Sunday, 7 September 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, September 4, 2014

President Aquino lauds businesses that contribute to social reforms

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday honored Asian businesses that have contributed to social transformation by carrying out projects through corporate social responsibility.

In his speech during the 13th Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility in Makati City, the President said businesses have changed for the better through the years.

He said that while in the past, businesses only considered profit as the end-all and be-all and viewed their responsibilities in isolation from the community, today's manufacturing facilities think of how to minimize their environmental impact and waste, thus preserving the sustainability of their source materials as well as enhancing their relations with the community.

"When I see corporations focused on social responsibility, I see kindred spirits who, like me, have to tackle issues in their multifaceted forms and complications—who realize that, indeed, no man is an island," he said.

To the institutions being recognized for helping redefine the concept of business, the President said corporate responsibility is good business.

“Your shareholders include your employees, consumers, and now, the members of the communities in which you operate, thus redefining value not only in terms of profit, but also in terms of the empowerment of others,” he said.

Citing examples, he said Jollibee Foods Corporation’s Busog, Lusog, Talino School Feeding Program, which provides lunch for undernourished students in kindergarten, and first and second grades, has resulted in 80 percent of the beneficiaries reaching a normal Body Mass Index, as well as a decrease in absenteeism.

The Farmer Entrepreneurship Program, which aims to support the livelihood of Filipino farmers by linking them to the supply chain of institutional markets such as Jollibee, has helped more than 900 farmers across the country become more productive and gain access to a broader market, he added.

The President commended the awardees for proving that the growth of companies and of private industry cannot be separated from the growth of the communities.

He further said that companies joining social reforms inspire him.

"These events never fail to inspire me—and I hope that they have the same, if not a greater effect on you and even your peers," he said.

"Through your work, you have already shown that the simplest ideas can bring about the most profound transformations."

Several companies were awarded during Wednesday's event for their contributions to solving social challenges.

The awardees were the Jollibee Group Foundation for its poverty alleviation initiatives; the Dow Chemical Thailand for its works on preserving the environment; the Jollibee Group Foundation for its initiatives on education; PT Unilever Indonesia for its health care programs; the Valsad District Cooperative Milk Producer in India for providing livelihood to farmers; and the Magsaysay Maritime Corp. for producing highly skilled seafarers for the maritime industry.

The Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCSR) is the largest annual conference on corporate social responsibility in the region.

It was launched in 2002 by the AIM-Ramon V. del Rosario Sr. Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, one of the first research centers in Asia to concentrate on corporate social responsibility issues. PND (as)

Security authorities tackling criminality in the country, says Palace

The Palace made an assurance on Thursday that the government is doing everything to address crimes in the country, especially kidnapping for ransom.

“The Philippine National Police (PNP) is exerting all efforts to crack down on the criminal elements behind kidnapping-for-ransom cases,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

He said that on Wednesday, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima, and representatives of concerned citizens’ groups, including Teresita Ang See, discussed the concerns of the Filipino-Chinese community.

Coloma said that according to the PNP, the reported number of kidnaping-for-ransom cases as of last August increased to 38 from 31 in the same period last year.

“This is what the police are working on now, in terms of intensified police efforts,” he said.

The people need to understand the situation in perspective, he said, noting that in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last month, the President made it clear that the government's thrust is to capture the criminals, and gather strong evidence to successfully convict them.

"Ang palaging ipinapahayag ng Pangulo at ine-emphasize hinggil diyan ay ito: Dapat ay may kasiguruhan na ang mga hinuhuli at isinasakdal ay mapaparusahan," he said.

"Dapat may kasiguruhan na pangangalagaan ng pamahalaan ang kaligtasan at kapakanan ng mga mamamayan. Kaya iyan ang patuloy na nagsisilbing pamantayan sa lahat ng ating mga law enforcement authorities."

Coloma said that as the President leaves for Europe and the United States next week, the chief executive can assure investors that the Philippines is safe for doing business.

"The President can face the world with a clear view that the Philippines is safe for investors, the Philippines is safe for its citizens," he said, appealing to the public to avoid painting a gloomy picture of the country's security situation.

“Hindi kinakailangang magpinta tayo ng larawan ng ligalig dahil ang sitwasyon naman ay masasabi nating stable. The crime situation is well under the control of the police authorities. Kaya hindi dapat lumikha ng ligalig hinggil dito,” he said. PND (as)

Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights to end tour of duty properly, says Palace

The government wants the Filipino peacekeepers in Golan Heights to complete their tour of duty to fulfill the country’s commitment to the United Nations (UN) properly, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“We want to complete our tour of duty and wind down our UN commitment in the proper way,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during a press briefing at the Palace.

He noted that the government’s decision to recall peacekeeping forces from Liberia and the Golan Heights came earlier than last week’s stand-off between the Filipino peacekeepers and Syrian rebels.

“Kung maalala natin, bago pa sumiklab ang insidente noong nakaraang linggo ay naihayag na ang pasya na tatapusin na lamang ang current tour of duty at ito ang naging desisyon. Hindi naman ito naapektuhan nang mga kaganapan noong nakaraang lingo,” he explained.

Meanwhile, he said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is coordinating with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regarding the report on the Golan Heights incident.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs is coordinating with the DND and the AFP, and is in close consultation with the United Nations on this matter. After all, the deployment of Filipino peacekeepers is a UN matter and that is a matter of international diplomacy for which the DFA is responsible,” he said.

President Aquino has sought a comprehensive report on last week’s incident in the Golan Heights to use it as the basis for future deployments of Filipino peacekeepers. PND (ag)

President Aquino wants hoarders, price manipulators behind bars, Palace official says

President Benigno S. Aquino III continues to monitor cases on alleged abuses in the import and trade of basic commodities, warning that the authorities will prosecute those found to have violated the law, a Palace official said Thursday.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday attributed the spike in garlic prices a few months ago to collusion between government officials and a garlic importer.

During a press briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said that the DOJ's finding “is the outcome of the continuing efforts of the government to stop abuses that produce disadvantage and detriment to our populace.”

He said that last month, the President called meetings among concerned agencies to determine the cause of unusual movements in the price of prime commodities.

He further said that the President has already instructed government agencies, especially the Department of Agriculture (DA), to focus on the supply of goods and their prices in anticipation of the Christmas season.

"Nagpatawag na ang Pangulo ng pagpupulong at mahigpit ang pag-uutos sa lahat ng mga ahensiya, lalung-lalo na ang Department of Agriculture na tutukan ang supply and price situation, lalung-lalo na at padating ng holiday season at tiyak na mag-i-increase ang demand," Coloma said, referring to the supply of pork, chicken, and the usual Noche Buena fare.

As for those who have violated the law by engaging in hoarding and price manipulation, cases have been filed against them, based on the President's instruction, Coloma said. PND (as)

Government eyes single broadcasting network before President Aquino steps down in 2016

The government is eyeing the privatization of the television stations it controls before the term of President Aquino ends in 2016, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Thursday.

Two TV stations are currently under the administration: IBC-13 and RPN-9. IBC-13, a sequestered asset, is 100-percent government-owned.

Coloma said in a press briefing in Malacañang that the government is working on the privatization of IBC-13, and that the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations has decided to allow the Development Bank of the Philippines to become the privatization manager of the station.

“Sa aking pagkabatid ay inuumpisahan na ang prosesong ito at ang target ay matapos ito sa pagtatapos din ng termino ni Pangulong Aquino,” he said.

He noted that RPN-9 is already privatized, with the government owning only 20.8 percent of the station.

Coloma said that the administration has since 2010 wanted only one government-owned broadcasting network, which includes television and radio.

The state-run radio station is Radyo ng Bayan, and aside from IBC-13 and RPN-9, the government also runs PTV-4.

The PCOO administers these stations pursuant to Executive Order No. 4. PND (as)

Palace: We should all be proud of 'Gilas Pilipinas'

Despite losing to Puerto Rico, the country should still be proud of Gilas Pilipinas’ efforts in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain, the Palace said Thursday.

“Sa aking palagay ay dapat pa ring ipagpatuloy ang ating pagsuporta at dapat pa rin nating ipagmalaki ang Gilas Pilipinas,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during the daily press briefing in Malacañang.

Puerto Rico won against the Philippines 77-73 after trailing behind Gilas Pilipinas in the first half of the game.

With the result, Gilas Pilipinas has lost its chance to advance to the round of 16.

“Hindi nga lang nakaya na talunin ang Puerto Rico. Pero katulad nang naganap na mga laro laban sa Croatia at Argentina, nagwakas ito sa napakalapit na score, at sinumang nakakaunawa ng basketball ay magsasabing kung nadagdagan lang ang swerte ay maaari pang napagtagumpayan ito,” said Coloma.

The Philippine Basketball Team had lost its previous games with a margin of less than 10 points: against Croatia (81–78); Greece (82–70); and Argentina (85–81).

The team even took the lead in its games with Croatia, Argentina and Puerto Rico before losing.

“Taas-noo ang ating mga manlalaro, taas-noo pa rin ang mga Pilipino, sapagkat kahanga-hanga rin naman ang kanilang ipinakitang husay sa pakikipaglaro,” said Coloma. PND (ag)