11 April 2015

Malacanang welcomes BOI-approved investment pledges in first quarter of 2015
The Palace welcomes a Board of Investments (BOI) report saying the country had double-digit growth in the first quarter for investment pledges supported by registrations on big-ticket projects in the energy sector.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the country’s investment pledges in the first quarter of the year was up by 17 percent to P54.62-billion from P46.7 billion last year.

There’s a total of 59 projects approved in the first quarter, according to Valte and with these pledges, the administration could generate more jobs.

“These 59 projects are expected to generate 18,174 jobs for our countrymen. So, again, very good news from the BOI and the Department of Trade and Industry,” she told dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan on Saturday.

The DTI attributed the higher figures in the first quarter to the approval of big-ticket projects listed under the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector.

The sector generated P13.76 billion in approved investments, up 30 percent from last year’s comparable figure of P10.55 billion, the DTI said.

But it was the manufacturing sector that posted the biggest growth as investments shoot up by a tremendous 517 percent from P2.1 billion to P12.9 billion.

In the transportation and storage sector, approved investments grew by 134 percent from P4.47 billion to P10.48 billion, and in the information and communication sector, investments posted a remarkable increase of 841 percent from P496.7 million to P4.67 billion.

The agriculture, forestry, and fishing also posted some growth from last year having P198 million this year. The education sector on the other hand now has P1.4 billion worth of projects. PND (as)

Government programs must first take root to reflect on Social Progress Index
The government could use key markers in the 2015 Social Progress Index result to improve its programs that in the end will help uplift the lives of the people, a Palace official said on Saturday.

The Philippines was ranked fifth in terms of social progress in East Asia and Pacific region in a report by Social Progress Imperative, a think tank based in the United States.

According to the 2015 Social Progress Index results of the Washington D.C.-based Social Progress Imperative, the Philippines beats Indonesia, China, Cambodia, and Laos.

Although the Philippines faired well regionally, the country is ranked 64th among 133 countries, which the think tank labeled as “medium low.” The Philippines dropped from 56th spot in 2014 to 64th this year.

In a radio interview on Saturday over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said government programs must be allowed to reach the people to have an impact. Valte was asked by reporters how the government could improve its ranking.

“Siguro bigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang mga programa natin to take root, and to actually keep helping,” she said.

The good things about the index is that it identifies markers like “depth of food deficit,” “maternal mortality cycle,” and “child mortality rate,” she noted.

With these markers, the government can focus on those areas to see how its programs can help push the rankings up in terms of these indicators, she added.

Valte also brushed off the country’s low ranking saying the organization itself says that these results need not be compared to 2014 and 2013 because the Social Progress Imperative is refining its data and information.

“A country’s progress on the 2015 report should not be compared to its progress in 2014 and in 2013 for the simple fact that the metrics are not the same,” Valte noted.

The 2015 Social Progress Index defines social progress as “the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.” PND (as)

Assessment report on Mindanao may be helpful in ensuring peace in the region
A report by a refutable organization could aid Philippine policymakers in forging an enduring peace in Mindanao, a Palace official said on Saturday.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said a report by International Alert UK Philippines, a partner in Mindanao peace advocacy, could provide important inputs as lawmakers tackle proposals related to Mindanao.

International Alert is a member of the International Contact Group and its works on conflict monitoring are partly funded by the World Bank.

Valte said that although the group’s report was submitted in August 2014, prior to the submission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress, it has important highlights worthy of consideration.

“One notable part of the report is that it has very interesting data on the conflict in areas of Mindanao, in such that it identifies new causes of violence, at hindi lang ‘yung sinasabing mga dating ugat ng conflict sa Mindanao,” Valte said.

International Alert’s data can be very useful to policymakers in discussing the peace process in Mindanao and help them craft laws and other policies important in peace initiatives, Valte said.

The report also recognized the importance of the ongoing peace process in Mindanao. “Without a doubt, ending the GPH-MILF conflict as a major source of rebellion-related violence retires a significant source of political violence with huge costs in terms of death, injury and displacement, and will impact positively on the prospects of peace and stability across the Bangsamoro,” Valte said quoting the report.

Sen. Francis Escudero said the government has to contend with other armed groups following a peace pact with the MILF to ensure peace in Mindanao.

Discussions on the BBL by the lawmakers were disrupted by the issue on the bloody Mamasapano encounter last January that killed 44 police commandos and 17 MILF combatants.

There were doubts that the deadly incident may derail the deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is already behind its original timetable. PND (as)