President Aquino arrives in Manila after five-nation official tour
President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived in Manila Thursday evening after a working visit that covered five nations.
His Philippine Airline PR001 flight from San Francisco, California, United States touched down at the Manila International Airport past 10:00 p.m.
In his arrival speech at the NAIA Terminal 2, the President reported his accomplishments during his visits to Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, and the US.
"Labindalawang araw po tayong nawala, at talaga naman pong sinulit natin ang mga araw na ito: 94 engagements ang atin pong dinaluhan. Kinausap natin ang mga pinuno ng iba’t ibang bansa at institusyon upang isulong ang mas mabuting ugnayan; nakipagpulong tayo sa mga negosyante upang imbitahin silang mamuhunan sa ating bansa; kinita natin ang ating mga kababayan, at dinalhan sila ng mabuting balita," said President Aquino.
During his engagements abroad, he expressed the country's gratitude for the assistance extended to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda, for the support for the peace process in Mindanao, and for allowing our local carriers to once again travel to Europe.
He also invited investors to set up businesses in the country, or for those with existing businesses in the Philippines, increase their capital investment. Moreover, he explained the country's position in the West Philippine Sea.
The President said he was struck by an idea tabled by an international banking official, who suggested to make the Philippine Peso a global currency.
"Baka raw po dapat ay i-globalize natin ang piso. Ang ibig pong sabihin, kumpiyansa siya sa stabilidad ng ating ekonomiya; naniniwala siyang sulit ang tumaya sa Pilipinas. Nabigla po tayo sa mungkahing ito; kahit kailan po ay hindi dumapo sa isip natin ang ganitong hakbang," said the Chief Executive.
"Talagang kailangan ng mas malalim na pag-aaral ng ganito kalaking mga hakbang, pero hindi po maikakaila ang sentimyentong dala ng kanyang mungkahi: Ang dating 'sick man of Asia,' ngayon, bukal na ng kumpiyansa sa ekonomiya; ang dating pahirapan kung mapansin, ngayon, marami nang nag-uunahang kausapin. Napakataas na po talaga ang tingin ng mundo sa Pilipinas," he added.
There to welcome the President were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montero, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Political Adviser Rolando Llamas, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Manuel Mamba, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan, and Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto. PND (ag)
President Aquino says he got updates, gave instructions as typhoons hit the country
President Benigno S. Aquino III said he was constantly given updates and he gave instructions when Typhoons Luis and Mario hit the country while he was on his 12-day five-nation working visit.
"Matagal-tagal din po tayong nawala. Alam ko po, habang ibinibida natin ang Pilipinas sa ibang bansa, habang pinagtutuunan natin ang ating mga pangmatagalang pangangailangan ay hinagupit ng ilang mga bagyo ang Pilipinas. Nais ko pong magpasalamat sa bawat Pilipinong nakiambag upang tugunan ang mga pangangailangan sa panahon ng kalamidad," the President said in his speech upon arriving at the NAIA Terminal 2 on Thursday night.
He noted that members of his Cabinet kept him abreast while he was away on his working visits to Spain, Belgium, France, Germany and the United States.
"Hindi po nagkulang ang ating mga kasamahan sa gobyerno sa pagtawag sa telepono, sa pag-text, at sa pakikipag-usap sa akin habang tayo ay nasa biyahe. Tuloy-tuloy po ang pagbibigay natin ng direktiba sa kanila upang masigurong ang bawat Pilipino ay mabibigyan ng sapat na pagkalinga sa harap ng sakuna," he added.
The President has said that at one point, he contemplated on cutting his working visit short due to Typhoon Mario but was assured that there was no need to return immediately.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. led other Cabinet members in dealing with the effects of the storm when the President was abroad. PND (ag)
President Aquino generates U.S.$2.35 billion in investment during visits
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday night reported that his 12-day five-nation official trip has generated US$2.35 billion worth of investment.
"Aabot po ng 2.35 bilyong dolyar ang halaga ng nakalap nating mga panata at tiyak na investment, na tinataya namang lilikha ng 33,850 trabaho," the President said in a speech he delivered shortly after he arrived at the NAIA Terminal 2 in Pasay City from San Francisco, California, the United States.
This, he said, is the fruit of his meetings with 22 corporations in Spain, Belgium, France, Germany and the United States.
The Chief Executive also noted that Coca-Cola has already expanded its investment in the country.
"Nariyan po ang Coca-Cola: Ipinangako nila sa atin noon ang pagpasok ng karagdagang isang bilyong dollars sa bansa bago sumapit ang taong 2015. Sa biyaheng ito, iniulat nilang naipasok na ang lahat ng puhunang ito, at hindi pa tayo umaabot sa 2015," he said.
"Ang Volkswagen din po, halimbawa, inengganyo nating dito magtayo ng kanilang global manufacturing hub; malaking bentahe ang lumalaki nating middle class, pati na rin ang maganda nating lokasyon at ang husay ng ating manggagawa, at ipagpapatuloy po natin ang pang-eengganyo sa kanila," he added.
He however declined to give more details.
“Hindi na po natin idedetalye ang bawat isa sa kanila at baka po mausog, pero ang masasabi ko lang po: Nagkakaisa sila sa kanilang tiwala sa gumaganda nating ekonomiya at sistemang panlipunan. Alam nila ang bunga ng ating mga reporma; at umaasa sila sa patuloy nating pag-angat,” he said, assuring that these investment would turn into more opportunities for the Filipino people. PND (ag)
Government agencies are given leeway to decide to implement four-day workweek, says Palace
In line with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) circular that paves the way for the adoption of a four-day workweek in government offices, a Palace official said it is up to government agencies whether or not to implement this scheme.
“The particular agency would be in a better position to address this... While the Civil Service Commission (CSC) provides the guidelines, the particular implementing agency has to also look at the guidelines vis-à-vis their work activities and also their interaction with the public sector,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters in a press briefing at the Palace on Friday.
The CSC Memorandum Circular No. 22 encourages government agencies in Metro Manila to carry out a four-day workweek scheme, which aims to reduce the volume of traffic as the Metro Manila Skyway project enters its third phase; increase employee efficiency and organizational performance; promote work-life balance among employees; and enhance employee engagement, morale and productivity.
Under the scheme, the normal workweek is reduced to four days – from Monday to Thursday or from Tuesday to Friday – but working hours are increased to 10 hours a day, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break.
“There are requirements in order for one to use the four-day workweek, that has not yet been discussed. Most likely, magkakaroon ng discussion diyan,” said Lacierda.
Government agencies in Metro Manila can adopt the scheme provided their frontline services can be accessed by the public online; they have a one-stop shop; they have a functional call center/PABX telephone system that allows calls to be diverted to the Officers-of-the-Day; and they have baseline data on their overall performance, as well as on absenteeism, tardiness, state of health, and turnover of employees, and satisfaction of clients.
As for the Office of the President, Lacierda said one of the deputy executive secretaries is studying the scheme.
“It will be studied by the Office of the Executive Secretary first before we make any decision on the matter,” he said. PND (ag)
Pope Francis will have the same protection as President Aquino, says Palace
Pope Francis will have the same kind of protection given to President Benigno S. Aquino III when the Pontiff comes to visit the Philippines next year, a Palace official said on Friday.
“The President said that the kind of protection that has been provided to him will be provided to the Holy Father,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.
Lacierda however declined to give further details, saying only that the Presidential Security Group (PSG) will coordinate with the Swiss Guard.
“But as always, the Pope will be as visible as the other Holy Fathers who had come before,” he said.
Pope Francis is expected to go to areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Eastern Visayas when he visits the country on January 15 to 19, 2015. PND (ag)
Palace says government is talking with U.S. regarding Islamic State
Malacañang said on Friday that the Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), is coordinating with the United States (US) regarding the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).
In a press briefing at the Palace, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters that the DFA is “meeting” the US State Department.
“I may just quote si Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, that’s why the DFA is meeting the US State Department to find out what the US needs and what the Philippines can provide,” he said. “Talagang nagmi-meeting sila precisely to identify ano ba ang pwede nating gawin.”
Lacierda called the beheadings carried out by IS militants as “totally unacceptable”.
“And so, we agree with the principle laid out by the US government, and a number of countries have joined in this effort against the ISIS or the ISIL,” he added.
The IS is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). PND (ag)