08 December 2015

President Aquino leads grand launch of Din Tai Fung Manila
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday graced the grand launch of the first branch of Din Tai Fung, a Taiwanese restaurant known internationally for its xiao long bao or soup dumplings, in the country.During the occasion, President Aquino had a brief tour and inspection of the restaurant, which is located at the ground floor of SM Mega Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong City.

The Moment Group, known for its cutting-edge restaurant concepts such as 8 Cuts Burger Blends, Manam Comfort Filipino, Phat Pho Manila, Bistro M, Mecha Uma, Ooma, and Bank Bar, acquired the Philippine franchise for Din Tai Fung in 2014.

Eliza Antonino, founding manager and partner of the Moment Group of Restaurants, said Din Tai Fung Manila is the 120th Din Tai Fung in the world. She said 22 of her staff even underwent a rigorous training in Taipei for six months.

“This has been two years in the making and we are very, very honored to bring our favorite international food brand here in the Philippines,” Antonino said in a message during the launch.

Din Tai Fung was founded in Taipei, Taiwan in the late 1950s as a cooking oil retail shop. It transitioned into a full-service restaurant in the 1970s, specializing in soup dumplings and noodles.

“We believe that this first Manila branch, in partnership with Moment Group, will let each customer experience the high standard of service, as well as the consistency that we strive to provide,” Warren Yang, chairman of Din Tai Fung.
Din Tai Fung Manila opens to the public on Tuesday (December 8). PND (co)

Palace hopeful Congress would reconsider Conditional Cash Transfer budget cut
Malacañang is hopeful that the Senate would reconsider its decision to slash the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) budget for next year from P64 billion to P56 billion.

“We trust that our legislators will consider the implications of their decisions on the CCT beneficiaries who are the most important stakeholders in our efforts to achieve inclusive growth,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The bicameral committee, comprising members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, is still deliberating on the proposed P3-trillion national budget for 2016.

“We shall await the outcome of the deliberations of the bicameral conference committee on the matter,” said the Palace official.

The CCT program, also known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), is a human development measure of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition and education of children aged 0 to 18 years old.

As of August 2015, the CCT program has 4 million active household beneficiaries. PND (jm)

President Aquino meets with lawmakers, calls for passage of draft Bangsamoro Law
President Benigno S. Aquino III, during his meeting with members of the House of Representatives in Malacañang Palace on Tuesday, appealed for the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., who was present during the meeting, said President Aquino called on lawmakers to “seize the historic opportunity” of enacting the BBL and laying the foundations for long-term peace.

The proposed BBL, once enacted into law, will pave the way for the establishment of a new Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“He (President Aquino) said passing the BBL now has become more imperative in view of the increased threats posed by global terrorism and radicalization,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement.

The Palace official said the President urged the members of Congress to rise to the challenge of being able to “change the narrative”, referring to the cycle of violence and poverty that has stalled peace and progress in Mindanao.

President Aquino said the proposed BBL offers the prospects for significant and meaningful change, especially in terms of giving all stakeholders an opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

The President also cited the gains achieved by the ARMM in attracting new investments, amounting to P9.8 billion from 2011 to 2014, Coloma said.

“The President said that in his talks with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, as well as Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, he was asked about how the Philippine government has succeeded in achieving an agreement with the Bangsamoro and he pointed out that the BBL provides a template for peace building that may be considered by the international community,” he said.

Coloma said the luncheon meeting between President Aquino and the legislators at Malacañang’s Heroes Hall began at about 12:15 p.m. and ended at 2:30 p.m.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II led the lawmakers in the meeting with President Aquino. Joining the President were his Cabinet members, led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. PND (co)