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Communities - RP Government Updates
Monday, 28 April 2008 14:34

RP Press Secretary’s Column

Over lunch last Friday, I learned from DBP President Reynaldo David that the DBP has launched a special scholarship program which will ensure an adequate and continuing supply of trained and qualified professionals for domestic and overseas requirements.


For its initial project, DBP will concentrate on the training of nurses, who without any doubt, are much in demand not only locally but also worldwide.

 

Under the program, nursing scholars will be entitled to a scholarship grant, which covers all expenses, from first year all the way to graduation. What is unique about this program is that funds will be released in advance to the participating schools, relieving the scholars of the burden of having to re-apply every semester.

 

Mr. David said that the DBP Endowment for Education Program or DEEP is part of the bank’s contribution to the sustainable development of the country’s human resource.

 

After nursing, Mr. David announced that DBP will focus on another very marketable skill - seamanship. It is estimated that today 1 out of every 4 seamen on board international vessels is a Filipino.

 

As of this writing, a total of 545 indigent but deserving applicants have already taken the nursing scholarship entrance exams conducted by DBP’s partner-schools, namely:  St. Louis University, Our Lady of Fatima, Cebu Normal University, Mindanao State University, West Visayas State University, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.  Of this total number, 188 have already passed said entrance exams.

 

Based on the results of the entrance examinations administered to the 545 applicants, 28% or 152 qualified scholars will be chosen for academic year 2008-2009.

 

The DBP will be using the regional poverty incidence criteria serves as the basis in the allocation of scholars per partner-school in order to ensure balanced regional dispersal of the final 152 DEEP scholars.

 

***

In Bulan, Sorsogon, the President is launching today the Central Nautical Highway through a roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) caravan that signifies the completion of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), which is part of her eight-point development agenda.

 

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is the lead implementor of the SRNH, together with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA). As a start of the caravan, the President will light the route map of the Central Nautical Highway in Bulan, Sorsogon.  This route includes ports in Bulan, Sorsogon; Masbate City; Cauayan, Masbate; Bogo, Cebu; Tubigon, Bohol; Jagna, Bohol; Mambajao, Camiguin; Benomi, Camiguin; and Balingoan, Misamis Oriental.

 

Most of the members of the Cabinet, including this writer,  will join the Jagna-Mambajao leg of the ro-ro on Tuesday. While on board, President Arroyo will conduct a mini-Cabinet/National Economic Development Authority (NEDA where important stakeholders will help conduct an impact assessment on the Nautical Highway project. Also expected to be discussed are a proposed one-stop shop for housing development and an assessment of food-poor areas in the country.

 

In April 2003,  we had quite an experience when we joined the launch  of the Western Nautical Highway, which  took us from  the port of Batangas City to Calapan City and Roxas City in Oriental Mindoro; Caticlan, Aklan; Iloilo City; Bacolod City; Dumaguete City and finally, Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte.In the five years that the first phase of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway  has been operational, the SRNH now provides the most affordable and efficient means of moving people and agricultural products, with transport expenses reduced by as much as 45 percent.

 

* *

 

The President has strengthened the two-year-old Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD) Council as the single body that will harmonize the strategies of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) and the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) with the signing of Executive Order 504-A, amending Executive Order No. 504 (Series of 2006) which created the Council.

 

In amending the EO, there was recognition of the need to strengthen and enhance the powers and capabilities of the SCAD Council as the single body with a full-time head to rationalize resources and harmonize strategies.

 

It is envisioned that EO 504-A will facilitate what the President calls “an integrated and coordinated approach to the development of the SCAD corridor as a world-class mega-logistics hub and a global gateway to the Asia Pacific Region.” Among the matter requiring clarification is the scope of powers and functions of the SCAD Council and the Office of the Chairman in order to effectively deal directly with the concerned agencies under its supervision.  The agencies placed under the SCAD Council’s supervision are  the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC). At the top of the list of the SCAD Council’s priorities is the formulation of policies and programs to develop Subic, Clark, and the corridor in between them as a globally competitive mega-logistics hub.  It shall also formulate common investment promotions activities and harmonize in the SBFZ and CFZ programs, policies, rules and regulations affecting investments, incentives, customs, immigration, leasing, privatization, among others.

 

Note: You may email us at totingbunye2000@yahoo.com and 

 totingbunye2000@gmail.com.

 

Here are some more news releases by the Office of the Press Secretary: 

 

President strengthens SCAD Council to harmonize Subic-Clark strategies

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has strengthened the two-year-old Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD) Council as the "single body" that will harmonize the strategies of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) and the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ).


In Executive Order 504-A, the President cited the "need to strengthen and enhance the powers and capabilities of the SCAD Council as the single body with a fulltime head to rationalize resources and harmonize strategies."

 

The SCAD Council will be headed by a chairman with the rank of a Cabinet member.

 

The President added that the strengthened SCAD "will ensure an integrated and coordinated approach to the development of the SCAD corridor as a world-class mega-logistics hub and a global gateway to the Asia Pacific Region."

 

EO 504-A, which amends EO 504, series of 2006, also highlighted the "need to clearly define and state the powers and functions of the SCAD Council and the Office of the Chairman in order to effectively deal directly with the concerned agencies under its supervision." Placed under the supervision of the SCAD Council are the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC).

 

"The Office of the President, through the SCAD Council Chairman, with Cabinet rank, shall exercise policy oversight" over the four agencies "in so far as the development of Clark, Subic and the Corridor them into a major logistics hub is concerned."

 

The SCAD Council shall "formulate policies and programs to develop Subic, Clark, and the corridor in-between them as (a) globally competitive Mega-Logistics Hub" and "review, identify and recommend priority infrastructure projects for implementation."

The Council will also "formulate common investment promotions activities; and harmonize in the SBFZ and CFZ such programs, policies, rules and regulations affecting investments, incentives, customs, immigration, leasing, privatization, and other matters related thereto."

 

To be appointed by the President, the SCAD Council chairman "shall be a member of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)," with the secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as vice-chairman.

 

The other members of the Council are the chairmen and presidents of the BCDA, CDC and CIAC, and the chairman and administrator of the SBMA.

 

* * *

 

Mr. Alston congratulates President Arroyo for ratifying torture treaty ratification.

 

United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston and International human rights groups have congratulated President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for ratifying of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), an international human rights treaty.

 

The President ratified OPCAT on 22 April 2008, 10 days after the Philippines underwent the Universal Periodic Review at the UN upon the recommendation of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC).

 

She immediately sent it to the Senate for its concurrence as per the 1987 Constitution.

 

The Optional Protocol strengthens the implementation of the Convention against Torture including preventive mechanisms. The Philippine has been a state party to the Convention since 1986.

 

In an email sent to the PHRC, Mr. Alston, special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings, said, “Its very impressive that the President has moved to ratify the OPCAT and I very much hope that the Senate will go along with it.”

 

“What very good news,” wrote Yvonne Terlingen, Amnesty International’s representative to the UN from her office in New York.

 

“We welcome these positive comments from the international community recognizing the Philippines’ sincerity to improve human rights protections,” said Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita, PHRC chairman.

 

“Strengthening our protections and respect for human rights as pro-actively preventing torture and killings of activists by any party, and bringing perpetrators to justice is a priority of the Arroyo administration,” he said.

 

The government invited Mr. Alston to visit the Philippines last February when he expressed interest in looking into the activist and media killings in the country.

 He was granted full access to government agencies, civil society, and families of victims. Besides Metro Manila, Mr. Alston visited Davao and Baguio.  He even met with President Arroyo herself.

 

In his final report, Mr. Alston pointed out that the RP government had shown full cooperation with him which helped him achieve the objectives of his mission. While pointing out gaps and areas that need strengthening such as the Witness Protection Program, investigations and prosecution, he also said, “The success of my visit owes much to the full cooperation shown to me by the Government and to the active and energetic efforts made by civil society to inform me.”

 

At the UPR session, several countries cited the RP for inviting and cooperating with Mr. Alston, including the UK, Japan, Norway and Australia. The US and France welcomed the steps being taken by the Arroyo government to address activist and media killings.

 

The Philippine government is also working with the European Union on possible technical assistance on strengthening criminal justice and human rights institutions towards addressing these rights violations.

 

* * *

 

RP's rice growth rate under PGMA highest since 1970

 

The growth rate in Philippine rice production under the Arroyo presidency has been highest among administrations since the 1970’s.

 

Thus stressed Malacanang as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo belied erroneous claims that the country has forgotten about rice production.

 

“It is not true that we have forgotten about rice production,” the President was quoted by Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye as stressing in an interview with the Wall Street Journal’ James Hookway.

 

Secretary Bunye shared the President’s view on rice production during an instant press briefing this afternoon at the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) headquarters in Malacanang.

 

The Press Secretary also echoed the following figures shared by the President to show that, in fact, the growth rate in rice production has been highest since she took over as President in 2001.

Mr. Bunye said rice production growth rates averaged 4.07 percent from 2001 to 2007; and that there were times when “we even made 4.96 percent, 5.6 percent, 6.6 percent…”

 

On the other hand, the average growth rate from 1970 to 1990 was only 2.2 percent; while the average growth rate from 1990 to 2000 “even went down to 0.8 percent,” said Mr. Bunye.

 

The Press Secretary -- who will be joining the Cabinet meeting aboard the President’s Roll-On, Roll-Off (RO-RO) Caravan tomorrow (April 29, Tuesday) in the Visayas – stressed that the President is focused on her priority of putting food on the table of every Filipino.

 

The said Cabinet meeting’s agenda includes the assessment of food-poor areas in the country.

 

With the tripling of food prices since the beginning of the year serving as a “global wake-up call,” President Arroyo also committed to the continued implementation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA), and to putting more government funds into irrigation, revealed Secretary Bunye. # # #

 



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Last Updated on Monday, 28 April 2008 14:46
 

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