08 February 2015

APEC News Releases

Palace announces fund allocations aimed at improving public education programs
Malacañang announced several budget allocations for the Department of Education (DepEd) Sunday to fund various programs and projects aimed at augmenting public school personnel and improving the quality of education in the country.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan said the government alloted P10-billion to hire over 39,000 new teachers and create 1,500 non-teaching positions in our public schools.

According to the Department of Budget and Management, Coloma said, the government also earmarked P3.5-billion for the purchase and distribution of 70.5 million textbooks and other necessary teaching materials.

Approximately P54-billion, meanwhile, was apportioned to build 31,728 new classrooms and reconstruct 9,500 others, including the installation of 13,586 water and sanitation facilities, 455 technical-vocational laboratories, and 1.3 million classroom seats.

Additionally, Coloma said, DepEd allocated P8.5-billion to procure over 24,000 information and communications technology packages. This is inclusive of multimedia laboratories for public high schools and computer laboratories with complete basic multimedia equipment for the elementary schools under the agency’s computerization program.

DepEd tops the list of government agencies that received a lion’s share in the 2015 national budget with an overall allocation amounting to P367.1-billion, 19 percent higher compared to its 2014 budget of P309.5-billion, Coloma said.

He added the government also increased by 17 percent the budget allocation for state colleges and universities nationwide this year to P44-billion from P38-billion last year. PND (hdc)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrives in Manila on Sunday for a three-day visit
Widodo, popularly known as “Jokowi” back home, is making his first visit in the Philippines upon the invitation of President Benigno Aquino III.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the visit is a part of showing cooperation and unity to fellow leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries.

Widodo was former governor of Jakarta before assuming the presidency on October 20 last year.

Widodo will meet Presidet Aquino to discuss matters of mutual concern, including issues on migrant workers, maritime cooperation, defense, trade and investment and people-to-people exchanges.

The Philippines is the final stop of Widodo’s three-country swing which has taken him to Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. PND (jm)

Palace extends well wishes to President Aquino on his 55th birthday
Malacañang extended its well wishes of good health, wisdom, and divine guidance to President Benigno S. Aquino III for his 55th birthday on Sunday.

“Taimtim na panalangin at gabay ng Panginoon ang ating hangad para sa Pangulo sa kanyang patuloy na pagpapatupad at pagtataguyod ng mga proyekto at programa para matamo ang adhikaing inclusive growth sa loob ng kanyang panunungkulan,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. in a radio interview.

Coloma said ‘good health and guidance’ has always been President Aquino’s simple wish whenever he’s marking his own birthday so he could keep serving his countrymen and steer the nation in the right direction.

“Siguro po ay susundan ko na rin po ang naging panawagan ng ating kasamang si Secretary Edwin Lacierda na habang binabati natin ang ating Pangulo sa kanyang pagdiriwang ng kanyang kaarawan ay isama po natin ang panalangin na siya ay pagkalooban po ng lakas at magandang kalusugan para maipagpatuloy niya ang paglilingkod sa sambayanang Pilipino sa pinakamahusay na paraan hanggang matapos ang kanyang panunungkulan,” he said.

Lacierda sought for prayers for President Aquino’s birthday from the public Saturday, especially in a difficult time when the administration and the entire nation are dealing with the impact of the January 25 Mamasapano clash.

“One of the things that we’ve always asked—and I’ve always asked privately to those friends of ours, not only to our friends from the religious sector—is to always pray for the President because malaking bagay sa ating Pangulo na alam niyang ipinagdarasal siya ng ating mga kababayan. It gives him strength, and knowing that situations are difficult now, we thank the many Filipinos who continue to pray for the President,” Lacierda said.

With President Aquino’s term also nearing its end, Lacierda said they are also praying for the people to recognize the “seeds of institutional reform” being sown by the Chief Executive since the start of his administration.

“Siguro ang gift natin kay Pangulong Aquino is that we abide and we remember the reforms that he has started kasi these reforms will go beyond 2016. So we ask the Filipino people to trust in the President, to trust in the reforms that he has made, and he will not let us down. He will always do the right thing,” he said. PND (hdc)

Philippine universities joining in the APEC scholarship initiative
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) Three Philippine universities ware participating in the internship and scholarship program for students or professionals across the region, as the country and 20 other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members are working toward realizing their target of one million intra-APEC university-level students annually by 2020.

In a press briefing after the conclusion here of the first APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on Saturday, SOM Chair Ambassador Laura Del Rosario said these are the University of San Carlos, Miriam College and Silliman University.

She said the Bicol University has also indicated interest to participate in the APEC Scholarship Initiative.

Secretary of State of the United States, John F. Kerry, is leading the Initiative’s development.

“We are targeting actually one million APEC students to be roaming around the region within five years until by 2020. We hope that 200,000 students (per year) will move around APEC and enrol within that because we are trying to create a critical mass of APEC knowledgeable future leaders,” Del Rosario said.

She added the 21-member APEC member economies are promoting more the scholarship initiative across the region in a bid to advance one of the APEC priorities for this year which is investing in human capital development.

“These scholarships will be there so that at least it can improve the human capital development in the region,” Del Rosario said, noting that APEC economies are actually education providers.

“We are talking about the people-to-people connectivity here… For APEC, it is more of just to have a group of knowledgeable citizens and future graduates who know how to work with an APEC system,” she added.
The APEC Scholarship Initiative was introduced during a meeting of APEC Trade Ministers in Qingdao, China last May and endorsed by the region’s Leaders in November in Beijing.

Universities and companies interested in sponsoring an undergraduate or graduate-level scholarship, or an internship or training program for a student or professional, can inquire with participating APEC economies.

Privacy commission could enhance competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in global market
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura Del Rosario has cited the importance of putting up a privacy commission to enable the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs)   make good use of e-commerce to expand their businesses.

Del Rosario, who is also the chairperson of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Senior Officials’ Meeting 1 (APEC-SOM1), said   the country’s SMEs can be more competitive in regional and global markets if there is a privacy commission.

“Because if we a have privacy commission, we can do e-commerce and then many of our SMEs might be able to lift to higher growth because they can export their goods and products to other countries,” she said during the news briefing at the conclusion of the two-day APEC SOM1 held here.

The privacy commission will be mandated to enforce policies in the facilitation of   e-commerce and other modes of modern commerce and trade.

She said the creation of a privacy commission is an important issue that needs to be given attention considering the evolving business and economic   landscapes brought about by new technologies.

Del Rosario also said that the delivery of goods of the small businesses can easily be solved because there are a lot of couriers such as Federal Express and United Parcel Service.

However, she said people are worried about their privacy in transacting through e-commerce to those countries without a privacy commission that will enforce policies, rules and regulations on data system.

She particularly cited the use of credit cards where there is no assurance on the protection of privacy data.

“If I am going to give you my credit card number… how can I be sure that within your digital economy, the data on my credit card is not being taken?” she said.

Thus, del Rosario said “we need to put up   a commission that can really protect the privacy in digital economy while at the same provide an opportunity for the country’s SMEs to do business in the worldwide markets.

Fostering SME’s participation in regional and global markets is one of the four APEC priorities this year.

The three other APEC priorities are advancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda, investing in human capital development, and building sustainable and resilient communities. PNA (zst)