05 January 2015

No new survivor or body recovered from cargo ship that sank off Vietnam, says Palace
Three days after a Bahamian cargo ship sank off the coast of Vietnam, no new survivor or body has been found, a Palace official said on Monday.

“Ang latest update from the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi is that there are no new remains recovered or survivors rescued aside from the earlier two bodies recovered, which are now in Ho Chi Minh City, and the one survivor who was rescued,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

Secretary Lacierda noted that Vietnam’s Navy has added three helicopters to the search efforts and has called on other countries in the area to help in the search.

“We are asking the Secretary of National Defense if we can extend assistance. Tinitingnan ngayon,” he said.
He further said that a team from the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Honorary Consul in Ho Chi Minh City are coordinating with the shipping agent over the incident.

The cargo vessel Bulk Jupiter sank on Friday en route from Malaysia to China, about 150 nautical miles from Vietnam’s southern city of Vung Tau.

According to reports, the ship has an all-Filipino crew. PND (ag)

MRT/LRT fare hike may not be popular but it is right, Palace says
The Palace on Monday said that the decision to increase the fares of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, may not be popular but it must be done.

“This is not a popular decision insofar as the MRT-riding passengers are concerned, but we are doing this because this is the right thing to do,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Secretary Lacierda emphasized that the government has not completely cut its subsidy for the mass transport system but has merely reduced the subsidy from P12 billion last year to P10 billion this year.

“We did not take away the subsidy. The subsidy is still there,” he said.

He noted that President Benigno S. Aquino III has already explained that the subsidy for the MRT/LRT fares needs to be reduced so that the government could allocate its resources to regions that do not benefit from the MRT/LRT service.

“So, of the P2 billion that we can save, we are going to allocate the resources to other areas like Visayas and Mindanao,” said Lacierda.

He further pointed out that the increased MRT/LRT fares are still lower than air-conditioned or regular bus fares.

An air-conditioned bus traversing the Monumento-Taft Ave route via EDSA charges P42; an ordinary bus, P37; and an FX taxi, P40. The MRT meanwhile charges only P28 for the same route.

Lacierda assured the public that the government will continue to improve the services of the mass transport system.

“We can assure the MRT-riding passengers that rehabilitation is forthcoming. Rehabilitation has been planned this year. We are going to improve the services of the MRT,” he said. PND (ag)