Thursday, 30 October 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

President Aquino welcomes biggest commercial airplane at NAIA

President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed the arrival of the world’s biggest passenger airline as it landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City on Tuesday night.

Emirates Airbus A380 Flight EK 334 touched down at the NAIA runway at 10:10 p.m. after flying non-stop from the Dubai International Airport since 9:20 a.m. (Manila time).

After taxiing at the runway, the Airbus was given a water cannon salute.

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner. It has a seating capacity of 525 people in a typical three-class configuration or up to 853 people in an all-economy class configuration.

Flight EK 334 was piloted by Captain Franklyn Desiderio, the first Filipino to fly the Airbus A380.

The President, together with Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President Barry Brown, met and greeted Desiderio and the more than 300 passengers of Flight EK334 as they passed through the NAIA immigration area.

In a written statement, Brown said, "Bringing our flagship A380 to Manila is a fantastic way to celebrate our move to the new international terminal and also our commitment to the Philippines."

During the event, the President was accompanied by Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, Ret. Lt. Gen. William Hotchskiss III, and NAIA Terminal 3 Manager Octovio Lina. PND (ag)

President Aquino inspects NAIA Terminal 3

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday night conducted an inspection of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City.

The President arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 at 9:50 p.m. and was welcomed by Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, and Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Barry Brown.

Upon his arrival, he proceeded to the travelers' lounge, where he was briefed by Secretary Abaya and Honrado on the status of the terminal transfer of five foreign airlines from NAIA Terminal 1 to Terminal 3.

The Emirates, Delta Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have moved their operations from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3.

From the lounge, he witnessed the water cannon salute given to the Emirates Airbus A380, the world’s biggest passenger airline, as it touched down at the NAIA runway at 10:10 p.m. on Tuesday.

After the ceremony, the President proceeded to the immigration area to greet the passengers of Emirates Airbus 380 Flight EK 335, as well as passengers bound for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates who were scheduled to depart at 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday (October 8).

He also inspected the conveyor at the lower level of NAIA Terminal 3.

During the inspection, he was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Ret. Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss III, and NAIA Terminal 3 Manager Octavio Lina.

President Aquino concluded his inspection past 11 p.m. PND (ag)

Palace wants fair public benefits in raising  MRT, LRT fares, Spokesman says

The government is balancing everyone's interest in considering a raise in the fares of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) before the end of the year, a Palace official said Wednesday.

The Palace will wait for the decision of transportation officials on when to adjust the MRT and LRT fares, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

It has been reported that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) plans to raise train fares before Christmas.

The plan, proposed four years ago, is being opposed by some groups, who say that the current fare must be retained, given the substandard services of the railway transport systems.

Secretary Lacierda said that the DOTC has long considered adjusting the rates of the MRT and LRT, noting that President Aquino even mentioned it in his previous public pronouncements.

"Remember the statement of the President dati, na the taxes are being used to subsidize only a portion, taxes collected all over the country, we used a part of that to subsidize the MRT ridership," he said.

"So, you’ve got taxes collected from Cebu, Visayas, Mindanao or from the balance of Luzon who don’t enjoy that," he explained.

Lacierda said the government recognizes the need to realign everything so that the taxes collected should equally go back to the people through subsidies that support poverty alleviation, intervention or other social programs.

"We are balancing the interest. We are balancing the use of the money collected from our countrymen and we believe that the taxes collected should be applied equitably to all our countrymen," he said.

Once the fare rate is adjusted, a one-way ride on LRT-1 from Baclaran to Roosevelt will cost P29, while a one-way trip on LRT-2 from Santolan to Recto will be P24, a media report said.

A trip on MRT-3 between North Avenue and Taft Avenue will cost P28.

Currently, a ride on the MRT ranges from P10 to P15, while a ride on LRT-1 and LRT-2 costs from P12 to P15 and P20, respectively.

With the fare adjustment, the government aims to reduce its subsidy for the mass transport systems to P10 billion from P12 billion. PND (as)

Palace asks for more patience as it addresses Metro flooding, traffic congestion

Malacañang has asked for more patience from the public as it continues to address concerns on flooding and traffic congestions in Metro Manila.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Wednesday that amid criticisms, the government is not sitting idly in searching for solutions to these problems.

However, fixing these problems could not be done overnight, Secretary Lacierda said, adding that the good thing is that the government is working and it is determined to address these concerns.

"The government is addressing all these problems, the government is doing a number of road improvement projects designed also to alleviate flooding in the long term," he said during the daily press briefing.

He noted that the government is carrying out projects to put bigger culverts and other road improvements in the city.

"It does not come immediately because it will take some time to really improve all these systems, but we are there now," he said.

"Again, as in any infrastructure project, it will take some time to finish it but once we finish all these, it will better our system, our waterways. It will minimize the flooding in the areas concerned."

The government is implementing these infrastructure projects to minimize the inconveniences of floods and heavy traffic to the public in the future, he said. PND (as)

Malacañang has no plan to create an anti-graft body, official says

Amid calls for a lifestyle check on several ranking officials, the government sees no need to create a new Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

"I think our Office of the Ombudsman has shown to be independent. So, their mandate is to conduct all these measures necessary to ensure good governance and ethical practice among public officials," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

"They are performing their duties very well, so, we will leave it at that; and plus the fact that it is better for an independent body to conduct this lifestyle check, so as not to accuse anyone of favoritism or protection," said Lacierda.

President Benigno S. Aquino III abolished the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) through Executive Order No. 13 signed in November 2010.

There have been calls for Vice President Jejomar Binay and Philippine National Police Chief General Alan Purisima to undergo a lifestyle check following probes into their alleged questionable wealth. PND (ag)