15 October 2015

APEC News Releases

President Aquino attends mass with administration tandem
President Benigno S. Aquino III attended a Holy Mass at the Manila Cathedral on Thursday, together with the administration’s presidential and vice presidential bets, Manuel Roxas II and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.

Roxas and Robredo, along with their families and supporters, heard Mass before filing their respective certificates of candidacy (COCs) at the nearby Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Present during the ceremony were House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Roxas’ wife Korina Sanchez and mother Judy Araneta-Roxas, Robredo’s three daughters — Aika, Patricia and Jillian, and Mark Lapid, one of the senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party (LP).

Cabinet members present were Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Presidential Management Staff Julia Abad, and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

After the Mass, the President stayed for a while and mingled with members and supporters of the LP waiting outside the Cathedral.

President Aquino then proceeded to a makeshift tent assembled in front of the church and had breakfast with Roxas and Robredo, their close families and key officials of the LP. They all enjoyed rice porridge and puto for breakfast.

The Chief Executive has been vocal about campaigning for Roxas and Robredo in next year’s presidential elections. PND (jb)

Palace expects police to enforce strict gun control during election campaign period
Malacañang on Thursday said it is confident that the Philippine National Police (PNP) would enforce strict gun control during the election campaign period.

“Nananalig tayo na gagawin ng Philippine National Police ang nararapat, dahil pangkaraniwan namang deputized sila ng COMELEC (Commission on Elections) na maging pangunahing law enforcement agency,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a media briefing at the Palace.

Secretary Coloma was commenting on the suggestion of Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting Chairperson Henrietta de Villa on the early implementation of a total gun ban to prevent election-related violence.

“Kung maaalala natin noong 2013 elections, kapansin-pansin ang malaking pagbaba sa dami o sa kakauntian nga, o malaking pagbaba sa dami at malaking pagtaas ng ‘no incidents’ sa iba’t ibang mga lugar na datihan pang itinuturing na election hotspots. At ayon sa Philippine National Police, ang pinakamahalagang dahilan kung bakit ito ay natamo ay ‘yung strict enforcement ng gun control,” Coloma explained.

He further said that under Operation Plan ‘Katok’, policemen went from house to house to verify the ownership of registered firearms and they netted loose firearms.

The proliferation of loose firearms has been identified as one of the main reasons for the rise in election violence.

“Kaya’t makatitiyak tayo na gagawin ng Philippine National Police muli ang puspusang pagpapatupad ng kampanya laban sa mga iligal na armas. Gagawin din ang nararapat para mapanatili ang kaayusan at katahimikan sa panahon ng eleksyon,” said Coloma. PND (ag)

Makati Mayor Binay’s allegation of harassment is “unfounded”, says Palace
The Palace on Thursday dismissed as “unfounded” Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay’s allegation of harassment when Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) personnel and police officers served the Ombudsman’s order for his dismissal.

“An all-female personnel complement from the DILG was tasked to serve the Ombudsman’s order supported by the PNP (Philippine National Police). Allegations of harassment are untrue and unfounded,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Coloma was reading a statement from DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, who has the task to serve the order from the Ombudsman.

Mayor Binay on Wednesday accused the DILG of harassment after department personnel and police officers allegedly surrounded his house in San Antonio, Makati City to serve the dismissal order.

The Office of the Ombudsman has found Binay guilty of administrative charges of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty over the alleged anomalous bidding and construction of the P2.28 billion Makati carpark building project. PND (ag)

Palace welcomes survey indicating ‘very high’ optimism among Filipinos
Malacañang on Thursday welcomed the results of a recent poll showing that a majority of Filipinos remain optimistic with respect to their quality of life, as well as the country’s economy.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. considered this as a reaffirmation of the trust and confidence the public continues to put on the leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

“Ang pagpapahayag ng kanilang optimistikong pananaw hinggil sa kinabukasan ay pagpapatunay ng kanilang kumpiyansa at pagtitiwala na sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang administrasyon, patuloy na maitataas ang antas ng kalidad ng kanilang pamumuhay, patuloy ang pagpapatupad ng mga reporma na magbibigay daan sa katuparan ng kanilang mga pangarap at mithiin,” Secretary Coloma told reporters during the daily media briefing at the Palace.

Based on its third quarter survey, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) found that net personal optimism among 1,200 adult respondents nationwide is still ‘very high’ at +33.

The same group of people also believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months, yielding a net optimism score of +18, which the SWS also classified as ‘very high’.

Coloma also concurred to the observation that these results substantiate President Aquino’s belief that the greatest achievement of his administration is the renewed sense of hope among the Filipino people.

“Sa pananaw ni Pangulong Aquino ang pinakamahalagang naisagawa ng kanyang pamamahala ay ang pagpapanumbalik ng pag-asa, ang pagpapanumbalik ng paniniwala sa katuparan ng mga pangarap o mithiin, at ito ay pinapatunayan ng resulta ng SWS survey na nagpapakitang tumataas pa ang antas ng pagiging optimistiko ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

“Tumataas ang kanilang paniwala na gaganda pa ang takbo ng ating ekonomiya at ng kanilang kabuhayan, at katulad nga ng nabanggit ko kanina, ito ay pahiwatig na nararamdaman nila ang benepisyo ng mabuting pamamahala,” he added. PND (hdc)

President Aquino accepts the resignation of TESDA Chief Joel Villanueva
The Palace said on Thursday that President Benigno S. Aquino III has accepted the resignation of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva.

“According to the Office of the Executive Secretary, President Aquino has accepted the resignation of Secretary Emmanuel Joel Villanueva as Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority effective 13 October 2015,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement.

Secretary Villanueva, who tendered his resignation last October 9, is among the senatorial bets of the Liberal Party for next year’s elections.

The President has designated Irene Isaac, TESDA Deputy Director General for Policies and Planning, as Officer-in-Charge.

“(This is) in order to avoid the disruption in the rendition of essential government services and to ensure continuity of vital programs, projects and activities of TESDA,” Coloma added. PND (ag)

Micro grids for blackouts during disasters suggested at APEC meeting
(CEBU CITY, Cebu) The Philippines might want to look into investing in micro grids, which can transmit power autonomously during blackouts caused by natural disasters, such as earthquakes and typhoons.

According to Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, head of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Working Group and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia and the Americas at the Office of International Affairs of the United States Department of Energy, the US shared the “put a lot of money” into installing micro grids to prepare them for natural calamities, like when Hurricane Sandy plunged the US East Coast in darkness in 2012.

The US official highlighted the need for “resilient micro grids”, which can provide electricity to hospitals and schools during blackouts.

In times of disasters, Yoshida said micro grids could also transmit power to industrial plants with advanced micro grids.

“We build in ways that (when) there is a disaster… those micro grids can back up very quickly and supply the most urgent needs in the area,” she said.

A micro grid is a local energy grid that has control capability, enabling it to disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously.

Unlike a regular grid, which, when needed to be repaired, cuts power in central power sources that provide electricity to homes, businesses, and other buildings, micro grids can operate on their own, using local energy sources, such as solar panels.

Yoshida however also pointed out the need to maximize the resources of each region and customize the strategies for energy resilience that work best for each economy.

When Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina hit the United States, “we were not totally prepared”, she said, adding that they have been “learning best lessons to build resilience in the system”.

In the US, each region has different strategies employed to counter the effects of natural disasters on power supply.

Some of the regions use backup pumps and auxiliary power, while some opted to place their power lines underground so they would be protected from extreme weather conditions above ground.

A 2012 study by a research and market analysis team, Green Tech Media, said that micro grids were able to provide needed power supply to parts of Maryland, New Jersey, and Manhattan in New York during the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.

This allowed evacuation and emergency responses to take place amid the coast-wide power outage. (APEC Communications Group)

Asia-Pacific Energy officials support continued implementation of APEC oil and gas security initiative
(CEBU CITY, Cebu) Energy ministers of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies expressed their support for the continuation of the APEC Oil and Gas Security Initiative (OGSI) in an effort to improve the capacity of the APEC region to respond to such emergencies as disruptions in oil and gas supply.

In a joint statement issued following the conclusion of the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting held here this week, the ministers said they recognize that for developing economies, the costs of rehabilitation and rebuilding can be prohibitive, as recovery efforts could account for a substantial share of the economy’s gross domestic product.

In calling for the continuation of the OGSI, the APEC energy officials maintained that beyond the cost of reconstruction, a disruption of fuel supply and breakdown in energy infrastructure interdependencies could seriously affect the free flow of goods and services within an economy and within the region itself.

The creation of the OGSI was proposed by Japan and was approved for implementation in November 2014. The project is scheduled to be completed by December 31 this year.

The total cost of the project is US$732,630.

The primary purpose of the initiative is to help economies address the issue on energy supply security, and on how to deal with the threats of possible supply shortage and/or emergency situations.

The OGSI is a continuation of the APEC Oil and Gas Security Exercises (OGSE) project to put forward the directive of the 11th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting held in Beijing, China on September 2, 2014.

The project has broader coverage, consisting of three major pillars: the OGSE, the Oil and Gas Security Network (OGSN), and the Oil and Gas Security Studies (OGSS).

The OGSE seek to establish “Oil and Gas Security Exercise Model Procedure” as a guiding framework for the economies.

The OGSN, on the other hand, is tasked to transmit updated information on oil and gas security through a newsletter.

Meanwhile, the OGSS will involve the conduct of research on issues related to oil and gas security and will publish one or two reports per year.

Examples of research themes for the OGSS include the potential impact of political and social instability in the Middle East, the impact of Arctic melting on new opportunities for oil and gas resources and trade routes, and the current situation of oil and gas storage in the APEC region and the possibility of building a stockpile system.

Recent studies show that the APEC demand for oil and natural gas significantly exceeds internal production and the APEC relies heavily on outside sources. (APEC Communications Group)