20 August 2015

Palace lauds military for operations against Abu Sayyaf that helped two Coast Guard personnel escape
Malacañang on Thursday commended the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for their operations to pursue members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) that led to the escape of two Coast Guard personnel held captive by the bandits since May.

“We commend the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Task Force Sulu for conducting operations that have led to the fleeing from captivity of two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel, namely, Seaman First Class Rodlyn Pagaling and Seaman Second Class Gringo Villaruz,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement.

Secretary Coloma said that according to PCG Spokesperson Commander Armand Balillo, the two personnel were abducted last May 4 at about 2 a.m. at the Barangay Hall near the port area of Barangay Aliguay in Dapitan City.

“With the support of the citizenry, government troopers have tracked and raided the known lairs of the Abu Sayyaf Group,” he said.

“According to the AFP, military operations are ongoing to secure the safety of other hostages being held captive by the ASG.”

The military attacked an Abu Sayyaf militant stronghold on Wednesday to rescue hostages, among them the two Coast Guard personnel, who were able to escape during the military operation.

The Navy said Pagaling and Villaluz are safe.

Military officials estimated that 15 Abu Sayyaf gunmen died in the encounter. PND (as)

‘Ninoy Aquino Day’ reaffirms everyone’s duty to strengthen democracy, says Palace
The commemoration of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.’s 32nd death anniversary on August 21 reaffirms every Filipino’s responsibility to help achieve a freer society and national development, a Palace statement has said.“Tomorrow, August 21, a grateful nation pays homage to the heroism of the late Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., who selflessly offered his life for the restoration of democracy in our country,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“Ninoy Aquino continues to inspire generations of Filipinos to overcome difficulties and challenges in attaining their aspirations for a better future. As we celebrate his 32nd death anniversary, it is well to reaffirm the duty of every Filipino citizen to contribute to building a stronger democracy and a more prosperous and inclusive society.”

August 21 is a non-working holiday, which commemorates the assassination of Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983. It is known as the “Araw ng Kabayanihan ni Ninoy Aquino”.

Aquino was a prominent critic of former President Ferdinand Marcos. When Marcos declared Martial Law in September 1972, Aquino was one of those imprisoned.

While in prison, he continued to campaign for democracy and even stood for election.

In 1980, he suffered two heart attacks and was permitted to seek medical treatment in the United States, where he remained in exile for about three years.

He wanted to challenge Marcos in a parliamentary election and on August 21, 1983, while he was being escorted off the airplane at the Manila International Airport, he was shot dead.

The assassination led to a major political upheaval in the Philippines and in 1986, after a snap presidential election, his widow Corazon Aquino was elected president.

The holiday was first celebrated in 2004 after the issuance of Republic Act 9256. The holiday was included in former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s “holiday economics” policy, which adjusted holidays to form longer weekends to promote local tourism. It was however moved back to its original date in 2010 by Ninoy’s son, incumbent President Benigno S. Aquino III. PND (as)

President Aquino declares August 18 as ‘Jesse Robredo Day’
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday signed Republic Act 10669, declaring August 18 of every year as “Jesse Robredo Day”.

President Aquino declared August 18 as a special working holiday to be celebrated in all elementary and secondary schools in the country to commemorate the late interior secretary’s dedication to public service.

According to Republic Act 10669, if the holiday falls on a weekend, it will be observed on the Friday of that week.

The Department of Education has been mandated to implement the activities for the “Jesse Robredo Day” to ensure that Robredo’s “legacy of good governance and leadership is given emphasis to encourage students to continue the same for the good of the Philippines and the Filipino people”.

Robredo, who was appointed as interior and local government secretary in 2010, died in a plane crash off Masbate coast on August 18, 2012.

On Tuesday, President Aquino attended the commemoration of his third death anniversary in Naga City, Camarines Sur. PND (as)

President Aquino lauds professionalism of the Presidential Management Staff in its 45th anniversary
President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his gratitude to the personnel of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) for their professionalism that helped him fulfill his duties as Chief Executive.

The PMS celebrated its 45th anniversary on Thursday at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

The PMS anniversary celebration theme this year was “Sustaining the Tradition of Excellence in Public Service.”

“Salamat na rin sa inaasahan kong uunlad pang serbisyo ninyo mula sa araw na ito at sa mga darating pang araw,” the President said in his message during the event.

“Tiwala nga ako na ang ipapamana nating PMS sa susunod na administrasyon ay magiging huwaran ng sipag, husay at integridad.”

The President also asked the personnel of the PMS to continue working professionally under the “Daang Matuwid” agenda not only inside the agency but also outside their office.

“Himukin pa ninyo ang iba na makiisa sa ating ng epektibo, bukas at tuwid na paglilingkod,” he said.

And in the last 315 days of the administration, President Aquino said he will continue encouraging the PMS to further improve its output as a government agency.

He also vowed to double his efforts to make the country more progressive by continuing good governance in every aspect of society.

The President recalled the time he was running for office in 2010 when the country was grappling with corruption and instability.

The Philippines has improved a lot since then, he said, especially through the agenda of good governance of his administration.

“Hindi ba napakalayo na ng atin pong narating? Sa patuloy nating pagtutulungan, naniniwala akong mas matatayog pang mga pangarap para sa bayan ang ating makakamit,” he said.

The PMS, as it is known today, was established on July 8, 1976, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 955.

In January 1987, under former President Corazon Aquino, the PMS was given a fresh mandate to serve the presidency as the President’s primary technical arm.

Since then, the PMS has been the primary government agency responsible for providing technical assistance and advice to the President in exercising overall management of the development process. PND (as)