Thursday, 30 October 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, October 11, 2014

President Aquino says foreign visits necessary to build strong relations with other countries

President Benigno S. Aquino III said his attendance to the 7th Bali Democracy Forum is important as the country builds strong relations with its neighboring countries in the Asia Pacific region.

“Ang pagdalo natin sa Bali Democracy Forum ay patunay sa kahandaan ng Pilipino na makipagtulungan upang makamit ang mas matatag at mas maunlad na rehiyon at komunidad ng mga bansa,” the President said in his arrival speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Friday.

“Patuloy po nating didiligan at pangangalagaan ang mga ipinunla nating mahusay na pakikipag-ugnayan upang anihin ng susunod na henerasyon ang isang Pilipinas na kabalikat sa kaunlaran hindi lang sa ASEAN kundi saiba’t ibang panig ng daigdig; masigasig na tagapagtaguyod ng
kapayapaan; at modelo ng matatag na demokrasya.”

The President defended his recent trips overseas, arguing these are necessary for the Philippines to forge better relations with other countries.

He added that in the global stage, the success of a country is also a boon to others, as its failure also negatively affects its neighbors.

“Bahagi mismo ng pagtupad sa ating mga hangarin ang pagpupunla ng binhi ng tiwala at pakikipagtulungan sa ating mga karatig-bansa,” he said.

For instance, when Mt. Gunung Agung in Indonesia erupted in 1963, the Philippines immediately sent paramedics and assistance to help affected communities, he said.

And last year, when Typhoon Yolanda struck Eastern Visayas, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono extended his sympathies and gave around $2 million to the typhoon survivors.

Indonesia also played a role in achieving peace in Mindanao, he said, helping the Philippines during its negotiations with the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The ASEAN neighbor is also supportive of the Philippines’s stand in the West Philippine Sea, in fighting terrorism as well as addressing climate change.

“Kaya naman, ang ganitong uri ng ugnayan, talagang dapat pangalagaan. Ididiin ko lang po: Hindi parang kabuteng sumusulpot ang ganitong makabuluhan at matalik na relasyon sa pagitan ng mga bansa,” he said, adding, “Kailangan matanim ang pagkakaunawaan at pagdadamayan, at arugain ang binhi ng tiwala na namamagitan sa dalawa.”

The President arrived at NAIA Friday evening after attending the one-day Bali Democracy Forum. PND (as)

National government extends P55-million assistance to Albay residents

The national government extended more than P55 million for Albay province through various government agencies as assistance to communities affected by Mayon volcano’s impending eruption.

In a radio interview Saturday over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that national government agencies have been lending help to the province of Albay since the evacuation of affected families started.

The government relocates the people away from the six-kilometer permanent danger zone near Mayon volcano.

Valte also said government agencies as well as the local government continue to monitor the situation near the volcano.

With regards to Typhoon Ompong that brought heavy flooding in Iloilo and Zamboanga, Valte said the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) also continues to lend assistance to affected residents.

“Kasi nang pumasok naman po ang Typhoon Ompong ay naka-preposition na ang mga goods and medicines natin, and handa na ‘yung pagbibigay ng saklolo sa mga kababayan natin doon sa mga apektadong lugar,” she told the radio station. PND (as)

President Aquino says good bilateral relations between Philippines and Indonesia to continue

(BALI, Indonesia) President Benigno S. Aquino III has expressed confidence that the good relations between the Philippines and Indonesia will continue with the swearing-in of President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo this month.

In an interview with the members of the Philippine media delegation here, President Aquino said the Philippines would do everything to maintain its good bilateral relations with Indonesia.

“Kaya naman tinutulungan natin na masiguradong ganoon nga ang mangyayari, na inimbita tayo para dito sa Bali Democracy Forum, at ating sinadya dahil tanda nga nang pagkilala natin sa malaking tinutulong sa atin ng Indonesia at sa napakagandang relasyon natin,” the President said.

President Aquino was here in Bali on Friday to participate in the 7th Bali Democracy Forum, which he co-chaired with outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday.

“Tapos ‘yung kay President-elect, 'di ba, parang natural naman siguro na lalo pa niyang habulin at paigtingin ang relasyon sa isang bansang karatig nila at kasama sa ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” the President said.

President Aquino cited the agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia on maritime boundary delimitation as one of the positive results of the two nations’ good bilateral relations.

The Chief Executive said President Yudhoyono’s government also helped the Philippines in protecting the welfare and safety of overseas Filipino workers during the Arab Spring in 2011.

He also acknowledged Indonesia’s overwhelming assistance in the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), as well as its participation in the Mindanao peace process.

“Gagawin ng Pilipinas lahat para mapanatili ang magandang ugnayan at kung puwede pataasin pa at patibayin pa ‘yung relasyon,” President Aquino told members of the Philippine media delegation here.

Joko Widodo will be be sworn in as the seventh president of the Republic of Indonesia on October 20. PND (co)

Government determined to improve country’s airports, says Palace

The Palace said it expects significant improvements in the country’s major airports next year as the Philippines aggressively promotes its tourism sector.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said part of it is the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.

“Nakikita naman natin that the work is taking place, which is why we continue to seek the understanding of our passengers because of the inconvenience that the rehab work is causing,” Valte told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan in an interview Saturday.

Aviation authorities also transferred at least five of the international airlines from Terminal 1 to NAIA Terminal 3, she said.

With the transfer, major airlines could fully utilize NAIA Terminal 3 easing the passenger congestion at the Terminal 1. Among those transferred to Terminal 3 include Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, KLM, and Delta Airlines.

“So at least the remaining airlines there, mas kakaunti na sila, mas kakaunti na ang mga pasaherong dadaan doon sa terminal na ‘yun, (Terminal 1) especially now that it’s undergoing rehabilitation,” she noted.

The government has to improve the country’s facilities as it invites more tourists to come to the Philippines, she said.

More visitors are expected to visit the Philippines next year as it hosts the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, Valte said.

Spain’s Madrid Fusion is also coming to the Philippines in 2015, she said.

“That was one of the agreements that the President witnessed the signing of in Madrid when he was there. So, we expect more visitors and we really have made plans also for them,” she added. PND (as)

Palace says it will participate in public hearings regarding President’s emergency powers

The executive branch is willing to participate in public hearing initiated by Congress regarding the President’s request for emergency powers to address the country’s energy concerns.

Some congressmen oppose the Palace’s request for emergency powers but it was reported that they want to conduct public hearings on the proposal.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace will gladly participate in such hearings.

“We’ve always accepted their invitations to act as resource speakers, especially now that tayo ‘yung humingi ng emergency powers,” she told the radio station.

Responding to accusations saying that the Palace is requesting emergency powers because it wants to use the Malampaya funds, Valte said it is not a logical conclusion since the use of the fund is delineated under the law.

The Aquino administration’s use of the Malampaya funds is consistent on the guideline mandated by law even before the Supreme Court issued its decision on the issue, according to the Palace official.

“So we’ve been very judicious in the use of the Malampaya funds and we will not resort to excuses just to tap it,” Valte noted.

“We have always used it in accordance with the law and the strict interpretation of it.” PND (as)

Aquino welcomes SWS survey results, thanks respondents for positive rating

(BALI, Indonesia) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday welcomed the results of the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey, and assured the public that his administration would continue to work hard.

The latest SWS survey, conducted from September 26 to 29 among 1,200 adults nationwide, showed President Aquino’s public satisfaction rating rebounded in the third quarter of 2014.

The survey showed 59 percent of respondents were satisfied with the President’s performance and 25 percent dissatisfied, for a “good” net rating of +34.

SWS said net satisfaction rating was up 9 points from June’s “moderate” +25 (55 percent satisfied, 30 percent dissatisfied).

During an interview with the members of the Philippine media delegation here in Bali, President Aquino said that he is grateful to the respondents who gave him positive rating.

“Kapag tinitingnan natin ang survey, number one, sinasabi sa atin ang sentimyento noong panahon na kinuha ‘yung survey ng ating mga kababayan, at sila ang boss ko, kaya dapat pinapakinggan natin,” the President said.

President Aquino, however, said that his government would continue to work hard to achieve its goals for the benefit of the Filipino people.

“Nagpapasalamat ako doon sa nagbigay ng positive rating sa atin pero, at the same time siguro... parang tinutulak ko rin ang sarili ko at lahat ng mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete at buong gobyerno na hindi tayo dapat makuntento sa nagawa kundi maghanap pa ng paraan kung paano mas mapaganda pa ang ating ginagawa,” the President said.

In an earlier statement, Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said that the strong public backing, as reflected in recent surveys, inspires the government to work harder for the benefit of the people.

“The heightened level of public satisfaction, approval and trust reported in the latest public opinion surveys of both Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations provides the impetus for intensified efforts by the President and the Cabinet to strengthen the infrastructure for sustained and inclusive growth,” he said.

Coloma noted that the administration is committed to plug the gaps in service delivery and address concrete challenges such as the projected energy shortfall in the summer of 2015.

The government is also determined to improve the country’s airports and other gateways to keeping its hard-earned recognition as the most favored tourist destination in the Asia-Pacific region, he added.

“Most importantly, the President is firmly committed to the
development of the Filipino people’s fullest potentials and
acknowledges that the government’s achievements are anchored upon the robust support and solidarity of the citizenry,” he said.

President Aquino was in Bali on Friday to co-chair the 7th Bali Democracy Forum with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. PND (co/as)

Indonesia bestows Adipurna Award on President Aquino

(BALI, Indonesia) Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono bestowed on President Benigno S. Aquino III the Adipurna Award in recognition of his efforts to strengthen bilateral relations with Indonesia.

President Aquino received the “Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna” (Star of the Republic of Indonesia), the highest honor from Indonesia, on the sidelines of the 7th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) that he co-chaired.

In his speech after accepting the award, President Aquino thanked President Yudhoyono for the honor, saying it represents the rich, historical relations between the Philippines and Indonesia.

He said it is also “a recognition of the boundless potential of our partnership, and of our continuing task of exploring areas of cooperation and increasing our synergies in every possible manner, all for the mutual benefit of our peoples.”

“It is for these reasons that the Philippines remains committed to working towards strengthening and expanding our partnership with Indonesia,” President Aquino said in his acceptance speech.

President Aquino also affirmed the strong and deep relations between the two nations, and thanked Indonesia for its support to the Philippines, especially in times of crisis.

“Indeed, whether one looks at our languages, our histories, or our cultures, one can only find overwhelming evidence of the bonds that have tied our countries together through the years,” he said.

“It is no surprise, then, that our relations have always been characterized by solidarity and, above that, the warmth of enduring friendships,” the Chief Executive added.

President Aquino also praised outgoing President Yudhoyono for his exceptional leadership.

“As His Excellency President Yudhoyono concludes two successful terms as President, he leaves behind a more vibrant Indonesia, one that has truly taken its rightful place as an influential voice and as a leader in the world stage,” he said.

“It is a testament to the exceptional leadership of President Yudhoyono, who has nurtured in so many countries a feeling that Indonesia is a reliable and constant partner,” the President added.

President Aquino assured the Indonesian leader that the Philippines remains “fully committed to enhancing the cooperation we have forged; to deepening our friendship with our neighbors, with whom we share common beliefs, ideals, and aspirations for a more prosperous global community.”

The Adipurna Award is the highest honor given by the Indonesian government to a foreign statesman who has rendered extraordinary service to the integrity, viability and greatness of Indonesia.

Other heads of state who have received the Adipurna Award include Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, and former President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea. PND (co)

President Aquino calls on Congress for immediate passage of resolution for emergency powers

(BALI, Indonesia) President Benigno S. Aquino III called on Congress to immediately grant him emergency powers so the government can contract additional generating capacity to address the looming power shortage next year.

During an interview with members of the Philippine media here, President Aquino said the sooner Congress grants him emergency powers, the earlier the government can prepare to solve the impending energy crisis in 2015.

“Ngayon, ang hinahabol natin kung ipapasa ninyo ipasa naman ninyo sana nang mas maaga kaysa mas matagal dahil iba na rin ang marami tayong oras para asikasuhin itong isyung ito,” the President said.

President Aquino cited the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) as one of the government’s options to avert the possible shortage of 300 megawatts during summer next year.

“Maraming mga pinaplano mula sa tinatawag na Interruptible Load Program hanggang doon sa pagkukumbinsi na magbawas tayo ng paggamit ng kuryente,” the President said.

“Pero ang hinahabol nga natin na nandiyan na lahat 'yan bago dumating ang Marso,” added the Chief Executive, who attended the 7th Bali Democracy Forum on Friday at the Bali International Convention Center.

In a letter dated September 12, President Aquino invoked Section 71 of Republic Act 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, in seeking emergency powers from Congress. PND (co)