Palace hosts Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners
Malacañang on Friday hosted the Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners, which President Benigno S. Aquino III described as a gathering of forces of reform.
President Aquino, in his speech, said his administration has made great strides in instituting reforms in terms of education, infrastructure, and social welfare, among others.
“Noong tayo’y kinukumbinsing tumakbo, ang mungkahi, umpisahan lang natin ang pagbabago, ayos na. Ngayon, napakalayo na po talaga ng narating natin mula nang magsimula tayo; talaga pong lampas-lampas pa ito sa ating mga unang inasam,” he told his estimated 400 guests, consisting of members of Congress and the Cabinet, coalition allies, leaders and representatives of the various civil society organizations and business groups.
Given his administration’s accomplishments, the President said he faces the question of who would continue the reforms the government has put in place.
“Kaya nga po, sa mga nagtatanong kung sino ang magpapatuloy: Baka naman po nagkakamali tayo ng tanong; baka hindi talaga ‘sino’ ang dapat nating hanapin—dahil walang ibang sagot sa tanong na iyan kundi ‘tayong lahat ang magpapatuloy nito’,” he said.
The President then outlined the issues the government is facing -- the possible power shortage, the port congestion in Manila, the improvement of the light railway system, and the peace and order situation -- and the steps the administration has taken to solve them.
“Ang mga hakbang ukol sa mga isyung tinukoy ko ang magpapatunay: Sagad na sagad pa rin ang tutok natin sa kapakanan ng ating mga Boss. Hindi tayo lilihis sa tuwid na landas; ang tuon natin ay hindi pulitika, kundi resulta; hindi pag-iingay, kundi kongkretong tugon sa mga suliranin ng ating mga Boss; hindi ambisyon, kundi serbisyong pampubliko at tunay na pagmamahal sa ating bansa,” he said.
He also slammed his administration’s detractors, saying they should instead help the government in transforming the nation.
“Ang problema po, tuloy ang pagkontra nila habang tayo’y nagtatanim, pero tiyak ko po, pagdating sa panahon na aanihin na ang mga bunga nito, sila pa ang mangunguna sa pagpapa-papel,” he said.
The President called on his guests to continue to strive to make reforms.
“Kailangan lang po talagang araw-araw nating pag-ibayuhin ang pagsisikap, kailangan nating doblehin ang pagkayod, kailangan nating idiin sa taumbayan na itong tuwid na landas, itong agenda ng reporma at ng tapat at mabuting pamamahala, ito lamang ang tanging paraan para magpatuloy ang ating paglalakbay tungo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap,” he said.
Earlier, House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said in his remarks that the event was an opportunity for them to view the country’s position in the next two years, as well as to unite and succeed in their endeavors.
For his part, Senate President Franklin Drilon said their mission for the next two years is to safeguard the reforms that the President has painstakingly put in place, so they could be preserved beyond 2016.
“We will make sure that the next leadership will continue these reforms so that their fruits will be enjoyed by this generation and the generation yet unborn,” Drilon said. PND (ag)
President Aquino defends National Police Chief Alan Purisima from critics
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday came to the defense of Director General Alan Purisima amid calls for the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief to quit his post.
“Sa pamumuno ni General Purisima, ang nag-imbestiga, tumugis, at nakadakip sa mga salarin na ngayon ay kinasuhan na, kapwa po nila pulis. Dagdag pa po diyan ang sari-sari pang mga krimen na nalulutas, kasama na ang mga high-profile na pagpapaslang. Tanong ko po: Makatuwiran po bang pagbitiwin sa puwesto si General Purisima na namumuno sa mga pulis na ginagawa nang mahusay ang kanilang trabaho?” the President said in his speech during the Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners held in Malacañang Palace.
The President said he believes General Purisima has made substantial reforms in the police force.
“Ang totoo po, napakalaki na ng ipinagbago ng imahen ng atin pong kapulisan. Dala po ito ng transpormasyong nangyari sa kanilang hanay—hindi lang sa larangan ng kagamitan o sa pag-aaruga sa ating mga pulis, kundi pati na rin sa kulturang nagsisimula nang mamayani sa sistema,” he said.
He also praised Purisima for the relentless effort of the police to solve crimes, a far cry from the crime-solving methods of the past.
“Dati, natukoy lang ang suspek sa krimen, tila okay na. Ngayon, talagang hindi tinatantanan ng kinauukulan ang kaso hangga’t walang nadadakip. Kung dati, dinadaan sa tsamba o ‘sana’ ang paglutas ng krimen, ngayon, mas sistematiko at siyentipiko na ang pangangasiwa kung saang mga lugar at kung aling mga krimen ang dapat tutukan,” he added.
Among the high-profile cases being investigated by the PNP are the killing of race car driver Enzo Pastor, in which two suspects have been arrested; the killing of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Mayor Ernesto Balolong, in which two of three suspects have been apprehended; and the killing of hotel chain owner Richard King, in which three suspects have been taken in.
He also cited the capture of General Jovito Palparan, Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife.
The President said the latest statistics would attest that the PNP has been able to reduce the number of killings in the National Capital Region.
“Kitang-kita rin po ang pagbabago sa mga numero: Sa pinakahuling datos, ang dating 31 kaso ng homicide kada linggo sa National Capital Region, ay bumaba na sa 20 kada lingo,” he said.
The President however expressed dismay over the lack of credit given by the media to these accomplishments.
“Nakakadismaya nga po kung minsan, dahil nakikita natin na kapag may krimeng nangyari, headline sa diyaryo; kapag naman nalutas ang krimen, kailangang hanapin ang kapirasong ulat sa page 20. Hindi naman kalabisang hilingin na maging balanse sa pagbabalita ukol sa krimen, ‘di po ba?” President Aquino lamented. PND (ag)
President Aquino lauds Filipino peacekeepers’ action in Golan Heights
President Benigno S. Aquino III lauded the actions of the Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights.
“Lahat ng Pilipinong sundalo doon, mula sa pinakabagong private hanggang sa colonel natin, nagpakita ng abilidad at husay sa kanilang tungkulin. Nang maipit, gumawa ng plano, kumilos, at nailigtas nga po nila ang isa’t isa sa panganib,” the President said in his speech during the Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners, which Malacañang Palace hosted on Friday.
He noted that the government has long been lobbying that Filipino peacekeepers be allowed to carry high-powered firearms.
“Matagal din po tayong humiling na mapayagang bigyan o pahintulutang magdala ng mas malakas na armas ang ating mga sundalo doon dahil nag-iba na po kasi ang sitwasyon, at dumami ang mga puwersang nagtutunggalian sa lugar na inatasan tayong bantayan,” he added.
He likened the Filipino peacekeepers to the soldiers who fought in the Zamboanga siege in October 2013.
“Di ba ganyan din po ang ipinakitang husay ng ating mga sundalo sa Zamboanga? Sa 197 na hostages doon, 195 ang nailigtas nila, at ang dalawang namatay ay napaslang hindi dahil sa crossfire ng rescue, kundi dahil pinaslang sila ng mga tumatakas na masasamang elemento,” he said.
The dialogue was attended by about 400 guests, consisting of members of Congress and the Cabinet, coalition allies, leaders and representatives of the various civil society organizations and business groups. PND (ag)
President Aquino renews government's commitment to improve MRT services
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday renewed his administration's commitment to improve the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) system for the convenience of commuters in Metro Manila.
In his speech during the Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners held in Malacañang Palace, the President said government programs aimed at improving the services of the light railway system are ongoing.
“Sa ngayon nga po, gumugulong na ang proseso para sa isang malawakan at sistematikong pagsasaayos ng MRT system,” he said, noting that the government is expecting the arrival of 48 new coaches in September next year.
According to the President, the MRT system's Automatic Fare Collection System (ACFS), which will be 50-percent complete by next year, will reduce the time spent by passengers getting tickets.
He said the areas for queuing will be expanded for the convenience of commuters, and railway tracks will be improved to ensure passenger safety.
"Ia-upgrade din ang power system dahil mas malakas ang konsumo sa kuryente ng mga ito. Aayusin din ang bagong signal system, upang maging mas madalas ang paglapag sa istasyon ng mga tren at mas ligtas ang biyahe nitong mga tren na ito," he said.
"Ang ibig sabihin, mas maraming makasasakay araw-araw at maiibsan ang pagsisiksikan sa mga tren."
The President said he has long wanted to see these improvements carried out but doing studies on how to improve the light railway system and finding funds took time.
The procurement process alone takes four to six months, he added.
“Maunawaan po sana ng lahat na kailangan ng panahon para ipatupad ang lahat ng ito, na kapag natapos naman ay magbibigay sa atin ng mas maayos na sistema ng pampublikong transportasyon, at inaasahan nating magpapaluwag din ito ng kalsada dahil mas kakaunti na ang pipiliing magdala ng sariling sasakyan,” he said.
Last April, the government signed a concession agreement with Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and Ayala Corp. for the P1.72-billion single ticketing project for the MRT and Light Rail Transit (LRT). The project is under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said during the signing that the PPP project is expected to be fully implemented by September next year.
The ACFS, a tap-and-go ticketing scheme for the MRT and LRT, is envisioned to improve passenger comfort and convenience by cutting queuing time and allowing smooth transfers from one rail line to another. PND (as)
National transformation lies in the hands of every Filipino, says President Aquino
President Benigno S. Aquino III said it is not his sole obligation to continue the ongoing reforms in the country, instead every Filipino must take part in the nation’s transformation.
In a speech during the Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners held at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace on Friday, the President said he has been receiving text messages, saying it is his duty to ensure that reforms continue.
He however said he believes that it is the obligation of the entire nation to sustain these changes.
"Kaya nga po, sa mga nagtatanong kung sino ang magpapatuloy: Baka naman po nagkakamali tayo ng tanong; baka hindi talaga ‘sino’ ang dapat nating hanapin—dahil walang ibang sagot sa tanong na iyan kundi ‘tayong lahat ang magpapatuloy nito’," the President said.
The administration's mission, he said, is to implement fully the reforms in government to show the “Bosses” that the only way to achieve the country’s goals is by traversing the righteous path.
"Lalo pa nating pag-ibayuhin ang pagsisikap; huwag po tayong makuntento sa ating narating; siguruhin natin na ang nararating natin ay hindi na maglalaho pa, at bagkus ay lalong lalawak at lalong lalalim," the President said.
He earlier said that before he came into office in 2010, the country was mired in corruption that hopelessness was prevalent among Filipinos.
As the government carried out reform measures, the country posted successes in such areas as in education, health care, social protection, infrastructure development, peace and order, job generation, and many others, he said.
“Kung dati, manhid na ang Pilipino at wala nang ganang makilahok sa paghubog ng lipunan, ngayon po ay talagang buhay na buhay ang ating demokrasya,” he noted.
The President called on his guests, consisting of members of Congress and the Cabinet, coalition allies, leaders and representatives of the various civil society organizations and business groups, to continue making reforms.
“Kailangan lang po talagang araw-araw nating pag-ibayuhin ang pagsisikap, kailangan nating doblehin ang pagkayod, kailangan nating idiin sa taumbayan na itong tuwid na landas, itong agenda ng reporma at ng tapat at mabuting pamamahala, ito lamang ang tanging paraan para magpatuloy ang ating paglalakbay tungo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap,” President Aquino said. PND (as)
Government to overcome pressing problems, President says
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday vowed to resolve the pressing problems his administration faces in the remaining two years of his term.
Speaking during the Agenda-Setting with Dialogue Partners, which was attended by members of Congress and the Cabinet, coalition allies, leaders and representatives of various civil society organizations and business groups, President Aquino focused on four issues the government is facing and the steps it is taking to resolve them.
First, he said, is the possible power shortage next year, brought about by a resurging economy and the El Niño weather phenomenon.
The President said he will soon ask Congress to authorize the government to contract an additional power generating capacity.
“Sa ngayon po, lahat ng iskema para masiguradong mapipigilan ang brownout ay itinutulak natin. Ang katuwiran po natin ay sakali ngang magkaroon ng pagkukulang sa kuryente, maganda nang tiyak na may pagkukunan tayo nito, kaysa aasa na lang tayo na, sana may makunan tayo kapag nagkakaproblema,” he explained.
He said he has instructed Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to do everything to avert power outages during summer next year.
Second is the port congestion in Manila, brought about by unclaimed cargoes, the President said, adding that this has resulted in gridlock in main thoroughfares.
In response, the government has coordinated with the local governments of Manila and the entire National Capital Region regarding the passage of trucks, and has imposed a daily fine of P5,000 for unclaimed cargoes starting October 1, among other measures, he said, noting that he has directed Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras to concentrate on solving the issue.
Third is the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, he said.
“Dumarami po ang nagkakaroon ng kakayahang bumili ng sariling sasakyan; hinahabol po natin ang pagpapagawa ng supisyenteng kalsada, pero alam po nating hindi ito sapat. Kailangan ding pagbutihin ang sistema ng pampublikong transportasyon,” the President said.
He also traced the root of the MRT problem back in 2006, when the MRT was supposed to have a general overhaul, necessary every eight years, but got a minor overhaul instead.
“Sa ngayon nga po: Gumugulong na ang proseso para sa isang malawakan at sistematikong pagsasaayos ng MRT system,” he announced.
He said 48 new coaches will arrive in a year’s time, railway tracks will be improved to ensure passenger safety, an Automatic Fare Collection System will be put in place, and queuing areas will be expanded.
Fourth is the peace and order issue, he said, adding that the government is addressing high-profile cases and has scored successes in the arrest of two suspects in the killing of race car driver Enzo Pastor, two suspects in the murder of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Mayor Ernesto Balolong, and three suspects in the killing of hotel chain owner Richard King.
He also praised the police for reducing the number of homicide cases in the National Capital Region from 31 cases a week to 20 cases a week.
“Ang mga hakbang ukol sa mga isyung tinukoy ko ang magpapatunay: Sagad na sagad pa rin ang tutok natin sa kapakanan ng ating mga Boss. Hindi tayo lilihis sa tuwid na landas; ang tuon natin: Hindi pulitika, kundi resulta; hindi pag-iingay, kundi kongkretong tugon sa mga suliranin ng ating mga Boss; hindi ambisyon, kundi serbisyong pampubliko at tunay na pagmamahal sa ating bansa,” President Aquino said. PND (ag)
Switzerland welcomes submission of proposed Bangsamoro Law to Philippine Congress
The Swiss government has congratulated the Philippine government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other stakeholders on the submission of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to the Philippine Congress.
"Switzerland welcomes yesterday’s formal submission by President Benigno S. Aquino III of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law for consideration by the Philippine Congress," Ambassador Ivo Sieber of Switzerland said in a statement issued on Thursday.
Wednesday's submission of the draft Bangsamoro law is another major step in the process to bring peace to Mindanao, following the signing of the Framework Peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro on October 15, 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27, 2014, Sieber said.
The submission of the draft law is an important achievement together with the forthcoming debate by Congress, and this represents another testament to the commitment of all sides for the creation of the Bangsamoro, and to bring durable peace, justice, development and security to Mindanao, he added.
"Together with the international community, in particular the International Contact Group, which comprises the Geneva-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, Switzerland is committed as an active partner to support the establishment of the Bangsamoro," the Swiss ambassador said.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Philippine Congress aims to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in the first quarter of next year.
During the ceremonial turnover of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, President Aquino asked Congress to pass the bill immediately so that Muslim Mindanao would have sufficient time to prepare to govern itself.
Drilon said passing it in the first quarter of next year would give the region enough time to conduct a plebiscite and have the transition commission in place before the 2016 election. PND (as)