09 January 2015
President Aquino satisfied with Acting Health Secretary Garin’s performance
(ROMBLON, Romblon) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday expressed satisfaction with the performance of Acting Secretary Janette Garin of the Department of Health (DOH).

In an interview with the media here, the President remained cagey whether he will permanently appoint Garin as health secretary following the resignation of Secretary Enrique Ona but he expressed his contentment with her performance.

“I am very satisfied with Secretary Garin. We will be putting in another undersecretary to help her,” President Aquino said, adding that the appointment is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.

The President said he has his hands full at the moment and will decide on the matter after the visit of Pope Francis on January 15 to 19.

“We will deal with a lot of the ministerial stuff after the Pope’s visit. The urgent matters will be attended to now, but those that can wait a little [can wait], so as not to disrupt the people who are working on the Pope’s visit,” he said.

Garin was present during the interview with the President as she was among the Cabinet members who accompanied him during his visit to Romblon.

President Aquino named Garin acting secretary of the DOH last October after he asked Ona to go on a one-month leave to give him ample time to answer several questionable projects under his agency, including the purchase of anti-pneumonia vaccines.

President Aquino said he is willing to talk to Ona after the latter completes his report.

“Of course, I’ll talk to him. But I am still awaiting the completion of all the investigations that he has done so that our conversation will have a conclusion,” he said. PND (jb)

Gender Equality Committee launches search for gender-fair media
To give due recognition to gender-fair practices in Movie, Print and Broadcast Media, the Gender Equality Committee (GEC) has launched a nationwide search for recipients of the GAD Transformation and Institutionalization through Mainstreaming of Programs, Agenda, Linkages and Advocacies (GADtimpala) Awards.

The GADtimpala Awards is an incentive awards system that recognizes the best gender-fair and gender-balanced media practices.

GEC Chairman, Secretary Sonny Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), said the GADtimpala Awards will “help in mainstreaming the gender equality criteria of gender balance in content and programming, gender-fair language, positive portrayal of women in media and film and other works by professionals and students.”

The award has four categories: Gender-Fair Radio Program, Gender-Fair TV Program, Gender-Fair Print Media, and Gender-Fair Film.

There will be one awardee for each category but special citations may be given to deserving organizations. Each winner will receive a plaque/trophy from the Media and Gender Equality Committee during the awarding ceremony, one of the highlights of the Women’s Month Celebration in March.

The committee launched the search during the kick-off of the Philippine Commission on Women’s (PCW) 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) last November 25 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

For details on the criteria for the award, nomination process, selection/qualifying process and to download the nomination form, log on to PCW’s website https://www.pcw.gov.ph, or contact the GADtimpala Secretariat at (02) 7358509 or 7351651 loc. 131, or send an email to media@pcw.gov.ph. The deadline for nomination is January 30.

The GEC was established through Section 19 of RA 9710 or an Act Providing for the Magna Carta on Women, to promote gender mainstreaming, formulate the guidelines on gender equality and Code of Ethics for media, and monitor and evaluate their implementation.

The committee is composed of representatives of the PCOO, PCW, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), Optical Media Board (OMB), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and women’s media NGOs. PND

President Aquino defends MRT, LRT fare hike
(ROMBLON, Romblon) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday defended the adjustment of fares of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) recently implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

In his interview with reporters here, President Aquino maintained that the fare hikes were “reasonable” and “just”, especially for those who do not use the train services.

“Let’s assume that all the 14 million daytime residents of Manila, the NCR (National Capital Region), use the MRT and LRT and that’s a very big assumption already. So, there are 14 million people being benefited and 86 million helping pay the bill,” he said.

“Before the increase, train users were paying P15. The amount we spend on the MRT operation is P60. So the 86 million were shouldering the P45 difference,” he added.

The P12 billion subsidy being paid by the government per year could only sustain the operation of the MRT and LRT, he said, noting that the subsidy could not cover the improvement and upgrade of the train systems.

With the fare increase, he said, the government could save P2 billion in subsidy, which can be used for the improvement of train services and facilities, such as escalators, elevators, and toilets.

Leftist groups such as Bayan Muna and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan have filed petitions at the Supreme Court to oppose the increase.

President Aquino said if he is after improving his image, he could heed the appeal to suspend the fare hike. He however said it is inevitable.

“Pero siyempre ang gandang magpapogi ngayon: ‘Kontra ako sa increase!’ Lahat naman tayo ayaw naman nating tumaas ang bilihin. Pero iyon ang totoo,” he said.

“May kailangang magbayad. Talagang makatwiran naman ang: ‘Ikaw ang nakikinabang, baka naman pwedeng dagdagan mo ang bayad mo,’” he added.

He also dared those who criticize the fare hike to present their own solutions to the problem.

“Kung puro reklamo at wala namang solusyon na inihahain, talagang nagpapa-cute lang sila at wala silang hilig na magkaroon ng solusyon sa problema,” he said. PND (jb)

President Aquino praises PCOO Undersecretary Marfil for contributions to developments in Romblon
(ROMBLON, Romblon) President Benigno S. Aquino III heaped praises on Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Renato Marfil for his contribution to the developments in the province of Romblon.

President Aquino visited Romblon for the first time on Friday to conduct an aerial inspection of a road project and lead the unveiling of the marker of the new buildings of the Romblon Provincial Hospital, at the Romblon Pubic Theater here.

In his speech, the President commended Marfil, who hails from Romblon, for vigorously promoting his hometown and keeping in mind the needs of the people of the province.

“Bilang journalist, si Rey ang punong-abala sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga kasamahan natin sa media. Minsan naman, pakiramdam ko, suma-sideline siya bilang reporter ninyo sa Malacañang. Lagi kasi niyang bukambibig ang ganda ng inyong probinsiya, at lagi niyang ipinapaalala sa akin ang inyong mga pangangailangan,” he said.

The President recalled the humble beginnings of Marfil, who went into farming and fishing to survive in life.

Marfil worked as a journalist and commentator before he joined the administration of President Aquino as Assistant Secretary for Media Relations. He was promoted to undersecretary last year.

President Aquino described Marfil as an “efficient” and “dependable” public servant.

“Kung tutuusin: Puwede siyang nanatili na lang sa kaniyang industriya, kung saan mas malaki ang kita, mas kaunti ang responsibilidad, at mas maraming oras para sa sarili at pamilya. Pero pinili po ni Rey na huwag maging makasarili, at damayan tayo sa pagtupad ng agenda ng reporma,” he said.

“Kaya nga po kung ang mga tulad niya ang magiging pinuno sa hinaharap, talagang hindi tayo magdududa sa kakayahan niyang isulong ang inyong kapakanan at ang kaunlaran ng inyo pong lalawigan o maski ang kalakhang Pilipinas. Kaya hindi na rin nakakapagtakang ang tulad niya ay pinagpala ng Diyos ng isang ulirang asawa,” he added.

President Aquino said he is willing to support Marfil should he consider entering politics or returning to media after his term in 2016.

Marfil did not only get praises from the President but also from the local officials of Romblon, namely Representative Eleandro Madrona and Romblon Mayor Gerard Montojo.

Both officials thanked Marfil for his role in the accomplishment of various infrastructure projects in Romblon. PND (jb)

President Aquino calls for public cooperation to ensure success of Papal visit
(ROMBLON, Romblon) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday underscored the importance of public cooperation to ensure the safety and success of Pope Francis’ five-day visit to the Philippines next week.

President Aquino said the government is making all the necessary preparations for the upcoming papal visit.

“Siyempre, may challenge din tayo, dahil itong Papa natin sa ngayon ay malapit sa tao talaga at hinahanap ‘yung makadaupang palad ang ating mga kababayan,” he said during an interview with members of the press here.

At least 25,000 policemen and soldiers will be deployed to secure the Pope’s visit, the President said.

He however noted that the government could not do it alone, considering that millions of people are expected to see the Pope, who will offer Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park on Sunday, January 18.

“Nakipag-ugnayan kami sa simbahan, sa iba’t ibang mga grupo sa sektor na pribado, na kapag pinagtulungan natin ito, maaabot natin ang inaasam-asam natin na isang mapayapa at saka talagang makabuluhang pagbisita ng ating Santo Papa,” he said.

President Aquino said the people’s cooperation is important for the successful visit of Pope Francis.

“Taumbayan ang susi dito para maging matiwasay at mapayapa ang pagbisita ng Santo Papa,” the Chief Executive said.

Pope Francis is slated to arrive in Manila on Thursday, January 15 and leave on Monday, January 19. PND (co)