Monday, 2 June 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

President Aquino leads mass oath-taking of military officers

President Benigno S. Aquino III presided over the mass oath-taking of newly promoted generals and flag officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a ceremony in Malacanang on Tuesday.

The Chief Executive was joined by AFP Chief General Emmanuel Bautista and Department of National Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta when he swore in the military officers at the Rizal Hall in Malacanang Palace.

Leading the roster of the newly-promoted officers were Army Chief Hernando Iriberri, Air Force Chief Jeffrey Delgado, and Central Command Commanding General John Bonafos, all promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

Also inducted into office were Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, Rear Admiral Alexander Lopez, Rear Admiral Romeo Santiago Nebres, Commodore Enrico Juan Talon, Commodore Jorge Amba, Commodore Virgilio Garcia, Commodore Rafael Mariano, and Rear Admiral Antonio Habulan, Jr.

Promoted to the rank of Major General were Virgilio Hernandez, Felicito Virgilio Trinidad, Jr., Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Silvino Alcabasa, Jr., Lysander Suerte, Oscar Lactao, Remigio Valdez, and Emeraldo Magnaye.

Promoted to the rank of Brigadier General were Rafael Valencia, Martin Pinto, Wilson Leyva, Alexis Tamondong, Carlito Galvez, Jr., Eduardo Davalan, Dario Quindoza, Inocencio Mayangao, Elmer Pabale, Jose Tanjuan, Jr., Angelito de Leon, Joselito Kakilala, Domingo Palisoc, Jr., Jose Johriel Cenabre, Robert Theodore Romero, Adrien Quidlat, Virgilio Garcia, and Benjamin Espiritu.

Following the ceremony, the generals and flag officers, along with their respective families, had a photo opportunity with President Aquino. PND (jb)

President Aquino instructs DFA to ensure safety of Filipinos in Thailand

President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to ensure the safety of Filipinos in Thailand, following the declaration of martial law by the Thai Army.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press conference on Tuesday that the DFA has raised the Alert Level in Thailand from 1 to 2.

“Under Alert Level 2, Filipinos in Bangkok and the surrounding areas are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and prepare for possible evacuation when necessary,” said Coloma.

The Thai Army declared martial law effective 3 a.m. on Tuesday, saying the step is “to restore peace and order for people from all sides”.

News reports said tension began last December when then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the lower house of parliament. Anti-government protests in Bangkok followed, with demonstrators blockading parts of the city.

Yingluck called a snap general election in February but protesters disrupted the polls and the election was later annulled.

A court removed Yingluck from office earlier this month for abuse of power. On Monday, acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan insisted his government would not resign, resisting pressure from protesters. PND (ag)

Palace: West Philippine Sea claimants must agree on a COC

Malacanang on Tuesday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to pursue a peaceful resolution to the West Philippine Sea dispute but also urged claimant countries to work on a binding Code of Conduct (COC) to ensure regional stability.

"The government remains firm in its position on observing the rule of law and finding a peaceful settlement of disputes in the West Philippine Sea," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement on the reclamation project being done by China at the Mabini Reef.

The Mabini Reef is part of the Kalayaan Island Group, which is part of Philippine territory but is also being claimed by China and Vietnam.

Coloma said the President affirms the government’s position, as reflected in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) agreed by the ASEAN and China in 2002.

The declaration calls on parties to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect regional peace and stability.

These include refraining from inhabiting the uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features.

"This is reflective of the joint statement issued by the Foreign Ministers of all the member countries of the ASEAN during the Plenary Session of the ASEAN Summit in Myanmar last week," Coloma added.

"The President believes that it is imperative to pursue an expeditious conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to reduce tensions and create an environment of mutual trust and confidence that is conducive to the attainment of regional peace and stability."

The government reported an extensive reclamation by China at the Mabini Reef. It said that China has been building an airstrip or a military base.

These actions are considered destabilizing and in violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and international law, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The Philippines filed a protest at the international arbitral tribunal last month, but it was rejected by China. PND (as)

Government monitoring power supply on hourly basis, Palace official says

The Department of Energy (DOE) has been closely watching the power supply situation in the country, especially as demand increases in the waning days of summer and as the country hosts the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia this week.

In a press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the DOE is watching the supply of electricity on an hourly basis so it could immediately act on any contingency, such as what happened last week when power-generating plants shut down, resulting in rotational brownouts in some areas of Metro Manila.

"Si Kalihim Jericho Petilla, habang siya ay nasa Gabinete, ay nagbibigay ng continuing updates kay Pangulo hinggil sa power situation," Coloma said.

Petilla has been reporting to the President any rotational brownout and has called on consumers who have their own generating facilities to use them to ease demand for energy in Luzon.

"Sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay masinsing tinututukan ng Department of Energy ang sitwasyon para makatugon at para maibsan ang maaaring epekto nito na maaaring magpahirap sa mga mamamayan," he said.

Asked if the government is doing more preparations because of the WEF, Coloma said the effort is not only for the WEF but also for the general population. PND (as)

Government to go after Filipino hackers who defaced Chinese websites: Palace

The Palace said Tuesday that Filipino hackers responsible for attacking Chinese government and commercial websites will face the law.

“We have laws on maintenance of integrity of (internet) sites, in cyberspace, and we need to remind all concerned that such laws are being enforced in our country, respective of views that may be held by people who are resorting to those actions. We will continue to abide by our laws,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a press briefing.

A group of Filipino hackers, who called themselves “Anonymous Philippines,” has claimed responsibility for the hacking of 195 Chinese government and commercial websites late Monday.

In the defaced Chinese websites, the hackers posted a message: "China's alleged claim on maritime territories and oppressive poaching can no longer be tolerated. Stand against Oppression! It's time to fight back! Say no to China's bullying!"

The hackers were referring to Chinese fishermen caught poaching near the Hasa-Hasa Shoal (Half Moon Shoal) off Palawan in the West Philippine Sea, an area that is also being claimed by China.

Philippine Maritime Police arrested the 11 Chinese fishermen and impounded their vessel, which was carrying 400 sea turtles. Nine of the fishermen have been charged in court while the other two were considered minors and were deported back to China. PND (ag)