Wednesday, 6 August 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, August 5, 2014

President Aquino leads opening of photo exhibit of 'Cory Story'

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday led the launch of a special commemorative photo exhibit featuring the life of his late mother, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City.

The photo exhibit dubbed “History and Her Story”, organized by Ayala Malls, PeopleAsia Magazine and Tiger 22, showcases the life of the late democracy icon from her school years, to her marriage to the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. to the People Power Revolution and how she shaped Philippine history.

In his speech, President Aquino thanked the Ayalas for launching an exhibit on his mother, saying such event will help educate the younger generation about the lives of his parents.

“Through this exhibit and your stories, those who never encountered my parents will gain valuable insight about how they lived their lives and why they mean so much to the Filipino nation,” he said.

He said occasions remembering the sacrifices of his parents are sources of strength for his family and the Filipino people.

“They help recharge our hearts and souls, allowing us to go back in time to revisit the challenges and trials that my parents encountered. Through it, we are endowed once more with the confidence that as long as we follow their example, as long as we always offer our best for the benefit of our country and of our fellowmen, we will find a way to overcome any trial,” he added.

The President also noted that the examples set by his parents have helped him a lot on how to best serve the country. He quoted the last words of his late father Ninoy on the two requirements of authentic service – “faith in people and faith in God.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by President Aquino’s sister Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, assisted by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Ayala Land Chairman and Ayala Corp. President Fernando Zobel de Ayala, and Ayala Land Inc. President and CEO Bobby Dy.

Zobel de Ayala, in his welcome remarks, honored the significant contributions of Cory to the country, describing the late President as a “model of courage and faith.”

“It is our privilege to host this tribute in the Ayala Malls to be able to remind people, especially the youth, of the central role that former President Cory Aquino played in restoring the democracy and freedom we now enjoy,” Zobel de Ayala said.

He likewise praised the administration of the younger Aquino, saying that his mother’s legacy lives on through his leadership of good governance.

“President Benigno Aquino has in the past four years led the country in the fight against corruption, in upholding the principles of good governance and in delivering the basic services that the poorest among us deserve,” he said.

“History and Her Story” also revisits Cory’s life as the first female President of the Philippines from 1987 to 1992. The exhibit showcases photographs from Cory’s close-in photographer Val Rodriguez, and the collections from the Aquino Center and Museum, and the Ninoy and Cory Foundation.

Along with the exhibit, President Aquino also led the unveiling of a photo of former President Cory, which is featured in the special issue of PeopleAsia magazine for August 2014. PeopleAsia launched its issue entitled “Five Years Later Remember Cory”, which features never before seen photographs of Cory prior to and during her presidency. It also showcases photographs of her historic funeral march after she succumbed to colon cancer on August 1, 2009.

Also present during the event were Cabinet secretaries, namely Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras, and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Malacanang called on the public to view the exhibit, which will be displayed in all Ayala malls in Metro Manila.

Former president Cory Aquino was known to Filipinos as the “mother of Philippine democracy” as she courageously led the fight against the dictatorial regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

A self-declared plain housewife, Cory rose to political prominence following the assassination of her husband former senator Ninoy Aquino, the staunchest critic of Marcos, on August 21, 1983. Cory led the EDSA People Revolution in 1986, which toppled the dictatorial leadership of Marcos and restored democracy to the Philippines.

After stepping down, Cory remained an active advocate of democracy, human rights and women empowerment. She was also involved in various charitable activities and social projects. PND (jb)

Palace defends Conditional Cash Transfer program

Many have benefited from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, when it was expanded to cover more than 4.1 million families this year from 1 million in 2010, a Palace official has said.

“Sa sunud-sunod na pag-aaral ng World Bank, AusAID at iba pang internasyonal na ahensya, napatunayan din na napabuti ang kalidad ng pamumuhay ng mga kabahayan o mga pamilyang benepisyaryo ng Conditional Cash Transfer program,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday.

Secretary Coloma was commenting on calls to discontinue the CCT program made during the Contra-SONA delivered by House of Representatives Minority leader Ronaldo Zamora.

Zamora argued that the program has failed to raise its beneficiaries from poverty.

“Mula noon hanggang 2012, naibaba lamang mula 32 percent hanggang 27.9 percent. Ibig sabihin, sa loob ng 21 taon, ang ibinaba ng kahirapan ay 5 percent. Pero doon sa isang taon, mula 2012 hanggang 2013, ang naitalang pagbaba ay 3 porsyento na kaagad. Kayo na ang magpasya kung aling programa ang naging mas epektibo,” he said.

He noted that the government aimed to reduce the 32 percent poverty rate in 1991 to 16.1 percent by 2015.

“May 19 na taon na ang layunin na ‘yon mula 1991. At ipinunto ko nga, 5 porsyento lang ang ibinaba niyan sa loob ng 21 taon. Pero doon sa ating nabanggit, naibaba ‘yan ng 3 porsyento sa loob ng isang taon,” Coloma explained.

“Kinikilala naman natin na malaki-laki na rin ‘yung nabawas kung tutuusin sa maikling panahon ng aming panunungkulan,” he added.

Secretary Coloma reiterated that the Department of Social Welfare and Development is monitoring the beneficiaries of CCT.

“Kaya nga ito tinawag na conditional cash transfer. Ibinibigay lang ‘yung benepisyo kung tiyak na ginagampanan nila ang kanilang responsibilidad bilang benepisyaryo,” he said.

He said the government plans to expand the program to cover 5 million recipients by 2015.

“Nananalig kami na sa pagtutuos ng mga datos at aktuwal na naging resulta ng conditional cash transfer ay patuloy na bibigyan ito ng suporta ng ating Kongreso sa pagpasa ng pambansang budget para sa taong ito,” Coloma said. PND (ag)

Stakeholders must find common ground to resolve Metro Manila's traffic woes, says Palace

The Palace has appealed to parties who disagree with the policies of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to work for an acceptable solution to the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, instead of just blaming the board.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the issue on Metro Manila's traffic situation is complicated.

The LTFRB has issued the new “no apprehension policy” for colorum or illegal trucks as well as an order allowing provincial buses to once again pass through EDSA.

Metro Manila mayors and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are blaming the LTFRB over the severe traffic congestion in the city.

Secretary Coloma however said that the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) are doing everything possible to fix Metro Manila's traffic condition.

He said the LTFRB’s policies must be studied along with the proposals of other stakeholders to find the best solution to the problem.

"Iginagalang natin iyong mga pananaw na nailahad na tungkol dito at nananawagan tayo sa lahat ng mga sangkot dito na ilagay ang kapakanan ng mga mamamayan sa pinakamataas na antas ng konsiderasyon para matukoy ang mga problemang kinakaharap natin sa kasalukuyan," he said.

Coloma also said that Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras is spearheading a meeting this week to get inputs from other government agencies and find a common ground to come up with an acceptable course of action.

The LTFRB has defended its decision to allow illegal trucks to operate in Metro Manila, saying that banning them would have a negative impact on the economy. PND (as)

Government steps up efforts to improve agriculture sector, Palace says

The government has stepped up its efforts to improve the plight of people in the agricultural sector, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during Tuesday’s press briefing at the Palace.

"Ang isinasagawang istratehiya ng pamahalaan ay mayroong spatial or area focus. Tinutukoy kung nasaan ang pinakamaraming mga mahihirap," Secretary Coloma said.

"At batid naman natin na ang mga magsasaka ay kabilang doon sa hanay ng mahihirap, kung saang mga probinsya sila naroroon."

He said the government has assessed 44 provinces based on high poverty magnitude, poverty incidence, and vulnerability to natural disasters, which contribute to poverty.

It is also helping the farmers increase their yield and is giving them opportunities to plant high-yielding crops to increase their income, he said.

"Kaya ito ay bahagi ng istratehiya para sa agricultural sector, na hindi ganoon kataas ang naging paglago noong mga nakaraang taon," he added.

Commenting on criticisms that the sector has been lacking support from the government for a long time, Coloma said data from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) could be analyzed to see if the farmers’ incomes have increased. PND (as)

Palace firm on moratorium on construction projects in West Philippine Sea

The government will continue to push for a moratorium on any construction in disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea, despite China’s refusal to cooperate, a Palace official said Tuesday.

“Ang ating posisyon dito ay malinaw. Unang-una, nais nating pairalin ang moratorium sa lahat ng lugar na sakop ng maritime entitlement claims; ikalawa, buuin ang Code of Conduct na dapat pairalin; at ikatlo, isulong ang proseso sa UN arbitral tribunal,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

He said the Philippines has earned the support of other claimant countries in the Southeast Asian Region.

“Sa lahat ng mga aksyon na iyan, umaani tayo ng suporta at pagkilala ng katuwiran ng ating posisyon mula sa iba’t ibang bansa sa daigdig. Ang pinakahuling natanggap nating ulat ay ang pagpapahayag ng suporta ng Brunei, Vietnam at Indonesia sa posisyon ng Pilipinas, ayon sa Department of Foreign Affairs,” Coloma added.

The Philippines has filed a memorial at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) against China, which has been carrying out construction projects at the disputed Spratly Islands.

China, through its Foreign Ministry, has rejected the Philippines’ proposal to freeze reclamation projects in the area, which is being claimed by several countries.

“Sa patuloy nating pagtahak sa landas ng kapayapaan at diplomasya, umaani tayo ng suporta sa mga bansang naniniwala sa ating posisyon na batay sa makatuwiran at makatarungang pagtukoy sa mga usaping ito. Kaya hindi tayo natitinag kung anuman ang pagtangi na gagawin dito dahil naniniwala tayo na makatuwiran ang ating posisyon,” said Coloma. PND (ag)