14 April 2015

APEC News Release

Aquino optimistic stock exchange index will hit record high points before he steps down
President Benigno S. Aquino III said he is hopeful that the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) index would sustain its winning streak and reach the 9,000 to 10,000 levels before he steps down from office next year.“I expect to ring the bell in celebration of the index breaching the 9,000 and 10,000 levels, hopefully before I step down from office,” the President said during the bell ringing ceremony at the PSE in Makati City on Tuesday morning.

“In almost five years, we have seen the PSE index go from record high to record high, I’m told: 119 in total, with the index breaching the 5,000, 6,000, 7,000, and 8,000 levels. The most recent all-time high was recorded just last Friday, when the index closed at 8,127.48 points, or more than double the index’s value the first time we were here together,” he added.

The President said the winning streak of the PSE index “stands as a sound reminder of the optimism that continues to surround the Philippines.”

“I am told that trading activity increased by 40 percent year on year, from P457.08 billion in the first quarter of 2014, to P641.59 billion in the same period of 2015. Within that same period, net foreign buying also grew by 182 percent, from P17.33 billion in the first quarter of 2014, to P48.87 billion in the first quarter of 2015,” he noted.

President Aquino said he has been bullish on the country long before it regained prominence in the global economy because he trusts the Filipino people, whom he referred to as the country’s greatest resource.

“This is why government has made critical investments in health care, social services, and education: we want to empower our citizenry to become greater participants in growing the economy,” he said.

“Might I remind you today that the kind of success, the kind of governance we are experiencing can be a perpetual reality, and that our people will make that happen. I sincerely believe that, next year, Filipinos will choose wisely, and will choose someone who will likewise tread the straight path. Like any other sector, you have a significant role to play. As we celebrate this historic achievement, I invite you to join us in engaging all sectors, towards continuing this momentum—not only the momentum of our stock market, but also and more importantly, of our entire country,” the President concluded.

Joining the President in the bell ringing ceremony were PSE Chairman Jose Pardo, PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Hans Sicat, PSE Director Eusebio Tanco, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and top officials of listed companies. PND (jm)

APEC energy experts eye doubling renewable energy projects by 2030
(LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte) Energy experts have raised the need to share successful renewable energy (RE) development experiences among member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to attain the goal of doubling RE projects by 2030.

Director Mario Marasigan of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau, who co-chairs the APEC Expert Group on New and Renewable Energy Technologies (EGNRET), said it is important for member economies to share their RE roadmap so they could learn from one another’s experiences.

The expert group began its 44th meeting on Monday at the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel here with an overview of the Philippines’ renewable energy program.

Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific Energy Research Center (APERC) presented an outlook in doubling RE targets by 2030.

Chrisnawan Anditya of the APERC estimated renewable energy share in total installed capacity to increase from 22 percent in 2012 to 33 percent in 2030 and 38 percent in 2040.

He said renewable energy capacity is growing at 4.2 percent, with solar and wind power increasing annually at 11.11 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively.

China is said to provide the largest share in total APEC renewable energy capacity with 45 percent in 2012. The figure is expected to increase to 63 percent in 2030, and 68 percent in 2040.

The APERC data also showed that the Philippines is among the top five economies — along with the United States, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Mexico — with total installed capacity of geothermal power by 2030.

For wind development, China (9.3 percent), United States (3.6 percent), Korea (25.3 percent), and Australia (9.7 percent) are set to add capacity for wind power by 2030.

Attending the four-day meeting are representatives of APEC member economies Chinese Taipei, Hongkong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, United States, and the Philippines.

Discussions on Tuesday included the status of current EGNRET projects; the development of project proposals for funding, and the trend of renewable energy under low oil price circumstances.

A workshop on capacity building for Installers and System Designers for Solar PV Rooftop Installations will be held on the meeting’s third day on Wednesday, while a site visit to renewable energy facilities in the towns of Burgos and Bangui has been scheduled on the fourth day on Thursday. PIA

President Aquino wants agencies to fast-track rehabilitation of ‘Yolanda’-affected areas
President Benigno S. Aquino III has instructed his Cabinet to accelerate the implementation of rehabilitation projects covering infrastructure, housing, livelihood, and social services in parts of Eastern Visayas struck by Typhoon Yolanda two years ago.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during Tuesday’s press briefing that the President wants his Cabinet to prioritize the completion of permanent housing for 205,128 families in high-risk communities.

Secretary Coloma said priority should also be given to the provision of on-site shelter assistance to 449,000 families whose houses were totally damaged, and 517,214 families whose houses were partially damaged by the typhoon.

The National Housing Authority aims to complete all permanent housing units by next year, he said.

The Palace official further reported that during the special Cabinet meeting on Monday, the President directed the Department of Budget and Management to ensure the timely release of funds to meet the target date of completion.

Coloma also said that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is expected to complete 56.7 kilometers (km) of national roads by June, out of 116.3 kilometers of national roads being constructed.

Some 61 percent of the overall target of 1,852 lineal meters of national bridges will also be completed by June, he added.

For other infrastructure, Coloma said 30 of 48 office buildings are expected to be completed by June while 56 of 99 flood control structures are expected to be completed within the year.

“The government has also attained total or substantial completion of 106 municipal and city halls, 109 public markets, and 101 civic centers, restoring normalcy in the lives of affected residents and providing necessary government services to the communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda,” he said.

During the meeting, the DPWH reported that 84 percent of 2,313 new classrooms have already been built or substantially completed while 56 percent of the 17,335 classrooms damaged by the said super typhoon have been totally or partially rehabilitated.

“We expect the completion of classroom construction and rehabilitation by the second semester of the year or in time for the opening of classes in the next school year,” Coloma said.

The government has also achieved total or substantial completion of repair of 479 barangay health stations, 95 rural health clinics, 31 local hospitals, and eight other health facilities, he noted.

The government, he added, has made substantial accomplishments in providing livelihood to 360,203 families through the Cash-for-Building Livelihood Assets Program, such as boat construction, farmland clearing, land preparation, and planting.

The government this year will continue to provide these types of assistance to 211,879 families, Coloma said, noting that additional livelihood opportunities are being provided by private partners to 19,894 family beneficiaries.

According to the social services cluster, the Commission on Higher Education has extended scholarships, incentives and other financial assistance worth P436.9 million to 56,272 student beneficiaries, while the Department of Education has reported the substantial or total completion of projects involving the provision of 6.47 million textbooks, replacement of damaged computer packages, and the nutrition or feeding program for 327,845 children.

Coloma said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has completed the regreening program covering 43,070 hectares in Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas.

There is also an ongoing mangrove and beach forest development program covering 12,323 hectares.

On health care assistance, the Department of Health (DOH) has completed projects involving the provision of essential medicine kits, the procurement of medicine for the Western Visayas Medical Center and the Easter Visayas Medical Center, and the provision of complete treatment packs for 301 regional health units, Coloma said.

The DOH has also completed a nutrition program for 226,625 children and has provided water disinfectants to 176,522 households, he added.

Coloma also said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has been continuing its relief assistance to vulnerable sectors covering 77,739 families. PND (as)

Palace condemns killing of former newspaper reporter
Malacañang has condemned the murder of a former newspaper reporter in the province of Batangas.

Melinda Magsino, a former correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was shot dead by a man riding a motorcycle as she was on her way home in Barangay Balagtas on Monday.

“We condemn the killing in broad daylight of Melinda Magsino, a crusading journalist while she served previously as a correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Task Force Usig of the Philippine National Police is coordinating intensive police operations to pursue her assailants and bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Tuesday.

Coloma also said an inter-agency task force led by the Department of Justice, with the participation of the National Press Club, has been formed to focus on solving crimes against journalists.

“Bahagi ito ng pangkalahatang programa ng pamahalaan na supilin ang kriminalidad na nagaganap dahil nga sa mga unlicensed firearms at ang iba pang mga related criminal activities sa ating mga komunidad. Kaya nandoon naman ang prayoridad na binibigay doon sa pangangailangan na pigilin ang mga ganyang krimen sa ating mga komunidad at magbigay ng kapanatagan ng kalooban sa ating mga mamamayan,” he explained.

Magsino had reportedly exposed alleged corruption and illegal gambling activities in Batangas. PND (jm)

Philippines focuses on diplomacy in addressing China’s reclamation work in contested waters, Palace says
The Philippine government’s campaign against China’s reclamation work in the West Philippine Sea centers on diplomacy and raising the issue with the international community, a Palace official has said.

“Ang ating kampanya ay nakasentro sa larangang pangdiplomatiko at tayo ay patuloy na nakikipag-ugnayan sa ibang mga bansang kasapi ng ASEAN and the entire international community,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during the daily press briefing on Tuesday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said that Chinese reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea have already caused irreversible damage to coral reefs in the area.

Secretary Coloma said that aside from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), many members of the United Nations are signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Philippines will continue to insist that the provisions of UNCLOS should be observed in addressing the dispute, he said.

“Doon sa aspeto ng pagpa-patrol ng ating mga karagatan, dinadagdagan din naman natin ang ating pasilidad na patungkol sa Coast Guard at Philippine Navy; at nakapagtatag na tayo ng command center, na bahagi ng ating National Coast Watch System, so that we will have heightened situational awareness doon sa lahat ng nagaganap sa loob ng ating kapuluan,” he said.

The country has lodged an arbitration case at the international tribunal, asking the judicial body to clarify conflicting claims in the West Philippine Sea. The move has been strongly opposed by China, which said it would not participate in the arbitration case.

The Philippines has also been pushing for the crafting of a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in the ASEAN.

Aside from China and the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan are also laying claim to parts of the West Philippine Sea. PND (as)