11 Jan 2016
  • President Aquino confers Order of Sikatuna on two Philippine envoys
  • President Aquino swears in new Armed Forces chief, 52 other new generals, flag officers
  • Malacañang welcomes latest Social Weather Stations survey results on hunger
  • President Aquino approves measure establishing a science high school in Navotas City
  • Government vows to keep working hard to deliver satisfactory public services

President Aquino confers Order of Sikatuna on two Philippine envoys
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday bestowed the country’s highest diplomatic honor to two Philippine ambassadors.

During a ceremony in Malacañang Palace, President Aquino conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Grand Cross (Gold Distinction) on Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez and Philippine Ambassador to Spain Carlos Salinas.

The President first presented the award to Lopez in recognition of his “exemplary efforts which contributed significantly to the historic elevation of Philippines-Japan relations to that of a strategic partnership”.

Lopez was also cited for his commitment to work closely with Japan in advocating maritime security in accordance with international laws.

He was awarded for overseeing and coordinating high-level visits between the Philippines and Japan, including the State Visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Philippines in 2013 and the State Visit of President Aquino to Japan last year.

Lopez was also recognized for his efforts in evacuating and ensuring the safety of Filipinos in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

He helped in the further advancement and strengthening of the country’s national interests in its relations with Japan, which has been the Philippines’ top trading partner and the number one source of investments and bilateral official development assistance since 2014.

After Lopez, the President presented the same award to Salinas, who has been the country’s ambassador to Spain since 2010.

The Chief Executive recognized Salinas’ active engagements in forging the defense cooperation between the Philippines and Spain.

Salinas was also cited for his initiatives to organize a research group, which led to the discovery of historical documents that strengthened the country’s claim over Bajo de Masinloc.

He was also honored for defending and promoting Philippine maritime interests in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Maritime Safety Authority (EMSA), helping secure the continued confidence of the international commercial shipping industry in the ability of Filipino seafarers to provide professional and reliable service.

He was recognized for his contribution to peace-building efforts in the Southern Philippines by arranging the visits to Spain of officials from the executive and legislative branches of the Philippine government to learn from Spain’s experiences with its autonomous regions, in relation to the ongoing peace process in Mindanao.

Salinas also played an important role in the negotiations and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Philippines’ Department of Tourism and Spain’s Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior (ICEX) España Exportación e Inversiones for the conduct of the Madrid Fusión-Manila.

The Order of Sikatuna, established in 1953, is conferred by the President of the Philippines upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Philippines.

It is also given to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have provided services in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between the Philippines and their respective countries. PND (jb)

President Aquino swears in new Armed Forces chief, 52 other new generals, flag officers
Newly appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief General Hernando Iriberri and 52 other newly promoted generals and flag officers of the military took oath before President Benigno S. Aquino III at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace on Monday (January 11).

Among the high-ranking officials who joined Iriberri were Major Generals Ricardo Visaya, Eduardo Año, and Romeo Tanalgo who were promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, and Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad, who was promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral.

Promoted to the ranks of Major General and Rear Admiral were Brigadier General Edmundo Pangilinan, Commodore Aurelio Rabusa, Jr., Brig. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar, Jr., Brig. Gen. Arnold Quiapo, Brig. Gen. Conrado Parra, Jr., Brig. Gen. Gerardo Barrientos, Jr., Brig. Gen. Rolando Picar, Brig. Gen. Angelito de Leon, Brig. Gen. Alexander Balutan, Brig. Gen. Andre Costales, Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Santiago, and Brig. Gen. Elmer Pabale.

Promoted to the ranks of Brigadier General and Commodore were Captain Elson Aguilar, Colonel Cornelio Pelaez, Col. Florentino Rasco, Col. Danilo Chad Isleta, Col. Emmanuel Salamat, Capt. Ernesto Enriquez, Col. Francisco Carada, Col. Nicolas Parilla, Col. Joel Celino, Col. Laurcris Tumanda, Col. Frederick Evans Ramos, Col. Librado Moog, Capt. Virme Torralba, Col. Alan Arrojado, Col. Leoncio Cirunay, Jr., Col. Emigdio Guevara, Jr., Col. Arleen Gorreon, Col. Rafael Sera Jose, Col. Demy Tejares, Col. Rhoderick Parayno, Col. Raul Farnacio, Capt. Jande Francisco, Col. Maximo Ballesteros, Col. Romeo dela Cruz, Capt. Gaudencio Collado, Jr., Capt. Robert Empedrad, Col. Avin Parreno, Capt. Rene Medina, Col. Diosdado Respecio, Col. Archimedes Viaje, Col. Harold Cabreros, Col. Noel Clement, Col. Alvin Francis Javier, and Col. Ronnie Evangelista.

Those who failed to attend the ceremony were Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina, and Brig. Gen. Guillermo Molina, Jr.

After the oath-taking ceremony, the newly promoted generals and flag officers, along with their respective families, had a photo opportunity with the President. PND (jb)

Malacañang welcomes latest Social Weather Stations survey results on hunger
The Palace on Monday welcomed the results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing a decrease in the number of Filipino families experiencing involuntary hunger.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the SWS fourth quarter 2015 survey results revealed “a four-point drop equivalent to an estimated 900,000 families”.

“In the latest tranche of results released today (Monday) from its fourth quarter 2015 survey, the Social Weather Stations reported a decrease in the number of Filipino families experiencing involuntary hunger. From 15.7 percent in September 2015, the figure fell to 11.7 percent last quarter—a four-point drop equivalent to an estimated 900,000 families. This decrease brings the average hunger rate for 2015 to 13.4 percent. This is 4.9 points below the 2014 average of 18.3 percent, and is also the lowest annual rate for the series in 11 years,” said the Palace official.

Secretary Lacierda also noted that the SWS last week announced similar overall declines in self-rated poverty and food poverty, with the annual averages for both series—50 percent and 35 percent—currently at their lowest levels since 2011 and 1988, respectively.

“As the north star of the current administration, inclusive growth has long been guiding our government in its various endeavors. The main goal is to include everyone in the nation’s rise. In line with this, the Aquino government has been making valuable investments in such sectors as health, education, social services, and job skills development. These priorities are reflected in our 2016 budget,” he said.

He further said that the poverty-alleviation initiatives, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, continue to empower the citizens toward achieving their full potential.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has estimated that the program has enabled 1.5 million households—or about 7.5 million Filipinos—to rise above the poverty line, he said.

Lacierda said the government will ensure that the public would continue to benefit from the country’s progress.

“Rest assured that in the following months, the government will continue to make sure that all our countrymen feel the positive effects of the nation’s recent progress under Daang Matuwid. In this way, by focusing on each citizen, the administration ensures that our people are collectively empowered to rise above individual challenges and achieve the Filipino dream,” he concluded. PND (jm)

President Aquino approves measure establishing a science high school in Navotas City
President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law an Act establishing a national science high school in Navotas City, Metro Manila.

Approved by President Aquino last December 29, Republic Act No. 10732 states that the high school will be known as the Navotas National Science High School.

“There is hereby established, under the supervision of the Department of Education, a national science high school in the City of Navotas, Metro Manila to be known as Navotas National Science High School,” the new law states.

The law directed the Secretary of Education to include in the department’s program the operationalization of the Navotas National Science High School, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

The new law also tasked the Secretary of Education to issue rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purpose of this Act.

The Act was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on October 20, 2014 and October 5, 2015, respectively. PND (co)

Government vows to keep working hard to deliver satisfactory public services
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. on Monday said the government remains committed to address the Filipino people’s most important concerns through better public services.“The President has always endeavored to address the people’s most important concerns,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement regarding the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showing that managing inflation and higher wages are still the top two concerns of Filipinos.

According to the survey results released on Monday, about 45 percent of Filipinos are most concerned with controlling inflation while 43 percent are concerned with increasing the salaries of workers.

The Palace official said the government has controlled inflation to a range of 1 percent to 1.5 percent through the sound management of macroeconomic fundamentals.

“Interest rates on consumer loans have also been brought down. Hence, consumer power has been enhanced considerably,” he said.

The Pulse Asia survey, conducted from December 4 to 11, 2015, also revealed that the other concerns of the people were poverty (38 percent), the creation of more jobs (34 percent), and fighting corruption (34 percent).

“The highest priority has also been given to reducing poverty and fighting corruption through good governance and public accountability,” Coloma said.

He assured that the government will keep doing its best for the welfare of the Filipinos.

“The government will continue to work hard to deliver public services satisfactorily and secure the well-being of our bosses — the Filipino people,” he said. PND (jm)