06 April 2015

Palace says latest survey indicates public understood President Aquino’s position on Mamasapano incident
Malacañang on Monday said the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey shows that the public understood President Benigno S. Aquino III’s position on the Mamasapano incident.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. noted that while President Aquino’s approval rating dropped based on the SWS poll, the President got higher figures than the Pulse Asia survey that was conducted three weeks earlier.

“While there has been a decline in the President’s satisfaction rating (down to 47 percent from 63 percent), it is evident that a higher number of Filipinos — (50 percent who oppose his resignation; and 47 percent who expressed satisfaction) — affirm their belief in his leadership and outnumber those who are dissatisfied (36 percent) or prefer that he resign from office (32 percent),” Secretary Coloma said in a statement.

A significant segment is undecided about his performance (17 percent) and about his resignation (18 percent), he said, adding this represents an opportunity to reach out to those who are undecided or ambivalent in their sentiments towards the President and the administration, to eventually win them over.

Coloma pointed out that the survey was taken on March 20 to 23, three weeks after Pulse Asia’s public opinion survey conducted on March 1 to 7.

“It is possible that, having gathered more information about current events—and having been able to know and understand better the President’s position on the Mamasapano incident—the people gave the President a higher satisfaction rating in the SWS survey (47 percent) than the performance approval rating that he obtained in the Pulse Asia survey (38 percent),” he explained.

Despite the drop in ratings, the Palace official assured that the government remains focused on its priority programs, such as infrastructure development, employment generation, poverty reduction, and improved social protection.

“The President and his Cabinet are firmly determined to carry on with the implementation of salient reform and development programs geared toward achieving the primary objective of attaining inclusive growth and improving the quality of life of their bosses—the Filipino people,” Coloma said.

“Transparent and responsive governance along the righteous path will be pursued, so that public institutions may be strengthened, the transformation process may be sustained and that the concrete gains achieved will become permanent,” he added.

The March 20 to 23 SWS survey interviewed 1,200 adults nationwide. PND (jm)

Malacañang announces appointment of 18 new officials
The Palace on Monday announced the appointment of 18 new officials of various government agencies.

During a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Corazon Davis and Marcial Amaro, Jr. have been appointed as Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; and Danielle Marie Rieza, as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Department of Finance.

Also appointed were Ramon Jumawan as Director IV, Department of Transportation and Communications; Amante Caluya, Jr. as Captain, Hydrography Branch of the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority; Fidelis Cañada as Acting Director II, Office of Civil Defense under the Department of National Defense.

Ariel Cayanan has been named as Acting Executive Director III, Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries; and Josefina Rico as Director II, National Meat Inspection Service. Both agencies are under the Department of Agriculture.

Other appointees were Josie Perez as Deputy National Statistician of the Censuses and Technical Coordination Office; and Estela de Guzman as Deputy National Statistician of the Civil and Registration and Center Support Office. Both offices are part of the Philippine Statistics Authority, which is under the National Economic and Development Authority.

The new Registers of Deeds II are Arthur Abamonga, Julie Mae Monique Abela, Casiano Arcillas, Consuelo Filog, Dinna Lao, and Maria Elnora Puday for the Land Registration Authority, which is under the Department of Justice.

Raul Fajardo Marcelo has been named as member representing the private sector, of the Board of Directors of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority; while Jose Suan has been named as member representing the labor sector, of the Board of Directors of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority. PND (ag)

Palace urges public to pay proper taxes
Malacañang on Monday called on the public to pay proper taxes for the continuous implementation of infrastructure projects.

“Taxes are indeed the lifeblood of the nation and so we encourage everyone, every working tax-paying citizen, to please report, especially those who are not compensation employees,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during the daily press briefing.

“Compensation employees are withheld at source. For those who are professionals, those who have their own businesses, please pay the proper taxes,” he said, noting that taxes are used to fund infrastructure projects across the country, such as the bridge in Isabela that will be inaugurated by the President on Tuesday, the road reblocking and repair done in EDSA during the Holy Week, and a number of connector highways.

“At the same time, recognizing that we do not want to leave anyone behind, that we are able to pour investments into our social alleviation programs because an investment on our poorest of the poor is an investment on people. That is also a priority of our administration. So, we would like to encourage every taxpayer to please pay the proper tax,” he said.

The filing of income tax return has been set on April 15. PND (jm)

President Aquino to inaugurate P772.9-million Lullutan Bridge in Isabela
President Benigno S. Aquino III will inaugurate on Tuesday the P772.9-million Lullutan Bridge in Ilagan City that will connect Isabela and the Cagayan Valley region.

The 500.6-lineal meter Lullutan Bridge is considered one of the longest bridges to cross Cagayan River, connecting Barangay Camalagui 1 and Barangay Lullutan of Ilagan City, Isabela in Cagayan Valley.

Prior to the construction of the Lullutan Bridge, both barangays were linked by a spillway bridge, which was destroyed by floods during a typhoon, back in 1995.

With no infrastructure connecting those barangays, residents have been using barges to transport their agricultural products to markets in Ilagan City.

The Lullutan Bridge, with a loading capacity of 20 tons, is made of 14-span structural steel girders with reinforced concrete slab supported by 13 piers, with two concrete column pedestals resting on group bored pile foundation. It also features Portland Cement Concrete Pavement approaches, measuring 1.175 kilometers.

The bridge was completed last January 21 under Package II-A of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

It is among the bridge projects of the Urgent Bridges Construction Project for Rural Development being implemented by the DPWH Unified Project Management Office-Bridges Management Cluster.

Officials expect the bridge to open up new opportunities for Isabela, particularly its agricultural sector.

To accompany the President during Tuesday’s event are Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III, Isabela District 1 Represetative Rodolfo Albano III, and Ilagan City Mayor Jose Marie Diaz. PND (as)

Palace to support judiciary’s move to get rid of corrupt judges
The Palace on Monday reiterated its commitment to fight corruption but said it is up to the judiciary to cleanse its ranks of corrupt judges.

“We are all against corruption in all its forms. We are, however, recognizing the role of the separation of powers and the existence of the three branches of government. We will defer to the Chief Justice as to how the Supreme Court handles corruption cases within their branch,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during a press briefing.

He was commenting on reports that the Coalition of Filipino Consumers has asked Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to investigate allegations of “justice for sale” involving members of the Court of Appeals.

Citing a World Bank study that said it takes the Court of First Instance several years to resolve a case, Secretary Lacierda emphasized that justice delayed is justice denied.

“That is one of the reforms that we would like to see happen, especially in the area of cases. As a lawyer, I’ve heard of so many stories about situations like these, and so we will leave it with Chief Justice Sereno and her peers to find ways to investigate and to find a long-term solution to this corruption in the judiciary,” he said. PND (as)