17 March 2015

President Aquino visits, thanks soldiers wounded in clashes with rebels in Mindanao
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday visited and thanked a number of soldiers who were wounded in recent encounters with rebels in Maguindanao, Sulu and Basilan, for their service to the country.The President, who was accompanied by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr., also handed over to the soldiers a monetary assistance from the President’s Social Fund in recognition of their gallantry and bravery. Those who sustained major injuries received P100,000 while those with minor injuries were given P50,000.

President Aquino visited the V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City on Monday afternoon to check on a number of wounded soldiers, then proceeded to the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, where 11 soldiers have been admitted.

The troopers were injured in separate encounters with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao, and the Abu Sayaff Group in Jolo and Basilan in the all-out offensive launched by the military against lawless elements in Mindanao.

Among those wounded in clashes with the BIFF were Private First Class Rolito Gumapac, 43, and Private First Class Noli Gumisad, 28.

During his visit, the President briefly spoke to each soldier, thanking him for fulfilling his duties and wishing him a speedy recovery.

From the Army hospital, President Aquino proceeded to the Fort Bonifacio Naval Station to visit the wake and recognize the heroism of two marines killed in encounters with BIFF rebels.

The Chief Executive personally extended his condolences to the relatives of slain Marine Corporal Josen Mias, 29, and Sergeant Francis Jeffel Flores, 31, whose remains lie at the naval station’s mortuary.

The President paused at each of the two flag-draped coffins and offered prayers. He also spoke to the relatives of the deceased and handed each family a P250,000 cheque. The financial assistance also came from the President’s Social Fund.
President Aquino left the Bonifacio Naval Station at 9:30 p.m.

On February 25, General Catapang ordered the Western Mindanao Command to conduct all-out offensive operations against the BIFF, among those blamed for the death of 44 members of the police’s elite force who were on a mission to neutralize two terrorist suspects. PND (jm/co)

Princess Anne of the United Kingdom pays courtesy call on President Aquino
Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacañan Palace on Tuesday morning.

The Princess Royal of the United Kingdom and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II is in Manila for a visit from March 16 to 19, in connection with her charity and various humanitarian works. It is her second visit to the country since her first trip in March 1999.

Princess Anne met with President Aquino to discuss the projects of Save the Children in the Philippines, particularly those implemented in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Central Visayas.

She was accompanied in the meeting by British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Anwar Ahmad; Captain Nick Wright, Private Secretary to The Princess Royal; and Mrs. David Bowes-Lyon, Lady-in-Waiting.

President Aquino meanwhile was joined by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Social Welfare Undersecretary Mateo Montaño, and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Maria Zenaida Collinson.

While in the country, The Princess Royal is also scheduled to meet with Vice President Jejomar Binay and attend a round-table discussion with future entrepreneurs and the British Council Education.

Her Royal Highness will also attend a sporting reception.

As president of Save the Children, The Princess Royal will visit projects and beneficiaries supported by the organization and an elementary school in Leyte.

As patron of Opportunity International UK, Her Royal Highness will also visit the Tulay sa Pag-Unlad Incorporated micro-finance trust.

The Princess Royal is the second child and only daughter of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. Before receiving the title Princess Royal from her mother in June 1987, she was known as Princess Anne.

Her Royal Highness is president or patron of some 320 organizations. PND (co)

Government performance to win back peoples trust
The government is determined to regain public trust by continuously pushing for reform programs that aim to better the people’s lives, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Tuesday.

Commenting on the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey that showed a drop in President Benigno S. Aquino III’s approval and trust ratings, Secretary Coloma said the people’s trust is continually earned day after day, month after month, year after year.

“Matatamo po ito sa pamamagitan ng kasipagan at ipinapakitang determinasyon ng administrasyon sa pagpapabuti sa kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan,” he told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“The President has repeatedly said that all successes and all failures of his administration land on his doorstep. He believes that in time, the truth will set us all free. We are determined to work even harder to continually earn our people’s trust and confidence,” Coloma said.

He however noted that while public attention has been focused on the Mamasapano issue, there had been some “good news” regarding the economy.

He pointed out that the government has achieved a record amount of foreign direct investments in 2014, and more recently, has succeeded in reducing unemployment rate from 7.5 percent to 6.6 percent.

He further said that the country’s trade position continues to improve.

“Samakatuwid, marami namang magagandang pangyayari sa ating bansa na dapat pagyamanin nating lahat at patuloy pang pagtulungan upang maiangat natin ang kalagayan ng buong bansang Pilipinas,” he said.

Nonetheless, he said, the President will continue to pursue his administration’s reform agenda with the end in view of attaining inclusive growth.

“In the remaining 15 months (of his term), the President and the Cabinet will intensify the implementation of development programs and the strengthening of institutional reforms toward achieving sustainable and inclusive growth and fulfilling our people’s aspirations,” Coloma said. PND (ag)