Sunday, 7 September 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, September 6, 2014

No more heavy traffic at NLEX; DPWH monitoring transfer of cargoes to Subic, says Palace

Malacanang apologized to the public for the traffic congestion created by the transfer of containers from the Port of Manila to Subic on Friday.

"At maaayos naman natin ito, humihingi lang tayo ng pasensya sa kahapong nangyari. But the plans to clear the port congestion ay inaasikaso at mino-monitor ang situation," Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

"We really need to decongest and we really need to move all the empty containers so that there can be a space for all the containers there," he added.

Based on the report they received, Lacierda said the heavy traffic eased on Saturday morning at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson is working to monitor the transfer of the containers to Subic so that the cargoes could reach their destination with ease.

The government has to decongest the Port of Manila because it is a main port and major shipments will arrive especially as the holiday season approaches.

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras reported that the Batangas port is now being utilized to accommodate incoming shipments.

The government gave truckers and importers two weeks to move their cargoes from the Port of Manila and transfer them to private warehouses.

If they fail to remove their cargoes, the government will transfer them to Subic and starting October 1, a P5,000 charge will be imposed per container each day.

Authorities appealed to businessmen and importers to avoid using the Port of Manila as their warehouse because it results to congestions.

Importers use the port to keep their cargoes since it is cheaper using it compared to hiring privately owned warehouses. PND (as)

Palace defends EDCA, says agreement does not violate constitution

The Palace reiterated on Saturday that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US is within the bounds of the law and that government lawyers can depend it in the Supreme Court (SC).

"We are very confident that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will be able to discuss and to defend the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement," Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

EDCA was discussed lengthily by the Philippine and US teams and it has been looked at by the Philippine government's legal team, Lacierda said noting that he believes the agreement has not violated constitutional provisions.

The concerns of those opposing EDCA don't have any basis, according to Lacierda. He added that in fact, the Department of Foreign Affairs released a briefer on EDCA saying it is in line with the Constitution.

"And for that particular reason, we are very confident that the OSG will be able to defend the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement before the Supreme Court," Lacierda said.

Leftist partylist groups also raised EDCA as one of three impeachment cases against the President. The lower house trashed the three impeachment complaints against President Aquino last week.

The Philippines and the US signed the agreement this year that allows American forces to use Philippine bases on limited and rotational basis.

This is in the midst of the country's ongoing territorial row with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). PND (as)

Government working to remedy traffic congestion in Metro Manila

The government said it is addressing the traffic problem in the country to preserve the economic achievements of the administration.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government is aware of the problems pose by bad traffic condition to the country's economy.

"We recognize that. In fact, there has been a JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) on the loss of business due to traffic, and for that particular reason, we have been studying measures on how do we alleviate traffic, especially in Metro Manila and NCR (National Capital Region) area," Lacierda told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

In the case of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), he said the government is addressing the situation by adding additional coaches. He apologized to the public for the inconvenience of the MRT's service.

Another measure is the establishment of terminals outside Metro Manila's main thoroughfares, and by not allowing provincial buses to enter Metro Manila, there will be smoother flow of traffic, he said.

A week ago, the government launched the south station. Buses coming from the south have started using the terminal in Alabang and passengers going to Metro Manila have to transfer to another bus.

"We’re also going after the colorum vehicles. That would substantially cut down the number of colorum vehicles that operate. And plus the fact that we also have the color-coding," he added.

Another thrust of the government to ease the flow of traffic in Metro Manila is the construction of NLEX-SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) connector. Motorists going to the north and vice versa could bypass Metro Manila by using the connector, thus easing traffic.

While the country experiences these concerns, Lacierda said traffic condition is also an indication of a growing economy, which is obviously being experienced by the Philippines right now.

"But as much as it is a sign of a growing economy, we also need and we recognize the need to make sure that traffic does not impede the flow of business productivity," he added. PND (as)

President Aquino to promote country as investment and tourist destination in European tour

President Benigno S. Aquino III will pitch the country's investment prospects to European businessmen as well as promote Philippine tourism, according to a Palace official.

The President is expected to leave for Europe and the US this week.

"The President will be able to share our experience," Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

"The President will be able to share also what’s happening in the Philippines in terms of investments, in terms of opportunities for investments in several fields—tourism, manufacturing, and other fields—which will truly be attractive to foreign investors," he added.

The trip of the President is also an opportunity to promote the country's tourist destinations to Europeans.

Asked about the concerns of European businessman on starting a business in the Philippines that is hampered by red tape, Lacierda they want to know specific concerns to address the problem.

"Let us know, we will address those concerns of European businessmen. Our emphasis is really to invite foreign investors to come and we’re making all the efforts to make the ease of doing business a continuing reality sa kanila, whether European, or any foreign investor," he said. PND (as)