30 May 2015

Palace announces new appointments
Malacanang announced on Saturday new appointments for different diplomatic posts and other government positions.

Among those appointed by President Aquino include Amable R. Aguiluz V, Special Envoy of the President to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Aguiluz was appointed May 16, 2015.

Also appointed were Joselito A. Jimeno as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Switzerland and Leslie J. Baja as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Egypt.

Other appointees were Gov. Denis B. Habawel, Chairperson, Regional Peace and Order Council, Cordillera Administrative Region; Regina S. Antequisa, member, Representing the Victims of Disasters and Calamities, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC); and Ninian S. Sumadia, member, Representing the Youth and Students, NAPC.

Victor G. Chiong was also designated as a member of the Board of Administrators of the National Electrification Administration.

The President also appointed Paisalin P.D. Tago, Jamel P. Dini, Abdulwahid A. Inju and Analiza G. Flores-Malayang as Commissioners, (representing the Women Sector) of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. They will serve until March 7, 2018.

Rafael M. Iriarte, Ralph Pastor A. Salazar, Joseph L. Emnas, Fernando L. Zulueta, Fernando V. Barreiro were appointed by the President as members of the Board of Directors of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) Exploration Corporation.

All other appointees aside from Aguiluz were designated by the President May 20, 2015. PND (as)

Business, regional security top agenda on President Aquino’s trip to Japan
Encouraging more businessmen to come to the Philippines as well as security issues would be President Aquino’s top agenda when he visits Japan next week, a Palace official said.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that apart from the bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other high-ranking Japanese officials including the Emperor, President Aquino is scheduled to meet Japanese businessmen.

“The President has a long line of meetings with captains of industry of either Japanese businessmen, who already have investments here in the Philippines, and those who are… because of our economy now, are looking to expand or are looking to put in more investments in the country,” Valte said during the interview.

“Every time the President goes out, he always makes it a point as much as possible to touch base with the captains of industry to really tell them what has been happening to country, and so far, you see that this is bearing fruit.”

The foreign direct investments are up and the number of foreign businesses that come to the Philippines are also increasing, she noted. Those already operating in the country have also shown quick expansions of their operations, she added.

With more than a year in office, the president will continue to push for the business agenda whenever he travels overseas, she added.

Security issue is also a top agenda for the President, Valte said. This is in the midsts of the ongoing reclamation activities of China in the West Philippine Sea.

Japan also has conflicting claims with China in the East Sea.

“The reclamation activity is a current issue, and it’s a shared issue between our country and as well as one of our strategic partners, which is Japan—mapag-uusapan at mapag-uusapan; ngunit hindi natin masasabi kung saan pupunta ang usapan,” Valte said.

Aside from China and Philippines, other claimants in the contested territory include Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. PND (as)

Official says government continuously upgrading capability to protect communities from disasters
The Palace said the government is already doing increased disaster preparedness initiatives to mitigate the impact of possible natural calamities that could hit Philippine communities, a Palace official said.

An international humanitarian group suggested that the country improves its disaster risk reduction and management plans to effectively cope with disasters.

“Obviously, that is something that we’re already doing, which is why we continually improve,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

“Of course, we continually try to improve and refine our DRRM (disaster risk reduction and management) measures, and not just that—not just the measures—but the capabilities,” she added.

For instance, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) organized a coordination meeting for 84 barangays in Metro Manila that could be directly affected by an active fault line.

The government not just focuses on “disaster risk” but also on “reduction,” which is why concerned agencies continually improve the soft and the hard capabilities that are part of DRRM.

“We make sure that they have the funds that will quickly supplement their actions if and when a calamity hits,” Valte stressed.

Part of the initiative includes the improvement of the equipment of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) for typhoons, and other disasters, she said.

Valte praised the performance of PAGASA for its much improved weather forecasting.

She noted that in the past typhoons that the country has experienced, PAGASA’s forecasting has gotten better and better.

“So I think that’s a given; that we, in government, are also looking to continually improve and refine measures that would help put our countrymen in less risk when it comes to natural disasters,” she said. PND (as)