01 March 2017

Duterte meets young ASG kidnapped victim in Malacañan
An eight-year old kidnapped victim from Zamboanga Sibugay was reunited with his parents in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañan on Tuesday, February 28, following seven months of captivity from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu.

Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza presented the child to President Duterte. He was abducted with his family in Zamboanga Sibugay in August last year and was freed last Monday, February 27.

The family was brought to Sulu after they were kidnapped. The mother, Nora, was released in August 22 after paying a small amount, according to Dureza. Elmer, the father, was freed last November 13 after handing over P1 million, thinking the son will also be released.

Dureza said the family sold everything, including their sari-sari store, and borrowed from friends and relatives to raise the ransom money.

Dureza said he was instructed by the President to work for the release of the boy and with the help of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members, was eventually reunited with his parents.

Dureza said the boy will undergo psychiatric trauma treatment, noting that the President will also assist the family so they can start a new life away from Mindanao.

The family, whose life was in shambles after selling all possessions, decided to leave Zamboanga Sibugay and relocated with relatives outside Metro Manila, according to Dureza.

He also clarified that no ransom money was paid in freeing the boy since the family no longer has the money after disposing its source of livelihood.

President Duterte expressed his gratitude to Secretary Dureza, and Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan for their humanitarian job.

The President however said that there will be a lot of work to do in freeing some reported captives saying, “I would like to assure everybody that for as long as there is violence being perpetrated, the Republic of the Philippines will continue with its military operations.”

But in order for the military to be effective, the President said the soldiers would need new equipment as well as fast boats, frigates and more helicopters.

“We plan to purchase more helicopters. The numbers, I would not want to tell you now but I have to improve on our night-flying capability. We’re nearing to it,” the President said.

But for those in Mindanao who want reintegration or ceasefire, the President reiterated that it is also his desire to adopt a federal system of government.
PRRD expresses sympathies to Kantner’s family
At the same time, the President extended his sympathies to the family of German national Jurgen Gustav Kantner, who was brutally murdered by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

“I am very sorry that the hostage or a national of your country has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family. I commiserate with the German people,” President Duterte said.

The President also told Kantner’s family and the German government that his administration really tried its best to secure the safety of the victim.

The President also tackled the anti-illegal drug campaign, saying that he has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa during Monday’s command conference to recruit patriotic young men in the PNP to be the members of the task force.

“Every station should have one pero ‘yung piling-pili, ‘yung walang mga kaso at walang history ng corruption,” he said.###PND

DOST assures PHL’s commitment to Paris Climate Change Pact
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said his agency will focus on programs that will ensure the Philippines’ commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“I understand that the DOST was a major participant in the development of our stand in the Paris Agreement and so whatever difficulties we may encounter, we are bound to extend our support so I think it is doable if all sectors will cooperate,” Dela Peña said in a press briefing in Malacañan on Wednesday, March 1.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Paris Agreement last Tuesday, February 28.

“For example, we have made a commitment that between the years 2000 to 2030, we have to reduce our carbon emissions by 70 percent. That’s really a big commitment,” Dela Peña explained.

“We have to intensify our research on renewable energies, on energy conservation, and on other areas… So we have to improve our programs,” he said.

“Of course, education will also be an important part,” Dela Peña said.

According to Dela Peña, human resource development is one of the key priorities of the DOST, adding that the DOST is providing scholarships to high school students with the completion of Philippine Science High School (PSHS) campuses all over the country.

“We have opened the last two regional campuses of Philippine Science High School with the opening last August of the regional campus in MIMAROPA located in Romblon and the regional campus for the Zamboanga Peninsula located in Dipolog,” Dela Peña said.

“We really would like to contribute to the President’s shall we say, desire of reducing inequality, of creating opportunities, and of expanding our potentials for growth,” he added.

The DOST chief said it is the first time that a President of the country “has included the promotion of science, technology, and innovation in his priority agenda.”

Dela Peña also presented the DOST’s 12-point agenda with research and development (R & D) to address pressing issues on top of the list. High on the R & D list are medicine discovery and advancement in food and nutrition, food production and developing better varieties of local poultry and livestock.

Meanwhile, Dela Peña said Dr. Renato Solidum, who was recently assigned as DOST Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Affairs, will remain as the officer-in-charge of PHIVOLCS.

Dela Peña said that while there should be a new director for PHIVOLCS to replace Solidum, there are ongoing projects in PHIVOLCS that would need his supervision.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in the same press briefing, said President Duterte wants to sit down with jeepney drivers and operators who held a strike last Monday.

“The President assured the workers group that he would be holding a separate meeting with the jeepney strikers who held a national strike on the controversial plan to phase out old jeepneys,” Abella said.

Abella said President Duterte’s meeting with labor groups last Monday, which lasted for three hours, had been “free-flowing, frank and cordial.”###PND

PCOO turns over National Government Portal (NGP) domain to DICT
PCOO Turns Over National Government Portal (NGP) Domain to DICT

Working class citizens line up at government centers at the crack of dawn as they wait for it to open so they can begin the arduous process of applying for services that are requirements for them to make a living.

The Duterte administration, with its pro-people vision for the Philippine, has proactively and firmly taken the first steps in assuring that this kind of inefficiency will no longer be endured by citizens from all walks of life.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as the lead, have initiated discussions in the creation of the National Government Portal (NGP).

DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima has requested the official turnover and full management and custodianship of the www.gov.ph domain and the Open Data platform thru data.gov.ph from PCOO.

With this turnover, there would be adjustments and developments in the abovementioned platforms. All pages, links, posts, etc. from www.gov.ph will now be handled by DICT. The Official Gazette (OG) which is the repository of all Republic Acts (RA’s), Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR’s), Executive Orders (EO’s), Memorandum Orders, Memorandum Circulars, Proclamations, and Administrative Orders (AO’s) shall still be managed by PCOO. Next steps would be for PCOO and DICT to agree on a migration framework and timeframe.

Once completed, Filipinos can expect full working sites with upgraded services that can provide citizens universal access to government services, data, and information through a citizen-centric ICT infrastructure.

The National Government Portal aims to provide a one-stop gateway where citizens can transact Government-to-Government, Government-to-Citizen, and Government-to-Business services and vice-versa.

Services, for example the Contact Center ng Bayan, and government information disclosed online through Freedom of Information will be accessible through a single window at www.gov.ph.

The completions of this scale will be another milestone for the Duterte administration as the government creates a more responsive, transparent, accessible, and socially inclusive government.

“I look forward to the National Government Portal that prioritizes people’s needs,” Andanar stated. The PCOO chief said that the country can only progress when it adopts to the changing times and creates a solid e-government strategy that will truly make a difference in people’s lives. -30-