Thursday, 21 August 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, August 21, 2014

President Aquino leads commemoration of father Ninoy’s 31st death anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the commemoration of the 31st death anniversary of his father -- the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. -- on Thursday.

The President, together with his sisters Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, attended a mass offered for the democracy icon at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City. Other family members, close relatives and friends of the Aquinos were also at the cemetery to remember Ninoy.

Presidential Security Group chaplain Monsignor Daniel Tansip, who officiated the mass, emphasized the importance of commemorating Ninoy’s death, which served as a catalyst for change during the dictatorial regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

Tansip said Ninoy’s memories and good deeds remain not only in the hearts of his family but also in the hearts of the people.

“Sa pagnanais na isulong ang pagbabago tungo sa kabutihan ng ating bayan, ibinuwis ng inyong mahal na ama ang kanyang buhay, kaya naman siya ay nabibilang sa mga bayani at martir,” he said.

He said if Ninoy were alive today, he would be very proud of his son -– President Aquino -– for the reforms in government that the latter has instituted.

He then asked for prayers for President Aquino as he continues his duty to lead the country toward the straight path.

“Let us ask the Good Lord for continuous guidance, for the grace and strength, so that we may be able to continue our mission to serve and be always part of the straight path our beloved President is determined to push through,” he said.

While noting that he is just an ordinary priest, Tansip said if he had his way, he would want the President to continue serving the country.

“Kung ako lang po ang masusunod, ako’y isang ordinaryong pari lang, on this personal note: Sana hindi na matapos iyong paglilingkod ng ating mahal na Pangulo, para tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang magandang nasimulan sa pagtutuwid at pagtatama ng daan,” he said.

“I, for one, as priest, believe that right at this very moment, the late Senator, your father, and of course your mother (Corazon Aquino) as well, are very happy with the achievements of their children,” he added.

Also present during the mass were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, and Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman.

Ninoy Aquino, a staunch critic of Marcos, was assassinated on August 21, 1983 at the Manila International Airport. It was the day he returned to the Philippines after years of exile in the United States. PND (jb)

Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted to Office of the President

The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has been submitted to the Office of the President, a Malacañang official has said.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita ‘Ging’ Deles is scheduled to issue a statement on the matter on Friday.

“Draft BBL submitted. Let’s wait for Sec. Ging’s statement,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told Palace reporters in a text message on Thursday, amid online reports that have surfaced regarding the development.

In a separate text message, however, Deles refused to give further details, saying, “The process is on track. Will issue update tomorrow.”

The draft BBL was supposed to have been submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s office last Monday but it did not push through, due to the “need to incorporate all agreements reached into the final draft, as well as fine-tune the entire draft to ensure that all articles will be consistent with each other,” according to Deles.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. and Bangsamoro Transition Commission chairman Mohagher Iqbal, in a joint statement issued last August 15, said they “have concluded discussions on the various issues” on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Iqbal’s meeting with Ochoa came after a series of meetings between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels to resolve sticky issues on the draft BBL before it is submitted to Congress.

Deles has assured that the timeline for the submission of the draft BBL to Congress within the month of August remains “on track”.

She also stated that the “passage of the BBL remains on top of the President’s legislative agenda” and “the leadership of both Houses of Congress have indicated that they are prepared to work overtime to ensure the timely passage of the law”. PND (hdc)