Wednesday, 23 July 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, July 17, 2014

President Aquino opens Asian Defense and Security exhibition

As the Philippines gears towards achieving the goal of upgrading its defense capabilities, President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday opened this year’s Asian Defense, Security and Crisis Management (ADAS) exhibition and conference, held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

This is the first ADAS exhibition and conference to be held in the country. The ADAS 2014 is envisioned to afford all participating countries the opportunity for various interactions to realize their urgent requirements on defense, security, peace and order, disaster readiness, and crisis management, among others.

President Aquino, in his speech, acknowledged the significance of holding the trade show and conference in the country as they will benefit our uniformed men and women, who are always on the front line in times of crises, conflicts, and calamities.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to make our military more efficient, we have every intention of taking that opportunity. More than any other time in history, our country is making certain that our soldiers’ commitment on the field is met not only with the respect and admiration of our people, but also by the necessary support from government,” he said.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin mentioned that this event provides additional vibrancy to the Philippine economy as the organizers have created genuine opportunities for our domestic companies to establish business linkages with participating international exhibitors.

Andrew Marriott, managing director of the Asia Pacific Expo, which organized ADAS, cited the Philippines’ improved economic situation as among the reasons behind their decision to launch the event in the country, on top of the government’s commitment to pursue the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Act.

The AFP Modernization Act is in the first five-year phase of activity and significant progress has already been made since its enactment with the government’s recent acquisition of various aircraft, naval vessels, helicopters, and armored vehicles.

The ADAS organizers have brought in goods and services for the evaluation and determination of the specific requirements of concerned government agencies. They have also highlighted the Philippines as a potential growth market for international defense, security, and crisis management industries and products.

The exhibition features 130 companies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Israel, Turkey, Brazil, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, and Belarus, among others. PND (hdc)

President Aquino: Military modernization meant for disaster response and internal defense only

President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that the military modernization that he initiated when he assumed office is meant to upgrade the country for disaster response and internal defense.

“Our efforts seek to modernize the capabilities of our security sector is to address the needs in human disaster response arenas and for our own internal defense. None of these actions are meant to increase tensions in the region; rather, they are meant to address our domestic problems and issues,” he said during his speech to open the Asian Defense, Security and Crisis Management (ADAS) Exhibition 2014 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

President Aquino said that since he assumed office in 2010, he has released P40 billion to modernize and upgrade the capabilities of the military.

“Compare this to the P26 billion that my predecessor released in a span of nearly 10 years. On top of this, we made it a point to follow a procurement process that is fair, transparent, and strategic,” he said.

The Commander-in-Chief noted that over the past four years, his administration has acquired two Hamilton Class Cutters for the Navy -- the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, eight Sokol Combat Utility Helicopters, three AW-109 naval helicopters, four refurbished UH-1 helicopters, and the BRP Tagbanua, the first locally-built landing craft utility ship, among others.

The government has already received the first batch of M4 Caliber 5.56 mm rifles, and expects that all 50,629 units shall have been distributed by the end of the year, he added.

“Because of our fair and transparent procurement process, we have saved P1.2 billion on these rifles, which has allowed us to order another 12,657 M4s, and to set aside a budget for succeeding rifle procurements,” he said.

The President further said that the government is expecting the arrival of two out of 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets, 17 more refurbished UH-1 helicopters, eight more combat utility helicopters, two long-range patrol aircrafts, six close-air support aircrafts, two anti-submarine helicopters, two frigates, three full missile capable multi-purpose attack crafts, and other equipment that will strengthen the capacity of the country’s armed forces.

“Clearly, if this event is any indication, we have no plans of slowing down. Anytime we have an opportunity to make our military more efficient, we have every intention of taking that opportunity,” the President said. PND (ag)

MalacaƱang to file motion for reconsideration of SC decision on Disbursement Acceleration Program on Friday, says official

The Executive branch is working to file by Friday (July 18) a motion asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a Palace official said on Thursday.

According to the rules of court, the Palace has 15 days from the date of receipt to file a Motion for Reconsideration, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said, noting that they received the decision last July 4.

“Ang pinag-uukulan ng pansin ngayon ay ang paghahanda ng isang Motion for Reconsideration, at sinisikap na mabuo doon ‘yung mga argumento na sana’y mapaunawa sa ating mga mahistrado sa kanilang pagbabalik-tanaw sa kanilang naging desisyon,” Coloma said.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, during his nationwide address on Monday evening, said his administration will appeal the Supreme Court decision on the DAP.

The President defended the DAP, saying he is allowed under the law to transfer savings to other projects without a nod from Congress, and that the program benefited the people through different government projects.

He argued that halting its implementation would have a negative impact on delivering services to the public. PND (as)

Government preparations for typhoon ‘Glenda’ were sufficient, Palace says

Government preparations for Typhoon "Glenda" have paid off, with casualties kept to a minimum, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Thursday.

“We will notice that this is the first major storm after Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ and there was sufficient preparation orchestrated by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC),” Coloma told reporters during a press briefing.

He also commended the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) and Project NOAH (Nationwide Operation Assessment of Hazards) for “the very accurate forecasts," which were disseminated through the social media on a real-time basis.

The Palace official noted that preparations actually began in January when the President met his Cabinet for a post-‘Yolanda’ assessment, during which he instructed his Cabinet Secretaries to prepare for the onset of the rainy season.

“Indeed the different departments buckled down to brass tacks and proceeded to make their preparations in their respective spheres,” he said, adding that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted seminars and workshops at the local government level, as well as drills for flood evacuation.

“Kaya’t makikita natin na sa aspeto ng kahandaan, marami na ring mga pagbabago at pagpapahusay ng mga sistema na naisagawa simula noong Typhoon Yolanda, at nakita nga rito ‘yung mas mataas na antas na kahandaan ng mga pamahalaang lokal sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa kanilang mga komunidad… Marami-rami na rin namang mga aral na natutunan na nagamit at napahusay sa paghahanda para sa Typhoon Glenda,” he said.

Coloma also cited the efforts made by Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who ordered the evacuation of 150,000 residents from danger zones 24 hours before the expected landfall in Bicol.

“Yung mga bilang ng casualties ay napanatili sa mababang numero, at marami ring mga nag-report na sa maraming munisipalidad ay naka-attain talaga sila ng zero casualties,” he said, taking note that the typhoon struck the most populous areas of the country.

Data issued by the NDRRMC put the casualties at 38 dead, 10 injured and eight missing.

“We continue to learn from the experience and prepare even harder and better for the next storm,” Coloma said. PND (ag)