Palace ready to work with Congress to address firecracker-related injuries, official says
The Palace on Friday indicated its readiness to work with Congress in coming up with a law that will effectively address problems posed by the use of firecrackers, especially during New Year celebrations.
The Department of Health (DOH) has expressed concern that despite a drop in the total number of firecracker-related injuries, the number of those injured remains high, and the number of amputations, especially among children, has increased.
According to initial figures from the department and the police, three were killed and 354 were injured during the New Year revelry.
The Health Department has said it wants to ask the President to prioritize the passage of a bill imposing a total ban on the use of firecrackers in the country.
In a telephone interview, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. however said that the DOH's proposal must be thoroughly studied because there are laws that regulate the use of firecrackers.
"At dahil ang patakaran ay inihahain at tinatalakay at pinagpapasyahan sa Kongreso, hihintayin natin ang magiging panukala ng mga mamababatas at handa namang makipagtulungan ang ehekutibo sa kanila sa pagbubuo ng isang mainam, katanggap-tanggap at epektibong batas," Coloma said.
"Sinasabi lang natin sa ngayon ay kinakailangan ang pag-uugnayan at ang masusing pag-aaral para maiwasan na o mapigil na ‘yung mga bilang na nasasaktan at napipinsala dahil sa mga bawal na paputok."
The current thrust of the government is to make New Year celebrations safe, Coloma said, noting that the people's cooperation and discipline are necessary to avoid injuries.
The people, the local and national governments must work together to make communities safe during New Year celebrations, he added.
Coloma explained that simply proposing a total ban would not solve the problem unless the people and the government work together.
"Madaling sabihin ‘yung ‘total ban’ o ‘yung titigil na, pero sa tunay na paggawa ay kinakailangan pa rin ang sama-samang pagkilos at ang disiplina ng mga mamamayan para sumunod sa batas," he said.
The Palace official nonetheless commended the campaign against the use of firecrackers that resulted in reduced number of injuries during the New Year celebration. PND (as)
Security measures in place for visit of Pope Francis, says Palace
The government on Friday assured that enough security measures are in place to make the visit of Pope Francis safe.
The pope will arrive in Manila on January 15 for a five-day visit to the Philippines.
"Lahat naman ng maaaring maging banta o contingencies that could arise ay pinaghahandaan," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a telephone interview.
Different government agencies continue to do the necessary preparations for the pope's visit, he said, noting that they continued to work even during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
On the possible agenda for the President's meeting with Pope Francis, Coloma said the President is always ready to discuss any issue with the pope.
"Nakita naman po natin ang kahandaan ng ating Pangulo sa maraming pagkakataon na nakipag-ugnayan siya sa mga lider ng ibang bansa na dumalaw sa atin dito at nakipagtalakayan siya sa kanila sa iba’t ibang mga summit ng APEC at ASEAN na kanyang dinaluhan," he said.
"Handang-handa naman po siyang tumalakay ng ano mang relevant topic na mapag-uusapan sa kanilang discussions."
Coloma also mentioned the similarities in the guiding principles of the two leaders, saying that both of them are pro-poor and anti-corruption.
He said that among the President’s major advocacies are achieving inclusive growth for everyone, reducing poverty, and fighting graft and corruption under his righteous path agenda.
Similarly, the pope, in his recent public pronouncements, underscored the need to combat corruption in society, and tackled the ill effects of capitalism that deprive poor people of better opportunities, Coloma said. PND (as)
Government spells out options to address projected power shortfall in Luzon
The Department of Energy will take several measures to address the potential energy shortfall in Luzon this summer, as the Palace awaits the joint resolution from Congress to address the problem.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a telephone interview on Friday that these measures are implementing the Interruptible Load Program with the help of the private sector; speeding up the completion of ongoing power projects; reducing forced outages on major plants; and carrying out several energy-saving measures.
"Masinsin ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga power-generating facilities at hinahanda na rin ‘yung sa gobyerno, ‘yung katulad ‘nung sa Malaya kahit na ito ay hindi pinaka-efficient na generating facility, para mapunan ang tinatawag na forced outages, kung hindi man mabawasan ang mga ito," he said.
The longer the Executive branch waits for the joint resolution, the shorter the timeframe to do the necessary preparations, Coloma noted.
He reiterated the President's earlier pronouncement that the most expensive power is no power.
“Pero katulad ng aking binanggit, habang naghihintay pa ay isinasagawa na ang pagbibigay atensyon doon sa apat na mga option,” he said. PND (as)