Friday, 9 May 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, April 10, 2014

President Aquino graces thanksgiving mass for reopening of Manila Cathedral

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday night joined the faithful in the Thanksgiving Mass for the reopening of the historic Manila Cathedral, known formally as Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in Intramuros.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle led the bishops in officiating the Mass. The Cathedral closed its doors to the public in February 2012 to undergo major structural repairs and restorations.

In his homily, Cardinal Tagle welcomed the faithful and recalled that one of his first decisions as newly installed archbishop in 2011 was to close the cathedral to make way for repairs.

“Now, we are all home, “he said. “Welcome home to this house of the Archdiocese. The home of our God; the home of our Mother.”

Cardinal Tagle also thanked those who helped in the reconstruction of the Church, saying that the Manila Cathedral could not have been rebuilt without their generosity, expertise, and faith in God.

He further said that just like the cathedral, survivors of recent calamities would rise again. “Dumamay po tayo sa mga kapatid natin, na hindi lamang building ang dapat patatagin at itayo, kundi mga pangarap at buhay,” he said.

“Kaya para sa mga kapatid nating patuloy na itinatayo ang kanilang buhay dala ng Yolanda, kasama po namin kayo; at kami na bumubuo sa Archdiocese of Manila ay inyong kaagapay,” he added.

In his homily, Cardinal Tagle also reminded the people to worship the “true God” and ignore the “false gods” of money, power, and lust. “The essence of worship is just to worship because God deserves such worship,” he said.

“And the invitation to serve God comes with the reminder: Beware of the many false gods asking us to worship them and to serve them,” he said. “Let us not offer worship and sacrifice to false gods.”

Prior to the Mass, former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, President of the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica Foundation Inc., unveiled the historical marker for the reopening of the cathedral.

Accompanying President Aquino at the Mass were his sisters, Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee, and Kris Aquino.

Also present at the Mass were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other government officials. PND (co)

Palace welcomes US Federal Aviation Authority upgrade Phl air safety measures to category 1 status

Malacanang welcomed on Thursday the U.S Federal Aviation Authority’s upgrade of the country’s air safety measures to Category 1 from Category 2.

In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the upgrade “demonstrates the capability of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to implement institutional reforms to ensure that the county’s aviation industry is globally competitive and conforms with international safety standards."

“We join the Department of Transportation and Communications in welcoming the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) decision to upgrade the Philippines’ safety status to Category 1 after meeting the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),” Coloma said.

“The upgrading comes on the heels of the favorable action by the European Union on safety compliance of Philippine carriers. The benefits of this development include greater access to US routes, use of more fuel-efficient planes, and faster growth of the Philippine tourism and aviation sectors,” he added.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte lauded the DOTC and the CAAP saying the upgrade is a result of their hardwork and commitment to rectify lapses and inactions of the past.

“We laud the DOTC and CAAP for the commitment and hard work they have demonstrated in rectifying the lapses and inaction of the past. As they have done this, so too have they instituted a truly service-oriented regime -- one which is committed to its mandate of ensuring that our aviation industry meets international standards,” she said.

“This upgrade is a result of the can-do attitude that prevails in government and society today -- an attitude that enables our agencies to continuously strive to ensure the safety and well-being of the wider public, as we all tread the straight path to greater progress and success,” she added.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administrion downgraded the country to Category 2 due to safety concerns in 2008. This downgrade meant that the country’s carriers could only continue flights to the U.S. under strict regulation by the FAA. PND (rck)

President Aquino remains focused on attaining long-term goals, says official

Malacanang said Thursday the main focus of the administration is the implementation of reforms in the country and not public approval ratings.

“We will note that the decline in the performance approval—I believe it is from 73 percent to 70 percent—is a marginal decline and well within the usual statistical margin of error,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told reporters during a press briefing.

Coloma was commenting on Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan Survey for the First Quarter of 2014, which showed a slight dip in the President’s satisfaction and trust ratings.

“We have pointed out in previous briefings that our main concern is the implementation of the reforms and of the major programs in the Philippine Development Plan,” he said.

While there will likely be ups and downs or ebbs and flows in public opinion survey results, he said, the Aquino administration remains focused on the attainment of its development plan objectives.

In a separate statement on Thursday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said public confidence and trust on President Aquino remain overwhelming.

“Today, Pulse Asia reported, in its Ulat ng Bayan survey for the first quarter of 2014, that 70 percent of Filipinos approve of the President’s performance, while 69 percent continue to trust him. According to the report, there have been only marginal movements in the President’s performance and trust ratings,” Valte said.

“The most recent sampling of public opinion is the latest manifestation that the President’s efforts, his governance, and the administration’s mission to empower our people by instituting permanent change, are indivisible from the aspirations and efforts of our people as a whole.”

The Filipino people will remain the President’s main source of strength, she said, adding that with this in mind, the President and his team will persevere to accelerate even further the country’s pursuit of progress, as it treads the straight path to inclusive growth. PND (as)

Government to look into reports of prostitution in evacuation centers

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is monitoring the situation in different evacuation centers in the country to ensure the welfare of evacuees, Malacanang said Thursday.

It was reported that prostitution thrives in and around evacuation camps in Zamboanga City as many of the evacuees see it as a way to survive.

“Sinusubaybayan ng ating Department of Social Welfare and Development ang lahat ng mga evacuation centers. Meron sa Zamboanga City, meron pa rin sa Bohol, meron pa rin sa mga lugar na nasalanta ng kalamidad. Bahagi ng kanilang tungkulin ay pangalagaan ang kapakanan ng mga mamamayan doon, kasama na ang mga kababaihan,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said during a press briefing.

“Tinitiyak ko sa inyo na determinado ang ating pamahalaan na subaybayan ang sitwasyon sa lahat ng mga evacuation centers. Hindi na dapat madagdagan pa yung sakripisyo o yung pagdurusa ng mga pamilya,” he told Palace reporters.

He said the survivors have suffered enough from the consequences of the disasters and violence in Mindanao and the government won’t allow prostitution to continue in temporary shelters.

One of the major thrusts of the administration is to stop human trafficking, Coloma said, noting that prostitution is an aspect of trafficking.

The Zamboanga City Police said they have increased patrols inside evacuation centers and adjacent areas to prevent prostitution.

Health officials are also working to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among the evacuees. PND (as)

Talks on disaster risk reduction cooperation with United States underway, Palace says

There are ongoing talks at the Department of Foreign Affairs on an enhanced defense cooperation between the Philippines and the United States that will include disaster risk reduction and management, Malacanang said Thursday.

“There is now a new concept of non-traditional defense and that includes disaster risk reduction and management, in which the defense forces of countries in our region have shown their buildup of forces that are capable of assisting the civilian population to cope with the after-effects of calamities,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said during a press briefing with reporters.

He cited as an example the support extended by Japanese self-defense forces after Typhoon Yolanda devastated parts of the Visayan region.

He also said members of the South Korean and the Philippines armed forces completed a school building in Tanauan, Leyte.

“(This) is now gaining currency in the defense and security sector—the emergence of non-traditional defense and security coorperation,” said Coloma. PND (ag)