20 July 2015

Palace welcomes results of second quarter survey on hunger, lowest since May 2005
Malacañang has welcomed the results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on hunger, which showed a 12.7 percent drop in the second quarter of the year, the lowest in a decade.

“We welcome the latest results of the Social Weather Stations’ self-rated survey on hunger, which saw a significant drop in the number of families experiencing involuntary hunger: from 16.3 percent in June 2014 to 12.7 percent. According to the SWS, this is the lowest recorded rate in ten years, since May 2005,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement issued on Monday.

Valte said that since 2010, the Aquino administration has been pressing forward in its goal of inclusive growth, toward a future where no one is left behind.

She noted that among the government’s initiatives is the expanded Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which covers more than 4.4 million households.

“The program is an example of the government’s commitment to the Filipino people, as it embodies concrete investments in human development, empowering beneficiaries and their families to better care for themselves. This is consistent with recent survey results on unemployment and underemployment, which have gone down under this administration,” she added.

The Palace official further said that inflation has been kept down and the prices of basic commodities have remained relatively steady, owing to the government’s efforts to ensure the consistency of food supply in the country.

“Recent results show that self-rated hunger has been on a downward trend these past quarters. We hope that this will continue, as the administration further ramps up its efforts to implement programs and policies that will contribute to a better overall quality of life for our citizens,” she said.

The SWS survey, conducted on June 5 to 8 among 1,200 adults nationwide, showed that 12.7 percent of the respondents, equivalent to about 2.8 million families, said they have experienced hunger at least once in the past three months.

It also noted that this result is 0.8 percent lower than the first quarter’s 13.5 percent (about 3 million families), and is the lowest since May 2005’s 12 percent.

The latest poll also showed that 10.8 percent, or about 2.4 million families, experienced “moderate hunger” (experienced hunger “only once” or “a few times” in the last three months), while 1.9 percent (431,000 families) said they experienced “severe hunger” (experienced hunger “often” or “always” over the same period). PND (jm)

President Aquino inspects high security printing plant in Batangas
(MALVAR, Batangas) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday inspected a high security printing plant here and witnessed the demonstration of the upgraded ePassport system.

Upon arrival at the APO Production Unit, Inc. High Security Printing Plant, located at the LIMA Technology Center, the President was received by Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, and APO’s Chairperson Milagros Alora and President Armando Dimarucot, Jr.

President Aquino proceeded to unveil the printing plant’s inaugural marker and inspected the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Tax Stamp Production Area, where he was briefed by BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.

Afterwards, he witnessed the demonstration of the ePassport system, which was simulcast live to the Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Office in Parañaque City, as well as the Philippine embassies in Singapore and in Doha, Qatar.

The ePassport booklet is made of more durable and higher quality materials and has security features to prevent fraud. The new process will shorten the waiting period for the issuance of passports from 15 days to 10 days for non-express processing, and from seven to five days for express processing.

The APO (Asian Productivity Organization) Production Unit is a government-controlled corporation under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). It is one of three recognized government printers, along with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the National Printing Office.

After the program, Secretary Coloma and APO executives presented President Aquino his commemorative ePassport.

Also present during the program were Batangas District 3 Representative Nelson Collantes, Malvar Mayor Carlito Reyes, Lipa City Mayor Meynard Sabili, and other officials of the PCOO. PND (ag)

President Aquino lauds success story of APO Production Unit in Batangas
(MALVAR, Batangas) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday praised the APO Production Unit, Inc. for transforming from being a government agency that “suffered from the highest forms of inefficiency” to one that is now “contributing to the national coffers”.

“The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Production Unit was first authorized in 1974 to undertake printing jobs for government agencies. Unfortunately, for more than 30 years, it was unable to fulfill its mandate and suffered from the highest forms of inefficiency,” President Aquino said during the unveiling of the inaugural marker of APO’S high security printing plant here.

He noted that the situation then was so bad that the APO, a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC), could not even solicit printing jobs from its fellow agencies in government.

“Given the APO’s condition in 2010; the decision could have been made to cut our losses and start anew. Instead, we all chose the path of reform,” he said, adding that measures were undertaken to ensure that printing continued, among them streamlining and computerizing operations, enhancing the skills of the workforce, and acquiring new printing equipment.

“Today, we can see that these efforts are literally paying off: from operating at a loss just a few years ago, to finally fulfilling your mandate and contributing to the national coffers,” he said, noting that in 2014, the agency turned over P2.7 million to the government.
The APO, which acquired the three-hectare security printing facility at the LIMA Technology Center in Batangas in July 2014, currently produces excise stamps for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Internal Revenue Stamp Information System.

It has also partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to improve the production of ePassports.

The service level agreement forged between the DFA and the APO will help ensure that the current system runs smoothly, both through maintenance and technical support provided by APO, and through the printing facility, the President said.

“I am certainly looking forward to seeing this plant’s operations in full swing, so that the rest of the country can benefit from APO’s services. That is, after all, what reform is about, whether undertaken in the national government or in an institution like this one,” he said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the APO was established in Tokyo by eight governments of the Asia Pacific, including the Philippines, back in 1961 “to contribute to the sustainable economic development of Asia and the Pacific through enhancing productivity”.

Coloma said the APO first became part of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) before it was transferred to the Office of the Press Secretary, then to the Philippine Information Agency, and back to the Office of the Press Secretary, now known as the PCOO.

“Isa sa mga mahalagang tagubilin ni Pangulong Aquino sa simula ng aming panunungkulan ay: ‘focus on doing the right things right’. Para hindi sayang ang kilos, kailangang suriin at alamin ang tunay at tamang problema o sitwasyon. Correct analysis leads to correct solutions and actions. Kaya nga po Ginoong Pangulo, nagpasya kami na ang pokus ng APO ay sa high security printing jobs, dahil dito po sa larangang ito maaaring maging epektibo ang APO sa pagganap ng tungkulin sa pamahalaan at sa mga mamamayan,” he said in his speech during the program.
Thanking the DFA, BIR, Social Security System, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Budget and Management, all clientele of APO, Coloma said, “Dahil sa kanilang tiwala at suporta, nalagpasan namin ang maraming balakid at natugunan ang mga hamon ng pagbabago.” PND (ag)