Tuesday, 2 September 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

President Aquino confers Order of Sikatuna on outgoing Japanese Ambassador

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu, Katangiang Ginto (Grand Cross, Gold Distinction) on outgoing Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe.

Ambassador Urabe, together with the Japanese Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Tetsuro Amano and Political Minister Hironori Shibata, paid a farewell call on the President at the Music Room of Malacañang Palace.

Present during the conferment ceremony were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras.

Ambassador Urabe was cited for “his significant contribution to the peace process and development in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao."

Last March 20, Ambassador Urabe signed eight grant contracts with recipient organizations for various social development projects in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. These projects were funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) implemented by the Japanese Embassy as part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).

The Order of Sikatuna is an Order of Diplomatic Merit conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Philippines. PND (ag)

International Red Cross Chief calls on President Aquino

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacañang Palace on Tuesday.

Maurer is in the Philippines to evaluate efforts to rebuild communities destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda last year. On Monday (August 25), he visited the district hospital in Basey, Samar, which is being repaired with the help of the ICRC and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). He then proceeded to Santa Cruz, Giporlos in Eastern Samar where storm-resilient shelters have been built.

Accompanying the ICRC chief during his courtesy call were Alain Aeschliman, head of the ICRC Operations for East Asia and the Pacific; Graziells Leito-Piccolo; and Paul Maucle, head of an ICRC delegation that visited Basey, Samar.

Also present were Health Secretary Dr. Enrique Ona, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, and Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson.

During the meeting, Maurer also gave the President a souvenir picture of former president Corazon Aquino with former ICRC president Cornelio Sommaruga.

The photo was taken when Cory Aquino visited the ICRC Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland in 1988. PND (ag)

Majority of Filipinos still supportive of President Aquino, says Palace official

President Benigno S. Aquino III still has the support of the majority of Filipinos and he remains determined to carry out reforms that would benefit the country, a Palace official said on Tuesday.

"Kung ating tutunghayan ang mga public opinion surveys, talaga namang lumalabas doon na may suporta ang Pangulo mula sa mayorya ng ating mga mamamayan," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said a press briefing in Malacañang.

He was asked if the failure to draw more rallyists to Monday’s anti-pork barrel rally means strong support for the Aquino administration.

On the President’s reaction to Monday's mass action, Secretary Coloma said what is important to the Chief Executive is the implementation of reforms.

"Ang mahalaga nga para sa Pangulo ay ang pagpapatuloy ng reporma at pagbabago. Hindi naman ito nakukuha lamang sa isang insidente o isang episode o isang rally," he said.

He noted that in more than four years President Aquino has been in office, many reforms have already taken root.

"Marami na ring nakapapansin ng pagbabago sa iba’t ibang larangan ng ating lipunan at ‘yon nga ang panawagan ng Pangulo, na dapat ipagpatuloy ito dahil dumadami na rin naman tayo," he said. PND (as)

President Aquino still reviewing draft Bangsamoro Law

President Benigno S. Aquino III is still reviewing the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that was submitted to him last week, a Palace official said Tuesday.

"Patuloy na pinag-aaralan ng Pangulo ang inihaing draft Bangsamoro Basic Law," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

"Ang susunod na hakbang ay ang agarang paghain nito sa Kogreso bilang urgent legislative measure. Merong sense of urgency dito, dahil sa nailatag na timetable ng Bangsamoro peace process," he added.

According to Coloma, Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels have already agreed on significant issues, and that is why they decided to forward the draft to the President.

The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was submitted to President Aquino on Wednesday evening.

Once the draft law is approved by Congress, a plebiscite will be held and a transition authority will be created in preparation for the conduct of an election in the Bangsamoro in 2016.

President Aquino has vowed to push for the conduct of a fair and democratic poll in the region before he leaves office in 2016. PND (as)