August 24, 2015 – News Releases
|24 August 2015|
APEC News Release
|President Aquino to review Customs bureau’s plan to conduct spot checks on balikbayan boxes|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Monday that he is set to meet with key officials to discuss the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) plan to conduct random inspections of balikbayan boxes that has drawn complaints from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“Ngayong hapon mag-re-review kami. I called Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima and BOC Commissioner Bert Lina to a meeting as soon as I get back to Manila and review this whole proposal,” the President said during an interview with the media in Cebu City.
“Ang pangunahing layunin nito ay makatulong doon sa kampanya natin laban sa mga ilegal na droga. Tapos marami na rin tayong balita na nagpupuslit ng bala, mga baril. Meron pa raw nag-dismantle ng motorsiklo na ‘yung tinatawag nilang big bikes. Hinati-hati sa ilang kahon para makaiwas rin sa dapat na bayaran na multa,” President Aquino explained.
He assured the public that there will be safeguards to prevent abuse.
“Ang paliwanag nila sa akin X-ray raw ang gagamitin sa pagsiyasat nitong mga balikbayan box… at pagkatapos ang mga kahinahinalang makikita sa X-ray, iyon lang ang bubuksan ng pisikal. Tapos idinagdag na magkakaroon tayo ng mga independent na observers sa Customs para bantayan ang proseso para matanggal ang agam-agam nang pagnanakaw,” he said.
President Aquino asked the people to help the BOC’s campaign against smuggling.
“Tulungan natin ang Customs na gawin ang kanilang trabaho,” he said.
The BOC has insisted that the plan to conduct random inspections of balikbayan boxes is an anti-smuggling measure and that it is not aimed at OFWs but at smugglers who exploit the use of such boxes to ship contraband into the country. PND (ag)
|President Aquino inspects major infrastructure projects in Cebu City|
| (CEBU CITY, Cebu) President Benigno S. Aquino III led the inspection of major infrastructure projects here on Monday.
The President first inspected the 28.18-kilometer (km) Mactan Circumferential Road, which aims to provide easy access from the Mactan International Airport to the various tourist destinations and famous resorts and hotels in the island of Mactan.
The project, expected to be completed next year, will reduce travel time between Cebu City to Mactan from one-and-a-half hours to one hour and will benefit more than 21,000 travelers per day.
President Aquino also inspected the rehabilitation of the Serging Osmeña Boulevard Port Corridor in Cebu City, which was completed last June 25. The project is a major thoroughfare that benefits daily commuters travelling to and from the City of Cebu.
In his speech, President Aquino also mentioned the ongoing rehabilitation of the 16.33-km Medellin-Daanbantayan Road, which aims to provide easy access to local vacationers and foreign tourists and will reduce the three-hour travel time from the northernmost town of Daanbantayan to Cebu City by half an hour.
“Kabilang po ang proyektong ito sa tinatawag nating DOT-DPWH Tourism Convergence Road Project, na layuning mapaginhawa ang biyahe ng mga turista sa inyong magagandang destinasyon,” Aquino said.
President Aquino noted the increase in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the province of Cebu.
From P2 billion in 2010, the budget for Cebu increased to P7 billion this year, and another P2 billion will be added to the allocated budget for the province, he said.
Looking forward to the outcome of the infrastructure projects here, the President said he is planning to visit some famous tourist destinations in the province, particularly Oslob, which has become famous for whale shark or butanding watching.
The Chief Executive then lauded DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson for his efficiency, giving him the moniker “Man of Steel and Concrete.”
“Good job, pero huwag ka sanang maging kampante. Marami pa tayong tatapusing proyekto sa kalakhang bansa sa huling bahagi ng ating termino. Kailangan pa rin natin ang siyento-porsiyentong lakas at dedikasyon para magtuloy-tuloy ang arangkada natin sa Daang Matuwid,” he said.
In his project briefing, Secretary Singson said that of the P43 billion total budget of the DPWH from 2010 to 2015, P23 billion went to Cebu province.
“Let me assure everyone that your DPWH recognizes the importance of roads and bridges and other infrastructure to sustain economic growth, generate employment, as well as to reduce poverty,” Singson said. PND (jb)
|Enrile’s bail will not stop campaign against corrupt officials, says President Aquino|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday maintained that the Supreme Court decision to grant Senator Juan Ponce Enrile bail would not undermine the government’s campaign to pursue corrupt officials.
During a media interview in Cebu City, President Aquino was asked if the granting of bail to Enrile would affect the government’s anti-corruption drive.
“Iyong pinakaimportante ayon kay (Justice) Secretary Leila (de Lima), kasi parang ang plunder na isa sa mga kaso ay supposed to be non-bailable. Ngayon doon sa pagiging non-bailable, marami dito sa mga non-bailable na asunto pwede nang mabigyan ng piyansa kapag mababa ‘yung ebidensiya, ‘yung mahina ang ebidensiya. Importante yatang tingnan natin doon sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema ay wala silang binabanggit tungkol doon sa ebidensiyang hinarap at tila nakasentro doon sa edad at kalagayan ng kalusugan ni Senator Enrile. So, maaapektuhan ba? Hindi. Tuluy-tuloy ang kampanya natin,” he said, noting that the National Bureau of Investigation has recently filed at the Ombudsman the third set of cases against officals suspected of misusing their pork barrel funds.
“Hindi ho nahihinto at tuloy pa rin ‘yung paglilitis,” he said.
The President reiterated that the Supreme Court released Enrile on bail for humanitarian reasons rather than weak evidence against the senator.“Ulitin ko, ‘yung piyansa ay hindi — ‘yung iba meron na sigurong nagsasabi ‘ayan ebidensiya na mahina — ‘parang pruweba na mahina ‘yung ebidensiya’. So, nilinaw ‘nung desisyon na hindi pinag-uusapan — sa aking pag-unawa — ‘yung kalibre o ‘yung kalidad ‘nung ebidensiyang inilaan at bagkus, hindi ba, ‘yung kalusugan at edad ni Senator Enrile ang binigyan ng punto,” he explained.
The 91-year old senator, who is facing graft and plunder charges for the alleged misuse of public funds, has been under hospital arrest at the Philippine National Police General Hospital in Quezon City until his request for bail was granted last week. Plunder is a non-bailable offense.
When asked about renewed calls for the Supreme Court to also grant former president now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bail, President Aquino said those who have committed crimes must be held accountable.
“Ang tanong ko nga lang ho rito, ano ho ba ang dapat na ipakita natin sa kasalukuyang sambayanan at lalo na sa susunod na salinlahi? Sa akin ho kasi importante na kung may ginawa kang krimen, kailangan pagbayaran,” he said, emphasizing that it is not enough to bring criminals to court – they must also be convicted of their crimes.
“Kailangan kung mabigat ang krimeng ginawa mo, may mabigat rin namang dapat na kaparusahan,” he said.
Arroyo faces a P366-million plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office intelligence fund during her second term as president from 2004 to 2010, as well as electoral sabotage for alleged election fraud in the 2004 presidential elections and the 2007 senatorial elections. PND (ag)
|Finance ministers of APEC member economies all set to launch roadmap in Cebu meeting|
| When finance ministers of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies meet in Cebu this September, they will take the first step towards financial integration for the region.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said finance officials are set to launch the Cebu Action Plan, a roadmap geared towards making the Asia-Pacific region more inclusive and resilient, when they meet in Cebu on September 9 to 11.
“This is the first time the finance ministers will come up with a roadmap. Cebu will be unique in APEC 2015 because of the Cebu Action Plan. You will be remembered for this,” she said during a briefing in Cebu.
She added that the roadmap will focus on creating inclusive APEC economies. The four pillars for the proposed Cebu Action Plan are financial integration, fiscal transparency and policy reform, financial resiliency, and infrastructure development and financing.
According to del Rosario, finance is a big part of APEC and Cebu will be hosting the Finance Ministerial Meeting in Cebu on September 10 to 11. Before this, there will be other meetings by APEC senior finance and Central Bank officials and deputies.
She added that APEC makes the case for globalization of trade, which in turn promotes efficient production of goods, gives consumers more choices, lowers prices by eliminating tariff, and provides access to new technology.
The world will benefit from trade globalization, which simply makes the movement of goods, people, and investments or capital easier, del Rosario pointed out
“About 453 years ago this year, the Galleon Trade started. So there was already global trade and it went on for 200 years,” she cited.
According to del Rosario, the Philippines, as host of APEC 2015, is focusing on inclusive growth. She noted the need for inclusive growth to be balanced, innovative and secure in the Asia-Pacific region. PND (as)
|Philippines, Mexico sign Memorandum of Understanding to enhance intellectual property cooperation|
| Representatives of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the Mexican Institute of the Industrial Property (IMPI) on Sunday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance cooperation in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights through joint activities.
Deputy Director General of the IPOPHL Allan Gepty signed for the Philippines and IMPI Director General Miguel Angel Margain signed for Mexico.
The MOU was inked at the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Intellectual Property Experts Group (IPEG) Meeting in Cebu City.
Considered a milestone in the intellectual property (IP) development of both countries, the MOU hopes to “extend the cooperation activities, specifically those concerning the protection, use, and enforcement of the intellectual property rights, through the joint organization of symposia, seminars and workshops and other capacity-building activities, included in the corresponding Work Project”.
Both parties have also agreed to extend the validity of the MOU for another three years, and renew it further through a written agreement by both countries.
Mexican Ambassador to the Philippines Julio Camarena Villaseñor, who witnessed the signing of the MOU, said the agreement comes at “an auspicious time” as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is set to make a state visit to the country on November 17.
The agreement will be included in the set of deliverables as both countries intend to strengthen their cooperation and bilateral ties.
Both parties hoped that aside from enhancing and promoting trade and investment between them, the agreement would also revitalize their economic partnership that began during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade from 1565 to 1815, which spurred global trade.
Also present during the signing ceremony was Mexican Consul General Eduardo Gonzales.
Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement is a key factor in promoting foreign trade and investment, as well as in boosting economic development.
In recognition of its importance, IPR was included in the 1995 Osaka Action Agenda — APEC’s strategic roadmap for achieving free and open trade and investment in the region.
In 1996, the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) established an Intellectual Property Rights Get-Together (IPR-GT) aimed at ensuring adequate and effective protection, through legislative, administrative and enforcement mechanisms, of intellectual property rights in the Asia-Pacific region.
This was based on the principles of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and other related agreements.
In 1997, the CTI made the IPR-GT an official APEC group, renaming it the Intellectual Property Rights Experts’ Group (IPEG).
Senior officials and delegates from the APEC’s 21 member economies are meeting in Cebu on August 22 to September 6 for the third APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 3) and Related Meetings.
The SOM 3, with some 2,000 participants, is the last comprehensive senior officials’ meeting before the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November in Manila. PND (as)