24 January 2017

ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar launched
(Angeles City, Pampanga) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led the launching of the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Pillar on Tuesday, January 24 at Marquee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga.

DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo led the launch of the event with the theme “Malasakit at Paglingap.”

“Pinili natin ang Pampanga upang idaos ang paglulunsad ng ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar sapagkat gusto natin ilapit ang ASEAN sa tao. Sabi nga ni Presidente Duterte ang kanyang pamamahala ay gikan sa masa, para sa masa,” Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary said.

“Napakahalaga ng ASEAN lalo na tayo ang host ngayon sa kaniyang ginintuang anibersaryo para maintindihan ito at mayakap ito ng mamamayan,” Taguiwalo added, whose department, the DSWD, chaired the ASCC.

The ASEAN envisions a community that encompasses all facets of life, as reflected by its political-security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars. 

The socio-cultural pillar seeks to build a caring and sharing society that is inclusive. 

“Ang socio-cultural, tayo ang nagbibigay ng kulay, ng musika, ng himig, at ng malasakit sa buong ASEAN. We basically represent the social services of the government, the cultural arm of the government, and the vulnerable sectors of our communities,” the DSWD chief clarified, while calling on sectors to advocate a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN.

Towards a people-oriented and peace-centered ASEAN

To achieve a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN, which is actually the first thematic priority of the Philippines’ ASEAN 2017 Chairmanship, the country intends to do the following:

1. Ensure promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers by pushing for policies that will protect them across ASEAN nations.

2. Ensure protection and promotion of the rights of vulnerable sectors, the women, children, persons with disability, older persons, internally displaced persons, indigenous peoples, among others. 

3. Further promote appreciation of cultural heritage and strengthening of the ASEAN cultural identity.

4. Intensify access to healthcare and improve nutrition

5. Promote the role of the civil service as catalyst in achieving the vision ASEAN 2025. 

6. Strengthen ASEAN’s resilience against natural calamities and human-induced disasters.

Taguiwalo, likewise, underscored the significance brought about by the ASEAN, like visa-free travel to ASEAN countries, regional disaster coordination, among others. 

“The ASEAN is significant, the ASEAN is important. It will bring about changes to our lives. It will advance the interest of the people especially the marginalized and the vulnerable,” Taguiwalo concluded.

Aside from the DSWD, the ASCC is also composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as co-chair, National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), National Youth Commission (NYC), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Department of Health (DOH), National Nutrition Council (NNC), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education (DepEd), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and attached agencies.###Maro-Content 

Palace welcomes Moody’s PH growth forecast
A Malacañan official on Tuesday welcomed Moody’s forecast on the Philippine economic growth in 2016.

“We welcome the most recent report released by global debt watcher, Moody’s, stating that the Philippine economy likely grew by 7.05 percent in 2016, which is higher than the government’s full year growth target of 6 to 7 percent,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a press briefing in Malacañan.

“We also take note that the main driver of this continued growth is the increase in domestic demand, private consumption and expansion in investment. This is consistent with the government’s effort to reach a target of 6 to 7 percent growth for the whole year of 2016 to 2017,” Abella added.

The Palace official assured the Filipino people that continued growth would be sustained by boosting infrastructure spending, creating more jobs, easing the cost of doing business, and reducing the poverty incidence rate.

“The President’s economic stance is clear and consistent: to make economic growth not only sustainable but also inclusive,” he further said.

At the same press briefing, Abella expressed the Philippine government’s apology to the South Korean government over the death of businessman Jee Ick Joo, who was abducted from his residence and allegedly killed inside Camp Crame, the National Headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We wish to take this occasion to express the condolences and sympathies of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Filipino people to Mrs. Choi Kyung-jin, the widow of Mr. Jee Ick Joo, the South Korean national who met untimely death while in police custody,” Abella said.

“We apologize to the South Korean government and people for this irreparable loss. But we commit the full force of the law to ensure that justice is served and not delayed. To the Korean people, please accept our sincerest and deepest regrets,” he added.

Jee was allegedly kidnapped by some rogue policemen last October from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga and brought to Camp Crame, where he was allegedly killed.

Meanwhile, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz and General Manager Alexander Balutan, who joined Abella at the press briefing announced the agency’s launching of the expanded small town lottery (STL).

“Today as we formally launch the expanded STL here in Malacanang, we finally draw the line and declare that it’s time to put a stop to illegal gambling. It is no secret to anyone that illegal gambling has been the scourge of this country for the longest time, spawning corruption in different agencies and levels of government,” said Balutan.

For his part, Corpuz stressed that STL is the only legal and authorized game nationwide. He encouraged illegal gambling operators to join STL and “go legal”.

He said from 18 corporations in 2006, PCSO now has 56 corporations operating throughout the country.

He noted that PCSO is expected to generate P27.8 billion this year from the 56 corporations, which he said would be used to help millions of underprivileged Filipinos under the agency’s medical assistance program and hospital modernization.###PND

Duterte rallies support from business for country’s ASEAN Summit hosting
President Rodrigo Duterte attended the launch on Tuesday of the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program and urged different sectors to cooperate with the government for the country’s successful hosting of the ASEAN Summit this year.

“As partners in development, I welcome your interest and commitment to be the catalysts for change,” the President said in a speech during the launch in Malacanan on Tuesday (January 24).

I urge you, all business leaders and enterprises, to take an active part in the vital programs developed to support initiatives under the Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship,” he added.

According to the President, these include ASEAN Micro and Small Medium Enterprises mentors’ conference and ASEAN creative business forum and exhibit, the ASEAN women’s business conference, the inclusive business summit, the Second ASEAN young entrepreneurs’ carnival, creative market place slingshot and the ASEAN MSMEs summit.

The experience and expertise of businesses and enterprises will help ensure that ASEAN roadmap to growth remains responsive and relevant, he said.

ASEAN’s action of agenda will be full, the President said. He will spearhead work on agreements to facilitate investments, reduce the cost of doing business, develop MSMEs, improve and harmonize safety standards, develop innovation economies and increase the participation of the youth and women.

“Yet, we’ll likewise be firm in our resolve to bring these agreements to fruition,” he noted.

To uphold the region’s common interest and advance towards its collective goals, he said the Philippines will work closely with the ASEAN member states and engage its partners to realize positive changes for the region.

Duterte called on other ASEAN member-states to work together for a stronger, resilient ASEAN that is ready to do business.

ASEAN has changed a lot since its inception in 1967, he pointed out,  stressing today’s ASEAN presents many real opportunities for investments to grow, and for investors within and outside the region.

ASEAN is a huge market worth over $2.5 trillion. Collectively, it is the seventh largest global economy. ASEAN member-states also represent the third largest market base in the world, next only to China and India.###PND