Tuesday, 10 June 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

President Aquino recognizes works of two Filipino Scientists

President Benigno S. Aquino III has conferred on Angel Chua Alcala and Ramon Cabanos Barba the title of National Scientist because of their contributions to advancing science and technology in the country.

Through Proclamation 782, the title of National Scientist was given to Alcala on June 6 for his works on biological sciences that contributed to national progress.

Alcala, who has a Doctor of Philosophy degree, was recognized as a national genius who made many advancements in science and technology.

Through Proclamation 783, Barba was given the title of National Scientist also on June 6 for his works in the field of horticulture. He also has a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

The proclamations state that the government considers science and technology essential tools for national development, and the state should give priority to research, development, invention and innovation.

The title was given to Alcala and Barba through the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the National Academy of Science and Technology pursuant to Presidential Decree 1003-A dated December 16, 1976, the Administrative Code of 1987 and the Honors Code of the Philippines. PND (as)

Malacanang condemns killing of Mindoro–based broadcaster

Malacanang has condemned the killing of Mindoro-based radio broadcaster Nilo Baculo, Sr., who was shot near his home in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro by unidentified gunmen on Monday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., said Tuesday the Philippine National Police has been directed to “exert all efforts to arrest the assailants and to bring them to the bar of justice”.

Malacanang also expressed its openness to cooperate with all the concerned sectors to give justice to Baculo.

“We would like to work closely with the National Press Club and other organizations through the operation of Administrative Order No. 35, which is an inter-agency body created on orders of the President to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of suspects in media killings,” Coloma said during a press briefing.

Baculo, 67, had hosted the program “Isumbong Mo Kay Ka Nilo” at the local radio station dwIM in Calapan.

He filed a petition in 2008, requesting court protection after discovering a plot to kill him.

The case was elevated to the Supreme Court, which granted him temporary protection. It was however remanded to the Court of Appeals, which denied Baculo’s plea for failing to prove that his life was in danger. PND (ag)

Palace expects higher GDP with drop in unemployment rate

The Palace on Tuesday expressed confidence that the country would register a higher gross domestic product (GDP) in the later part of the year, as unemployment rate decreased during the second quarter.

“We share the optimism that these positive indicators bode well for a higher GDP growth rate in the succeeding quarters,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in April 2014 from 7.6 percent in the same month last year.

It said underemployment improved as well to 18.2 percent from 19.2 percent over the same period.

“This growth has brought about a total of 1.7 million additional employed persons. According to NEDA Secretary (Arsenio) Balisacan, the improvement in employment is broad-based, covering agriculture, industry, and the services sectors,” Coloma added.

The Philippines’ GDP for the first quarter of the year was registered at 5.7 percent. PND (ag)

Rule of law must take its course, says Palace

The public should allow the judicial process to take its course with regards to the P10-billion pork barrel scam, the Palace said on Tuesday.

"We note that these judicial processes shall be carried out by the Ombudsman, an independent Constitutional body, and the Sandiganbayan that belongs to an independent and co-equal branch of the executive. Let the rule of law take its course," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during a press briefing.

Last week, the Office of the Ombudsman filed graft cases against incumbent public officials and other personalities allegedly involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) issue.

The Office filed graft charges against suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet-Lim Napoles as well as senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon Revilla, Jr on Monday.

Also charged were officials of the Technology Resource Center: Director General Dennis Cunanan, Director General Antonio Ortiz, group manager Francisco Figura, group manager Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, and chief accountant Marivic Jover; Napoles' brother Ronald Lim and her driver-bodyguard John Raymond de Asis; Revilla's chief of staff Richard Cambe; Estrada's chief of staff Pauline Therese Mary Labayen; and Enrile's chief of staff Jessica Lucila Reyes. Also included in the graft charges is Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos.

Last week, the Ombudsman filed plunder charges at the Sandigandbayan against Napoles, the three senators and six others. PND (as)

President Aquino receives credentials of 10 non-resident ambassadors to the Philippines

President Benigno S. Aquino III received the credentials of 10 non-resident ambassadors designated to the Philippines in a simple ceremony at the Rizal Hall of MalacaƱang Palace on Tuesday.

They are Ambassadors Hannes Heimisson of Iceland, Michal Slivovic of the Slovak Republic, Clifford Borg-Marks of Malta, Senkoun Sylla of the Republic of Guinea, Raisa Vardanyan of the Republic of Armenia, Thomas Kijiner of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Betty Grace Akech-Okullo of the Republic of Uganda, Pantelakis Eliades of the Republic of Cyprus, Andres Unga of the Republic of Estonia, and Clement Philip Ricardo Allicock of Jamaica.

In his speech, President Aquino welcomed them to the country and expressed hope that their presence would continue to deepen relations and further enhance partnerships between the Philippines and their respective countries.

“In a continuously shrinking world, we have to acknowledge our interdependence with one another, and work shoulder to shoulder to promote stability, which is a necessary condition for growth that leaves no one behind. And truly, I am thankful that our country has been able to work with diplomats who have not just maintained our good relations, but have worked tirelessly to maximize our partnership,” he said.
The President emphasized the reforms the government has been doing for the past four years.

“These past four years, our people have empowered us on our campaign to reform the way the government works. It has been our people who have given us the wherewithal to truly dismantle the vicious cycle of corruption, negativity, and underachievement that has long held our country back, and to replace it with a virtuous cycle where true public service, social justice, and compassion for one’s fellowmen are able to build a true regime of opportunities for our countrymen,” he said.

He noted that the Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, despite the spate of disasters that befell it in the past year.

“We have regained the capacity to undertake large-scale programs in social services that will equip our people with the skills they need to take charge of their own destinies. Higher, brighter skylines are rising in our cities, while the countryside is becoming increasingly connected to hubs of industry and commerce; and international organizations, publications, and neighboring countries alike are finally recognizing the potential of the entire nation,” he added.

President Aquino thanked the envoys for the help their respective countries had extended to the Philippines during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

“Typhoon Haiyan continues to serve as a reminder to me of just how much can be achieved when the entire global community cooperates closely. It only emphasizes the value of our partnerships—partnerships that will undoubtedly allow us to continue pursuing our shared interests and serve our people in the best manner possible,” he said.

The President wished the ambassadors a pleasant stay in the country throughout their visit.

President Aquino was joined by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario during the event. PND (jb)

Coloma highlights role of media in regional integration

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. has said that the media will play a significant role in raising awareness as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) prepares for regional integration next year.

The fulfillment of this ASEAN integration dream will not come as one big bang but it will gradually unfold and blossom, Coloma said.

"As ministers responsible for information, ours is the vital yet daunting task of creating heightened awareness and continually raising the consciousness of our peoples about the significance of the ASEAN Community," Coloma said in a statement for the participants of the 12th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information being held in Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar from June 9 to 13.

He said there is a need to reach a common understanding on the concept of “socially responsible media.”

In the Philippines, freedom of expression is highly valued, he said, adding that freedom of the press is also guarded with extraordinary zeal and vigilance.

The government is also firmly committed to upholding the principles of openness, transparency and public accountability and has institutionalized full disclosure of national and local budget, major disbursements and procurements, and implementation of programs and projects, he added.

He noted that the Aquino government has endeavored to engage private media practitioners and organizations, as well as members of civil society, in continuing dialogue to bridge differences in perspective and build common ground for collaborative action.

At the same time, Coloma renewed the country’s commitment to ASEAN community building.

He said that in recent meetings, the Philippines has actively espoused the formulation of national communication plans that are aligned with the three communication plans of the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

The Myanmar conference on information has the theme, "Socially Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous ASEAN Community”.

The next Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information will be held in Manila in March 2016.

The members of the Philippine delegation are Undersecretary George Syliangco and Undersecretary Jess Yu of PCOO, Asec. Virgilio P. Nadal, Jr. of Radio-TV MalacaƱang, Philippine Information Agency Director Belina Capul, Philippine Broadcast System Director Tito G. Cruz, PCOO Directors Ma. Cristina C. Mariano and Ma. Cecilia Javillonar. PND (as)

Palace on Senator Revilla’s privilege speech: “We agree with the people”

Malacanang would rather let the people speak for themselves regarding Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr.’s privilege speech at the Senate on Monday, days after plunder charges were filed against him and two other lawmakers for allegedly mishandling their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“Our new media team has been tracking citizens’ reaction to Senator Revilla’s privilege speech delivered yesterday. The overwhelming trend is negative and we agree with our ‘bosses’,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Tuesday.

During his speech, Revilla again denied all accusations of corruption leveled against him by the authorities. He also urged President Benigno S. Aquino III to address the country's more pressing concerns instead of focusing on his political opponents.

According to the PCOO New Media Team, 99.93 percent of those who commented in the social media and in various news websites reacted negatively to Revilla’s speech.

Coloma said the people’s voice on this matter noticeably became louder after the Office of the Ombudsman brought the case before the Sandiganbayan, emphasizing strong opposition against those who have reportedly taken advantage of public funds.

“Umaasa tayo na ang malakas na tinig ng mga mamamayan ay maririnig at ito ang pinaka-epektibong panlaban sa panlilinlang at sa paghahasik ng kasinungalingan,” he said.

The Palace official also said the administration is prepared to face any kind of situation that might develop following Revilla’s speech, including the threat of destabilization if President Aquino’s political opponents gang up on him.

“Matalino at mapagnilay ang ating mga mamamayan. People are intelligent and discerning to be able to separate the chaff from the grain and to be able to separate truth from lies,” he said.

Coloma however added that at this point, the government would rather focus and devote its energy and efforts to pursuing its reform programs in fulfillment of President Aquino's social contract with the Filipino people. PND (hdc)