Thursday, 5 June 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

President Aquino honors Outstanding Policewomen

President Benigno S. Aquino III honored the country’s Ten Outstanding Policewomen for 2013 during a ceremony held at the President’s Hall of Malacanang Palace on Tuesday.

In his speech, President Aquino recognized the exceptional dedication and commitment of policewomen in performing their duties and serving their countrymen.

“Tunay po na kayong mga awardees ay bantayog ng pinakamabubuting katangian ng Pilipino, at nagsisilbing mukha ng pagbabagong tinatamasa na ng ating lipunan. Dahil sa mga gaya ninyo, lalong nagiging pursigido ang inyong gobyerno sa pagpapaunlad ng inyong kakayahan,” he said.
The awardees were Police Inspector Arieza Otida, Senior Police Officer 3 Melinda Amsali, Police Superintendent Maria Leonora Chua Camarao, Police Chief Inspector Gemma Vidal Braganza, Police Officer 3 Annaliza Palicpic Flores, Senior Police Officer 1 Ruth Bongo Violango, Senior Police Officer 1 Cheryl Quinto Saldo, Police Senior Inspector Jovelyn Abe Bañares, Police Officer 2 Cheryl Lyn Wagas Ano-os, and Police Senior Superintendent Herminigilda Dumaguin Salangad.

President Aquino lauded the exemplary service demonstrated by female police officers, noting that gender is inconsequential when it comes to public service.

As continued support for the police force, the Chief Executive vowed to upgrade their facilities and equipment, continue in reforming their ranks and map out programs that will uplift the quality of life of uniformed men.

In his speech, President Aquino also commended Police Senior Inspector Charity Galvez for successfully defending a police precinct against a rebel attack in Agusan del Sur, and Police Officer 3 Edlyn Arbo for foiling a jeepney robbery, an incident the President mentioned during his State of the Nation Address last year.

He mentioned Police Inspector Marjorie Manuta of Tacloban, who was the first police officer to brief him when Typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban, Leyte last year.

President Aquino cited Police Officers 1 Juliet Macababbad, Delia Langpawen, Mercelina Bantiyag and Maricel Rueco, for responding during a robbery incident at the SM Mall of Asia.

“Ang ganito nga pong antas ng katapatan at dedikasyon ng inyong mga kasamahan sa serbisyo ang siya mismong nagbunsod sa nabawi na ninyong tiwala at paghanga ng ating mamamayan,” he said.

The Search for the Ten Outstanding Policewomen of the Philippines is an annual search sponsored by the Zonta Club of the Makati Paseo de Roxas Foundation Inc., to discover and recognize the efforts and achievements of the female members of the Philippine National Police. PND (jb)

Palace encouraged by allies' support regarding South China Sea issue

The Palace said it is encouraged by the supportive statements of the country’s allies on the importance of seeking a peaceful settlement to the disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

"We note that in the 13th Asia Security Summit, held over the weekend in Singapore, the participants affirmed the importance of respecting the rule of law as the key to regional stability," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday.

During the summit, the Philippines’ key allies--the United States, Australia, and Japan—expressed similar views that support the country's basic position on the importance of a peaceful settlement of the South China Sea issue.

Coloma noted that as the President has pointed out in recent interviews with the international press, 40 percent of world commerce passes through the South China Sea, making freedom of navigation an important issue.

Freedom of aviation must likewise be upheld, as emphasized in the ASEAN-Japan Summit last December 2013, he added.

During last month’s ASEAN Summit in Myanmar, he said, the heads of states and governments affirmed the importance of fleshing out a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea to ensure regional stability.

The Palace official also emphasized the importance of ASEAN centrality, saying that together with other neighboring countries, the Philippines will continue to advocate the crafting of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

"We see this as an important opportunity for institutionalizing peace and stability in the region arising from the disputes in the South China Sea," he said.

And since the President started to pursue such advocacy in Cambodia two years ago, it has gained traction, he added.

This issue has progressed through the various ASEAN and APEC meetings, especially during the ASEAN-Japan Summit last December, and the ASEAN Summit in Myanmar in May, he said.

A day before the heads of states convened in Myanmar, the foreign ministers of all ASEAN member countries issued a unanimous joint statement affirming the basic principles that the Philippines has been advocating, Coloma said.

"We have seen important progress made in our advocacy and we continue to be encouraged by all of these developments," he said. PND (as)

Funds for infrastructure projects will not come from congressional insertions, Palace says

Not a single centavo will come from congressional insertions or pork barrel funds when the government carries out recently approved big-ticket infrastructure projects, the Palace said Tuesday.

The present government has not funded projects through congressional insertions, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said, adding that even former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration, during its last year, had disallowed the funding of projects through insertions.

"Doon naman sa Aquino administration, totally abolished ‘yung concept of insertion dahil nagkasundo ang ehekutibo at lehislatura na kung ano lamang ang budget na iniharap ng executive as the National Expenditure Program, ‘yun lamang ang pwedeng repasuhin o pag-aralan ng Kamara at ng Senado," he said during a press briefing

The government has also ceased funding projects through the lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional, Coloma said, noting that the PDAF has been completely scrapped from the 2014 budget.

Last week, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Aquino approved nine major projects that will improve the country's water and irrigation system, transportation and health care.

These projects will be carried out through various funding schemes, among them public-private partnership (PPP) and private sector investments. PND (as)

Government to address coconut infestation

Newly appointed Presidential Adviser for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan and officials of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) have informed President Benigno S. Aquino III of the infestation in the country's coconut farms.

During Tuesday’s press briefing in Malacanang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the government aims to prevent the spread of the infestation through various means, as proposed by the PCA and supported by the Department of Science and Technology.

The government will allocate funds for the initiative, Coloma said, adding that local government units will also be involved in preventive and remedial measures to stop the spread of the infestation.

The coconut industry is a major part of the agricultural sector.

According to the PCA, of the country’s 12 million hectares of agricultural lands, 3.1 million hectares are coconut farms being tended by 3.5 million coconut farmers.

Some 25 million Filipinos are directly or indirectly dependent on the coconut industry, which is among the top five net foreign exchange earners, bringing in an average of $760 million per year, the PCA said. PND (as)

Government funds are being used for economic growth, not for anything else: Palace

Government funds are being used to boost the country’s economic growth and not for anything else, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Tuesday.

“The government’s resources are being used in the campaign to ensure sustainable and long-term economic growth, as well as inclusive growth, in accordance with the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP),” Coloma said, commenting on a reporter’s observation that with the recent approval of big-ticket infrastructure projects, government resources are already being used for the campaign of the administration’s standard bearer for the 2016 election.

“You can check against the updated Philippine Development Plan matrix and all of the projects are aligned with the main thrust of the PDP,” he said.

The PDP outlines the government’s five major guide posts: Anti-Corruption/Transparent, Accountable and Participatory Governance; Poverty Reduction and Empowerment of the Poor and Vulnerable; Rapid, Inclusive and Sustained Economic Growth; Just and Lasting Peace and the Rule of Law; and Integrity of the Environment and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.

In terms of transparency, Coloma said, “I think we have never seen a more open and transparent government as we see today, because of the people’s clamor for openness and transparency.”

As for the past administrations’ contributions to the country’s economic growth, the Palace official said the credit still goes to them.

“Wala tayong inaagawan ng kredito. Hindi mahalaga para sa kasalukuyang administrasyon ‘yung pag-claim ng credit,” he explained.

“Kaya wala tayong problema doon sa kung sino ang bida or who gets the credit. Wala ‘yan sa konsiderasyon ng ating administrasyon,” he added. PND (ag)

Government enticing new scientists to address 'brain drain' in DOST, says Palace

The government is trying to entice scientists from the country’s universities to replace those who have left, in an effort to address the "brain drain" in the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., said Tuesday.

Coloma said market forces are at work, thus it is only natural for the country’s talented and highly qualified scientists to leave their government posts in search of better compensation abroad.

“Ganunpaman, sinisikap pa rin ng ating pamahalaan na mapanatili ang mga mahuhusay na manggagawa sa loob ng mga regulasyon ng pamahalaan at sa abot ng kakayanin ng resources ng ating pamahalaan,” he added.

The Senate during a hearing on Tuesday learned that employees of other science and technology agencies, not just the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), have left to work in other countries.

They include employees of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI).

“Maaari ring maging senyales ‘yan para tingnan ng ating mga mambabatas ang pangangailangan na ayusin ang pasahod sa mga empleyado ng gobyerno, kaya nga nagkakaroon ngayon ng talakayan hinggil sa panibagong Salary Standardization Law, para maipatupad din ang inaasam na pagpapataas ng sahod sa iba’t ibang sektor, kabilang na ang mga sundalo, pulis, guro at iba pang government employees,” said Coloma. PND (ag)