Thursday, 30 October 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Thursday, October 23, 2014

Japan External Trade Organization executives call on President Aquino

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed several officials of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) during a courtesy call at Malacañang’s Music Room on Thursday.

JETRO is an independent government agency established to promote trade and investment between Japan and other countries.

The President received JETRO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hiroyuki Ishige, JETRO Senior Coordinator Seiya Sukegawa, Executive Director Tomohiro Ando, and Tetsuro Amano, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy.

On the Philippine side, present were Department of Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado, and the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Assistant Secretary Hellen Barber dela Vega, and Special Assistant Marcos Punsalang.

Last year, JETRO lauded the Philippines for outpacing its Southeast Asian neighbors in attracting Japanese investments, citing robust economic development.

The agency projected that the interest of Japanese companies to invest in the country will remain at a “high level” in the coming years.

Established in Osaka in 1951, JETRO assists foreign companies in investing and expanding businesses in Japan.

The agency provides a wide range of services, such as business development support, effective marketing strategy, and relevant business events that would attract new business to invest in Japan.

It also provides information on laws and regulations regarding new business operations to help companies expand their businesses. PND (jb)

Malacañang reiterates Disbursement Acceleration Program helped boost economy

The Palace on Thursday maintained that the government’s implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) has helped spur the economy.

"Makailang pagkakataon ng ipinahayag mismo ng ating Pangulo ang kanyang paninindigan na nakabuti ang Disbursement Acceleration Program sa pagtamo ng layunin na pabilisin ang pag-unlad ng ating bansa habang ito ay ipinapatupad," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing.

Coloma was responding to a comment that according to a Commission on Audit (COA) report, the administration’s controversial economic stimulus program was ineffective because the funds allotted for government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC) were not used properly.

In its 2013 Annual Financial Report, the COA ordered four GOCCs to return more than P2.4 billion in unused DAP funds to the national coffers.

The Supreme Court has struck down portions of the savings-impounding measure as unconstitutional.

On the money that has to be returned by GOCCs to the national treasury, Coloma said that based on existing regulations, these entities are given enough time to explain the audit findings and observations.

Asked to cite DAP programs that have helped the economy grow, Coloma quoted the President as saying that even the World Bank had acknowledged the benefits of DAP to the national economy.

He noted that the administration realized in 2011 that there were hindrances in carrying important government programs.

“Kaya nagkaroon ng resolusyon na hindi papayagan na ang mga balakid na ito ay makahadlang sa paglago ng ating inaasam,” he said, adding that this is why the DAP was formulated. PND (as)

President Aquino receives officials of GMR Group of Companies of India

President Benigno S. Aquino III met with executives of the GMR Group of Companies, a firm based in India, during a courtesy call at Malacañang’s Music Room on Thursday.

The GMR Group is a global infrastructure company that specializes in projects related to airports, energy, highways, and urban infrastructure.

Through public-private partnership (PPP), the Bangalore-based company has been able to secure several projects in the Philippines in partnership with building contractor Megawide Construction Corporation.

The President received GMR Chairman G.M. Rao; GMR business chairman Srinivas Bommidala; chairman and CEO of Megawide Construction Michael Consiquien; president of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation Louie Ferrer; and Meena Raghunathan of the GMR Foundation.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya joined the President during the meeting.

Also present were Transportation Undersecretary Jim Feliciano, Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado, PPP Deputy Executive Director Sherry Ann Austria, and Foreign Affairs Special Assistant Marcos Punsalang.

GMR-Megawide won the P14.404 billion project for the expansion and maintenance of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which will start this month.

Part of the deal is the construction of a new passenger terminal for international flights passengers starting January 2015. The project is expected to be completed by January 2018. PND (jb)

National government ready to help Negros Occidental town hit by tornado

The Palace said Thursday it will let the local government respond to the devastation caused by a tornado in the town of Isabela in Negros Occidental province.

The national government however is ready to extend assistance through concerned national government agencies, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during a press briefing.

Agencies will work together to help the people return to their daily routine after the devastation, he added.

"At nais nating mabigyan ng atensyon kung meron mang nasaktan, sa kanilang pagpapagamot, at kung merong nasirang tahanan ay maitayo muli ang kanilang mga tahanan. Ito ay sakop ng Disaster Risk Reduction and Management activities," Coloma said.

It was reported that the tornado struck Isabela on Wednesday afternoon, damaging some 100 houses, the town's public market, as well as day care and health centers, and cutting off electricity in the town. PND (as)

Government coordinating with MILF to neutralize Abu Sayyaf, Palace says

Malacañang said Thursday the government is coordinating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in neutralizing the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

"Masinsin ang ginagawang pakikipag-ugnayan ng pamahalaan sa MILF dahil sila ang partner ng pamahalaan sa pagtamo ng katahimikan at kaayusan sa Bangsamoro,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during a press briefing at the Palace.

“At hindi lang naman kondemnasyon ang inaasahan nating ibibigay nilang suporta, lalung-lalo na ‘yung tinutukoy nating lugar --- sentro ng operasyon ng mga bandidong elemento --- ay sakop ng Bangsamoro. Kaya sa aking palagay ay given na ang pagtutulungan at nandoon na ‘yung aspeto na tinutugis at sinasabat ng pamahalaan ang mga bandidong elemento,” he added.

Secretary Coloma further noted that the government is also coordinating with the local governments and the people at large.

"Mahalaga ang suporta ng mga mamamayan, lalo na’t kumikilos ang mga bandidong elemento sa paligid o doon sa palibot ng mga komunidad ng mga residente. Kaya hinihimok ng pamahalaan ang kooperasyon ng mga mamamayan," he said.

He said that according to Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang, they have initiated civil military cooperative activities to encourage the local people to join the peace efforts carried out by the military and law enforcement agencies. PND (ag)