05 February 2015

APEC News Release

Government extends P5.9 billion for projects under Kalahi-CIDSS-NDCCP
The government reported on Thursday that it has spent P5.9 billion to fund nearly 5,000 community sub-projects under the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS-NDCCP).

Some 3,806 communities, composed of approximately 552,074 households, have been given a complete benefit package under the Kalahi-CIDSS-NDCCP.

The government aimed to assist 704 municipalities last year, and is eyeing to extend assistance to 826 municipalities this year.

The Kalahi-CIDSS-NDCCP, a poverty alleviation project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, uses the community-driven development approach.

It helps poor municipalities identify challenges to reduce poverty by giving communities more control of resources, and by building the capabilities of the state and the civil society as they implement development initiatives.

The project’s Capacity-Building and Implementation Support (CBIS) assists barangays and LGUs in facilitating the participation of communities in project activities, and in strengthening transparency and social inclusiveness.

The Kalahi-CIDSS-NDCCP also extends community grants to fund social preparation and planning activities and the implementation of small-scale community projects.

Under this scheme, LGUs and community beneficiaries contribute cash, labor and materials.

The major objective of the Kalahi-CIDSS-NDCCP is to empower the barangays of targeted municipalities to help them improve their access to services and participate in a more inclusive local development process. PND (as)

Members of Japan’s Chamber of Commerce call on President Aquino
Members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace on Thursday.

Chairman of the JCCI and the Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Aiko Mimura, led the Japanese delegation, which was composed of more than 60 businessmen.

With them were Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa and the Japanese embassy’s trade and commerce attaché Junichiro Suzuki.

Also present during the courtesy call were Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and other officials of the Department of Trade and Industry. PND (ag)

President Aquino receives survivors of World War Two Manila massacre
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday morning received in Malacañang two survivors of the so-called Manila massacre during World War II, in line with the commemoration of the Battle of Manila from February to March 1945.

The President received siblings Roderick McMiking Hall and Consuelo McMiking Hall, who have co-founded the Memorare Manila 1945 Foundation, Inc., as well as the foundation’s president, former ambassador Juan Jose Rocha, and director, former ambassador Miguel Perez-Rubio.

According to Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Luis “Manolo” Quezon III, the McMicking Hall siblings are the only living survivors of their family, after all of their kin were beheaded by Japanese troops towards the end of the war.

The respective families of Rocha and Rubio were also victims of atrocities committed against Filipino civilians during World War II.

The foundation presented to the President a replica of the monument of the Shrine of Freedom, located in Plaza Sinampalukan in Intramuros.

Rocha’s ancestors were the original owners of the land where Malacañang Palace stands.

In 1750, Luis Rocha built a summer house on the land, which was bought by Spanish Colonel Miguel Jose Fomento in 1802. In 1847, Malacañang became the official residence of the Spanish Governor General. PND (ag)

Country’s hosting of APEC has long-term economic benefits, says official
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) The country’s hosting of this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit would mean a lot of economic benefits for the Philippines in the long term, the head of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council said on Thursday.

In the past 10 to 15 years, the Philippines’ trade with APEC’s member economies has grown by 8 percent annually, Director General Marciano A. Paynor, Jr. told China Central Television during an interview here.

“An 8 percent growth is a very, very solid case why the Philippines must continue to be part of the APEC,” Paynor said.

The total population of the APEC’s 21 member economies is more than 40 percent of the total global population, making the trade bloc a significant driver in regional growth.

He noted that as the country prepares to host this year’s summit, it has launched a number of infrastructure projects, although some of them are not APEC-related.

Overall, the projects are part of the government’s plan, with or without the APEC, he said, noting that any construction work in any country is a form of pump-priming the economy.

The people, however, must be patient because construction work creates such inconveniences as traffic congestion, Paynor explained, adding that once construction is completed, the public could enjoy a better transport system, roads, and bridges like other economies within the APEC.

The Philippines is hosting the 2015 APEC Summit, showcasing both the public and private sectors’ long-term commitment to the event’s theme of inclusive growth.

The APEC Summit, one of the world’s most important gathering of key decision-makers from across the globe, will focus on inclusive growth.

This year’s APEC is the first gathering to be held in the Philippines in nearly two decades. The Philippines first hosted the APEC Summit in 1996 during the administration of then president Fidel V. Ramos. PND (as)

APEC strengthens collaboration in addressing natural disasters
(CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City) With the Asia and the Pacific region having the highest number of natural disasters, the Philippines and the other 20 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum are intensifying collaboration to be better prepared to deal with them.Dr. Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, estimated that APEC member-economies alone suffered around $70 billion in costs related to natural disasters annually over the last decade.

Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo cited new and escalating challenges posed by climate change to Asia-Pacific economies and the region’s three billion people.

“Rising sea levels and the increasing ferocity of typhoons tearing through the region are the compelling and urgent reasons for game-changing solutions,” he said.

The APEC countries are working closely to address the possible effects of natural disasters on their economies.

“Climate change is at the top of the Asia-Pacific agenda and prompting a new era of cooperation to combat this rapidly unfolding threat to humanity,” said Chen Linhao, chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation.

Linhao said cross-border research has the power to inform how economies can adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change and “must be fully tapped.”

The APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation is administering the annual APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) Prize.

Nominations are now open for 2015 ASPIRE, whose theme “Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability” spotlights the cross-border development of next generation technologies vital to helping economies adapt to changing natural conditions, strengthening environmental protection and building more resilient, sustainable communities.

The theme of this year’s award, known as the ASPIRE Prize, was selected by the Philippines, APEC Chair for 2015.

It is an extension of deepening partnership between the 21 APEC member economies to tackle climate change and related challenges, which are among the policy priorities being taken forward by Senior Officials and technical experts meeting through this week in Clark and Subic. PNA (ldv)

Rising extremism compels APEC member economies to bolster security
Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are stepping up their defenses against terrorism across the Asia Pacific in the midst of the changing global security landscape which puts the world’s most populous region and leading growth engine at higher risk.

Counterterrorism officials, in a three-day meeting in Subic Bay, tackled new joint actions to curb terrorist financing, enhance security during travel, and ensure security for the growing number of large-scale events in the region.

The security meeting was convened ahead of a key policy meeting of APEC Senior Officials on Friday, aimed at promoting inclusive and secure economic growth.

Oscar Valenzuela, new Chairperson of the APEC Counterterrorism Working Group, which manages coordination among member economies on the issue, said the world has continued to see the spread of violent extremism worldwide.

The death of two Japanese hostages at the hands of radicals in the Middle East and the pipeline of foreign funding and recruits to advance the terrorist agenda of such groups are signals of an increased threat across the Asia Pacific, he said.

Valenzuela, who also serves as senior counterterrorism director of the Anti-Terrorism Council of the Philippines, said APEC members are strengthening their capabilities to fight terrorism and secure communities.

Member economies, he said, have to move swiftly to address advances in technology and communications that are bringing new counterterrorism challenges to the surface and put lives and livelihoods at greater risk.

The APEC has been working to improve the regulation of new payment systems to ensure their transparent and legal use, and clamp down on the financing of terrorist activities.

It is striving to align policies governing these systems – both among governments, as well as with existing anti-money laundering and counterterrorism regimes – and step up cooperation to boost relevant prosecutorial and law enforcement capabilities in the region.

The APEC is also promoting cooperation among its members to develop “trusted traveler” characteristics and support the implementation of advance passenger information systems.

These initiatives come amid stepped up efforts to improve and broaden an APEC Regional Movement Alert System to flag the use of stolen or fraudulent passports at airport check-in in real time; secure critical infrastructure; and boost supply chain emergency recovery.

The movement of terrorist recruits travelling to and from other regions around the world could have an impact on the Asia Pacific, Valenzuela explained, adding that the APEC’s goal is to boost travel security while limiting disruptions to travelers who move within the region for legitimate purposes.

A ‘Major Events’ Security Framework is also being developed to provide a direct channel for information and promote the sharing of experiences among APEC member economies to support all related stages of planning for events, such as the Pope’s visit to the Philippines.

The Asia Pacific is playing host to major events with increasing frequency and this means greater exposure to threats of terrorism, Valenzuela warned.

He emphasized that member economies have to do more to ensure the safety of the people participating in major events that are attended by thousands of individuals. PND (as)

Social Welfare Department’s Sustainable Livelihood Program aims to cover 378,822 families this year
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), aims to extend assistance to some 378,822 marginalized families this year as part of the government’s continuing efforts to uplift the lives of underprivileged individuals.

President Benigno Aquino III said the SLP expansion program is part of his administration’s intensified drive to reduce poverty in the country.

“No one, especially the poor and the vulnerable should be left behind,” the Chief Executive said.

The SLP, a community-based capacity-building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of its participants, is implemented using the Community-Driven Enterprise Development approach, which enables participants to contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets.

The SLP consists of micro-enterprise development and employment facilitation. Its key interventions include agribusiness and tourism, commodity clusters, tourism, partnerships, employment assistance and cash for building livelihood assets.

Last year, the SLP covered 61,737 families, or 55 percent of the 111,314 families targeted for the program.

From the time it began in January 2011 until July last year, the SLP served 401,161 families, 85 percent of whom, or 342,164 families, were beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Aside from Pantawid families, the SLP also served 58,997 non-Pantawid beneficiaries over the same period.

Meanwhile, the number of families who received assistance through the Self-Employment Assistance — Kaunlaran Revolving Settlement Fund totaled 40,045 families in 2011, 68,396 in 2012, and 171,986 in 2013.

With the continuous expansion of the program in three to six Pantawid Pamilya municipalities, a total budget of P4.9 billion has been proposed this year to cover the targeted families. PNA (zst)

Philippines, China must play on their strengths, says official
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) The Philippines and China have a good relationship and their long-standing ties must be maintained, a senior official said on Thursday.

“There are some political differences but these come and go, and we are hoping that these issues can be solved to the satisfaction of both countries,” Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr. said in an interview with CCTV, China’s state television.

Ambassador Paynor, who is the Director General of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council, noted that these differences should not affect the two countries’ economic cooperation.

“There may be differences but let us play on our strengths,” he said.

While attending the 2014 APEC Leaders’ Summit in Beijing, China last November, President Benigno S. Aquino III said he hopes his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the APEC Leaders’ Meeting would improve relations between the two countries.

In an interview, the President said he and President Xi had an opportunity to talk for several minutes after a tree-planting event.

According to him, President Xi mentioned the good relationship between the Philippines and China dates back many years ago.

President Xi hoped that the Philippine side could return to the basis of the two countries’ previous consensus, and go in the same direction as China to deal with relevant issues in a constructive way, and to create conditions for the healthy development of China-Philippines relations, he said.

The Philippines and China have been embroiled in a territorial dispute in the West Philippines Sea. The country has filed an arbitration case at the international tribunal to resolve the territorial row, a move rejected by China. PND (as)