Friday, 1 August 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, July 31, 2014

Malacañang condemns assault on Filipina in Libya

Malacañang on Thursday condemned the kidnapping and rape of a Filipina nurse by youths in Libya.

“Kinokondena po natin ang krimen na naganap laban sa isang mamamayan natin doon,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a press briefing at the Palace.

According to reports, four Libyan youths kidnapped the Filipina nurse and brought her to an undisclosed place where she was assaulted by six men. She was released hours after the abduction.

Some 3,000 Filipino doctors and nurses are working in Libya.

Coloma assured the public that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is continuing the repatriation of Filipino citizens in Libya.

“Patuloy pa rin ang pagsisikap ng ating Department of Foreign Affairs na nagtalaga na ng mga quick response teams para tulungan ang ating mga kababayan,” Coloma said, adding that the department has already chartered a ship to evacuate Filipinos out of the conflict zone.
The DFA on Monday relocated non-core staff of the Philippine Embassy from Tripoli to Tunisia, while staff dependents were repatriated last week. PND (ag)

Palace focused on pushing social reforms, not politics, official says

The Aquino administration remains focused on carrying out reforms and solving the country's problems, and is not giving priority to politics, a Palace official said Thursday.

"Ang focus ng Pangulo at ng pamahalaan ay ang pagpapatupad ng mga ipinangakong reporma at paghahatid ng serbisyo publiko sa nalalabing 23 buwan ng administrasyon. Hindi pinagtutuunan ng pansin ang usaping pampulitika," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press conference in Malacañang.

Coloma was commenting on speculations that the President’s mention of Vice President Jejomar Binay in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) could mean that he is endorsing the latter for the 2016 presidential election.

On the 2015 budget submitted to Congress by the Executive branch, Coloma said the Palace will not influence lawmakers, especially regarding funding programs in their respective districts.

He said the administration remains committed to the principle of adhering to the Straight Path being championed by the Aquino government.

"Malinaw po na ang prinsipyo ng ating Pangulo ay ang mabuting pamamahala at matuwid na daan," Coloma said in response to comments that with a huge allocation at the President's discretion, he could influence lawmakers, especially with regards to the construction of projects in their respective districts.

The Palace will also not politicize the budget approval and will solely use the 2015 National Budget to improve the lives of the people, he noted.

Critics have said that the administration might use the huge allocation from the national budget for political ends.

In response, Coloma said: "Ang tema po ng ating budget ay “Kaunlaran para sa Lahat”. Ito ay pagsasa-pilipino lamang ‘nung nasa Ingles na inclusive growth.” PND (as)

Proposed 2015 national budget gives priority to social services

The biggest share of the proposed 2015 National Expenditure Program, amounting to P967.9 billion, will go to the government’s social services, a Palace official said on Thursday.

The figure covers 37.2 percent of the proposed P2.606 trillion budget for next year that was submitted to Congress for ratification on Wednesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“The budget also focuses on delivering high-impact projects in 44 provinces with the following characteristics: those with high poverty magnitude where more job opportunities will be created; those with high poverty incidence that require adequate social safety nets; and those which are vulnerable to natural calamities,” Coloma said.

Social services include basic education and universal health care. The provision for education covers the construction of 31,728 classrooms and 13,586 water/sanitation facilities, as well as the acquisition of 1.3 million classroom chairs, among others.

Economic services meanwhile will have a 26.9 percent cut of the national budget totalling P700.2 billion, while general public services will get 16.2 percent amounting to P423.1 billion.

National defense will receive 4.4 percent or P115.4 billion.

Coloma further noted that the 2015 budget enhances the government’s accountability for the results of public spending.

He said that in the 2014 budget, the performance targets were pegged against the outputs or tangible goods and services that the agencies must deliver, while the proposed budget for 2015 includes indicators for outcomes.

“We continue to implement the basic management principle that each peso that the government spends must be tightly linked to measurable results,” Coloma quoted President Benigno S. Aquino III as saying in his 41-page budget message.

“Hence, this budget does not only show how many households or families, for example, will benefit from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, but it also discloses how many of these beneficiaries will actually be lifted from the level of survival to a level of subsistence, and eventually to a level of self-sufficiency,” Coloma explained.

In his budget message, the President emphasized that the proposed 2015 budget expands with the economy and supports further economic expansion; focuses on the imperatives of inclusive development; prioritizes the needs of the poor and vulnerable localities; increases the people’s voice in the use of their taxes; increases the government’s accountability for the results of public spending; supports the rapid and effective delivery of public services; and enhances the health of government’s finances. PND (ag)

Palace says 2015 National Budget to be funded using government revenues, borrowings

The government will fund the proposed 2015 National Budget using government revenues and borrowings, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Thursday.

Coloma was responding to reports that Congressman Ronaldo Zamora has commented that the 2015 budget submitted by the Palace is big, prompting him to wonder how the administration would fund it.

“From government revenues and from borrowings. Ang suma total po niyan, we will be able to maintain the deficit at only two percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.

He acknowledged that the proposed P2.606 trillion budget for next year is bigger than the combined revenues of the Bureau of Internal Revenues, Bureau of Customs, and other government agencies.

He however said that government earnings will be augmented by borrowings.

“Yung balance, uutangin natin ‘yon. Pero ‘yung deficit, ‘yung hindi nakaya ng ating koleksyon ng Rentas Internas at iba pang revenues, hindi ito lalagpas sa two percent of the GDP,” he said.

Explaining the principle behind the President's budget message, Coloma said the 2015 budget expands with the economy and supports further economic expansion.

The government has to increase its expenditure to enhance production and the overall economy, he said, adding that an enhanced economy would mean more money to fund social protection and social services.

Coloma also defended the government's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), saying its effects in reducing poverty is based on scientific analysis and it has proven to have positive results.

The CCT, he said, encourages poor families to maintain their children’s health and keep them in school, so they would have better job opportunities in the future.

This is why the administration has been trying to increase the program’s coverage, he noted. PND (as)