02 May 2015

President Aquino inspects state-of-the-art facilities of P2-billion hospital in Cebu
President Benigno S. Aquino III toured the newly constructed University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed) as the country celebrated Labor Day on Friday.

The 12-storey, 300-bed Level 2 hospital cost P2 billion and sits on a one-hectare property along Ouano Avenue in Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

President Aquino joined University of Cebu President Atty. Augusto Go, UCMed President Candice Gotianuy and Medical Director Joselito Almendras in inspecting the catheterization laboratory, cardiothoracic intensive care unit, coronary care unit, and operation room.

UCMed, which is affiliated with St. Vincent General Hospital, boasts of having many “firsts”, not only in the province but also in the Visayas-Mindanao region and Southeast Asia.

The hospital has the first 3D Mammography with Tomosynthesis and fully-integrated 3D Endoalpha Minimally Invasive Surgery Operating Room in Southeast Asia. It also has the most advanced 3D Laparoscopic Surgery Operating Room and Digestive Endoscopy Suite in the Philippines.

UCMed’s Brainlab, an imaging device that will make spine and brain surgery safer, is the most advanced in the Visayas-Mindanao region.

The hospital also offers medical procedures, such as flow cytometry tests to determine abnormalities and growth in tumors. Before, all hospitals have to send blood samples to Manila for this type of test, thus increasing the risk of spoilage of blood samples and breakage of vials while in transit.

Dedicated centers for Minimally Invasive Surgery, Executive Wellness, Cardiovascular Surgery, Hematology, Nutrition and Diabetes, Women’s Health, Pre-Employment Medical Screening, and Nephrology will be opened by the end of the year.

UCMed aims to be a leader in providing comprehensive and quality health care as well as maintaining value for its patients and stakeholders. PND (jm)

President Aquino inaugurates mill facility of multinational cement factory in Cebu City
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday led the inauguration of the new mill facility of cement company CEMEX Philippines in Naga City, Cebu province.

In his speech, President Aquino noted that the P3-billion facility would ramp up CEMEX Philippines’ operations by 1.5 million metric tons annually, for a plant output of 4 million metric tons of cement.

The cement industry, he said, is a large contributor to the current and successive rise of infrastructure across the Philippines.

Citing recent infrastructure projects that he recently visited – among them the new rice processing center in Negros Occidental, the cyber center in Bacolod City, the Lullutan Bridge in Isabela, the new school buildings and classrooms in Bulacan and Tarlac, and the SLEX Toll Road 4 project in Quezon – the President said the government is accelerating its infrastructure program as part of its comprehensive strategy to achieve widespread progress.

“Economic growth increases investor confidence in the country, which gives rise to new businesses—which, in turn, creates more jobs,” he said, adding that the people’s opportunities for progress will further broaden and the government would be able to collect more taxes, which will fund infrastructure and improve social services.

“With the confidence that comes with companies like CEMEX investing in us, we are assured of enough cement for all these infrastructure projects,” he said.

CEMEX S.A.B. de C.V., a Mexican multinational company which was founded in 1906, is one of the world’s three largest cement companies, with approximately 80 million metric tons of annual production capacity. PND (ag)

Government closely watching restive Mount Bulusan, says Palace
Concerned government agencies are closely monitoring Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon province after the volcano spewed steam and ash on Friday, a Palace official has said.

“Patuloy tayong nagbabantay dito at nakita nga natin ang report ng NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council) na nagkaroon na nga po ito ng activity,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during an interview aired over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Valte said that based on the latest report, Alert Level 0 prevails.

She however advised people living near the volcano to avoid entering the four-kilometer danger zone set by the authorities.

“Ipinapaala po natin doon sa mga pamahalaang lokal at doon po sa mga kababayan natin doon na ipinagbabawal pa rin po ang pagpasok sa four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone, dahil nga doon sa posibilidad na biglang magkaroon ng stream-driven or phreatic eruption,” she said, adding that the NDRRMC has already told civil aviation authorities to caution pilots flying over the area.

The council has been coordinating with Bicol’s Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council and other concerned agencies to monitor the situation and ensure that the danger zone is off limits to the public. PND (as)

Palace wishes Pacquiao all the best in his bout against Mayweather
Win or lose, the country will remain proud and supportive of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who battles Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for the welterweight crown in Las Vegas on Saturday (Sunday Manila time), Malacañang has said.

“Ang gusto lang naman po nating sabihin kay Congressman Manny Pacquiao ay kahit ano ang maging resulta ng kanyang laban ay mananatili po ang paghanga at pagsuporta sa kanya nang buong sambayanang Pilipino,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview aired over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

“At siyempre, ang gusto naman natin pong makita bukas ay talagang magtagumpay ang ating pambansang kamao,” Valte said.

In a recent interview, President Benigno S. Aquino III said he wants Pacquiao to hang his gloves soon so that he could enjoy the fruits of his labor and the company of his family.

The congressman, he said, has done enough to bring honor to the country.

“For Congressman Pacquiao, alam namin talagang buong-buo ang iyong loob, at buong-buo ang suporta ng buong sambayanan para sa iyo,” Valte said.

Mayweather and Pacquiao weighed in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Friday (Saturday in Manila), as 11,500 fans watched ahead of the most lucrative fight in boxing history. The bout is set to generate an estimated $400 million.

The pair will fight for the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight titles. PND (as)

Malacañang elated that the Philippines is not included in U.S. intellectual property rights watch list
The Palace on Saturday welcomed a US report indicating that the Philippines remains off its list of countries with intellectual property issues.

“We got word that the US Trade Representative watch list, ‘yung Special 301 Report that they issue yearly, that the Philippines has stayed off the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) watch list,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview.

Valte noted that the Philippines was removed from the watch list last year.

“It is good that we are not on the US Trade Representative’s watch list because its sends out a signal to other investors that we have a good business climate,” she told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

This will create the impression that the government takes every measure to protect intellectual property rights in the country, especially when investors do business in the Philippines, she explained.

Asked about what the government would do to stay out of the watch list, Valte said it has to continue adopting the best practices when it comes to intellectual property rights, such as the administrative enforcement reforms carried out by the country that have resulted in streamlined procedures, enhanced interagency cooperation, and more enforcement action, including increased seizures of pirated and counterfeit goods.

“And of course, we benefit from the assistance that was extended by the United States in terms of training funds from US government agencies for IPR enforcement and part of their technical assistance to foreign governments,” she said.

From 2013 to 2014, the Philippines was one of the countries that benefitted from the training spearheaded by the US for the Bureau of Customs, police, and officials in the judiciary, she said.

“We continue to avail of the technical assistance and then we continue to apply the best practices that we continue to learn from these measures,” she added.

She further said that the report had cited the country’s commitment to the whole government approach, not only the intellectual property office but also other stakeholders and law enforcement agencies.

The judiciary, she said, is an active participant in the country’s fight against counterfeit goods and piracy as it prosecutes violators of the Intellectual Property Code.

It was reported on Friday that the Philippines has, for the second year in a row, stayed out of the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report on the “adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.”

The report, released in Washington D.C. on Thursday, covered 72 trading partners, 37 of whom were on the watch list.

According to the report, the Philippines was first tagged in 1989 and was on the watch list since 1994 but was removed from the list last year, with the US Trade Representative citing improved Philippine government commitment to protect IPR. PND (as)

President Aquino inspects job fair in Mandaue City
(MANDAUE CITY, Cebu) As part of the Labor Day celebration, President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday visited the JobStart Philippines job fair, held at the J. Centre Mall in Mandaue City, Cebu province.

Accompanied by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, the President toured the booths at the fair.

In his speech during the inauguration of the new mill of CEMEX Philippines, President Aquino cited a JobStart participant who was full of hope.

“A proud member of our program, a young lady who only finished high school, and who is a single mother, said she was thankful for—with the assistance of DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) and TESDA—having been given a good job. In the past, it seemed as if she could wake up to nothing but problems. Now she faces me with optimism, because she is certain the future will be bright,” he said.

JobStart Philippines is a project of the Department of Labor and Employment, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Asian Development Bank, and local government units.

It provides a full-cycle employment-bridging package to youth beneficiaries, including life skills training, accessible labor market information, career counseling, on-the-job training, and other employment facilitation services.

Under the project, international sponsors finance the company-based training services as well as the stipend of interns.

The job fair’s theme was “Investing in the Filipino Youth Employability and Competitiveness: A Public-Private Partnership.” PND (ag)