01 Feb 2016

First Cardinal of Myanmar calls on President Aquino
His Eminence, Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, SDB, from the archdiocese of Yangon, Myanmar, paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Music Room of Malacañang Palace on Monday.

Cardinal Bo, Myanmar’s first Roman Catholic cardinal, was appointed by Pope Francis as the Papal Legate to the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) held in Cebu City from January 24 to 31.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that during the courtesy call, President Aquino and Cardinal Bo discussed the state visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines last year and the just-concluded IEC.

“During the courtesy call, they spoke about the state visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as President Aquino’s visit to the Holy See last December—both of which highlight the strength of our bilateral ties. Also discussed was the successful hosting of the 51st IEC in Cebu, which attracted around 15,000 delegates from all over the world. Held last week, from January 24 to 31, the 51st IEC is the second to be held in the Philippines, with the first one being hosted in Manila in 1937,” Lacierda said in a statement.

Cardinal Bo was accompanied by Rev. Fr. Dominic Bar Bu, secretary general of the Archdiocesan Office of Yangon; Rev. Msgr. Chibuke Onyeaghala, first counselor of the Apostolic Nunciature; and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who also served as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines from 2011 to 2013.

Cardinal Bo is a member of the Salesians of Saint John Bosco. He was installed as archbishop in 2003 and was proclaimed as Cardinal by Pope Francis on February 14, 2015.

An estimated 1 million faithful participated in the recent IEC, an international gathering of people aimed at promoting awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life of the Catholic Church. PND (jm)

President Aquino appoints Esguerra as acting chief of National Economic Development Authority
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. has announced the appointment of Dr. Emmanuel Esguerra as acting director general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

“According to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., President Aquino has appointed Dr. Emmanuel Esguerra as Acting Socio-Economic Secretary and Acting Director General of the NEDA, vice the Hon. Arsenio Balisacan, who was recently appointed as Chairperson of the Philippine Competition Commission,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement issued on Monday.

Secretary Esguerra served as NEDA deputy director general and headed the National Development Office for Policy and Planning. He was an Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, where he was also Chair of the Economics Department prior to his appointment to NEDA in July 2012.

Esguerra’s appointment was signed by President Aquino last January 28. PND (jm)

Palace applauds efforts of the Ombudsman’s office to enforce accountability among public officials
Malacañang has commended the Office of the Ombudsman for its continuing efforts to enforce accountability among public officials. In a statement issued on Monday, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. acknowledged that corruption in the bureaucracy is one of the biggest challenges faced by the Aquino administration.

“Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ commentary reflects the enormity of the challenge faced by Government in dealing with deeply embedded corruption in the bureaucracy, especially in local government units that account for most of the new cases filed by her office. We note her observation that ‘… the President is really pursuing this anticorruption campaign in earnest’,” said Secretary Coloma.

Morales on Sunday said corruption remains prevalent in the government as she noted that her office has received a total of 1,092 new cases involving local officials. Her statement came after the Philippines dropped to 95th position from 85th in the 2015 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, with the higher ranking perceived as more corrupt.

The Ombudsman also urged voters to choose candidates with integrity in the May elections to ensure a clean government.

“We share our people’s heightened trust and confidence in the integrity of the Ombudsman and applaud the continuing efforts exerted by her Office to enforce accountability among public officials. In parallel, the administration continues to fortify the administrative framework for good governance through path-finding initiatives, such as requiring compliance with transparency requirements and building performance-based competencies,” said Coloma. PND (jm)

President Aquino condoles with family of former National Economic Development Authority chief Cayetano Paderanga, Jr.
President Benigno S. Aquino III has offered his condolences to the family of former National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director general Cayetano Paderanga, Jr., who died last January 29 at the age of 67.“My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family of Cayetano Paderanga, Jr.,” President Aquino said in his statement on the passing of Paderanga.

“Whether it was to help rebuild our newly restored democracy in 1990, or in 2010, to rebuild our country’s capacity and confidence after a lost decade, Dondon Paderanga unhesitatingly accepted the call to serve in NEDA,” he said.

Paderanga served as NEDA chief under the Aquino administration from 2010 to 2012. He resigned from government office in 2012 for health reasons.

“He could have remained in the academe where he had earned the respect and affection of his peers and students. Instead, he went ahead and did his part, even if it risked his health,” the Chief Executive added.

President Aquino also described the former socio-economic planning secretary as a hard-working public servant and a kind man.

“Few individuals have had an opportunity to serve their country as he did, whether in NEDA, the Department of Agriculture, the Monetary Board or the ADB (Asian Development Bank),” he said.

“In each instance, he did so without any blemish to his integrity. As a member of the Cabinet, he undertook all his tasks with a smile, and gentle good-humor; he was not just a hard-working public servant, but a kind man who will be missed.”

In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda recalled that as NEDA chief under President Aquino, Paderanga helped reinvigorate the institution.

Secretary Lacierda also noted the establishment of the Public-Private Partnership Center under Paderanga’s watch. The center, he said, has played a significant role in the revitalization of the economy.

“His institutional memory and personal integrity made him an effective undersecretary of Agriculture and chief negotiator of the country for the WTO: and earned him the respect of his peers in academe,” Lacierda said.

“His good cheer, humble disposition, and intellectual rigor earned him the respect of so many, whether at home or abroad. We condole with his family, and join all who pause to reflect on his service to the nation during a life well lived,” he added.

Paderanga also served as NEDA director general from 1990 to 1992 during the administration of President Aquino’s mother, the late president Corazon Aquino. PND (co)