Friday, 1 August 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, August 1, 2014

Nation must emulate Cory Aquino's virtues for stronger democracy, says Palace

Malacañang has enjoined Filipinos to remember former president Corazon Aquino through the virtues she is known for -- courage, humility, and compassion.

The country commemorated on Friday (August 1) the fifth death anniversary of the former leader, who is regarded as an icon of Philippine democracy.

The former president died of colon cancer on August 1, 2009, after months of battling the disease.

"Five years after her death, we still see clearly how her life proves that the Filipino is worth living for," Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement released on Friday.

"As we look back on President Cory’s celebrated life, let us remember the virtues for which she is best known and which have endeared her to the public—the courage with which she adopted the fight for democracy; the humility which she maintained throughout her presidency; and the compassion with which she considered the needs of all Filipinos," he added.

This is the legacy that she left the nation, a legacy that marks not only the pages of the country's history but also the Filipinos' collective memory, he noted.

"In gratitude for her contributions, let us seek to emulate these virtues as we continue her work of establishing a stronger, even more vibrant democracy," Lacierda said.

Former president Cory Aquino, mother of President Benigno S. Aquino III, rose to political prominence after the assassination of her husband, former senator Ninoy Aquino, on August 21, 1983.

Three years after her husband’s death, she was swept to the presidency, ending the dictatorship of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

In the years leading up to the 1986 EDSA Revolution, President Cory Aquino embodied the country’s struggle for freedom.

Even after leaving the presidency, she remained active in the country’s affairs by advancing democratic causes and supporting various social projects, as well as charitable institutions. PND (as)

President Aquino, family mark Cory Aquino’s fifth death anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III, together with his siblings and some friends, commemorated the fifth death anniversary of former President and democracy icon Corazon Aquino by attending a mass at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque on Friday.

The mass was attended by President Aquino’s sisters – Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Viel Aquino-Dee and Kris Aquino – as well as several close family friends and members of the Cabinet, namely Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson, and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. Senate President Franklin Drilon was also present.

In his homily, Father Catalino Arevalo, who officiated the mass, honored the sacrifices made by the late president for the country.

He said Cory may have been gone for five years now but she continues to be remembered through the love, hope and courage she imparted to the Filipino people.

“Today, we have come here to remember Tita Cory in prayer and to pay a tribute of the gratitude and love, which did not end five years ago. In fact, for us, it has really grown deeper, stronger with the years that have gone by,” he said.

He also said that Cory’s death should not bring a sense of defeat but a sense of hope for the country.

“Did you notice that President Noy’s SONA last Monday ended with a shining word of hope: hope in our people, hope that the transformation he had begun would go forward, no matter what, because of them. Go forward and we add the words of Tita Cory brought forward by a people nurtured in faith that begets courage, a courage that is ablaze with hope,” he said.

Father Arevalo also asked for “guidance, courage and peace of heart” for President Aquino amid issues hounding the administration.

After the mass, President Aquino and eldest sister Ballsy lighted the two big yellow candles in front of Cory's tomb.

President Aquino did not give a message following the mass.

Meanwhile, his sister, actress Kris Aquino, in a short extemporaneous message, asked the people to stand by her brother. She vowed to continue to support him, not only in good times, but especially in bad times.

“Dear God, please guide Noy, give him strength, tulungan mo siya. Bigyan ninyo siya ng inspirasyon, palakasin ninyo siya at sana iyong mga naniniwala sa kanya, iparamdam sa kanya araw-araw na hindi siya nag-iisa,” she said, recounting how she and her children pray for the President regularly.

The mass ended with the singing of the patriotic song, “Bayan Ko”.

The Aquino family is expected to be back at the Manila Memorial Park on August 21 to commemorate the death of Aquino patriarch, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. PND (jb)

Presidential sister Kris Aquino asks for continued support for brother

Presidential sister, television host and actress Kris Aquino on Friday asked the public to continue supporting President Benigno S. Aquino III and his administration.

President Aquino joined his family, friends, supporters and members of the Cabinet in attending a mass at the Manila Memorial Park to commemorate the fifth death anniversary of his mother, former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

In her message after the mass, Kris asked President Aquino’s supporters to continue to stand by him.

“He can't do it on his own. We need to stand by him and give him strength. And please pray with us also that he stays alive,” she said. “Gusto namin talaga good health, wisdom, strength, courage and he has the fortitude to last.”

The television host said that their mother, Cory, would have been proud of his brother.

“Mom, I know you are so proud of your son and in the same way, all of us here right now, we are so proud talaga of everything he is and you know na—we know na, we are what we are because of our parents,” she said.

Kris also thanked those who joined them at Friday’s event, as well as the supporters of the Aquino administration.

“To everybody here right now, thank you for making time to be here with us,” she said.

Also present during the mass were President Aquino’s sisters Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., and Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson were also in attendance.

Democracy icon and former President Cory Aquino died on August 1, 2009 due to colon cancer. The former leader was buried beside her husband, the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. PND (co)

President Aquino welcomes submission of ‘Yolanda’ Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed the submission of the ‘Yolanda’ Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) by Secretary Panfilo Lacson, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Friday.

The President received the eight-volume report from Lacson after the memorial mass in honor of the late President Corazon Aquino.

According to Coloma, the CRRP includes the LGU Recovery and Rehabilitation Plans (LRRPs) of Cebu, Western Samar, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Iloilo and Tacloban City.

This covers 104 out of the 171 ‘Yolanda’-affected municipalities, he said, adding that with the President’s approval, some P96 billion may be released by the Budget Department for various rehabilitation projects.

The CRRP is a complete master plan that covers infrastructure, livelihood, resettlement, social services, and support.

The Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR), headed by Secretary Lacson, serves as the chief coordinator of the programs, activities and projects being undertaken by all Cabinet departments, national government agencies and local government units.

The total cost for the CRRP is estimated at P171 billion, which will cover rehabilitation and reconstruction projects, as well as social services and livelihood.

The rehabilitation plan will also involve the relocation of 200,000 families displaced by Typhoon Yolanda to resettle them in safer zones.

It will also address such concerns as climate change adaptation, gender-sensitive needs and equality. PND (as)

Lacson submits P170.9 billion rehabilitation plan for typhoon-hit areas to President Aquino

Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson submitted the P170.9 billion ‘Yolanda’ Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan to President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday.

Secretary Lacson submitted the rehabilitation plan to the President after the mass to commemorate the fifth death anniversary of former president Corazon Aquino at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

During an interview, Lacson said the plan highlights four basic sectors that have to be addressed -- livelihood, resettlement, social services, and infrastructure -- in areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda last year.

The plan, he said, will also address such issues as disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, and environmental concerns, among others.

He said the Budget Department could provide P137 billion of the total P170.9 billion this year, while the balance could be included in the 2015 or 2016 budget.

"Inaasahan natin na bago bumaba sa pwesto ang Pangulong Aquino, ang target natin ay at least 80 or 85 percent ang ma-accomplish," Lacson said.

"Kasi may short term na kasama dito, may medium term at saka iyong long term. Iyong long term, ito iyong sususog doon sa Philippine Development Plan 2011 to 2016," he added.

The government should now carry out a massive infusion of resources, Lacson said, adding that he will also recommend to the President to allow capable municipalities to start their reconstruction initiatives.

He further said that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will field more than 50 engineers and 100 cadet engineers to help municipalities that do not have the capability to carry out reconstruction efforts.

The recruitment of the engineers will be funded by the United Nations and the USAID, according to Lacson.

Secretary Lacson clarified that the P137 billion will not come from foreign or private donors but from government funds, including from a supplemental budget approved by Congress through a joint resolution, he said.

He noted that even before the first six Local Government Units submitted their respective rehabilitation plans, the Department of Interior and Local Government had approved the release of funds to repair partially damaged municipal halls, public markets and civic centers. PND (as)