Thursday, 14 August 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, August 11, 2014

President Aquino swears in Armed Forces Chief Catapang, other military officers

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday swore in newly appointed Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., and other military officers during simple rites at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace.

Catapang, who was appointed as the 45th Chief of Staff of the AFP, assumed his post last July, replacing General Emmanuel Bautista. With him during the ceremony was his family.

Following Catapang’s oath-taking, President Aquino administered the oaths of office to newly promoted generals and flag officers of the AFP.

Inducted into office were Lieutenant General Felicito Virgilio Trinidad Jr., Major General Donato San Juan, Major General Victor Bayani, Major General Salvador Melchor Mison Jr., Major General Mayoralgo dela Cruz, Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma, Major General Glorioso Miranda, Brigadier General Medardo Geslani, and Brigadier General Arthur Ang.

Also promoted were Brigadier General Vicente Yordan, Commodore Allan Rosal, Brigadier General Arnold Mancita, Brigadier General Enrique Reyes, Brigadier General Armando Bañez, Brigadier General Edgar Gonzales, Brigadier General Irma Almoneda, Brigadier General Johnny Macanas, Brigadier General John Oliviamor Estabillo, Brigadier General Manolito Orense, and Brigadier General Job Yucoco.

President Aquino was joined by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during the event. PND (jb)

Government not discouraged by declining satisfaction ratings: Palace

The government is not discouraged by its declining satisfaction ratings and remains committed to serving the public, a Palace official said on Monday.

“The administration remains undeterred in its commitment to serve the country and its citizens,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, commenting on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, which showed the current government satisfaction rating at +29 percent. The survey was released on Monday.

“Ang objective naman ng ating pamahalaan is isulong ang lahat ng programang makakatulong sa ating bansa, whether it is short-term or long-term concerns,” he said.

Based on SWS records, the government’s satisfaction ratings peaked at +66 percent in June last year, and have since declined to +56 percent in September 2013, to +51 percent in December 2013, and further to +45 percent last March.

Lacierda said historically, the +29 percent satisfaction rating is still higher than the lowest ratings attained by previous administrations.

“You can trace the lowest point of each administration—present and previous—and it is still by far the highest among the lowest of the administrations, based on the surveys conducted by SWS,” he added.

The SWS Net Satisfaction with General Performance on the National Administration showed former President Corazon Aquino’s lowest satisfaction rating at -5 percent; President Fidel Ramos’ lowest rating at -3 percent; President Joseph Estrada’s at -8 percent; and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s at -45 percent.

“We are not going to be paralyzed by any survey. Our commitment is to protect the welfare of the Filipino people,” said Lacierda. PND (ag)

Palace expects United Nations to take measures to protect Filipino peacekeepers in Liberia from Ebola

The Palace expects the United Nations (UN) to keep the 113 Filipino peacekeepers in the West African nation of Liberia safe from the threat of the Ebola virus.

“The peacekeeping force is under the UN. We would expect the UN to ensure that the peacekeeping forces under its jurisdiction are amply protected,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during a press briefing on Monday.

He said it is not known how far the peacekeepers are from areas hit by the epidemic.

“But I would expect measures taken by the United Nations to ensure the safety of its peacekeeping forces,” he reiterated.

Liberia, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea, is at the center of the Ebola outbreak, which has already claimed some 1,000 lives.

According to reports, the Filipino peacekeepers are expected to return from their tour of duty in Liberia in September or October this year.

United Nations peacekeepers are monitoring the ceasefire agreement in Liberia, following the end of a civil war in 2003.

Lacierda said the Department of Health will attend to the soldiers upon their return from Africa. PND (ag)