President Aquino arrives in Indonesia for the 7th Bali Democracy Forum
(BALI, Indonesia) President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here Thursday evening to take part in the 7th Bali Democracy Forum, an annual intergovernmental forum on the development of democracy in the Asia Pacific region.
President Aquino and his official delegation left Manila on Thursday afternoon on board chartered Philippine Airlines Flight PR 001. The President's plane touched down at Ngurah Rai International Airport at around 8:30 p.m.
The President was welcomed at the airport by Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Maria Rosario Aguinaldo, Defense and Armed Forces Attaché Raniel Ramiro, and officials from the Indonesian government.
President Aquino's official delegation include Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, and Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Abad.
On Friday, the President will join his fellow leaders in the Asia-Pacific region at the Bali Democracy Forum that will be held at the Bali International Convention Center.
President Aquino, co-chair of this year's forum with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is also scheduled to deliver his remarks during the said event.
The forum aims to promote and foster regional and international cooperation in the field of peace and democracy through dialogue-based sharing of experiences and best practices that adhere to the principles of equality, mutual respect and understanding.
Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah, and delegates from 51 participating countries, as well as 68 international observers, are also attending the annual event.
Also on Friday, President Aquino will receive the “Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna” (Star of the Republic of Indonesia) award, Indonesia's highest state medal of honor. PND (co)
Indonesian leader welcomes President Aquino, other Asia-Pacific leaders
(BALI, Indonesia) President Benigno S. Aquino III and fellow leaders in the Asia-Pacific region were welcomed by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the opening session of the 7th Bali Democracy Forum here Friday morning.
President Aquino was greeted by President Yudhoyono upon his arrival at the Bali International Convention Center for the opening of this year’s forum.
President Yudhoyono officially opened the 7th Bali Democracy Forum, which carries the theme “Evolving Regional Democratic Architecture: The Challenges of Political Development, Public Participation and Socio-Economic Progress in the 21st Century.”
In his opening statement, the Indonesian leader welcomed all delegates of the forum, saying that their participation in the event reflects their “enduring dedication to the cause of democracy.”
“First of all, on behalf of the government and the people of Indonesia, I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to all of you to the beautiful islands of Bali. Your continuous and active participation in this forum reflects your enduring dedication to the cause of promoting democracy,” he said.
President Yudhoyono also thanked President Aquino for his “readiness” to co-chair this year's Bali Democracy Forum.
Also attending the event are Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah, as well as delegates from 51 participating countries, and 68 international observers. PND (co)
President Aquino pays tribute to Indonesia’s Yudhoyono
(BALI, Indonesia) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday paid tribute to outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whom he considers a “big brother,” during the 7th Bali Democracy Forum here.
President Aquino said Indonesia has worked with the Philippines to address shared challenges, such as securing maritime borders, combating terrorism, and raising awareness on climate change.
“Indonesia has indeed been a true friend to my people,” the Chief Executive, co-chair of this year’s Bali Democracy Forum with President Yudhoyono, said in his remarks.
President Aquino acknowledged the role of Indonesia in the Philippines’ efforts to establish lasting peace in southern Philippines.
“They have supported us in our efforts towards establishing a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, by previously chairing key committees in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and conducting consultation meetings between my government and the Moro National Liberation Front, and by taking part in the International Monitoring Team in our negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” he said.
The President attributed the strengthening relations between the two countries to his Indonesian counterpart, whom he also sees as “an able partner.”
“A leader committed to a vision of mutual prosperity, he sought to find solutions to a longstanding concern between our two peoples, and did so while bearing in mind what is best for all parties,” he said.
With the assuring leadership of Yudhoyono, President Aquino said, the Philippines and Indonesia were able to resolve in an amicable manner the issue concerning the maritime boundaries in the Mindanao Sea and the Celebes Sea.
Last May, the Philippines and Indonesia signed an agreement that draws boundary on the overlapping exclusive economic zones in the Celebes Sea and the Mindanao Sea.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive also noted that President Yudhoyono’s commitment to the rule of law “has been crucial as we advance the peaceful and just resolution of disputes in the South China Sea.”
“Under President Yudhoyono, not only has Indonesia seen impressive reforms that have redounded to economic growth; Indonesia has likewise emerged as an influential voice in both regional and international affairs,” he said.
The forum, which is being held at the Bali International Convention Center, is also attended by Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah, as well as delegates from 51 participating countries, and 68 international observers. PND (co)
New SWS survey shows higher public satisfaction with President Aquino's performance, says Palace
Malacañang on Friday welcomed the higher public satisfaction with President Benigno S. Aquino III’s performance, as shown by the results of a new survey.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey result proves professional naysayers and predictors wrong.
"President Aquino’s ratings remain historically high compared to the same period of other administrations," she said in a statement. "Surveys are snapshots of a political landscape at a certain time and accordingly fluctuate."
"The more accurate measure of government performance is the number of people who are empowered to take advantage of new and better opportunities," she added.
Results of the Third Quarter 2014 Social Weather Station, conducted from September 26 to 29 among 1,200 adults nationwide, had 59 percent of respondents saying they were satisfied with the President’s performance and 25 percent saying otherwise, for a “good” net rating of +34.
The survey showed that net satisfaction rose 9 points from June’s “moderate” +25 (55 percent satisfied, 30 percent dissatisfied).
Valte said that since 2010, the Aquino administration has consistently instituted good governance and transparency reforms, which have translated into tangible benefits for the people.
The administration's commitment to "tuwid na daan" has borne fruit, she said, both in boosting the country’s global reputation and in bringing about real change in people’s lives.
"We believe that these solid achievements will always result in public support for the President’s agenda of change," she said.
The Palace official credited the higher public satisfaction with the President’s performance to his continued work and that of his Cabinet.
“We trust that the public continues to see the reform agenda of the President and how we continue to push for their interests,” she said. PND (as)
Palace asks the public to help authorities foil terror attacks
The Palace on Friday called for increased public vigilance following the recent arrest of three suspected terrorists in Quezon City.
Initial reports from the authorities said the three were members of the Rajah Sulayman group, which appears to be plotting an attack in Metro Manila.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines has yet to confirm the specific terror plot connected to the arrest of the suspects.
"However, our intelligence units are seeking to validate or verify these reports, and as such, we are asking the people to report any suspicious activities that they see to their local law enforcement, just to aid in the efforts of our authorities," Valte said.
She assured the public that security agencies are working more closely in monitoring the situation to preempt any criminal activity.
Asked if President Aquino had given the police and the military directives before he left for Indonesia on Thursday, Valte said the President is aware of the arrest of the three alleged terrorists and he is confident that the security agencies could carry out measures to protect the country's major centers.
On the security preparations for the visit of Pope Francis next year, Valte noted that contingencies are in place for the pope's visit. She however declined to give specifics.
"But we would like to assure, not just for the visit of the Pope, that our security forces are continuing to do their jobs, so that we can sleep peacefully at night," she said. PND (as)
Bali Democracy Forum manifests will of united Asian people, says President Aquino
The democracy forum in Bali manifests People Power, as it harnesses the resolve of the Asian people to attain a free and opportunity-laden region, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Friday.
"What we continue to demonstrate here, I believe, is one of the many manifestations of People Power: of harnessing our united resolve towards a democratic regional community, one where our respective peoples fully enjoy the freedoms borne of democratic aspirations, where our peoples have the wherewithal to open the doors of opportunity for themselves and their fellowmen, and where, indeed, no one is left behind," the President said in his speech at the 7th Bali Democracy Forum in Bali, Indonesia.
He said he stands as a leader of a proud nation that is determined to contribute even more to the discourse on regional issues.
The President also highlighted the importance of ASEAN centrality, noting that the collective growth of the region’s citizenries may only be fulfilled in a regional context.
He recognized the steps taken by the regional bloc, saying ASEAN member countries have worked to strengthen their respective institutions, and have accorded their peoples the rights due them, allowing them to fulfill their duties as citizens.
"As democracies, we share the view that the path to sustainable progress must be one that redounds to the benefit of our Bosses, the very people from whom our mandates emanate," he said.
President Aquino further said that the current ASEAN mode of engagement considers each one as a brother in the path to mutual progress and encourages citizens to embrace the democratic way of life.
While this process requires a significant amount of time, he said, the prospects it brings are promising, and the regional partners are seeing this method bear fruit at present.
"Thus, it is incumbent upon us to continue to show our brothers and sisters in ASEAN that they chose the right path; we can do this by extending assistance to them, in every manner possible," he added. PND (as)
President Aquino champions democracy during Bali forum
President Benigno S. Aquino III spoke about the benefits of democracy during a forum in Indonesia, saying it empowers the people and builds just and progressive societies.
In his speech during the 7th Bali Democracy Forum on Friday, the President shunned authoritarianism, noting that governments having this system end up in chaos and ruin.
In a democracy, he said, the government is systematically attuned to the voice of the people, represents the people, and works toward the betterment of its population.
"And while consensus building, which is the foundation of such a state, may be a long and complicated process, it nonetheless presents more stable, more solid foundations for equitable advancement," he said.
Democratic institutions seek to free and enable its citizens, and the first freedom should always be from hunger, he said, quoting his late father, former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.
This freedom empowers the citizenry to become capable of nurturing and fostering democracy, resulting in a virtuous cycle of inclusiveness, stability, and development, he added.
"Meanwhile, when a people are rendered vulnerable and their rights and freedoms are undermined, they become marginalized and more susceptible to coercion, abuse, and the temptation to acquiesce to absolutism," he said.
The President, whose family was a victim of persecution during the Marcos dictatorship, said that although authoritarian regimes get things done much faster, they are detached from the people because they do not seek public opinion.
"Naturally, such a regime, one divorced from the desires of its people, will have weak foundations," he said.
"And as we have seen in history, all authoritarian regimes, regardless of the cause of their coming to power, will at one point make political survival the end all and be all of government."
The Chief Executive said that leaders may be tempted to consider an authoritarian method, but they must realize that with the lack of consensus and consent from the people, such a mode, which offers quick, short-term gains, may be detrimental to society in the long term.
"That lack of consensus, combined with the great degree of dissatisfaction that inevitably arises, leads to instability and the eventual collapse of that particular system," he said.
President Aquino co-chaired the forum with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He is set to return to Manila Friday evening. PND (as)