05 May 2015

Palace thanks Peace Council for reviewing the Bangsamoro Basic Law
Malacañang has expressed its gratitude to the Peace Council for reviewing the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and has called on lawmakers to give the Council’s report “due attention and consideration,” as they continue their deliberations on the draft law.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. thanked the Peace Council for “judiciously reviewing” the BBL and for consulting other stakeholders, such as Filipino Christians, Muslims, indigenous peoples, religious leaders, civil society representatives, deans of law schools, businessmen, and the framers of the 1987 Constitution.

“We note that they have prepared a comprehensive report to the Filipino people, embodying their detailed comments and recommendations, and have submitted this to Congress and to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process,” he said.

Secretary Coloma further said the administration supports the Council’s observation that the BBL is “overwhelmingly acceptable and deserves the support of all Filipinos.”

“We note further the comment that ‘the BBL should be passed, that to set it aside now would be imprudent and wasteful of previous efforts.’ We trust that our lawmakers will give due attention and consideration to the Peace Council’s report in their continuing deliberations on the BBL,” he added.

Asked to comment on the further delay in the BBL’s passage should legislators discuss provisions, which according to the Peace Council need refinement, Coloma said Senate President Franklin Drilon and House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. have already promised to do everything they could to pass the proposal before Congress goes on a break on June 11.

“At mainam na bigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon na patunayan ang kanilang paninindigan dahil sila naman ay mayroong pananagutan sa mga mamamayang Pilipino. Respetuhin po natin ang kanilang mga proseso at bigyan po natin sila ng laya at pagkakataon hinggil sa bagay na ito,” he said.

In a speech delivered last March 7 during the anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, President Benigno S. Aquino III announced the formation of the Peace Council, which was tasked to dissect the BBL “in a calm and reasonable manner that will not incite anger and hopelessness.”

The President expected the Peace Council to write a report that will be made public, so that every Filipino would understand the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the peace initiatives in Mindanao. PND (as)

Palace hopes public sentiment would sway Congress to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law
The government hopes that the public sentiment favoring a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Mindanao would influence Congress to pass the Bangasamoro Basic Law (BBL), a Palace official has said.

“The sentiment shared by the respondents in the recent SWS (Social Weather Stations) survey on the importance of forging ahead with the peace process reflects the deep commitment of the Aquino administration’s aspirations for a long-term solution to end the conflict in Mindanao,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during Tuesday’s press briefing in Malacañang.

“We hope that members of Congress would consider the people’s sentiments and viewpoints as valuable inputs in their ongoing deliberations on the BBL,” he added.

The May 3 SWS survey shows 45 percent of adult Filipinos said peaceful negotiations are more effective in dealing with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), compared to 20 percent who said military operations are more effective.

The remaining 35 percent said both peaceful negotiations and military operations are equally effective.

According to the survey, those who said peaceful negotiations are more effective decreased by 17 points from 62 percent in March 2014, while those who said they opt for a military solution to settle the conflict in Mindanao increased by 11 points from 9 percent.

Those who said military operations and peaceful negotiations are equally effective rose by 6 points from 29 percent in March 2014.

The survey was conducted last March 20 to 23, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide. PND (ag)

Filipino community in Chicago looks forward to President Aquino’s visit
(CHICAGO, Illinois) Filipinos living and working here in Chicago are looking forward to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s one-day working visit on May 6.

President Aquino, who is scheduled to arrive on May 6, will meet with members of the Filipino community here before traveling to Canada for a state visit from May 7 to 9.

Doctor Ramon Lopez, president of the Philippine Medical Association in Chicago, said they were “ecstatic and grateful” when they learned that President Aquino is going to visit Chicago.

“We are all ecstatic and grateful that he is finally going to come to Chicago as President of the Philippines before his tenure ends,” Lopez said during a recent interview with Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM).

Lopez also lauded President Aquino’s accomplishments, particularly the resurgence of the Philippine economy, his campaign against corruption, as well the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill.

“Kami po ay natutuwa sa kanyang mga nagawa na sa pagkapangulo ng ating bayan,” he said.

Edilberto Ortiz, a certified public accountant (CPA) and a managing partner of E.C. Ortiz & Co., LLP, said the Filipinos here are eagerly anticipating the President’s visit.

“It is definitely a welcome news for Filipinos,” Ortiz said during a separate interview with RTVM. “We have been waiting for this for the last five years.”

Ortiz said the Filipino community here is also looking forward to hearing more from President Aquino about his administration’s plan to sustain the momentum of the country’s economic growth.

“Is this good government going to continue? We feel like we have a good government now, but is that going to be continued after his term expires in 2016? So, that’s the biggest question that we want to him to answer,” he said.

During his meeting with the members of the Filipino community, the President is expected to report the developments that the Philippines has attained under his administration.

While in Chicago, President Aquino is also scheduled to meet with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as well as with foreign businessmen.

President Aquino’s working visit to Chicago will be his first since he assumed office in June 2010.

From Chicago, the President will proceed to Canada for a state visit from May 7 to 9, the first for a Philippine president since former President Fidel V. Ramos’ visit in 1997. PND (co)