05 May 2016
  • Palace extends condolences to family of former Foreign Affairs Chief Domingo Siazon
  • Malacañang reiterates commitment to rescue remaining hostages from Abu Sayyaf
  •  President Aquino inaugurates Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park in Davao Oriental
  • President Aquino reports on Daang Matuwid achievements in Davao del Sur
  • President Aquino inaugurates P83.5-million bridge in Albay
  • President Aquino inaugurates fish port, cold storage facility in Camarines Sur

Palace extends condolences to family of former Foreign Affairs Chief Domingo Siazon
Malacañang has offered its condolences to the family of former foreign affairs secretary Domingo Siazon, who passed away on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 76.

“We pause in tribute to Domingo Siazon, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs (1995-2001) and Philippine Ambassador to Japan (1993-1995 and 2001-2010),” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Respected by his colleagues in the foreign service, his peers abroad, and by presidents and the public alike, he belonged to the second generation of career diplomats who served with professionalism and who rose according to merit.”

Secretary Lacierda remembered Siazon as a “cultured, urbane man”, who leaves behind a record of distinguished service to the country, “bringing honor to the flag wherever he served”.

“We extend deepest sympathies to his family at this time of profound loss,” the Palace official added.

Siazon, who succumbed to prostate cancer in Tokyo, also served as director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) from 1985 to 1993, as well as ambassador to Austria, and Philippine Permanent Representative to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. PND (jd)

Malacañang reiterates commitment to rescue remaining hostages from Abu Sayyaf
The Palace has reiterated its commitment to rescue the remaining hostages being held by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

According to reports, the group has circulated online a video showing the beheading of Canadian John Ridsdel last week. The ASG has also released a video of the remaining three captives pleading to the Canadian and Philippine governments to meet the group’s demands.

Addressing the latest threat, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Wednesday that President Benigno S. Aquino III, in a statement last week, vowed that the “full resources of the State are being brought down on the ASG”.

“Our primary objective is to rescue the hostages and ensure the safety of our civilian population,” Secretary Coloma quoted the President as saying.

“We have always believed in the power of dialogue, development, and positive engagement over arms. But we will always act from a position of strength. So, to the ASG, and whoever may aid or abet them, you have chosen only the language of force, and we will speak to you only in that language. We will not stop until the threat they pose to our communities is ended,” the President has said.

The group is still holding Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Maritess Flor, who along with Ridsdel were kidnapped from a resort in Samal Island last September.

The authenticity of the 52-second footage on Ridsdel‘s beheading, released on Tuesday, has not been verified. PND (jd)

President Aquino inaugurates Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park in Davao Oriental
(SAN ISIDRO, Davao Oriental) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday led the inauguration of the Mount Hamiguitan World Heritage Park here, which has been declared by UNESCO as the country’s first natural science park.

The President unveiled the marker at the foot of the mountain, symbolizing the official opening of the heritage park as a tourist destination in the Davao region.

The 27,714-hectare park is the natural habitat of the Philippine Eagle and the Philippine Cockatoo, as well as 1,403 species of flora and fauna, 341 of which are endemic to the country.

“Para mapangalagaan ang natatanging yaman ng Mt. Hamiguitan, pinaigting natin ang pagpa-patrolya at pagbabantay ng ating Forest Rangers at Protected Area Enforcement Officers; kasama na ang pagsasagawa ng capacity building programs para sa management, wildlife law enforcement, at ecotourism awareness. Meron din tayong sistema ng Regular Biodiversity Monitoring, na imbentaryo ng species sa lugar,” the President said before an enthusiastic crowd of local civic leaders and residents.

He noted that the park features a natural science museum, research and management center, butterfly garden, bird watching sites, and other facilities that would attract tourists, researchers and conservationists.

In Mati City, he added, tourists could visit the Subangan Museum, which features Mt. Hamiguitan, as well as the rich biodiversity and cultural heritage of Davao Oriental.

“Siyempre, dulo nito, dahil dadami ang bibisita sa inyo, sisigla ang lokal na turismo, na maghahatid ng oportunidad sa mga taga-Davao Oriental, partikular na sa San Isidro. Alam niyo po, kada isang foreign tourist arrival, tinataya po na may isang trabahong nalilikha para sa ating mga kababayang Pilipino,” he explained.

To make travelling to the natural park easier, President Aquino said the government has allocated P236.36 million for the construction of a 40-lineal meter bridge as well as for concreting a 4.9-kilometer section of the La Union-Mt. Hamiguitan Road Junction.

“Malinaw ang ating stratehiya: Mas maayos na mga kalsada at imprastraktura, mas malagong komersyo’t turismo, mas maraming oportunidad sa mamamayan,” he said.

The Chief Executive further reported that his administration has given the province an infrastructure budget of P10.36 billion, more than double the P4.4 billion allotted by the previous administration.

The amount, he said, was used to fund P889.31 million worth of flood control projects, as well as P890 million worth of farm-to-market roads, irrigation, and a fish port project.

Moreover, he said, 41,250 households are currently benefiting from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, up from 8,829 households in 2010, while 503,735 are now covered by PhilHealth.

He also said that P129.56 million has been earmarked for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program in the province, and that 226 sitios have benefitted from the government’s sitio electrification program.

The President took the opportunity to call on his audience to consider carefully who to vote for on May 9.

“Lunes magdedesisyon tayo. Matagal-tagal na nating pinakinggan lahat ng nagkakatunggali, pag-isipan ho natin ng maayos. Saan ba tayo dito sigurado? At saan ba tayo delikado? Nasa inyo na po ‘yan,” he said. PND (sm)

President Aquino reports on Daang Matuwid achievements in Davao del Sur
(DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday reported on his administration’s accomplishments in Davao del Sur province.

In his speech before local officials and members of the community who gathered at the Davao del Sur Coliseum here, the President noted that the province’s infrastructure budget under his term has tripled to P4.76 billion from P1.45 billion under the previous administration.

Of the amount, he said, P989 million was spent on farm-to-market roads and irrigation projects.

Belying criticisms that his administration has neglected Mindanao, President Aquino said the island’s infrastructure budget has ballooned to P302.15 billion from P67.32 billion under the previous administration.

In terms of social services, he said, 62,857 households are currently benefitting from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a far cry from the 4,744 households benefitting from the program in 2010.Some 2.38 million people in the province are now covered by PhilHealth, and they are part of the 24.85 million people covered in Mindanao, he said, adding that P186.31 million has been channeled by the Department of Health to the province’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program.

He further reported that 712 sitios in Davao del Sur have benefitted from the government’s sitio electrification program, and that 4,983 classrooms have been and are being built in the province.

“Lahat ng nangyaring pagbabago sa Daang Matuwid, parati kong sinasabi: Tayo ang gumawa nito. Tayo ang nagsama-sama para baguhin ang kasaysayan natin. Tayo rin ang maniniguardong magpapatuloy ng Daang Matuwid,” the President said.

He took the opportunity to call on his audience to vote for the administration’s standard-bearers on May 9 to ensure the continuity of the government’s reform program. He also warned the electorate against choosing candidates who have the tendency to establish a dictatorship.

Winding up his speech, President Aquino thanked the people profusely.

“Isang matinding pasasalamat sa inyong lahat. Talagang matinding karangalan mamuno ng isang dakilang lahi tulad ng Pilipino na talaga namang sigurado ako, sa lahat ng hamong hinarap ko — at alam niyo kung ano-anong mga hamon ang dinaanan ko — sigurado akong nasa tabi ko, nasa likuran ko kayo, kaya kinaya natin lahat ng hamon na ‘yan. Ang dami pa nating kakayanin, mga susunod na hamon, basta tayo po ay nagkakaisa,” he said. PND (sm)

President Aquino inaugurates P83.5-million bridge in Albay
(LEGAZPI CITY, Albay) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday led the inauguration of the newly renovated Yawa Bridge in Barangay Rawis here.

The President was welcomed at the airport by Albay Governor Joey Salceda and Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, who also joined him at the P83.5-million four-lane bridge for the inaugural drive through.

The Yawa Bridge, which connects the northern barangays of Legazpi City to the Central Business District as well as the municipalities of Albay’s first district, was widened to ease traffic congestion, and facilitate the transport of marine and agricultural products and other basic services.

After the inaugural drive through, President Aquino travelled to Barangay San Roque-Bonot for the unveiling of the marker and inspection of a pumping station constructed near the mouth of the Tibu River Channel.

The Tibu Pumping Station is part of the Legazpi City Urban Drainage Improvement Project, which aims to solve the perennial flooding in the commercial district and nearby areas in and around the city.

After the inauguration of the Tibu Pumping Station, President Aquino met with local leaders and community at the Pavilion of Ligao City, which is situated at the foot of the majestic Mayon Volcano. PND (jm)

President Aquino inaugurates fish port, cold storage facility in Camarines Sur
(CALABANGA, Camarines Sur) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday led the inauguration of a fish port terminal and a cold storage facility here that aim to boost economic activities and alleviate poverty in Camarines Sur province.

The P50-million Sabang Fish Port Development Project aims to develop a new facility that will serve as the main catalyst of fishing and other agricultural industries in the municipalities along San Miguel Bay.

Implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications, the project covers the construction of a fish port in a reclaimed area, along with a terminal shed and comfort rooms.

The project is expected to benefit local fishermen, fish brokers, construction suppliers, and the local population.

On the other hand, the Sabang, Calabanga Fishport Cold Storage Facility, which was completed last February, was built to boost government initiatives in spurring economic activities to resolve poverty.

According to the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, the P46.3-million project is expected to benefit more than 1,000 fishermen in Calabanga and help fish traders and the local community.

A 2013 feasibility study in Calabanga showed that there are 1,271 fishing bancas in the municipality, including 19 commercial fishing vessels, 724 motorized and 52 non-motorized fishing vessels.

The study also showed that there are 14 hectares of freshwater fishponds, with a total production of about .08 metric ton a day.

Fishing activities in the area yields an estimated 14.6 metric tons of fish a day. Of the entire volume of fish catch, about 99 percent comes from marine fisheries and 1 percent from aquaculture fisheries.

Some 90 percent, or 12.3 metric tons a day of the total volume produced, are unloaded in Calabanga while fish trading is conducted along the road.

The construction of the fish port and cold storage facility in Calabanga will address numerous problems in fish handling and distribution, as well as improve fish quality.

With the cold storage facility, fishermen can command better prices for their catch and not live at the mercy of middlemen and unscrupulous traders, President Aquino said in a brief speech during the event.

The President however called on the people to work together to maintain the fish port and cold storage so the facilities could be expanded in the future.

Crabs, which are among Calabanga’s major products, could be processed in the municipality and this would create more jobs, he said.

“Pero siyempre, magtulungan tayo. Huwag tayong mag-inggitan, huwag tayong magsiraan, huwag tayong mag-intrigahan ng kaliwa’t kanan, para talagang mapaganda itong pasilidad na ito,” he said.

The President also expressed his gratitude to the people for giving him the opportunity to serve them.

Explaining the meaning of his Daang Matuwid agenda, he said, “Walang pangakong napapako. Pag sinabing pagagandahin ang sitwasyon ninyo, pipilitin nating ibigay ang lahat ng oportunidad.” PND (as)