Monday, 2 June 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, May 19, 2014

President Aquino urges ASEAN nations to help mitigate impact of climate change

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday urged member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work together to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Addressing some 2,000 delegates from 32 Asia-Pacific countries attending the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) – ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change in Legazpi, Albay, President Aquino said that climate change should not be ignored.

“Climate change is real. It is a threat not simply to our industries or to our economies; it is a grave threat to all our peoples,” he said, citing Typhoon Yolanda, which he described as “unprecedented in scale”, affecting 44 of the country’s 81 provinces, claiming thousands of lives, and rendering many more homeless and without livelihood.
“We cannot ignore the resounding message that Typhoon Yolanda said to the world: If we do not tackle it head on, this ‘new normal’ brought about by climate change will be here to stay and we will be forced to make unfair choices between disaster risk management and development,” he warned.

He noted that each country must come up with a more focused and more organized strategy to adapt to the risks of climate change.

“This entails each country revisiting the way they approach every facet of governance to take into account how they affect the environment—from infrastructure, to agriculture, to energy. Needless to say, one of the sectors deeply concerned with the evolving demands of the new normal is tourism,” he continued.

The Chief Executive recounted how Donsol, Sorsogon, with the help of the Department of Tourism and the Worldwide Fund for Nature, was able to capitalize on its whale sharks, locally known as Butanding, to promote eco-tourism.

In less than five years, he said, Donsol went from a sixth-class municipality to a first-class municipality, with an annual income of P55 million.

He however noted that the long-term viability of such programs is tied to how the problem of climate change is dealt with.

Such efforts cannot come from just one country, he said, expressing hope that countries could continue to share ideas, new technologies and best practices through conferences like the UNWTO-ASEAN Conference on Tourism and Climate Change.

“Let us work even closer together; let us begin turning the situation around before it gets worse; and let us endeavor to leave behind a world still teeming with opportunities—one that is, without doubt, better than how we found it,” the President said.

Delegates to the five-day conference are expected to come up with measures that would strengthen the tourism sector’s ability to address the threats of climate change. PND (ag/jb)

President Aquino inaugurates Bicol University Health Sciences Building Phases 1 and 2

(LEGAZPI CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday led the inauguration of the Bicol University Health Sciences Building Phases 1 and 2 in Legazpi City, Albay as part of the government’s commitment to provide quality education for all Filipinos.

The President also launched the Doctor of Medicine-Master in Public Administration (MD-MPA) Program.

In his speech, President Aquino said that education is one of the government’s top priorities.

“Malinaw po, edukasyon ang isa sa mga haligi ng ating agenda ng pagbabago. At bawat kuwadrado-pulgada ng gusaling ito ay kongkretong patunay sa panata nating iangat ang antas ng edukasyon sa bansa,” he said.

“Ito ang pangunahin nating paraan upang siguruhin na ang pera ng taumbayan ay bumabalik sa kanila—ipupunla at didiligan ng kaalaman, at magbubunga ng oportunidad at kabuhayan.”

The President said the university’s MD-MPA Program would provide students more opportunities.

“Balita ko, ito pa ang unang paaralan para sa medisina sa ilalim ng pangangasiwa ng gobyerno sa buong rehiyon ng Bicol. At ang bonus pa, may katambal itong isa pang kurso na Master in Public Administration,” he said.

“Malinaw po ang ating istratehiya: tinutugunan natin ang mga pangangailangan ng kasalukuyan, habang patuloy namang namumuhunan sa kinabukasan, sa pamamagitan ng mga proyektong talagang nanganganak ng oportunidad para sa ating mga kababayan.”

In his speech, the President cited some of the reforms initiated at the education sector, such as the instruction to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to identify low-performing schools to make sure that Filipino students are receiving better-quality education.

“Naging mahalagang hakbang po ito para masigurong ang perang inilalaan natin mula sa kaban ng bayan ay nagbubunga ng resulta, at hindi nawawaldas lamang,” he said.

He further said that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), CHED, and the Department of Education (DepEd) are working hand-in-hand to resolve the job-skills mismatch and to ensure that graduates have acquired the correct training for their chosen courses.

President Aquino reaffirmed the government’s continued support to the State Universities and Colleges.

“Makatwiran tayong nagkakaloob ng pondo para sa pagpapaunlad ng kanilang mga pasilidad, sa pagsusulong ng mataas na kalidad ng pagtuturo, at sa pagbibigay ng suportang pinansyal sa mga mag-aaral,” he said.

“Naniniwala po tayo: obligasyon ng ating State Universities and Colleges ang makaambag sa pag-unlad ng komunidad; marapat lamang bigyan ng karampatang insentibo ang mga nagpapakitang-gilas sa gawaing akademiko at serbisyo-publiko.”

President Aquino on Monday also addressed the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) – ASEAN International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change here. PND (co)