Sunday, 13 July 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

President Aquino expects a fruitful one-day working visit to Japan

President Benigno S. Aquino III left Tuesday for a one-day working visit to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and to deliver a keynote address at an international conference.

In his departure statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, President Aquino said he will make sure that his short visit to Japan will yield fruitful results.

Upon his arrival in Japan, the President will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss regional issues affecting both Japan and the Philippines.

President Aquino said part of their discussion would be the ongoing efforts to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao and strengthening of both countries’ strategic partnership.

The Chief Executive will also extend the Philippines’ gratitude to Japan for its continuing partnership with the country in wide-ranging areas, such as tourism, trade, infrastructure, and government reforms, as well as its generosity for helping the victims of Typhoon "Yolanda."

From Tokyo, the President will proceed to Hiroshima to deliver a keynote address at an international conference organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

President Aquino will speak on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the continuing efforts of his government to achieve lasting peace in Southern Philippines.

“Ipapaabot din po natin sa JICA ang taos-puso nating pasasalamat sa pakikiisa nila sa inisyatiba nating wakasan ang deka-dekadang kaguluhan upang magbukas naman ng pinto ng pagkakataon sa bawat Lumad, Moro at Kristiyano,” he said.

President Aquino underscored the need to maintain good relations and continuous consultation with Japan, which has been the Philippines’ largest trading partner in recent years and the country’s top aid donor.

The President and his lean delegation will return to the country this evening. PND (jb)

President Aquino arrives in Japan

(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here Tuesday for a one-day working visit to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and address a peace forum relevant to the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao.

Philippine Airlines Flight PR001, which carried President Aquino and his delegation, touched down at 11:04 a.m. (Japan time) at the Tokyo Haneda International Airport, where Philippine Embassy officials led by Charge d’ Affaires Gilberto G.B. Asuque welcomed him.

President Aquino headed straight to the Old Prime Minister’s Residence for a 20-minute summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe that will be followed by a working lunch to be hosted by the Japanese head of state.

Joining President Aquino in the expanded bilateral talks are Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Secretary Julia Abad of the Presidential Management Staff, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asia Pacific Affairs Minda Cruz, Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Delantar, Jr., and interpreter Mariko Nagai.

Prime Minister Abe, on the other hand, will have by his side Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama, Foreign Affairs Ministry director-general for Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Kazuhide Ishikawa, Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobukatsu Kanehara, Executive Secretaries to the Prime Minister Naoya Imai and Hiroshi Suzuki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs director for Second Southeast Asia Division Naoki Kumagai, and an interpreter.

During their meeting, President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe are expected to exchange views on recent regional developments as well as discuss areas of cooperation that would enhance the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

These areas of cooperation include humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime cooperation, promotion of trade and investments, people-to-people exchanges, and the Mindanao peace process.

The two leaders will issue a joint press statement before the members of the media prior to President Aquino’s departure for a speaking engagement in Hiroshima.

The President will then proceed to the Sheraton Hiroshima Hotel to address the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference, which was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace of the University Sains Malaysia.

To wrap up his trip to Japan, President Aquino will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where he will lay a floral wreath and offer a moment of silence and prayers for the victims of World War II. He will then head back to Manila. PND (hdc)

President Aquino meets with Japanese Prime Minister Abe

(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Tuesday at the Prime Minister’s Residence here to discuss various issues aimed at further developing the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Japan.

Prime Minister Abe said it is his great pleasure to see President Aquino for the fourth time following their last meeting in December 2013, when the latter participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Summit, also held in Japan.

“This is our fourth summit meeting in the last 12 months and through our frequent communication, I understand that we have great progress in terms of the development of the bilateral relationship, which is quite meaningful,” Prime Minister Abe said in his opening remarks at the summit meeting.

The Japanese head of state noted that both the Philippines and Japan share universal values on top of having a good strategic partnership.

“So with you, Mr. President, I certainly would like to develop our relationship,” he told President Aquino.

President Aquino, for his part, thanked his host and the Japanese government, saying he looks forward as well towards revitalizing the strategic partnership between their two countries.

“It is a pleasure to be back in Tokyo, Japan. Of course, we are witnesses to the revitalization of the Japanese economic impact to the Philippines. I think we are expecting to revitalize your economy.. (as made) evident (by) the number of transport trucks that we were seeing in the road,” President Aquino said in his remarks.

During their summit meeting, the two leaders are expected to trade views on recent developments in the region, as well as discuss areas of cooperation that would enhance the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

They are expected to touch on various areas of cooperation, among them humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime cooperation, promotion of trade and investments, people-to-people exchanges and the Mindanao peace process. PND (hdc)

Government sets aside P8.8-M for President Aquino’s working visit to Japan

The government is spending around P8.8 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s working visit to Japan that is expected to build a stronger alliance between the two Asian neighbors, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Tuesday.

President Aquino left this morning for Tokyo via a chartered flight accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Andrea Abad and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.

The President will meet with Japanese Prime Shinzo Abe to discuss areas of cooperation, regional security concerns, developments in the Bangsamoro peace deal, and promotion of trade and investments.

Later in the day, the Chief Executive will proceed to Hiroshima to deliver a keynote address at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference, an event organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace of the Universiti Sains Malaysia. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Seles will join the presidential delegation in the event.

“The meeting between President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe is envisioned to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan in many areas, including maritime cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, as well as trade and investments,” Ochoa said. “Japan is an important friend and ally of our country.”

Funding for the visit covers transportation, accommodation, food, equipment and other requirements of President Aquino and his 41-member delegation during the trip.

Before returning home tonight, President Aquino will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. PND

President Aquino appoints new heads of National Food Authority and Philippine Coconut Authority

President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed new administrators for the National Food Authority (NFA) and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

President Aquino designated former president of San Miguel Foods, Inc., Arthur O. Juan, as NFA Council member and administrator, to serve the unexpired term of office ending on June 30, 2014. Juan will replace Orlan A. Calayag.

The President named Romulo N. Arancon, Jr. as administrator and member of the PCA Governing Board, replacing Euclides G. Forbes.

Prior to his appointment, Arancon served as executive director of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community Jakarta from July 2006 to January 2014.

The President also appointed new officials for the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Appointed as new members of the DepEd’s National Council for Children’s Television were Ramon R. Osorio, representing the Broadcast Media Sector; and Luis P. Gatmaitan, representing the Child Development Specialists Sector.

Emerita I. Garon was named as member representing the private sector, Governing Board of the Early Childhood Care and Development Council.

For the DENR, President Aquino appointed Donna M. Gordove, Arthur C. Salazar, and Nonito M. Tamayo as Directors III; and Leo Van V. Juguan as Director II. PND (co)

Malacanang announces new appointments to the Judiciary

Malacanang on Tuesday announced the appointment of judges for lower courts in Central Luzon.

President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed the following judges to be assigned at the Bataan Regional Trial Court (RTC): Jose Marie Quimboy for Branch 94 in Mariveles; Gener Gito for Branch 92 in Balanga; Philger Noel Inovejas for Branch 93 in Balanga; Marion Jacqueline Pallera Poblete for Branch 3 in Balanga; and Amelita Cruz Corpuz for Branch 96 in Dinalupihan.

The following judges were appointed for the RTC in Malolos, Bulacan: Isidra Arganosa-Maniego for Branch 7; Efren Tienzo for Branch 13; Gorgonio Elarmo, Jr. for Branch 77; Francisco Felizmenio for Branch 19; Maria Maruja Narvaiza-Mendoza for Branch 82; and Maria Zenaida Bernadette Tamayo Mendiola for Branch 80. Also appointed were Frazierwin V Viterbo for RTC Branch 33 in Guimba, Nueva Ecija and Eda Dizon-Era for RTC Branch 60 in Angeles, Pampanga.

Named as judges for the Municipal Trial Courts (MTC) in the province of Bulacan were Mario Pocholo Telan for Baliuag; Juan Ranola, Jr. for Hagonoy; and Maria Cristina Botigan-Santos for San Ildefonso.

Designated as judges for the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities (MTCC) in the province of Tarlac were Ryan Scott Robinos for Branch 1 in Tarlac City; and Regina Balmores Laxa for Gerona-Ramos-Pura. Jocelyn Gamboa-delos Santos was named as judge for MTCC Branch 4 in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Appointed for the MTCC in the province of Nueva Ecija were judges Stanley Marvin Pengson for Laur-Gabaldon; Julius Java for Quezon-Licab; and Roberto Ricardo Kanapi for Branch 2 in San Jose City.

For the Nueva Ecija MTC, the new judges are Rachelle de Guzman Enrie for Zaragosa; Emmanuel Paynor for San Antonio; Kristine Aquino Ferrer for Lupao; Michael Benedick Aleta for Pantabangan; Ian Ramoso for Talugtog; and Jamila del Rosario Cruz-Sarga for Rizal.

Also appointed were judges Vicente Lamug for the MTC in Iba, Zambales; and Julieta Isidro-Reyes for the MTC in Dingalan, Aurora. PND (ag)

Philippines, Japan strengthen cooperation in disaster response and security

(TOKYO, Japan) The Philippines and Japan on Tuesday agreed to further strengthen their cooperation in disaster response and security, especially in light of the onslaught of Super Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) last year and amid ongoing territorial conflicts in the region.

In his statement following his luncheon meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted the importance of a vigorous cooperation between the Philippines and Japan in the area of disaster response, given the “unprecedented scale” of Haiyan’s damage.

Japan was among the many countries that immediately came to the Philippines’ rescue when Haiyan ravaged Visayas and Southern Luzon in November last year by sending its self-defense forces to assist in relief efforts.

Prime Minister Abe said he “was very encouraged” to hear from President Aquino about the resilience displayed by the victims amid reconstruction in the affected areas.

“The President and I agreed to further strengthen our cooperation and security in areas such as disaster relief, building on the track record of cooperation, such as that I have described,” he added.

Prime Minister Abe also explained to President Aquino the approaches they are taking “under the policy of proactive contribution to peace” in addressing regional conflict.

This includes drawing up principles for the transfer of defense equipment and ongoing studies to revisit the Japanese Constitution to enable Japan to exercise its “right to collective self-defense” with the Philippines and its other allies, which President Aquino welcomed.

“In the face of the regional situation becoming increasingly severe, both nations are closely coordinating. I reaffirmed with President Aquino today the significance of the three principles of the rule of law, which I outlined at the Shangri-La dialogue and at the G7 Meeting,” Prime Minister Abe said.

The Japanese head of state was referring to his advocacy of making and clarifying claims based on international law, without using force or coercion in trying to drive these claims, and seeking to settle disputes by peaceful means.

Both the Philippines and Japan are currently locked in a maritime dispute with China—the former concerning the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and the latter dealing with the East China Sea.

President Aquino has been applying the same peaceful approach in addressing the issue by invoking the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and seeking the intervention of an arbitral tribunal. PND (hdc)

President Aquino says he supports proposals to revisit Constitution of Japan

(HIROSHIMA, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III said his administration supports proposals in Japan to revisit its Constitution to make it in line with the current global order and needs.

Japan, which adopted a pacifist constitution is in a dilemma because of the ambiguities with regards to its ability to respond to emergency and crisis situations.

Its constitution prohibits building up its military for global expansion aside from protecting itself from external aggressors.

The President said in a press statement during his working visit in Tokyo Tuesday that he doesn't view the proposal as alarming if the Japanese people's desire is to enhance Japan's ability to address its international obligations, and attain global peace and mutual prosperity.

The President said he believes that nations of goodwill can only benefit if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others and it is allowed to aid those in need, especially in the area of collective self-defense.

For several decades after World War II, the Philippine-Japan relations has been characterized by trust and unfailing support in so many fields, the President said.

Japan has acted with compassion and in accordance with international law, and has more actively and more positively engaged the region and the world, he added.

For example, Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the disaster relief medical teams were among those from Japan who were mobilized following the devastation of Super Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) in the Philippines.

Until last year, Japan has been part of the United Nation's peacekeeping activities in the Golan Heights, an effort which has been going on for decades, the President noted.

The President also said his administration is committed to working with the Japanese government to ensure regional stability.

It is the obligation of every leader to work for the interest of his country and people, he added.

"In Your Excellency, I find a kindred spirit who explores every avenue and undertakes every worthy innovation required in order to do right by his people," the President said.

"It is with this that I look forward to working with Your Excellency—towards the realization of our shared aspirations not only for our peoples but also, and more importantly, in building a more peaceful and more secure Asia-Pacific region." PND (as)

Philippines wants stronger defense tie up with Japan, says President Aquino

(HIROSHIMA, Japan) The Philippines wants to advance a dialogue on defense and security with Japan to boost its cooperation with its closest Asian ally, President Benigno S.Aquino III said on Tuesday.

There was an intention to initiate talks with Japan, and the Philippines is advancing that, the President said in an interview with Philippine media on Tuesday.

"That was signed in 2012—the intention to discuss ‘yung defense agreement. We’re getting one step further from that," he said with regards to his discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The President said that an agreement with Japan will not necessarily be similar to the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US, but it will address the country's needs during emergencies.

The US and Japan are the country's two major strategic allies that come to aid the Philippines especially during humanitarian crisis.

There must be a stronger tie up to ensure interoperability during emergencies, he said. With a more enhanced cooperation agreement with those allies, the Filipino people could benefit more quickly and more lives can be saved.

The President also said he and Abe discussed the West Philippine Sea issue with China as well as the East China Sea.

Both leaders agreed for the peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute through adherence to international law.

"We were pressing for the DOC’s (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea) full implementation, full compliance with the same, pero more importantly sana, ASEAN and China get to finish the COC (Code of Conduct)," the President said.

The chief executive also said he told Abe about the Philippines's initiative to talk with other ASEAN countries with similar row with China to join together when they discuss the issue with China. PND (as)

President Aquino renews commitment to peace in Mindanao

(HIROSHIMA, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III renewed his commitment to bring lasting peace in Mindanao especially before he steps down from power two years from now.

Speaking in an event organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and it's partners, the President said he will work hard to ensure a peaceful and orderly election in the Bangsamoro in 2016.

"I believe that all of us here today are bound by this hope. This is why my administration will work doubly hard to ensure that free, peaceful, and democratic elections for the Bangsamoro government will take place come 2016," the President told the participants of the International Conference on the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao held at the Sheraton Hotel here.

This is the reason why the government will continue to carry out programs that will empower more Filipinos to contribute to the national economy, he said.

He thanked countries that contributed to the eventual signing of the peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last March such as Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Norway, Libya, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Canada, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Sweden, and the European Union.

He also expressed his gratitude to international organizations, and agencies that worked with the Philippine government in ensuring peace in Mindanao.

One of these organizations is JICA that helped through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).

JICA has funded projects that have helped restore normalcy, develop the local economy, and strengthen the foundations of human security and development in affected communities, he said.

These JICA initiatives include the Capacity Building for Community Development in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao, the Study for Socio-Economic Reconstruction and Development of Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao, and the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects.

JICA's assistance through J-BIRD has reached around 15.1 billion yen or P6.6 billion, according to the President.

This efforts will redound not only to the development of livelihood and industry, but more importantly to the empowerment of Muslim Filipinos, he added.

The President arrived in Japan Tuesday for a one-day working visit to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and address the Hiroshima peace seminar. PND (as)

Philippines, Japan boost economic ties

(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Tuesday to further improve the economic partnership between their two countries to achieve mutual growth for the benefit of their respective constituencies.

“I conveyed to the President that we could continue to support approaches taken by the Philippines in urban infrastructure improvement and other areas,” Prime Minister Abe said in his statement at the joint press briefing.

Japan continues to be our top trading partner in terms of total trade, amounting to $16.35-billion, with the balance of $3.41-billion in favor of the Philippines in 2012. Japan was also the country’s top export market and third biggest source of imports (next to US and China) in the same period.

Japan was also the Philippines’ second largest source of approved foreign direct investments in 2012. Majority of these investments were in the manufacturing industry amounting to $63.76-billion.

Prime Minister Abe also informed President Aquino about the relaxation of visa requirements for Filipino tourists toward the promotion of human exchange between the two countries. “It is hoped that many tourists from the Philippines would visit Japan,” he said.

There are approximately 216,284 Filipinos living and working in Japan as of December 2012 with over 100,000 listed as temporary immigrants. Japanese national residents in the Philippines, meanwhile, are pegged at 17,702 as of October 2011.

Lastly, Prime Minister Abe extended his congratulations to President Aquino for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that his government signed in March with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“I should like to extend my congratulations for the recent peace agreement and express my respect for the leadership of the President. Japan will continue to provide support so that peace may take hold,” he said.

President Aquino was on his way to Hiroshima for the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference to elaborate on such achievement as well as extend his gratitude to the Japanese government for its continuing support to the ongoing peace process in Mindanao. PND (hdc)