15 August 2015

APEC News Release

APEC economies to develop five areas through science and technology in higher education
Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) plan to develop five key areas through science and technology in higher education.

Delegates of APEC economies concluded the 1st High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science and Technology in Higher Education on Friday with a joint statement to develop science and technology innovators to attain an inclusive, resilient, and sustained growth in the region.

In the statement, the delegates spelled out measures to develop five key areas through science and technology in higher education — food production and security; environment, disaster risk reduction and response, climate change and energy; marine resources/systems: economy, biodiversity and conservation; smart analytics and engineering innovations; and health systems.

“These themes are important for inclusive, resilient, and sustained growth of APEC member economies,” said Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, who co-chairs the dialogue.

The delegates said in the statement that they “recognize the varying levels of advancements and diversity in the higher education systems, as well as marked differences in innovation and the scientific and technological progress among APEC member economies”.

They also agreed during the two-day dialogue, to focus on the mobility of experts on science and technology to improve knowledge-sharing initiatives within the region.

They further proposed to “devise a plan that can lead to feasible mechanisms for increased and enhanced mobility of Science, Technology, and Innovation experts, informed by a cost-benefit analysis and user-based assessment”.

Recognizing the importance of inter-university collaboration for research cooperation, and the mobility of students and researchers, the delegates noted that universities in APEC economies “can and do make a vital contribution to economic growth and social well-being”, both through the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and research skills, and through the research that they undertake.

“In light of this evolving terrain in higher education, we propose to study where appropriate, or share information about qualification frameworks, professional standards, and novel quality assurance control policies or mechanisms that can promote equity and quality of expanding higher education systems in the APEC region,” the delegates said in the statement. PNA (kc)

President closely watching possible impact of El Niño
President Benigno S. Aquino III is closely watching the onslaught of El Niño in the country especially in the agriculture sector, which may impact on food production, a Palace official said on Saturday.

“First of all, let me say that the President has been watching the situation carefully; meaning, even before the recent news about the coming El Niño in September, the President has already been aware and he’s already been briefed on the progress of El Niño,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

As part of government preparations, Valte said the Department of Science and Technology already made projections starting September.

Other government agencies should already be planning for their next steps with regards to the effects of El Nino, she said.

Government agencies already carried out similar measures last summer, when some areas in the country had less or experienced zero rainfall, she said.

“So our agencies have already been implementing their action plans in those areas,” Valte said during the interview.

“So that experience is helping us plan and prepare for the coming El Niño as projected by the Department of Science and Technology.”

Because the DOST has come up with its projections, different agencies can be properly guided on the preparations that they will implement such as cloud-seeding, water preparation for irrigation, and others.

“So what’s important is that the DOST already has the projection kasi doon susunod ang ating mga ahensya, in the same way that the DOST, in cases of typhoons and storms, sila ang nauuna,” Valte said.

Because experts predicted a more severe form of El Niño, the government also widened its preparations, according to Valte.

“Siyempre nag-iba na ang sitwasyon from the time that we experienced that mga more than 15 years ago,” she said

“Ngayon, what is on our side… is that we have more lessons from then…, and there is more technology that can help aid in the solution.” PND (as)

Government working to address problem of traffic congestion, official says
Malacanang appealed for more public patience with regards to the heavy traffic situation in Metro Manila, especially during rush hours, encouraging the people to provide ample time allowance when they are travelling.

In a radio interview on Saturday, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said they received a report that there was a big number of people who were not able to make their flights because of the ongoing construction works in the Villamor air base area.

“Unfortunately, there are still infrastructure work being done there, and again, we continue to appeal for everyone’s patience,” she told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“Yung apela naman ng mga airport authorities natin… na let us adjust our times accordingly for our travel to afford us ample time to get to the airport, considering the expected heavy volume of traffic because of the construction that is being done in that area,” she said.

Valte said that in order to improve the traffic situation, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the local government units will continue to deploy traffic enforcers.

She also said she hopes the operators of South Luzon Expressway will deploy more toll collectors to ease slow moving traffic at the tool gates.

The administration said there are newly completed projects that are expected to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila such as the Daang Hari Road that connects to SLEX from Bacoor.

When President Aquino visited Japan in June, the Japanese government committed to help the country address the problem of traffic congestion.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has come up with a detailed proposal to decongest the Metropolis in the future by putting up major infrastructure projects. PND (as)

Palace supports Japanese Prime Minister Abe in encouraging ‘proactive contribution to peace’
Unlike China and South Korea, the Philippines saw no reason to criticize Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech in commemoration of World War II’s 70th anniversary.

In a statement released Saturday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Malacañang supports Abe’s statement, as it encourages nations to have “proactive contribution to peace.”

“We support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s advocacy of ‘proactive contribution to peace’ based on the primacy of the values of freedom, democracy and human rights, upon which the strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan is founded,” Coloma said.

“Japan’s reflection upon the lessons of war is linked with its determination to renounce violence, threat or force as means of settling international disputes, and to pursue peace as the path to long-term global prosperity,” he added.

Coloma also noted the significance of Japan’s commitment “to develop a free, fair and open international economic system” while providing continuing assistance to developing countries, as well as to lead in championing respect for women’s human rights.

China and South Korea evidently held a different view as both countries railed at the absence of a fresh apology from Abe, despite expressing his “profound grief” for the millions killed during the war.

The Japanese leader was also quoted as saying that future generations who have nothing to do with World War II should not be predestined to apologize for the mistakes of their forefathers.

“I think one point that we agree with along with the rest of the world on the point of Japan (is) that we must never again repeat the devastation of war, and that was very clearly stated there,” said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte for her part.

Speaking over the state-run dzRB, Valte said “Japan has acted with compassion and in accordance with international law, and has more actively and more positively engaged with the region and the world after the war.”

“I think—and the President has mentioned this also during his visit to Japan—that, in particular, the relationship of the Philippines with Japan has been characterized by trust and unfailing support in so many fields.

We have worked closely with the international community and we will continue to do so, not only in the recovery and the rebuilding after the war, but also in initiatives that would establish and promote international norms and institutions that would help ensure global peace, stability and prosperity,” Valte said. PND (hdc)