Friday, 9 May 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Sunday, April 6, 2014

Malacanang calls on all working Filipinos to pay correct taxes

Malacanang on Sunday called on all Filipinos to do their duty and pay the correct taxes on or before the deadline on April 15.

In a press briefing aired over radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma issued the call saying taxes pay an integral part in the nation’s economy.

“Ipinapaalala natin sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan na ang huling araw ng pagsusumite ng Income Tax Returns (ITR) ay sa Martes, ika-15 ng Abril. Mahalaga ang pagbabayad ng buwis sapagkat ito po ang bumubuhay sa ating pambansang ekonomiya,” Coloma said. PND (rck)

President Aquino to lead 'Araw ng Kagitingan' rites in Bataan on April 9

President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the commemoration of “Araw ng Kagitingan” that will be held in Pilar, Bataan on Wednesday, April 9, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Sunday.

Coloma said, in a radio interview aired over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, that the highlight of the event will be President Aquino’s speech to pay his and the Filipino people’s respect to the brave veterans who gave their lives for our freedom.

“Sa darating na Miyerkules, ika-siyam ng Abril, ipagdiriwang ng bansa ang Araw ng Kagitingan. Sentro ng selebrasyon ang Mount Samat National Shrine sa Pilar, Bataan kung saan magtatalumpati si Pangulong Aquino upang itanghal ang kabayanihan ng mga sundalong Pilipino noong Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig,” Coloma said.

He added that simultaneous celebrations will be held at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and other venues on Wednesday.

“Magkakaroon din ng mga palatuntunan upang gunitain ang sakripisyo ng mga lumahok sa Death March na nagtapos sa Capas, Tarlac. Meron din pong ibang selebrasyon na idaraos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani at iba pang lugar,” Coloma said.

The Bataan Death March, which began on April 9, 1942, was the forcible transfer by the Imperial Japanese Army of 60,000–80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II.

Approximately 2,500–10,000 Filipino and 100–650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach their destination at Camp O'Donnell. PND (rck)

President Tan of Singapore left Saturday after four-day state visit in the Philippines

Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam left for Singapore Saturday evening following his successful four-day state visit to the

The Singaporean leader left Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal I at 6:50 pm Saturday.

Among the members of the send off party include Vice President Jejomar Binay, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Manila International Airport Authority general manager Jose Angel Honrado.

Prior to his departure Saturday, President Tan led the turnover of the first batch of medical supplies and equipment to Basey District Hospital in Basey, Western Samar.

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

While in the Philippines, President Tan met President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacanang and discussed defense and security, trade and people-to-people exchanges between the Philippines and Singapore.

The Singapore leader, who is also the patron of the Singapore Red Cross, on Friday presented $7.5 million in donations to Singapore Red Cross 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.

He also attended the Philippines-Singapore Business Council meeting at the Philam Life Tower in Makati City on Friday, saying he sees a bright future for the Philippines given its vibrant work force and rich resources.

There is an estimated 180,000 Filipinos living and working in Singapore based on recent figures.

Singapore was the Philippines' fourth largest trade partner last year, with total trade amounting to $8.22 billion. PND (as)

Defense finding ways to improve benefits for war veterans -- Palace

MalacaƱang on Sunday said the Department of National Defense (DND) through the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) continues to find ways to improve the benefits being rendered by the government to Filipino war veterans and their families.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. reported that one of the milestone achievements of PVAO in 2013 was the payment of total administrative disability (TAD) arrears amounting to P2.877-billions to 17,817 living World War II veterans covering the period of 1994 to 2002.

The amount was charged against the pension gratuity fund of the 2013 General Appropriations Act, which materialized through the authority given by President Benigno S. Aquino III last year.

“This has brought the total payment for TAD arrears to 6.93-billion pesos as of this date, which demonstrates the government’s resolve to deliver its commitment as mandated in Republic Act 7696,” Coloma told an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.

Coloma added the PVAO also delivered pensions amounting to P10.225-billion benefiting 199,000 pensioners last year, many of whom have one or more pension accounts.

Other forms of aid being extended by PVAO to war veterans and their families apart from TAD include old age disability, death pension, education, hospitalization, and burial assistance benefits.

Coloma also mentioned that the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) was able to deliver medical services to 1,092 beneficiaries and their dependents whose hospitalization needs amounted to over P2-million last year.

This was on top of the P15-million the hospital had spent for specialized care for illnesses and other medical needs of war veterans. Reimbursements were also allowed for patients who underwent angioplasty, hemodialysis, cataract surgery, and purchased hearing aids and dentures.

Coloma said some beneficiaries were also given medicines, wheelchairs, walkers, and canes through an outreach program. At the same time, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) was also checking with PVAO how it could deliver its services to the veterans.

The Palace official disclosed these details in time for the upcoming celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) on Wednesday, April 9, that would be led by President Aquino in Bataan.

“With this year’s theme “Balik Tanaw sa Sakripisyo ng Beterano: Gabay sa Landas ng Pagbabago”, the PVAO and DND aim to present our veterans as among the country’s national treasures and to revive the culture of heroism, which the Filipino race has been known for essentially because of our veterans’ valor and selfless sacrifices,” he said. PND (hdc)

Malacanang welcomes CPP-NPA-NDF's support to West Philippine Sea claims

Malacanang welcomed the statement the Communist Party of the Philippines- National People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in supporting the country’s claim over the disputed cluster of islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Sunday in a press briefing aired over radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, that Malacanang appreciated the statement of CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison.

In a statement, the CPP founding chairman said “by manifestations though writing and mass actions, the patriotic and progressive forces have stood for Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity over the islands and islets in question in the sea west of the Philippines on the basis of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international instrument.”

For his part Secretary Coloma said “Lahat po ng pagpapahayag ng suporta na nanggagaling dito sa ating bansa at sa labas ng bansa ay malugod pong tinatanggap. At umaasa po tayo na lahat ng sector ng ating lipunan at lahatating lipunan at lahat ng ating mga kababayan ay nakikiisa sa posisyon ng ating bansa hinggil dito.”

Last March 30, 2014, the Philippines filed a memorial at International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) against China.

Manila and Beijing are quarrelling over the cluster of islands in the West Philippine Sea. Both are laying claim to the Kalayaan Group of Islands as well as the Ayungin and Scarborough Shoals. PND (ag)

Palace: Zamboanga City rehabilitation underway

Malacanang assured the residents of Zamboanga City that government is doing its part in rehabilitating their conflict-ravaged community.

This is the reaction of Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. over reports that the United Nations was alarmed with the plight of refugees in Zamboanga City.

In a press briefing aired over radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Coloma said “Hindi po nagpapabaya ang ating pamahalaan dahil mahalaga po sa atin ang kapakanan ng lahat ng ating mga mamamayan.”

“Patuloy po silang inaalagaan, kinakalinga, at binibigyan ng karampatang tulong ng ating pamahalaan,” Coloma added.

He said Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government of Zamboanga City is working together to help the affected refugees who were forced to leave their damaged homes during the conflict, while the Department of Public Works and Highways is tasked in rebuilding the affected communities.

In September 2013, a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) held at least 20 hostages in Zamboanga City which led to the devastation of portion of the city. Zamboanga City has a population of 770,000 people.

Coloma said the government will accept any suggestions to improve the conditions of the affected Zamboanga city residents.

“Kung mayroon pong nakikitang kakulangan ang iba’t ibang pangkat, lokal man o pandaigdig, ay malugod pong tinatanggap ang kanilang panukala at handa namang makipagtulungan sa kanila ang ating pamahalaan,” said Coloma. PND (ag)