Thursday, 14 August 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, August 8, 2014

President Aquino calls for ‘sense of urgency’ in anticipating natural disasters

President Benigno S. Aquino III, in a recent Cabinet meeting, underscored the need for a “sense of urgency” among all government agencies and local government units in anticipating natural disasters, a Palace official has said.

“President Aquino emphasized the need to promote a sense of urgency among all national agencies and local government units in the aspect of capability building, considering the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters, ” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a note sent to members of the Malacañang Press Corps on Thursday.

The President presided over the meeting, held on Wednesday (August 6) to discuss the Climate Change Cluster Roadmap.

In attendance were representatives of the departments of environment, agriculture, interior and local government, agrarian reform, energy, and public works, the Metro Manila Development Authority, Climate Change Commission, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.

The President noted that there must be broad awareness on the use of geo-hazard maps that indicate landslide- and flood-prone areas in each province, municipality or city, “so that the local disaster risk-reduction and management councils can respond in a timely and appropriate manner,” Secretary Coloma said.

During the meeting, the Climate Change Cluster reported the occurrence of 543 natural disasters between the years 1900 and 2014, 58 percent of which were storms and 25 percent were floods.

“Responding to the challenge of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, the cluster has adopted a strategy of improving resiliency to climate change,” Coloma said.

He said the cluster will focus on carbon sequestration through forests and oceans, energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy development, and greater reliance on cleaner energy sources, such as natural gas and geothermal energy.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation is one of the pillars of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.

Last June, the United Nations’ (UN) special representative for disaster risk reduction assessed the Philippines’ disaster preparedness at between 6 and 7 or “above average," with 10 being the highest. PND (ag)

President Aquino honors outstanding policemen during 113th Police Service Anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the celebration of the 113th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Friday.

During the event, President Aquino recognized several police personnel and PNP Units for their outstanding achievements.

“Bilang mga alagad ng batas, malinaw ang inyong responsibilidad: Ang ipagtanggol ang ating mga kababayan at maipadama sa mga kriminal na hindi nila matatakasan ang katarungan; na sa oras na makalap natin ang sapat na ebidensya, sa oras na mahuli natin sila sa akto, mararamdaman nila ang lakas ng estado,” the President said in his speech.

He commended the Zamboanga City Public Safety Company for being the first unit to respond during the Zamboanga City siege in September last year, as well as Police Superintendent Lambert Suerte of the Benguet Provincial Public Safety Company for seizing the largest camp of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Cordillera and capturing the group’s leader in 2013.

He also cited the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, headed by Police Director Benjamin Magalong, for apprehending 3,453 fugitives, including 22 most wanted in the country, last year.

He recognized the achievement of Senior Police Officer 1 Dominador Canlas, who saved three children during an operation against the NPA in Tarlac.

“Ilan lamang sila sa magigiting nating pulis na kinikilala natin sa araw na ito. Sinasalamin nila ang malasakit at propesyunalismo ng iba pa nating kapulisan na talaga naman pong nagpakitang-gilas sa serbisyo,” he said.

Other awardees include PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Felipe Rojas Jr., Police Chief Inspector Juanito Gaces Jr., Police Officer 2 Crissandra Aggabao, Police Regional Office 9, Anti-Cybercrime Group, Crime Laboratory and Cagayan Police Provincial Office, Abra Police Provincial Office, President Roxas Municipal Police Station, and the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force.

The Philippine National Police celebrates August 8 as Police Service Anniversary in commemoration of the joint founding anniversaries of the Insular Constabulary, established in 1901, and the Integrated National Police, organized in 1975.

This year’s anniversary carried the theme: “Pulisya Kaagapay ang Mamamayan para sa Patuloy na Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran.” PND (jb)

President Aquino assures DAP ruling will not hamper PNP modernization

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday assured that the modernization of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not be hindered by the Supreme Court ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

In his speech during the 113th Police Service Anniversary, President Aquino allayed fears that the impending programs of the PNP will not push through with the striking down of the DAP.

“Huwag kayong mag-alala na ‘di matutupad ang ating plano para sa shoot, scoot, and communicate, dahil sa naging desisyon sa DAP,” the President said, referring to the program that will update the weapons, equipment, and communications facilities of both the military and the police.

“Patuloy tayong gumagawa ng hakbang para masigurong tuloy-tuloy ang inyong modernisasyon,” he said.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allocated P2.86 billion for PNP modernization and the hiring of non-uniformed personnel.

The Aquino administration has appealed the ruling of the Supreme Court on the DAP, insisting that the program was implemented in good faith and with legal basis.

Pending the High Tribunal’s final decision, President Aquino vowed to continue the reforms and modernization of the PNP.

He noted that the government is focusing on upgrading science and the forensic-gathering capability of the police, citing new procedures, such as the Integrated Ballistics Identification System and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

He added that there is a plan to hire 7,439 non-uniformed personnel who will be assigned to regional offices to do administrative work, in an effort to maximize police forces.

The President also assured that the welfare of the country’s police personnel will not be neglected, citing the P2 billion allocation for the Capability Enhancement Program and another P100 million for the construction of 18 police stations. PND (jb)

President Aquino receives U.S. lawmakers in Malacañang

President Benigno S. Aquino III received members of a US congressional delegation during a courtesy call in Malacañang Palace on Friday.

The US delegation included Sen. Ronald Wyden (D-Oregon), member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Sen. Robert Corker (R-Tennessee), ranking member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey), chairman of Subcommittee on Defense, House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Ken Calvet (R-California), House Appropriations Committee; and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virginia), House Appropriations Committee.

The American legislators were accompanied by US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.

Also present were Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan. PND (as)