12 Feb 2016

President Aquino to receive honorary Doctorate from Loyola Marymount University in California
(RANCHO MIRAGE, California) President Benigno S. Aquino III will be conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) during his upcoming working visit to Los Angeles, California.

President Aquino will be presented the honorary degree at LMU’s Life Sciences Building Auditorium on February 17 “in recognition of his dedication to his country, his integrity, and his embodiment of a Jesuit education.”

In its statement, the Loyola Marymount University said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti would address the gathering, which will also be attended by Congresswoman Judy Chu.

The LMU is the largest Jesuit Catholic university for undergraduates in the Southwest, with more than 6,000 undergraduate students and more than 3,000 graduate and law students.

The event is co-sponsored by the School of Education’s Teach for the Philippines Program and the World Policy Institute at LMU.

President Aquino has received a number of honorary degrees from various institutions in the Philippines and abroad, among them the Fordham University in New York, the Sophia University in Tokyo, and the University of the Philippines Diliman.

On February 15, President Aquino will depart for California to join fellow leaders of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in attending the Special Summit to be hosted by US President Barack Obama on February 15 and 16.

Afterwards, the President, together with the Philippine delegation, will undertake a working visit to Los Angeles on February 16 and 17.

During his visit to Los Angeles, President Aquino will have a series of meetings with potential investors, and a speaking engagement at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.

President Aquino is also scheduled to meet with Filipinos living and working in Los Angeles on February 17. He will return to Manila after his meeting with the Filipino-American community. PND (co)

Aquino to speak before Los Angeles World Affairs Council in California
(RANCHO MIRAGE, California) President Benigno S. Aquino III will discuss “the growing tension between the Philippines and China over sovereignty issues in the South China Sea” when he addresses the Los Angeles World Affairs Council (LAWAC) on Tuesday (February 16).

According to LAWAC, President Aquino will also speak about “the new defense agreement between Manila and Washington, security in East Asia, and the future for economic growth in the Philippines and its neighbors in Southeast Asia”.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is currently hearing the case filed by the Philippines against China’s claim on the disputed West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.

Prior to his LAWAC speaking engagement, President Aquino will attend the summit organized by US President Barack Obama with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on February 15 to 16.

Trade, maritime security and terrorism will be among the talking points during the US-ASEAN Summit at the Sunnylands estate here, the same venue where President Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping back in 2013.

President Aquino will also discuss the results of the special US-ASEAN summit during his speaking engagement with LAWAC, to be held at the Intercontinental Hotel on the evening of February 16.

After attending the US-ASEAN Summit, President Aquino will proceed to Los Angeles for a working visit. While in Los Angeles, the President will have a series of business meetings with the executives of three Los Angeles-based companies.

President Aquino will also take the opportunity to greet the members of the Filipino-American community in Los Angeles before he flies back to Manila on February 17. PND (co)

Palace: President Aquino’s high approval, trust ratings to inspire government to further improve people’s lives
Malacañang has welcomed the high approval and trust ratings of President Benigno S. Aquino III, based on a recent Pulse Asia survey.Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the results of the Pulso ng Bayan survey would inspire the government to work even harder to improve the lives of the Filipino people.

“We note the latest Pulso ng Bayan survey of Pulse Asia on the Performance and Trust Ratings of the Top Five Philippine Government Officials, which shows President Aquino maintaining high Approval and Trust Ratings of 49 percent and 45 percent respectively,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement issued on Friday.

“We note further the most significant increases in the President’s ratings came from socio-economic class ABC at both +7, indicating that the government’s programs to institutionalize good governance and transparency, as well as ensuring continued economic reform and inclusive growth have resonated well among the leaders of the professional and business communities,” he said.

The Palace official noted that the continuing high levels of approval and trust signified by the other sectors of the country “mirror the positive sentiments and outlook of our Bosses — the Filipino people — who have witnessed and experienced the transformation of the country and its journey toward joining the ranks of high-income countries through sustained socio-economic progress”.

The government, he said, appreciates the insights provided by these surveys, which serve as valuable inputs in its continuing efforts to improve the quality of life of all Filipinos across all socio-demographic classes and institutionalize the gains of good governance and economic reform that have been accomplished during the Aquino administration.

Pulse Asia conducted the survey from January 24 to 28, with 1,800 registered voters as respondents. PND (jm)

Joint agreement between Phl-MILF show shared commitment on peace process, says Palace official
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. on Friday said the recent signing of a joint agreement by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia shows that both parties are committed to achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.“The joint agreement signed by the Government of the Philippines and the MILF reflects the shared commitment of both parties to the attainment of the Bangsamoro’s aspirations on long-term peace and progress,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement.

The Palace official noted that the renewal of the mandates of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group and the International Monitoring Team until March 31, 2017 “fortifies the peace infrastructure as these bodies have been instrumental in bringing about salutary results in peace-keeping, as well as in sustained campaigns against criminal and terror elements”.

He further said that the continuation of other normalization programs on transitional justice and reconciliation, camps transformation and provision of socio-economic packages serve to strengthen confidence on the sustainability of the peace process.

“Finally, both parties will persevere in continuing efforts to create awareness and build consensus so that the next steps — including the enactment of a basic law and the setting up of a new governance framework — may be vigorously pursued and fully implemented in the near future,” Coloma said.

In their joint statement issued on Thursday, the government and the MILF expressed their disappointment over the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law but reaffirmed their commitment to the peace process and “to preserve the gains of more than 17 years of negotiations and the implementation of the CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro), believing that it continues to provide a viable roadmap and comprehensive approach towards resolving armed conflict in Mindanao”.

According to their statement, both sides agreed that the “means forward is the early passage of this legislation in the next Administration and Congress, which is a requirement for implementation of significant aspects of the CAB including the decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants”, and towards this end, both parties “shall exert further efforts to promote understanding and greater acceptability of the proposed basic law”. PND (jm)

President Aquino inaugurates widened Pili Diversion Road in Camarines Sur
(PILI, Camarines Sur) President Benigno S. Aquino III inaugurated here Friday the P66.32-million expanded Pili Diversion Road that aims to ease the daily trip of more than 5,000 motorists. The road-widening project, which began in March 2014 and was completed last month, stretches to nearly four kilometers (km) with two more lanes added, cutting the travel time of vehicles plying it by more than half.

In his speech, President Aquino said this road offers an alternative route for motorists coming from Albay, Sorsogon and other parts of the Partido region in Camarines Sur, who wish to skip Poblacion and go straight to the town of Pili.

“Dahil sa proyekto, nabawasan nang halos 6,000 sasakyan ang bumabagtas sa Pili-Poblacion Road. Kita ninyo naman ang ginhawang dulot ng mabuting pamamahala,” he told the townspeople here.

Under President Aquino’s watch, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) allotted P15.96 billion to fund infrastructure projects in Camarines Sur, tripling its previous budget of P4.73 billion during the previous administration.

Besides the improved Pili Diversion Road and the San Jose Bridge, which President Aquino also inspected earlier, the DPWH is completing other key projects in the province, such as the Tigaon-Goa-San Jose-Lagonoy-Guijalo Road, Pili-Tigaon-Albay Boundary Road, and Daang Maharlika.

The government allocated a total of P766.5 billion to fund scores of infrastructure projects nationwide in 2016 alone, or about 5 percent of the country’s estimated gross domestic product for the year.

“Sa paglago ng ekonomiya, sabay din ang pagtataas ng budget sa pagpapaunlad ng ating mga proyekto at programang naghahatid ng benepisyo at nagbabawas ng sakripisyo sa ating mga boss,” President Aquino said.

“Kaya naman sa target nating pagsasakongkreto ng humigit-kumulang na 7,200 kilometers na national roads, natapos na natin ang 6,212 kilometrong national roads. ‘Yun pong natitira, may inilaan tayong pondo at target pong matapos ngayong taon,” he added.

President Aquino reported that the DPWH also completed 1,550km of tourism roads and 3,700 local roads. The agency managed to replace as well 12,585 lineal meters of temporary bridges nationwide with permanent ones.

“Dito po sa inyo sa Pili, dahil sa mas maayos na daanan, mas mabilis nang nararating ang sikat na sikat ninyong CamSur Watersports Complex at iba pang magagandang destinasyon,” he said.

“Kaya sa lahat ng ito, kung tutuusin, lampas-lampas na ang nagawa ng DPWH. Talaga namang bilib tayo at nagpapasalamat sa kalidad at bilis ng trabaho ng DPWH,” he added.

Another significant enterprise that has been realized in Camarines Sur is the Sabang Fishport Develpment Project in Calabanga, which is expected to benefit more than 80,000 people once it becomes fully operational.

“Malinaw po: good governance is good economics. Sa tapat at mabuting pamamahala napapaunlad ang ekonomiya. Ito rin mismo ang nagbibigay sa gobyerno ng higit na kakayahang bigyang-lakas ang ating mamamayan upang makiambag sa lalo pang pag-unlad ng bansa,” President Aquino said.

Also during the same event, the President made a pitch for the candidacy of his preferred successor, former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II and his running mate, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.

“Sa ika-siyam ng Mayo, haharap tayo sa sangandaan. Marami pong manliligaw at iprepresenta ang sarili para iboto ninyo. Mahalaga hong piliin natin ang ating tamang kandidato; hindi ‘yung puro salita kundi ‘yung marami nang nagawa,” he said.

“‘Yan ho para sa akin walang iba ay ang tambalan ni Mar Roxas at ang tunay na anak ng Camarines Sur, si Leni Robredo. Sila po hindi lang basta nangangako. Nagsakripisyo na sila at nagtrabaho para sa kapakanan ng mas nakakarami,” he added. PND (hdc)