09 June 2016

New ambassadors present credentials to President Aquino
Ambassadors-designate from Cuba, Samoa and Finland presented their credentials to President Aquino on Thursday hoping continuing good relations with the Philippines.

Among those who presented their credentials to the President were Faalavaau Perina Jacqueline Sila-Tualaulelei of Samoa, Ibete Fernandez Hernandez of Cuba and Petri Juhani Puhakka of Finland.

In his message during the event held in Malacanang, President Aquino said their tours of duty to the Philippines have come at an opportune time after the Philippines strengthened its capability and rehabilitated its image both locally and abroad.

“Indeed as we witness the evolution of the very framework by which our world functions and as we continue to confront issues that are increasingly less parochial, it is critical for each and every nation to be ready to fulfill its responsibilities as members of the community of nations,” he told the new ambassadors.

“I’m proud to say that in this regard the Philippines is readier than ever before.”

The President also said he is confident that the new ambassadors will continue to build on relations with his successor after he assumes office on June 30.

The friendship between the Philippines and countries they represent as well as the collective commitment to serve their peoples must endure beyond the term and the leader, he noted.

“I’m confident that you will continue to work together towards creating a global landscape that can empower and uplift each and everyone of our citizens,” the President said. PND (as)

President Aquino enumerates gains from Mindanao peace
President Aquino spelled out the dividends of peace over the past six years in Mindanao as the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front hammered a deal for lasting peace in the region.

During the launch of the book “Junctures, Selected Speeches and Statements” by OPPAP, the President said the government has worked to provide critical support to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as both sides iron out a peace deal.

For infrastructure, From 2011 to 2016, the national and regional governments invested a total of P61.64 billion in roads, bridges, and flood control projects in the region, compared to just around P11 billion from 2005 to 2010, he said.

Among these projects include the long-awaited Basilan Circumferential Road, which began construction in the year 2000, as well as the improvement of eight ports and two airports to promote regional connectivity.

The government has also intensified the implementation of 4Ps program whose coverage in the region has skyrocketed, from 37,564 households as of June 2010 to 442,924 under present administration.

The government also improved education and healthcare in the region. From 2011 to 2015, it has built 5,018 classrooms in ARMM. Through TESDA, the administration also provided skills training programs to around 25,000 beneficiaries in ARMM.

To address the shortage of medical professionals in the rural areas, it deployed 109 doctors, 3,855 nurses, 300 midwives, 22 dentists, and 78 public health associates from 2011 to 2015.

On top of this, the government also expanded access to electricity—electrifying 846 target sitios from July 2011 to March 2016.

“We’ve talked to the communities to ask about their most pressing needs, and—from 2013 to 2015—have funded a total of 1,133 poverty reduction projects in ARMM, totaling P2.60 billion. These projects include the provision of livelihood opportunities, potable water supply, medicine, and shelter assistance,” the President said.

A more transparent government also resulted to more investors coming to the region, he said. With the use of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System website in publishing all bid notices, BOI-ARMM approved investments in the region have increased from P87.9 million in 2010, to P6.58 billion in 2015 alone.

From 2010 to 2015, total investments amounted to P14.3 billion, according to the President.

He told the attendees of the book launch that there will be more good news if the country continue along the road to a true and lasting peace.

“This is the right path. It is a path that has benefited those in the margins; and it is a path that heals the fractures within the country we share,” he said.

“And the message that we now send to our countrymen is: We must continue along this path.”

Thursday’s book launch tells the journey that the government has taken in the past six years, fully aware that the journey is ongoing—that there are more challenges that both sides must overcome.

The President said he is hopeful that the the book will remind Filipinos of the successes that the country has enjoyed by talking peace noting it may also stand as an enduring symbol of the country’s restored faith in one another.

“I truly believe that our combined efforts can bring about a Mindanao—and a Philippines—that is free from conflict, one that we can be proud to bequeath to future generations,” he said. PND (as)