Forgot your password?
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • default color
  • green color
  • red color

MabuhayRadio

Sunday
Aug 25th
Home Community RP Government Updates Philippine Embassy News Release
Philippine Embassy News Release PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
PoorBest 
Communities - RP Government Updates
Written by Philippine Embassy Staff   
Tuesday, 18 March 2008 01:37

PHILIPPINE EMBASSY

NEWS RELEASE

14/MAR/08

 

 

1. Statement of the President

2. PGMA recounts touching turtle story while launching turtle conservation program

3. World Bank country director assures continued support for RP's pro-poor development projects

4. PGMA enjoins Cabinet officials to extend social services to the needy during this Holy Week

5. PGMA rallies barangay leaders to support government's people-oriented policy priorities

6. Some 1,000 barangay, urban poor leaders take "unity walk" with PGMA at Palace grounds

7. Palace challenges "truth-seekers" to air their grievances before proper forum: the court, not the street

8. Ashmore decision to purchase Saudi Aramco's stake in Petron: A vote of confidence on the economy -- PGMA

9. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Speech before the Liga ng mga Barangay on the 2008 National Budget with the theme "Economy, Education and Environment"

10. Letter of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the Millennium Challenge Corporation

11. RP to maintain its good relations with China-Bunye

12. PGMA thanks MCC; enumerates anti-corruption initiatives, including enhancing integrity of public contract bidding

13. PGMA inaugurates KABAKA-YES Int'l Training Institute in Pandacan

 

-----

1. Statement of the President

The decision by Ashmore to purchase the shares of Petron Corporation currently held by Aramco Overseas Corporation (AOC) is both a validation of the very successful privatization of an important Philippine company and a vote of confidence in Petron and the positive environment that has been created for foreign investment in our country. While the transfer of the shares from AOC to Ashmore will go through the appropriate review process by PNOC, this request for approval already sends a powerful message. Petron is a growth-oriented and commercially viable enterprise with strong management and a solid business plan and that is acknowledged by the international business community.

While we appreciate that AOC's business focus has changed since it made its investment in Petron 14 years ago, we are pleased that it will maintain its ties with the Philippines through the commitment by its parent, Saudi Aramco, to maintain strong commercial ties with Petron after the sale of the AOC shares to an approved investor. We thank AOC for its contributions to the Philippine economy and for its continued involvement in the growth of our energy sector.

Should Ashmore receive PNOC's approval, it will mean that a company that knows the Philippines well through its investment in our international financing and in an important utility, Maynilad Water, will be expanding its operations in our country. I am always heartened when an existing investor increases its presence in the Philippines because there is no better endorsement of our country as an investment location.

Petron's transformation strategy, including its import substitution diversification program, is important to our national goal of energy independence and I wish it continued success as it enters into this next stage of its development.

-----

2. PGMA recounts touching turtle story while launching turtle conservation program

It was her father who negotiated the return of Turtle Islands from Malaya (now Malaysia) to the Philippines.

Thus reminisced President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she led in the ceremonial release of young turtles back to the deep in Barangay Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan at mid-week (March 12, Wednesday).

The President recalled during her speech at the Pawikan Center in Morong, Bataan that she was still a little girl when her father, then Vice President Diosdado Macapagal, brought her to Turtle Islands in Southern Philippines after the island group had been returned to the jurisdiction of the Philippines via her father's effort.

"Naalala ko tuloy noong ako ay isang batang maliit na maliit pa, ang tatay ko, congressman yata, ewan ko, o vice president na dahil noong panahon na siya ay nasa Foreign Affairs, siya ang nakapag-negotiate para yung Turtle Islands ay mabalik sa Pilipinas mula sa Malaya pa noon ang tawag.

"Kaya noong siya ay naging national official, nagbisita kami sa Turtle Islands, kasama niya ako. Ah yes, vice president pa siya noon," said the President who related that Turtle Islands folk gave her a big turtle which she, however, decided to set free.

"At... dahil masaya yung mga taong-bayan ng Turtle Islands na nanduon kami, niregaluhan ako ng isang pawikan na nakatali, parang yung mga baka, so ibinigay sa akin. Di tinanggap ko naman.

"Tapos nakita ko yung pawikan umiiyak, may luha kaya naawa ako at, sabi ko, ayoko yatang iuwi itong pawikan. Siguro dapat bumalik na lamang siya sa dagat na kanyang tahanan. Sinabi ko sa Nanay ko. Di sinabi ng Nanay ko doon sa nagbigay. Kaya tinanggal yung tali niya sa leeg -- ay, akala natin di ba ang mga turtles mahinang lumakad -- aba, nung pinakawalaan yung pawikan, ang bilis-bilis tumakbo patungo doon sa dagat.

"Kaya naalala ko iyon at nakikita ko ngayon kung gaano ang inyong malasakit sa ating mga pawikan. Pinakawalan natin sa dagat kanina. Tayo, mga adults, mga kabataan, yung mga baby pawikan -- yung pinakawalaan ko noon ay malaking pawikan -- ito mga baby pawikan, mas mabubuhay sila doon, at lalo tayong makakasiguro sa ating pangangalaga.

"At sa mahabang panahon, makikinabang din sa yaman ng karagatan ang mga Pilipino, sa ngayon at sa hinaharap. Kasi kung walang balance of nature doon sa dagat ay mawawala rin ang buhay at mawawala rin ang kabuhayan."

The President thanked the local environmentalists, the Bataan Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force, and the "Sagip Pawikan" headed by Chairman Manolo Ibias for managing to stop the gathering and selling of pawikan eggs which used to be the livelihood in the area.

"Salamat sa iyong pagkuwento sa inyong buhay na noong araw naghahanap-buhay kayo sa pagbebenta ng itlog ng pawikan ngunit nagsakripisyo kayo at ngayon sakahan ang inyong hinahanap-buhay," the President told Ibias.

"Sana bigyan kayo ng gantimpala ng Panginoon pero tutulungan ng Panginoon na ang ating pamahalaan ay mabigyan kayo ng gantimpalang magandang buhay," she added.

The President also praised the concern of the Morong folks for the endangered turtles, which led them to unite to conserve the natural resource. "Kapuri-puri ang inyong malasakit sa ating pawikan, salamat. Salamat din sa pagtatatag ninyo ng Bantay Pawikan People's Organization. Napakalaking tulong ito para masigurado ang buhay ng ating mga pawikan."

The Chief Executive revealed to the local folks that out of the P240 million set aside in the 2008 budget for Protected Areas and Wildlife Sanctuaries, some P5 million has been allocated for the Pawikan Conservation Project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The President - who brought and turned over a check to the local folk for the livelihood component of "Sagip Pawikan" -- said she had also ordered the use of funds of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) for wildlife refuges and national parks.

"At inatasan ko rin na gumamit ng pondo ng Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) para sa ating wildlife refuges and national parks. At bukod doon, meron akong dalang tseke para sa livelihood component ng Sagip Pawikan para magtayo - ayon, yung mga lodging rooms ninyo -- para sa ating mga turista at marine biologists sa sentrong ito.

"Alagaan ang Kalikasan, Panlaban sa Kahirapan" -- angkop ang tema nito sa hangad nating pagsamahin ang edukasyon at ekonomiya sa pangangalaga ng kalikasan.

"Maging ang nag-uumapaw na yaman ng kalikasan ay madaling mauubos... kung masyadong lustay ang paggamit. Ngunit kung maayos ang pangangalaga, gaya nang pangangalaga ninyo ng mga pawikan, higit tayong bibiyayaan ng dagat, gubat at lahat na nakapaligid sa atin.

"At sa yamang ito aahon sa hirap ang milyun-milyong mamamayan ngayon at sa mga susunod pang henerasyon. Halimbawa, dati marami sa inyo nangunguha ng itlog ng pawikan o nanghuhuli ng pawikan upang ibenta, ngunit ngayon alam na ninyo ang halaga ng nilalang na ito, nangunguna kayo sa pangangalaga.

"At kayo na rin ang nagpatunay na mas maganda ang buhay kung ipagtatanggol ninyo at tutulungan dumami ang pawikan sa halip na lipulin ito sa walang awang pagtugis," the President said.

-----

3. World Bank country director assures continued support for RP's pro-poor development projects

World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Bert Hofman paid a courtesy call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacañang this morning and assured her of the continuing support of the WB for the country's pro-poor development projects.

The World Bank official was received by President Arroyo in the Music Room of the Palace.

Also in the meeting between the President and Hofman was Finance Secretary Margarito Teves who revealed that the WB country director congratulated President Arroyo about the country's continuously improving economy, particularly in the field of macroeconomic fundamentals.

The WB official committed to the President that "they will continue to assist us, particularly in the field of social-related type of assistance," Teves said.

The Finance secretary added that the WB is interested in projects that would "transfer benefits to the poor," and that President Arroyo -- having been a secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) - is one with the World Bank in "targeting support to the poor."

"The targeted spending will be for health services..." and the like, according to Teves who was in New York and Washington, D.C. last year attending meetings with the WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The World Bank is one of the major ODA (official development assistance) partners of the Philippines.

"As of December 2007, the WB has net loan commitments of $1.13 billion which is 12 percent of the total $9.2 billion ODA loan portfolio of the GOP (Government of the Philippines)," Teves said.

The WB's loan portfolio in the Philippines "consists of 22 projects in the areas of human development, infrastructure, rural development, and environment and other types."

The Finance secretary said that the WB "also mobilizes grants and trust funds on behalf of the Philippines to increase the flow of resources for development, and to complement its own lending and advisory services partnerships, and expanding the scope of development collaboration."

"As of February 2008, the WB had a total of around $113.4 million in grant-supported activities for the Philippines," Teves added.

-----

4. PGMA enjoins Cabinet officials to extend social services to the needy during this Holy Week

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has instructed her Cabinet officials to spend the Holy Week in their respective bailiwicks to extend government social services to the needy to mitigate the impact of high oil prices and the tight supply of rice in the global market.

The President gave her instruction through Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo who presided over the Cabinet Assistance System meeting on Thursday afternoon in Malacañang.

After a spiritual retreat on Monday at the San Miguel Church in the Malacañang complex, Saludo said Cabinet members are enjoined to go all-out in helping the needy through the conduct of rice and relief distribution, conditional cash transfer and other needed services.

Saludo said helping the needy is payback time as government now has the resources to provide improved social services as a result of the people's sacrifices in helping government address the country's fiscal imbalance.

Included in the President's instruction is the assurance that food is always available for the ordinary Filipino at low prices, Saludo said.

To provide the masses with steady flow of food items sold at low prices, Saludo said the President has ordered the opening of more Bagsakan Centers, Barangay Food Terminals and Tindahan Natin outlets in other needy areas in Rizal, Bulacan and Laguna provinces.

Saludo said there are numerous essential programs that the President wants to be carried out this year to address the problem of hunger and poverty.

Included in the programs, Saludo said, are the improvement of rice and corn production, propagation of goats and native carabaos under the livestock expansion program, upland distribution of agro-forestry development projects, jobs creation including the promotion of government job placement programs in schools, and improvement of revenue collection efforts to sustain the country's strong fiscal position.

-----

5. PGMA rallies barangay leaders to support government's people-oriented policy priorities

Stressing that the P1.227-trillion national budget for 2008 reflects the government's policy priorities of investing in the people, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo exhorted today barangay leaders nationwide to support this thrust by allocating 20 percent of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) on vital infrastructure and social services.

The President sounded the call in her message after she administered the oath of office of the national officers and regional chairpersons of the Liga ng mga Barangay in ceremonies held this afternoon at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang.

"I rely on all of you because you are the grassroots leaders," the President said to some 1,000 barangay leaders from Ilocos Norte in the north to Zamboanga Sibugay in the south.

The President said some P210.7 billion has been allocated for the IRA of local government units (LGUs) and that she expects 20 percent of the total fund to be utilized for infrastructure projects and social services.

"Let us all invest in our people," the President said in Filipino.

She said the 2008 budget reflects the government's commitment in investing in the people, specifically in three priority areas---the Three E's---Economy, Education and Environment, the "essential building blocks of our nation."

"Food, high-paying jobs, quality education for our children and clean and healthy environment are all important to every Filipino," she said, thus social services has been allotted the biggest slice in the budget pie with 30.6 percent, up from the previous 28 percent.

The allocations for health and social services, at P19.76 billion and P4.84 billion, respectively, and funds from other line agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, would be used to fund the following projects:

Ø Setting up of more Botika sa Barangay (BNBs) to improve the poor's access to affordable and quality medicines. Over 10,000 BNBs have been set up nationwide and government is targeting to hit 11,000 by the first quarter of this year;

Ø Increase the number of Tindahan Natin outlets, especially in more impoverished areas;

Ø Increase lending to small, medium and micro enterprises and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has some P43 million of the P50 billion allotted for the small microfinance system;

Ø Upgrading of primary hospitals to secondary hospitals;

Ø Expanding the coverage of PhilHealth to 70 million beneficiaries;

Ø Housing projects for soldiers.

The President also said the 2008 budget "serves as a buffer to mitigate the pain of a deteriorating global economy and the accompanying rise in prices which affects food and transportation the most."

She said the government nevertheless has taken measures and will continue to reduce the pain on the people through programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino that gives out targeted cash payment to more than 100,000 poorest of the poor.

The President also said another concern of government is the spike in rice prices in the world market from $200 per metric ton to $700/mt at present.

To maintain the P18 per kilo price of rice at Tindahan Natin outlets, the National Food Authority (NFA) has invested billions of pesos to buy out palay produce, she said.

She called on the barangay leaders to help the government run after rice hoarders.

The President also said the Maynilad and Manila Water Services have reduced water rates for the poor. Add to that is the reduction by 10 percent of the South Luzon Expressway toll rates.

"We have just started. There is much more to be done. Let us work harder to fulfill our Philippine Reform Agenda," the President said.

-----

6. Some 1,000 barangay, urban poor leaders take "unity walk" with PGMA at Palace grounds

Some 1,000 barangay and urban poor leaders joined President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a "unity walk" this afternoon at the Palace's courtyard.

It was the fourth "unity walk" held in Malacañang since administration critics renewed their protest rallies last month.

This afternoon's walk with the grassroots leaders showed that the people in the countryside, including the poor, do not actually have the same sentiments as those in Metro Manila, Liga ng mga Barangay National President Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri said.

Echiverri is the president of the Caloocan City Liga ng mga Barangay.

The first "Unity Walk" was taken by the President with her Cabinet members, the second with the League of Governors, and the third with students, youth and teachers.

In her message after she administered the oath of office of the national officers and regional chairmen of the Liga ng mga Barangay at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang this afternoon, the President thanked the "grassroots leaders for their support to the President and Congress to work for the good of many."

Thus, she vowed to work harder to further improve the economy and deliver the social payback of the economic gains, especially to the grassroots.

The barangay leaders, who trooped to Malacañang to show their unwavering support to the President and her administration, were one in saying that people in the countryside are now beginning to feel the benefits of an improved economy through various social services such as potable water and electricity.

The barangay leaders came from as far as Ilocos Norte in the north down to Zamboanga Sibugay and Lanao del Norte in the south, including Masbate, Camarines Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Mt. Province, Zamboanga del Norte, Sarangani, and Maguindanao.

-----

7. Palace challenges "truth-seekers" to air their grievances before proper forum: the court, not the street

Malacañang today challenged people behind public rallies to show proof that they are really for truth to come out and justice to prevail by filing charges in court against those whom they believed were involved in anomalous government transactions.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye said it is the way its in a democracy where the principle of due process of law is held sacred and inviolable.

Bunye said the Arroyo administration, like its critics, is also searching for the truth and for justice to prevail as he expressed the hope that the Liwasang Bonifacio rally today would be a peaceful one.

"The rallyists and the police rank have vowed to observe discipline and decorum in the conduct of the rally and promised not to litter the area where they will hold their rally," Bunye said.

Bunye said in his press briefing that government authorities have requested the rallyists or protesters not to resort to vandalism in their rally.

"Ipinakiusap din na kung maaari ay huwag magsusulat o huwag magpipinta o maglalagay ng mga graffiti doon po sa pagdarausan ng rally," he said.

Bunye had expressed the hope that the Liwasang Bonifacio rally this afternoon would be peaceful although definitely smaller in attendance compared with the Feb. 29 rally held in Makati City.

"Naniniwala po tayo na magiging maayos ang idaraos na rally ngayong hapon dahil sinasabi po ng mga nagra-rally, at ng ilang mga grupo na laban sa administrasyon na lahat sila ay gusto lamang hanapin ang katotohanan," he said.

Like them, he said the government is likewise in favor of searching for the truth and for justice to prevail.

"Kami naman po, we're also in favor of searching for truth at iyon pong nagback-out at hindi na makikisali sa rally marahil ay naniniwala rin na hindi ito ang forum for searching the truth," he said.

He urged government critics to bring the issues and their grievances to the proper forum which is the court.

He said that those who would be found involved in any anomalous activities should be charged in the court.

"Sinasabi po natin noon pa na kung gusto nating malaman ang katotohanan ay dapat idaan po natin sa wastong proseso at kung mayroon pong nagkamali, kung mayroon pong nakalabag ng mga batas o alituntunin eh, ihabla po natin sa korte. At doon sa korte ay makakasiguro po tayo na iyong due process at iyon pong rule of law ay marerespeto," he said.

-----

8. Ashmore decision to purchase Saudi Aramco's stake in Petron: A vote of confidence on the economy -- PGMA

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hailed today the decision of London-based Ashmore investment group to purchase the 40 percent stake of Saudi Arabia's Aramco Overseas Corporation (AOC) in Petron as another solid proof of the Philippines' attractiveness as an investment destination and a vote of confidence on the economy.

At the same time, the President said in a statement that the Ashmore deal is also a vote of confidence on the viability of the country's largest refinery.

"The decision... is both a validation of the very successful privatization of an important Philippine company and a vote of confidence in Petron and the positive environment that has been created for foreign investment in our country," the President said.

The President stressed that the transfer of shares from AOC to Ashmore "will go through the appropriate review process" by the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).

She added that should the PNOC approve of Ashmore, this would mean that the reputable investment company would be expanding its operations in the country.

"I am always heartened when an existing investor increases its presence in the Philippines because there is no better endorsement of our country as an investment location," the President said.

Ashmore has a sizeable investment in the Metro Pacific Investment Company, a holding firm which has interests in the Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Company (PLDT), Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and the Makati Medical Center. It also has a $10-million investment in information technology in the country.

While noting that AOC has changed its business focus since it bought into Petron 14 years ago, the President said "we are pleased that it will maintain its ties with the Philippines through the commitment of its parent (company) Saudi Aramco, to maintain strong commercial ties with Petron."

"We thank AOC for its contributions to the Philippine economy and for its continued involvement in the growth of our energy sector," the President said.

Earlier, PNOC said it would evaluate the terms and conditions associated with Ashmore's offer, and decide whether to exercise its Right of First Offer to purchase the shares.

"We will carefully evaluate this filing with the diligence and rigor necessary and appropriate to determine the best course of action," said PNOC president and chief executive officer Antonio M. Cailao.

A PNOC decision to buy the Petron stake would lead to the government owning 80 percent of the country's largest oil distributor. The remaining 20 percent of Petron belongs to individual stakeholders.

Petron used to be 100-percent owned by the government through PNOC until Aramco bought its 40-percent stake from the government in 1994. The company then went public and sold 20 percent to individual stakeholders.

In the meantime, Petron has assured that whatever happens, profitable operations and expansion plans will continue.

"Petron's transformation strategy, including its import substitution diversification program, is important to our national goal of energy independence and I wish it continued success as it enters into this next stage of its development," the President said.

-----

9. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Speech before the Liga ng mga Barangay on the 2008 National Budget with the theme "Economy, Education and Environment"

Rizal Hall, Malacañang Palace

March 14, 2008

Maraming salamat, mga lider ng grassroots. Salamat sa ipinahayag ninyo na ibig ninyong magtrabaho ang Pangulo at mga mambabatas para sa ikabubuti ng madla.

Ipinakikita ng badyet na pinirmahan ko noong Martes ang ating binibigyang-diin at halaga sa pamumuhunan sa taong bayan. Mamumuhunan ang ating budget sa tinatatawag nating "Tatlong E" - Ekonomiya, Edukasyon at Environment.

Di ba, pinakamahalaga sa bawat Pilipino ang magandang trabaho, pagkain sa mesa, mahusay na edukasyon para sa mga anak, at maaliwalas at dalisay na kapaligiran na may sariwang hangin, malinis na tubig at mayamang lupa.

Nakalaan sa social services ang pinakamalaking bahagi ng badyet, kasama ang paaral; paggamot, gaya ng 11,000 na Botika sa Barangay na nagbebenta ng kinalahating-presyong gamot, pag-upgrade ng mga primary hospital para maging secondary hospital, at pagpapalawak ng sakop ng PhilHealth sa pitumpung milyong benepisyaryo; pautang sa munting negosyo, lalo na ang microentrepreneurs tulad ng mga sidewalk vendor - sa DSWD may P43 milyon na bahagi ng P50 billion sa ating small and microfinance system; pabahay, gaya ng housing project na nakabiyaya sa mga sundalo sa Taguig. Bukod sa P30 billion na nasa Pag-Ibig, may limang bilyong piso sa budget ang Housing.

Ang budget natin ay buffer natin upang maibsan ang hirap na maaaring idulot ng pagbaba ng ekonomiya ng daigdig at ang walang humpay na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis at bigas na makaaapekto sa presyo ng pagkain at transportasyon.

Mayroon programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino na nagbibigay ng targeted cash payment sa higit sandaang libong pinakadukha.

Laman ng mga international news network ngayon ang worldwide shortage sa bigas. Noong 2001, $200 per metric ton ang presyo ng bigas sa pandaigdigang merkado. Ngayon ay $700 na. Kaya bilyun-bilyong piso ang ginagastos ng NFA upang sa kabila nito, manatili ang bigas sa mga Tindahan Natin na P 18.50 kada kilo.

Para maibsan ang pasakit ng mataas na presyo ng langis at bigas sa buong mundo, babawasan na ng Manila Water at Maynilad Water Services Inc. ang singil sa maralita para sa tubig.

Ibinaba ng South Luzon Expressway-Philippine National Construction Corp. ang toll rates ng sampung porsyento noong nakaraang Lunes.

Samahan sana ninyo, mga opisyal ng barangay, sina Kalihim Arthur Yap at Peter Favila, na habulin ang mga rice hoarders, para hindi naman masayang iyong ilalatag natin sa NFA at mga Farm to Market Road sa buong kapuluan - 2,000 kilometro sa Mindanao, 2,000 sa hilagang Luzon, 1,000 sa Central Philippines at 1,000 kilometro sa Luzon, sa halagang pitong bilyong piso - at iyong P8 billion na inilalaan para sa irigasyon. Kasama ito sa P23 billion na alokasyon para sa modernisasyon ng agrikultura.

Kasama rin ito sa dalawandaang bilyong piso mula sa pambansang badyet, mga korporasyon ng pamahalaan at kayong mga pamahalaang lokal na gugugulin natin para sa imprastraktura. Kabilang ang mahahalagang kalsada tulad ng Sibuco-Siraway-Siocon-Baliguian Road sa Zamboanga del Norte; pag-aayos ng Maharlika Highway sa Samar Island; ang Halsema Highway-Cordillera at pagdugtong ng C-5 at North Luzon Expressway. Mga daungan gaya ng sa Dingalan, Aurora; at sa Esperanza, Cauayan at Aroroy sa Masbate at iba pang dadaanan ng roll-on-roll-off ferry na magdadala ng pagkain mula Mindanao hanggang Urban Beltway; at mahihirap na lugar gaya ng Tawi-Tawi. Paliparang no-frills sa hilagang Luzon gaya ng Alaminos sa Pangasinan para madaling ilipad ang pagkain at mga eco-tourist at international airports sa mga lugar na dinadagsa ng turista gaya ng Panglao; pagpakabit ng kuryente sa mga barangay na wala pang koryente at tubig sa mga bayang wala pang tubig, connectivity sa mga gustong puntahan ng mga namumuhunan sa call center, at railways tulad ng pagbuo ng commuter train loop ng Metro Manila.

Ang IRA para sa mga Local Government Units mula sa budget ay P210.7 bilyon. Nawa'y gamitin ang 20% nito sa imprastraktura at serbisyo sosyal. Mamuhunan tayong lahat sa ating sambayanan.

Nagsisimula pa lang tayo. Napakarami pa ng dapat gawin. Dadagdagan natin ang ating pagsisikap upang makamit ang mga layunin ng Philippine Reform Agenda.

Aasahan ko ang tulong ninyo. Maraming salamat.

-----

10. Letter of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the Millennium Challenge Corporation

Ambassador John Danilovich

Chief Executive Officer

MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION

Washington, DC, U.S.A.

 

Dear Ambassador Danilovich:

On behalf of the Filipino people and our hardworking anti-corruption agencies and civil society organizations, may I convey our gratitude to you and the Millennium Challenge Corporation for granting the Philippines the eligibility to apply for Compact status under the MCC assistance program.

In your letter last December acknowledging our resolute anti-corruption efforts, aided by the Corporation's $21-million grant in 2006, you had asked for more information about our achievements in our campaign. I am glad that the Philippine delegation who met with you and other MCC senior executives, were able to make a report to your satisfaction.

We look forward to further intensifying our cooperation with the Corporation as part of our ever-robust relationship with the United States. As Asia's showcase of democracy now joining the region's leading economies, the Philippines, with America's help, aims to show that rapid socio-economic development and the full exercise of freedom and human rights can be achieved together.

With the enactment of the 2008 budget, our anti-corruption efforts will further accelerate. The Ombudsman shall receive its P959-million allocation, twice the level in 2002. Our revenue agencies shall put in place computerized systems to better monitor economic activity and collect the right taxes and duties. And the further increase of government pay, totalling 30% since 2006, will reduce the need to augment salaries through petty graft.

To further enhance integrity of public contract bidding, the Procurement Transparency Group is in full operation, harnessing both national agencies and civil society groups to monitor the procurement process. I have already ordered all state agencies and corporations to submit spending plans and bidding information requested by the PTG.

Along with our anti-corruption initiatives, we have also addressed the problem of political violence. Killings of activists and media fell 83% last year from 2006. Investigation and prosecution of suspects, including several police and military personnel, are continuing. At the same time, the Supreme Court has promulgated new instruments to help victims or threatened individuals through the writ of amparo and the writ of habeas data.

We hope that these and similar initiatives and achievements shall bring the Philippines closer to Compact status. Our thanks again for the MCC's decision on our eligibility status. We look forward to the full cooperation and assistance from the Corporation in our drive to fight poverty and give a better life to our people.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

President

Republic of the Philippines

-----

11. RP to maintain its good relations with China-Bunye

The Philippine government bared today its desire to preserve its healthy multi-bilateral relations with China by converting the South China Sea from the "Sea of Conflict" into a "Sea of Understanding and Cooperation."

Presidential Spokesperson and Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye made this clear today in reaction to the statement of concern made by China over House Bill No. 3216 updating the Philippines territorial baselines by proposing that islands in the South China Sea already occupied by other countries, including China, be enclosed within Philippine territory.

Bunye said the reaction of China is to be expected.

"Ito pong ipinahayag ng bansang Tsina palagay ko po ay this is to be expected. Ang suma-total as far as the Philippine government is concerned ay naniniwala naman po tayo na iyong ating good bilateral ties ay magpapatuloy. Ang ating pakikipag-kaibigan at iyong ating relasyon sa bansang Tsina ay lumago at yumabong nitong mga nakaraang taon," Bunye said.

He said the Philippine government viewed with respect the statement made by China expressing its concern about the furor over its joint seismic undertaking with the Philippines and Vietnam in the disputed Spratly islands.

"That could be respected dahil alam naman natin na talagang hindi lang ang China kung hindi ang iba't-ibang mga bansa ay mayroong conflicting claims dito po sa group of islands na ito," Bunye said.

He said that the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) was drafted based on the mutual desire of the conflicting claimants-Asian nations and the Philippine government wanted to convert the South China Sea from a "Sea of Conflict" to a Sea of Understanding and Cooperation."

"Kaya naman po iyong ating Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking, kung narinig po ninyo ang paliwanag ng Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), iyon po ay isinagawa alinsunod na rin po sa kagustuhan ng mga iba't-ibang bansa ng Asya, na ang mga parties na mayroong conflicting claims ay i-convert itong South China Sea from a "Sea of Conflict" to a "Sea of Understanding and Cooperation," he said.

On the question regarding House Bill 3216 which defines the country's territory to include the Spratly's off Palawan and Scarborough shoal near Zambales, Bunye said the government chose to reserve its comment on this particular issue because this is being seriously studied by the concerned agencies of government.

"As you very well know, there is a pending proposal before the House and the Senate. I will leave it to the collective wisdom of our legislators to see what would be the best thing to do as far as this issue is concerned," he said.

He also expressed the belief that all parties concerned will see to it that the best interest of the nation will be promoted through whatever actions will be taken by the country's legislators.

"This matter is under very serious consideration," he stressed.

-----

12. PGMA thanks MCC; enumerates anti-corruption initiatives, including enhancing integrity of public contract bidding

Jubilant over the classification of the Philippines as eligible for large-scale funding by the United States' Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has written the CEO of the MCC to convey the country's gratitude, and to assure the MCC leadership that the Philippine government is further enhancing the integrity of public contract bidding and accelerating its anti-corruption efforts.

In her letter of thanks to Ambassador John Danilovich, chief executive officer of the MCC based in Washington, D.C., President Arroyo assured that "with the enactment of the 2008 budget, our anti-corruption efforts will further accelerate..."

The President detailed her administration's anti-corruption plan as follows: "The Ombudsman shall receive its P959-million allocation, twice the level in 2002; our revenue agencies shall put in place computerized systems to better monitor economic activity and collect the right taxes and duties; and the further increase of government pay, totaling 30 percent since 2006..."

The President added that the multisectoral Procurement Transparency Group (PTG) is now in full operation "to further enhance integrity of public contract bidding... harnessing both national agencies and civil society groups to monitor the procurement process."

"I have already ordered all state agencies and corporations to submit spending plans and bidding information requested by the PTG," added the President who also revealed to the MCC that "along with our anti-corruption initiatives, we have also addressed the problem of political violence."

"Killings of activists and media fell 83 percent last year from 2006. Investigation and prosecution of suspects, including several police and military personnel, are continuing.

"At the same time, the Supreme Court has promulgated new instruments to help victims or threatened individuals through the writ of amparo and the writ of habeas data."

The President told Ambassador Danilovich that she hopes "that these and similar initiatives and achievements shall bring the Philippines closer to Compact status."

"On behalf of the Filipino people and our hardworking anti-corruption agencies and civil society organizations, may I convey our gratitude to you and the Millennium Challenge Corporation for granting the Philippines the eligibility to apply for Compact status under the MCC assistance program," the President told Danilovich.

The MCC CEO had earlier written the President last December acknowledging her administration's "resolute anti-corruption efforts, aided by the Corporation's $21-million grant in 2006."

"You (Ambassador Danilovich) had asked for more information about our achievements in our campaign. I am glad that the Philippine delegation who met with you and other MCC senior executives, were able to make a report to your satisfaction," the President said.

With the MCC's granting the Philippines "compact (large-scale funding) status," President Arroyo further enthused, thus: "We look forward to further intensifying our cooperation with the Corporation as part of our ever-robust relationship with the United States.

"As Asia's showcase of democracy now joining the region's leading economies, the Philippines, with America's help, aims to show that rapid socio-economic development and the full exercise of freedom and human rights can be achieved together."

Simply signed "Gloria Macapagal Arroyo," the President concluded her letter thus: "We look forward to the full cooperation and assistance from the Corporation in our drive to fight poverty and give a better life to our people."

-----

13. PGMA inaugurates KABAKA-YES Int'l Training Institute in Pandacan

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated today the permanent house for the Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran (KABAKA)-YES International Training Institute located at Jesus corner Nagtahan Streets in Pandacan, Manila

"Thank you, Madam President, kahit kailan hindi mo kinalimutan ang KABAKA," Manila 5th District Rep. Amado Bagatsing told the President as she led the grand inauguration of the Training Institute which Bagatsing founded.

After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, the President, wearing a protective welding mask, proceeded at the welding department of the training center at the groundfloor, where she observed the trainees conducting actual welding works.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director-General Augusto Syjuco Jr., Bagatsing, 3rd District Rep. Naida Angping, Iloilo Rep. Judy Syjuco and other KABAKA officials assisted the President in the ribbon-cutting rites and joined her in a brief tour of the training center.

In a brief remark, Bagatsing recalled that the President started helping KABAKA since she was a senator, and even when she became vice president.

In return, the President congratulated Bagatsing and all the staff of KABAKA for supporting the government's poverty alleviation and employment generation programs.

And to further improve its assistance to the training center, KABAKA has now direct partnership with TESDA through its PGMA-Training for Work Scholarship Program (PGMA-TWSP) and PGMA-Ladderized Education Program (PGMA-LEP).

Among the courses offered by the center are: welding, hotel housekeeping, call center agents training, medical transcriptions, bartending, culinary, web-based English proficiency training program, slaughtering operation, and ladderized education program.

KABAKA, a duly registered non-stock, non-profit, cultural, civic and service-oriented organization, provides technical skills training to the underprivileged residents of Manila.

Since its establishment in 1985, KABAKA has produced 30,000 graduates who are now employed not only in the Philippines but also abroad particularly in the US, Canada and other Asian nations.

To date, KABAKA commands 70,000 strong memberships in the 5th District of Manila - beginning from small number of incorporators and original members.

KAKABA re-established its KABAKA Manpower Training Center, through its partnership with YES International Training Institute, a US-based training institute with affiliates in Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan and Italy.

 

 

 

 



Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items:

 

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
Subject:
Comment (you may use HTML tags here):

Who's Online

We have 50 guests online

Donate

Please consider supporting the "ReVOTElution of Hope" for Sorsogon as the Pilot Province. Please see "ReVOTElution" Banner on this page for details.

Amount: 

Quote of the Day

"I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough. Let's go west.' "--Richard Jeni