17 June 2015

Pro-poor initiatives should not be seen as campaigning, says Palace official
A Palace official said on Wednesday that allocating funds to the government’s priority projects should not be misconstrued as early campaigning, as the administration is merely implementing its “daang matuwid” agenda.

During a press briefing in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that what others consider as early campaigning is, for the Palace, no more than work for the continuity of “daang matuwid”.

Secretary Lacierda was commenting on reports that a number of politicians, who have already publicly declared their intention to run for next year’s presidential election, have accused some government officials of using public funds for early campaigning.

“We have a different view of what the government is doing. What he considers campaigning, we consider as working for the continuity of daang matuwid. Hindi pa tapos ang daang matuwid. Dapat ipagpatuloy ang mga ginagawa natin,” he said, referring to comments reportedly made by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Citing examples, he said the government is focused on the beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program; on education, with the K to 12 basic education program and the construction of 66,000 classrooms; as well as on public health, with the wider PhilHealth coverage.

He also mentioned the major investments in infrastructure, which would benefit the people and generate employment.

“These are all part and parcel of daang matuwid — investing on people, investing in the country, investing in making sure that no one is left behind,” Lacierda explained.

“If he takes it as campaigning, he is entitled to his opinion. But we are doing right for the Filipino people, we are doing the daang matuwid,” he added. PND (as)

Government affirms commitment to help decommissioned combatants, families
Malacañang on Wednesday affirmed its commitment to help the decommissioned combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and their families begin a new life after decades of conflict in Mindanao.

The Aquino administration is fully committed that no one should be left behind, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during the daily press briefing at the Palace.

After President Benigno S. Aquino III led the initial phase of the decommissioning of MILF fighters and weapons in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Tuesday, some of the combatants and their families expressed hope that the government would provide them livelihood and help their children gain access to education.

Secretary Lacierda noted that during last year’s launch of Sajahatra, an initiative to help families in the Bangsamoro restart their lives following many years of violence, the government granted Muslim families PhilHealth coverage, livelihood and scholarships.

“We are also identifying CCT (conditional cash transfer) families within this group, kasi kailangan natin talagang tulungan sila dahil ilang taon silang panay bakbakan. Walang seguridad ang buhay nila dahil any time, magkakaroon ng bakbakan,” he said.

“Now, they are assured of peace, and they can now be assured na tutulong ang pamahalaan and that is why the government is fully committed.”

Lacierda further said that President Aquino went to Maguindanao on Tuesday to show that he is one with them and that he is the President of the entire Philippines, including Muslim Mindanao.

Having such commitment is important in attaining lasting peace in Mindanao, he said, underscoring the government’s dedication to help the region. PND (as)