03 Mar 2016

May presidential election a referendum for ‘Daang Matuwid’, says President Aquino
(TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol) This year’s presidential election will be a referendum for the government’s Daang Matuwid initiative, President Benigno S. Aquino III said here Wednesday as he urged Boholanos to vote for the administration’s candidates so reforms could continue.In his message during a meeting with local leaders here, the President recalled the devastation suffered by Bohol when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the province in 2013.

President Aquino noted that when he visited Bohol that time, he was worried about how to rebuild the province — from restoring power to providing assistance to evacuees to reconstructing damaged structures.

He however said that with the help of Bohol’s leaders and communities, the province was able to rebuild.

The government’s pro-poor programs have also begun to benefit more Boholanos, the President said, underscoring the importance of expanding the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program.

In Bohol, some 531 households had enrolled under the program during its initial implementation, but the figure has increased to 59,222 households.

“At alam naman po ninyo ang resulta ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino doon sa unang — iyong pagre-revalidate ng ating data, meron na pong 7.7 milyong kabahayan lumagpas na po sa tinatawag nating poverty line, naiangat na natin doon sa kahirapan,” he said.

President Aquino further said that the government has also widened PhilHealth’s coverage in the province, with 1.2 million Boholanos currently covered by the health insurance program.

They are now part of 93 million Filipinos across the country enjoying the benefits of PhilHealth, he added.

In the energy sector, he said, Bohol is 100 percent energized under the sitio electrification program.

Some 97 percent of Central Visayas have power supply, the Chief Executive said.

“Pangako po, bago matapos itong buwan na ito, lahat ng utang sa Central Visayas ay magagawa na, 32,000 mahigit pong sitio iyan,” he said.

On the upcoming elections, the President enjoined the Boholanos to look to the administration’s candidates for the continuance of the government’s reform program.

“Ngayon ho, para sa akin, sa darating na halalan, ika-siyam ng Mayo, simpleng-simple lang ho, kumbaga referendum. Tama ba ang nangyari sa Daang Matuwid o mali? Iyon ho ang tatanungin,” he said.

He urged the people to scrutinize candidates who promise everything just to win votes, emphasizing that fulfilling such promises is another thing.

Prior to meeting local Bohol officials, the President led the capsule-laying ceremony in Panglao for the new Panglao International airport.

He also attended the switch-on ceremony for the government’s electrification program in Central Visayas that provides power to more than 2,000 sitios in the region. PND (as)

President Aquino appoints Teofilo Pilando, Jr. as new Chair of Professional Regulation Commission
President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed Deputy Executive Secretary for General Administration Teofilo Pilando, Jr. as the new head of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

“According to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., President Aquino has appointed lawyer Teofilo S. Pilando, Jr., as Chairperson of the Professional Regulation Commission, effective 29 February 2016,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Pilando earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines in 1985 and passed the Bar Examinations the year after.

Prior to his appointment, he served as national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and as an arbitrator for the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.

He also worked as a consultant on utilities regulation and privatization and on corporate governance for the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, respectively.

Pilando also had a stint with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Task Force on International Refugee Assistance and Administration in the Philippines.

The PRC oversees the professional sector, regulating and supervising the practice of professionals in the country. PND (kt)

President Aquino tours newly restored Fort San Pedro in Cebu
(CEBU CITY, Cebu) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday inspected the newly reconstructed Fort San Pedro here, which was damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas in October 2013.

The President arrived at Fort San Pedro at about 3 pm and conducted an inspection as he was briefed by National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chair Maria Serena Diokno.

The P21-million restoration work began in June 2015 and was completed five months after. The project was fully funded by the NHCP.

The more than 400-year-old fort, the oldest and the smallest early fortification in the Philippines, was built by the country’s Spanish colonizers.

Built in 1565, it is older than Fort Santiago in Manila. Fort Santiago was constructed in 1572. PND (as)

President Aquino inaugurates PAGCOR-funded school project in Cebu City
(CEBU CITY, Cebu) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday led the inauguration of a four-storey, 20-classroom school building here that was constructed under the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) school building project.

The new building at the Guadalupe Elementary School was built through PAGCOR’s Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan school building project, with the help of partners, such as the Department of Education and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The President was accompanied by PAGCOR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Cristino Naguiat, Jr., Education Secretary Armin Luistro, and Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson.

“Nagtitipon po tayo ngayon para pasinayaan ang bagong school building ninyo rito sa Guadalupe Elementary School. Patunay lang po ito na sa Daang Matuwid, walang maiiwan. Binibigyan natin ng kakayahan at oportunidad sa kaunlaran ang ating mga kababayan,” he said in his speech during the inauguration.

President Aquino particularly thanked Naguiat for providing P12 billion for education.

“Ngayon po, nagpapasalamat tayo sa inyong lokal na pamahalaan, at sa mga ahensya ng gobyernong nagkapit-kamay para maisakatuparan ang inisyatibang ito. Kay Chairman Bong Naguiat at sa PAGCOR na nagbigay na raw ho ng P12 bilyon para sa edukasyon, P9 bilyon sa DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), P3 bilyon sa DepEd (Department of Education),” he said.

Guadalupe Elementary School officials said the new building would enable the school to hold classes the whole day, improve school attendance, and cut dropout rate.

Prior to the turnover of the new school building, students had to attend make-up classes and adopt shifting schedules to address the severe lack of classrooms.

With a population of 7,000, the Guadalupe Elementary School is the largest public primary school in Cebu City.

The PAGCOR reported that as of December last year, it has constructed 131 classrooms in 31 locations in Cebu. Some 121 classrooms are under construction and 80 are undergoing procurement procedures.

So far, the Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan project, which was launched in June 2011, has already built 2,221 classrooms in 448 sites across the country.

About 1,841 classrooms in 279 locations are under construction while 1,065 classrooms in 94 sites are undergoing procurement arrangements, PAGCOR said.

The goal of the project is to build thousands of spacious and modern classrooms for both public elementary and high schools in the country.

This adds up to the administration’s campaign to reduce the acute deficiency in classrooms and school buildings in public schools. PND (as)