October 07, 2015 – News Releases
|07 October 2015|
APEC News Release
|President Aquino attends TESDA Scholars’ Day at Cuneta Astrodome|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday urged the scholars of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) programs to use their knowledge to improve their lives.
In a speech delivered before an estimated 6,000 trainees and graduates during the gathering, which carried the theme “Pagpupugay sa mga TESDA Iskolar” at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, the President commended the leadership of TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva for the successful implementation of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program.
The Chief Executive also hailed the achievements of the scholars, whose poverty-to-success stories have inspired those who also want a better future.
“Samot-saring programa ang ating pinag-isipan at inilunsad upang bigyang-lakas ang ating mamamayan para makilahok sa pag-asenso ng lipunan. Ngayong araw nga po, kasama ang TESDA, isa sa mga ahensiyang nagsusulong ng tinatawag nating inclusive growth, ipinagdiriwang natin ang tagumpay ng Technical Vocational Education and Training program. Gayundin, nagpupugay tayo sa transpormasyon sa buhay ng ating scholars. Sa inyong lahat po, congratulations,” said President Aquino.
The Aquino administration, through TESDA, has funded various programs, such as the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA), and the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).
From June 2010 to August 2015, the TWSP produced 877,943 graduates while the PESFA and the STEP had 127,232 and 43,500 graduates, respectively.
The TWSP was allocated P5.8 billion and the PESFA P1 billion from 2010 to 2015. The STEP, on the other hand, received a budget of P1.46 billion from 2014 to 2015.
“Malinaw po na patunay ang TESDA sa positibong transpormasyon ng ating mga institusyon. Huwaran ang inyong ahensiya kung paano tinutugunan ng Daang Matuwid ang pangangailangan ng ating mga Boss, at sa pagkakaroon ng isang gobyernong nakatutok sa paghahatid ng pangmatagalang benepisyo, lalo na sa mga mas nangangailangan,” the President further said.
President Aquino assured that in the remaining days of his term, the government will continue to provide opportunities. He also reminded the scholars that success rests in their own hands.
“Sa nalalabing panahon ko sa termino, patuloy nating gagawin ang tama at makatwiran upang makapaglatag ng mas maraming pagkakataon sa ating bansa. Ngunit gaya nga ng sinabi ng aking ama noong araw, ‘Kaya kitang pagbuksan ng pinto; pero nasa iyo, kung mananatiling bukas ito.’ Nasa inyo nga talaga kung hahakbang kayo papasok; sa dulo ng lahat ng ating pagsisikap, nasa inyong kamay ang pagsasagad sa oportunidad, nasa inyong mga kamay ang pag-asenso,” he said.
President Aquino also called on the scholars to vote wisely in the coming election.
“Sa 2016, haharap pong muli ang sambayanan sa sangandaan, kung saan pipili tayo ng mga susunod na pinuno ng bayan. Ang tanong nga po: Lahat ba ng ating pinaghirapan, lahat ba ng ating napagtagumpayan, maglalaho lang dahil sa isang eleksiyon? Harinawa, muli tayong magkaisa at tumahak sa iisang direksiyon; ituloy natin ang mga repormang gagawing permanente ang tinatamasa nating pagbabago; ituloy natin ang pamumunong nagawa na at gagawin pa ang nararapat sa Pilipino; ituloy natin ang pagtahak sa Daang Matuwid—ang landas kung saan sa pag-unlad ay walang maiiwanan,” he said.
“Kaya mga kasama, ulitin ko lang ho, ang kinabukasan po, hindi totoong mayroon nang nakatakdang kapalaran para sa atin. Tayo ang gumagawa ng kapalaran, sa ngayon, sa tulong ng Poong Maykapal, bibigyan niya tayo ng daan para maabot ang lahat nang ating mga pangarap,” the President concluded.
The three outstanding scholars who shared their success stories were Merryll Llorvin, a visual graphic artist at the United Christian Academy in Parañaque City; Renji Arcilla, owner of a manpower training center in San Jose, Batangas; and Cristina Reyes, owner of the Habitat Spa in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.
Present at the event, which also recognized the partnership of TESDA with various organizations and the private sector, were Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz; Education Secretary Armin Luistro; Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr.; Pasay City Representative Imelda Calixto-Rubiano; Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto; Oriental Mindoro Governor and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines President Alfonso Umali, Jr.; Pampanga Representative Yeng Guiao; Senator Bam Aquino; and Coca-Cola Philippines Vice President Atty. Adel Tamano. PND (jm)
|President Aquino declares October 20 as World Statistics Day|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared October 20, 2015 as “World Statistics Day” in response to the call of the United Nations (UN) to celebrate and acknowledge the important role and many achievements of official statistics.
President Aquino made the declaration through Proclamation No. 1135, which he signed last October 1.
The proclamation directed all agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including government-owned or –controlled corporations, local government units, as well as the private sector, to collaborate and cooperate with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in advocating and implementing activities pertaining to World Statistics Day (WSD).
Prior to the proclamation, the PSA Board approved Resolution No. 09, enjoining the support and participation of the members of the Philippine Statistical System to the nationwide observance of WSD in the country.
The World Statistics Day was first celebrated on October 20, 2010 pursuant to Resolution 64/267 issued by the UN General Assembly.
On June 3 this year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating October 20, 2015 as the second World Statistics Day, under the general theme, “Better Data, Better Lives”, and stating that the WSD be celebrated on October 20 every five years.
In 2010, President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 43 declaring October 20, 2010, as World Statistics Day “to recognize the role of statistics in evidence-based decision making across all cultural and historical background of countries, despite diversity and variation in levels of development”.
October has also been declared as National Statistics Month pursuant to Proclamation No. 647 (s. 1990).
Both the National Statistics Month and the World Statistics Day will be celebrated this month through various activities that will highlight the important role of statistics in achieving sustainable and inclusive growth and improving access to health facilities and social protection programs critical in nation-building. PND (co)
|President Aquino lauds continued growth of IT-BPM industry|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday lauded the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry in the Philippines for its continuing success. In his speech during the 7th annual International IT-BMP Summit held in Pasay City, President Aquino acknowledged the industry’s significant contribution to the country’s economy and to Filipinos, calling it a “microcosm” of the administration’s inclusive growth agenda.
The President cited the growth of the industry’s revenue from $8.9 billion in 2010 to $18.9 billion in 2014, while its employment increased from 520,000 employees in 2010 to 1.07 million in 2014.
“Right now, because of you, more than a million Filipinos are assured of stable incomes to help them pay the rent and the bills, put food on the tables, send their younger siblings or their children to school, and even make monthly payments on their new cars and condominiums,” he said.
President Aquino also noted that for every job the IT-BPM creates, an additional 2.5 indirect jobs are generated in support services — from restaurants and convenience stores, to public transportation and housing.
On top of the 300,000 the industry has already employed, the President said IT-BPM has also given livelihoods to an additional 750,000 Filipinos outside Metro Manila.
“Indeed: The IT-BPM industry is a microcosm of our administration’s inclusive growth agenda — where jobs are created all around the country; where our people’s salaries go far beyond day-to-day subsistence, and instead redound to opportunities to better their situations both now and in the future,” he said.
“We want to replicate this kind of success in each and every sector, and in the entire economy. In this endeavor, as with all others, it is our single most important resource, the Filipino people, who will propel us to greater heights,” he added.
President Aquino also reported that the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and the government, together with its stakeholders, are already working together to help the sector continue to grow.
He cited the Service Management Program (SMP) designed to cultivate the skills needed for employment, adding that the UP Open University and IBPAP have also worked together to convert SMP courseware into an online format, which has so far benefited 1,200 enrollees.
The President also noted the collaboration between the IBPAP and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), under the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), to train graduates seeking employment in their companies.
As of August this year, President Aquino said the government funding for the Training for Work Scholarship Program of the IT-BPM sector has reached P1.61 billion, which has benefited more than 200,000 Filipinos.
“The expertise you possess will help us to maintain and perhaps even widen our lead in voice BPM. At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities for us to move up the value chain, and provide even more specialized services,” he said.
The President said various associations in the IT-BPM industry have also partnered with TESDA to implement training programs in animation and game development, offered in different areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The Chief Executive also mentioned that the government has been working to develop cities outside Metro Manila that could play host to IT-BPM operations.
“Forty-two cities and areas are on our priority list now, and roadshows to promote the industry were completed in Capiz and Pangasinan this year, with the last stop being General Santos in a matter of a month’s time,” he said.
“We have done so much together. Thank you for partnering with us, not only to maintain our industry lead, but also to enter other avenues and offer more specialized services,” he further said.
In his speech, President Aquino also credited former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II for the growth of the country’s IT-BPM sector.
Roxas also served as secretary of trade and industry in 2000.
“In the middle of the Asian Financial Crisis, he scrutinized what seemed like a grim economic landscape and saw potential in the union of our countrymen’s talents and your sector,” the President said.
“He reached out to industry leaders, and through the ‘Make IT Philippines’ strategy, aggressively marketed the Philippines as a destination for investments in this sector,” he added. PND (co)
|Palace elated over United Nations appointment of Audit Commissioner Heidi Mendoza|
| The Palace was elated at the appointment of Commission on Audit (COA) chief Heidi Mendoza as the new undersecretary general of the United Nations (UN) Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).
“Iba talaga ang Pinoy. Nakita po natin ang kanyang competence sa Commission on Audit, ang kanyang reputation as a woman of integrity. We have seen her work in the Commission on Audit and it certainly brings pride and honor to our country that she was considered to head the oversight body in the UN,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during Wednesday’s media briefing.
“The offer to her came from the United Nations itself. There was no endorsement or promotion by the Philippine government. It was an acknowledgment of the role and the performance of Heidi Mendoza in her role as COA commissioner,” Secretary Lacierda added.
On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named Mendoza as new undersecretary general of the Office of Internal Oversight Services for a five-year non-renewable term.
The office is considered as the UN’s internal watchdog.
Mendoza had served in COA for more than two decades before her appointment as commissioner in March 2011.
She served as an expert witness during the impeachment trial of former chief justice Renato Corona in 2012; and as a government witness in the corruption charges filed at the Sandiganbayan against former Makati mayor Elenita Binay, wife of Vice President Jejomar Binay. PND (ag)
|Palace agrees with vice presidential bet Leni Robredo on need for tax reform|
| A Palace official on Wednesday said the government agrees with Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo on the need to reform the taxation law.
“There is no debate that we need to do tax reform. There is no debate on that. Everybody is in favor of tax reform,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing in Malacañang.
Secretary Lacierda was responding to a question on whether President Benigno S. Aquino III was aware that Robredo has joined the clamor for tax reform.
The Camarines Sur representative said during a cable news interview that she is in favor of tax reform.
Lacierda noted that that the latest tax reform law was done in 1997.
“Certainly we need to do a tax reform. What is the position of government? The position of government is: ‘Let us do a comprehensive tax reform.’ There is no debate that we need to reform the Tax Reform Act,” he said, pointing out that even Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is pushing for a comprehensive tax reform. PND (ag)
|Jalaur River Dam in Iloilo to enhance country’s food security — Senator Drilon|
| (ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Senate President Franklin Drilon has expressed optimism that with the upcoming operation of the multi-billion peso Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Dam in Iloilo province, the alarming negative growth in the Western Visayas region’s agricultural sector would be turned around by 2020.
In his remarks delivered at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy held this week at the Iloilo Convention Center, the Ilonggo senator noted that last year, agriculture, forestry and fishing as a sector, contributed almost 22 percent of the regional gross domestic product.
Drilon however pointed out that this sector contracted by an average of 2 percent per year for the past three years.
“Let me repeat that for emphasis,” he said. “Agriculture, forestry and fishing as a sector, which accounted for almost 22 percent of the regional gross domestic product in Western Visayas, contracted by an average of 2 percent per year for the past three years.”
The senator expressed hope that the P11.2 billion ($250 million) Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Dam, considered to be the biggest outside Luzon, would enhance the country’s food security.
The dam, which will start construction in February next year, is expected to irrigate more than 33,000 hectares of rice land in Iloilo and will provide an additional 200,000 metric tons of palay per year.
Still, Drilon said, the Philippine government is aware that much needs to be done to address the threats to food security, even as officials from across the Pacific Rim converged here in the city to “generate ideas on how to attain our collective goal of food security amidst the colossal changes that we are facing today”.
“It is our aim that all Filipinos will have physical and economic access to safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs all the time,” he said. “Thus, we have been promoting sustainable food supply chains.”
Drilon said Congress has done its share by enacting laws to ensure food security.
Coincidentally, a day after he delivered his speech at the Food Security and Blue Economy dialogue, the Senate approved Senate Bill 2923, which declares large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage, a crime which carries heavy penalties, including life imprisonment.
“Once approved by our House of Representatives, this will become law, hopefully, by the first quarter of 2016,” the Senate president said.
He said there are also ongoing programs and projects that promote the conservation of fisheries and aquatic resources. Congress has likewise provided the appropriate budget for that activity, including in the 2016 proposed budget.
Drilon noted that it is not only the food security of the Philippines that is being threatened but that of the entire region as well.
Moreover, he said, governments are confronting the colossal challenge of climate change; food loss and wastage at different phases in the supply chain; and illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing.
“Pushing for Blue Economy is more of an imperative, than a choice,” said Drilon. “Now, more than ever, countries in the Asia-Pacific region must collectively and aggressively address food security issues by advancing the Blue Economy Agenda. APEC is an important platform to achieve this goal.”
He stressed that the economies in the region must push for sustainable management and conservation of ocean and coastal resources.
“Equally important is the management of ecosystems,” Drilon pointed out. “They must heighten efforts to combat illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing. All these are needed to ensure food security to this generation, and for generations to come.” (APEC Communications Group)
|Palace wishes MMDA Chairman Tolentino well|
| The Palace has wished Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino well, as President Benigno S. Aquino III acknowledged Tolentino’s decision to withdraw from the administration’s senatorial lineup.
Tolentino resigned from his post as MMDA chief on Wednesday to prepare to run for higher office in next year’s elections.
Earlier, President Aquino said in a statement that Tolentino has “accepted responsibility” for the “recent incident connected to him”.
“Francis is a firm advocate of Daang Matuwid. He knows that, at present, those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident.
I believe that Chairman Tolentino is doing his part to ensure that public debate truly focuses on the continuation of Daang Matuwid and the undeniable benefits it has brought to our Bosses,” President Aquino said in a statement.
“It is also my belief that he will take the opportunity to further reflect on how he can better affect positive change in the future,” he added.
Meanwhile, during a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda asked the public not to make the incident a “defining moment” for Tolentino.
“Huwag sana po ito maging defining moment kay Chairman Francis. Marami na ho siyang nagawa and certainly, this is something that he has recognized and something that he has already issued a statement for,” Secretary Lacierda said, citing flood control projects and disaster response efforts as among Tolentino’s accomplishments.
“We acknowledge the decision taken by Chair Francis Tolentino. He could have insisted but he chose to withdraw his name from the slate. Like I said, this event in Laguna should not define Chair Francis Tolentino. Marami po ang kanyang nai-ambag sa ating pamahalaan, sa ating kababayan… So, we wish him well… kung ano man ang desisyon niya,” said Lacierda.
It was reported on Wednesday that labor groups have lodged a complaint before the Ombudsman against Tolentino, saying he has violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Magna Carta for Women, for allegedly hiring an all-female group who performed a sexually explicit dance routine during the birthday party of Laguna Representative Benjamin Agarao.
Before resigning as MMDA chief, Tolentino apologized to Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II over the incident.
Roxas attended the event to lead the oath-taking of new LP members but left before the group’s performance. PND (ag)
|President Aquino attends wake of former Congressman Angelito Sarmiento in Bulacan|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III visited the wake of former Congressman Angelito Sarmiento at the chapel of the San Jose Cemetery Park in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on Wednesday.
Upon arrival, the President expressed his condolences to the family of Sarmiento, who died of a heart attack while attending a court hearing in Malolos City on October 1. The 68-year-old former mayor of San Jose del Monte City was rushed to the Bulacan Provincial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 11 a.m.
Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado was also present at the wake.
Sarmiento will be buried on Thursday at the family mausoleum at the San Jose Cemetery Park.
Sarmiento was a member of the Liberal Party/Partido Del Pilar. He served as Congressman, representing the 4th District of Bulacan, from 1992 to 2001. He was chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture from 1998 to 2001.
During the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sarmiento served as presidential adviser on agricultural modernization from 2001 to 2003 and National Food Authority chairman from 2001 to 2004.
Sarmiento also served as president of the Vitarich Corporation from 1983 to 1988. PND (jm)