted six similar visits from the Philippines.

“I expect this number to grow, as more Singapore professionals and entrepreneurs venture here to tap on the Philippines’s growth potential,” he said.

To facilitate this growing interest, IE Singapore established an overseas center in Manila three months ago, he said.

The PSBC plays a critical role in furthering this relationship, President Tan said, adding that since its launch in 1994, the council has worked tirelessly to open doors, promote exchanges and facilitate cooperation between enterprises in the Philippines and Singapore.

As close friends and neighbors within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), President Tan said both the Philippines and Singapore have a stake in each other’s future and the region’s success.

President Tan arrived in the country Wednesday for a four-day state visit. He met with President Aquino on Thursday and will visit Basey, Western Samar on Saturday to hand over a Singapore-funded project there. He will leave for Singapore Saturday evening. PND (as)

Palace assures MRT commuters: Long-term solution is at hand

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Friday the government is in the process of purchasing Metro Rail Transit (MRT) coaches to ease congestion in the train stations.
“The long-term intervention is we are acquiring the coaches. That’s the only way we can alleviate the difficulties that we are encountering in the MRT,” said Lacierda.

He asked for the understanding of the commuting public who have to endure long queues at the MRT stations every day.

“If the lines are long, we sincerely apologize to our fellow citizens about this difficulty. We are in the process of acquiring the coaches,” said Lacierda.

For the meantime, he said, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is making short-term interventions, such as ensuring the commuters’ comfort and making sure that the trains run on time.

“But we certainly are hoping for the time that we acquire the coaches and add to the present number of coaches in the MRT and LRT,” said Lacierda. PND (ag)