Wednesday, 23 July 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, July 21, 2014

Government urges all Filipinos in Libya to return home

The government on Monday urged all Filipinos in Libya to return to the country due to the “extremely unstable political and security situation there.”

In a statement sent to members of the Malacañang Press Corps, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has raised Alert Level 4 in Libya.

Under Alert Level 4, a mandatory repatriation of Filipino citizens is in effect.

“The DFA reiterated its call for all remaining Filipinos in Libya to return home immediately, considering that it is no longer safe to remain in Libya,” said Secretary Coloma.

He added that the DFA has already sent a Rapid Response Team, as well as an augmentation team to Libya to assist the Philippine embassy in Tripoli in the repatriation.

All Filipinos in Libya were advised to immediately contact the Philippine Embassy through telephone numbers (00218) 918-244-208 and (00218) 911061166; and e-mail addresses and

The Philippine embassy in Libya is located at KM 7 Gargaresh Road, Abu Nawas, P.O. Box 12508, Tripoli.

“According to the DFA, it has also set up a 24-hour hotline for families of OFWs in Libya,” Coloma added.

He said that those who have questions and concerns about the condition of their relatives in Libya could call hotline numbers (02) 552-7105 or (02) 834-4685. Families may also send their queries via e-mail at

The DFA on Sunday also imposed a mandatory repatriation of Filipino citizens in the Gaza Strip, following the escalation of tensions between Israel and Hamas militants. PND (ag)

President Aquino extols Iglesia ni Cristo on its 100th anniversary

(BOCAUE, Bulacan) President Benigno S. Aquino III was all praises for the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Monday as it celebrated its 100th anniversary with the historic unveiling of the 75-hectare, one-stop multi-purpose complex called Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory).

“Angkop nga po ang pangalan ng lugar na ito — na may kahulugang 'Lungsod ng Tagumpay' — lalo pa’t sinasalamin nito ang mga nakamit na tagumpay ng Iglesia sa nagdaang siglo,” President Aquino told a jam-packed Philippine Arena in a speech following the inauguration ceremony.

The 55,000-seater Philippine Arena, recognized as the largest domed indoor arena in the world, is part of the Ciudad de Victoria.

President Aquino noted that a lot of organizations pay a great deal of respect to the INC as an institution, not only in the Philippines but throughout the world, since its establishment in 1914 by the honorable Felix Manalo.

“Talaga naman pong ikinalulugod ko ang pagkakataong maging bahagi ng pagtitipong ito. Personal nga po nating sinusuportahan ang isang istitusyong tulad ng Iglesia sa maalab na paghubog ng inyong mga miyembro bilang mga tapat na alagad ng ating Panginoon,” he said.

The INC is known as a close-knit religious organization, whose congregation leaders visit their members and actively encourage them to participate in various church activities and other community services.

Ciudad de Victoria, the President said, serves as a concrete example of the exceptional unity manifested by the people of INC throughout the years.

“Naipatayo ito mula sa buong-pusong paghahandog ng inyong mga kasapi, kaakibat ang hangaring makatulong sa mabubuting gawain at misyon ng Iglesia. Patunay din po ito sa tayog ng mithiing kayang maabot ng mga Pilipino, at sa kakayahan nating makipagsabayan sa buong mundo,” he said.

President Aquino said he was amazed at how the Philippine Arena managed to live up to its billing upon completion of its construction, as it is double the size of the famous Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The Philippine Arena alone reportedly cost more than $200 million to build and is sturdy enough to withstand natural calamities, including super typhoons and earthquakes.

“Pero batid nating itinayo ang istrukturang ito, hindi para makipagpaligsahan. Ipinagawa ito para sa banal at dakilang layuning noon pa man ay pinangarap na ni Ka Eraño Manalo—ang magtaguyod ng espasyo upang maglingkod at ibahagi ang biyaya ng Panginoon sa lokal at pandaigdigang komunidad,” the President said, referring to the late executive minister of the INC.

Apart from the world’s largest arena, other major infrastructure expected to rise soon in the Ciudad de Victoria are the Philippine Sports Stadium, New Era University, Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center, as well as housing projects, shops, and leisure parks.

Officials of the INC said these structures were built not only for their members, but for other Filipinos of different religious affiliations and foreign tourists as well, who would like to experience the convenience these facilities provide.

“Taos-puso po tayong nagpapasalamat sa Iglesia ni Cristo sa pagmamalasakit ninyo sa ating kapwa; tunay pong ipinapamalas po ninyo ito, hindi lang sa salita, kundi sa gawa. Maraming salamat po sa pagiging kabalikat ng ating administrasyon sa pagsusulong ng mabuting pamamahala,” the President said. PND (hdc)

President Aquino conveys messages of love and unity to critics

(BOCAUE, Bulacan) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday conveyed messages of love and unity to enemies he may have made while pursuing reforms in the government.

The President issued the statement amid several impeachment complaints filed by different groups against him, following his defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Quoting Bible verses before thousands of members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), President Aquino reminded his detractors that instead of casting doubts, they have a duty to love one another as fellow Christians.

“Sa trabaho po nating ito ng pagsusulong ng reporma, hindi maiiwasan na mayroon tayong makakaaway. Mayroon pong iilan na anuman ang gawin ko, gaya ng pagdalo rito, ay maghahanap pa rin ng puwedeng ibatikos. Paalala ko lang sa kanila: Kung kapwa ko Kristiyano, tungkulin nating magmahalan sa ngalan ng Panginoon sa halip na maghasik ng agam-agam at ‘di-pagkakaunawaan,” President Aquino said.

“Bilang mga tagasunod ng Panginoon, lagi sana tayong magtulungan sa pagtataguyod ng ikabubuti ng lahat; lagi sana tayong maging bukal ng pag-asa at paglingap sa ating kapwa, lalo na sa mas nangangailangan,” he added.

President Aquino was INC’s guest of honor and speaker during the inauguration of its Ciudad de Victoria, a major project for the church’s centennial celebration of INC on Sunday, July 27.

To the delight of an estimated 50,000 INC members, the President quoted John 13:34-35 -- A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another -- and Matthew 25:40 -- The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

He said these are what members of the INC are truly living by.

Most of the President’s speech contained praises for the INC, whose remarkable achievements have helped improve the lives of millions of Filipinos who are among its members.

He also thanked the religious institution for its continuous support for his administration. The INC voted for President Aquino during the 2010 elections.

“Taos-puso po tayong nagpapasalamat sa Iglesia ni Cristo sa pagmamalasakit ninyo sa ating kapwa; tunay pong ipinapamalas po ninyo ito, hindi lang sa salita, kundi sa gawa. Maraming salamat po sa pagiging kabalikat ng ating administrasyon sa pagsusulong ng mabuting pamamahala,” he said. PND (hdc)

Government still on alert for typhoon ‘Henry’

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) is on blue alert status as Typhoon ‘Henry’ is still in the Philippine Area of Responsibility, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Monday.

Under the blue alert status, half of the personnel of all regional and municipal disaster risk reduction management offices, regional civil defense offices, and other concerned government agencies in would-be affected areas should be at their posts to monitor the situation.

The areas of concern for this alert are the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya and Batanes.

Lacierda said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is continuously monitoring the situation and disseminating weather bulletins and flood advisories, while the Department of Social Works and Development’s (DSWD) Municipal Disaster Response teams and Social Welfare Assistance and Municipal Development teams are on alert to be readily available for duty.

He noted that a P2,754,274 fund has been set aside and a total of 5,715 family food packs have been readied for distribution to evacuation centers.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), he said, is ready to clear roads in landslide- and flood-prone areas while the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has instructed its regional offices to roll out the pre-disaster risk assessment meetings, and advise governors to participate in such meetings.

The Philippine Coast Guard meanwhile has issued warnings to fisher folks to refrain from venturing into the sea, Lacierda said, adding that military and navy units in Tacloban are standing by for possible rescue operations.

As of 4 a.m. on Monday, the PAGASA has issued public storm warning signal no. 1 over the Batanes Group of Islands, Cagayan, Babuyan and Calayan Group of Islands. PND (ag)