October 23 2015

APEC News Release

President Aquino swears in two ad interim Cabinet officials
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday morning administered the oath of office to ad interim Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada and Justice Secretary Benjamin Caguioa.
Both Monsada and Caguioa were designated as temporary chiefs of their respective departments following the mandatory exit of Jericho Petilla and Leila de Lima from the Cabinet.
Petilla and de Lima resigned as secretaries of the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Justice, respectively to run for the Senate in next year’s elections under the Liberal Party.

Monsada is a licensed chemist and a career official at the DOE, having served as director of its Oil Industry Management Bureau with the rank of undersecretary; and as its spokesperson on issues dealing with oil, gas, and alternative fuels.

She led the setting up of the national petroleum testing facility at the DOE, and is currently working on setting up a mobile monitoring and testing facility. According to reports, Petilla recommended her to take over his position.

Monsada received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chemistry from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City and the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. She also took up special studies in petroleum management in Stavanger, Norway and Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Caguioa, on the other hand, used to be the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and has been in the legal profession for many years. He obtained his degrees in Economics and Law at the Ateneo de Manila University.

He is one of the founding partners of the Caguioa and Gatmaytan (C&G) law firm, now known as Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio, which specializes in litigation and arbitration, as well as corporate and commercial transactions.

According to the C&G website, Caguioa had devoted much of his career to civil and commercial litigation before courts and quasi-judicial bodies of all levels, and to arbitration before various arbitration bodies. PND (hdc)

President Aquino recognizes achievements of semiconductor, electronics industries
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday praised the achievements of the semiconductor and electronics industries and their significant contribution to the country’s economy.

Speaking at the 14th Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc.’s (SEIPI) 14th CEO Forum and 122nd General Meeting at The Bellevue Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, the President recognized the successful partnership of the government and the industries in empowering the Filipino people.

“Whenever I think of the semiconductors and electronics industries in the Philippines, it always confirms my belief in the power of partnerships between government and the private sector. I will only be in office for the next eight months, and over the course of my term, you have been one of the best partners we could have asked for,” President Aquino said during the annual gathering of high-level executives of Philippine and foreign electronics companies with base operations in the country.

“You took a chance on us; you trusted that we would be true to our word. You devoted your time and your resources to help us generate the necessary skillsets for the labor you need. You were one of the first to take us up on our offer to help different industries, and our willingness to trust in and work with one another has obviously paid off. Now, we can look back with justified smiles on our faces, given all the opportunities we have been able to capitalize on, and the foundations we have laid for a future of greater possibilities,” he further said.

The President also cited the industries’ partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which provided more jobs for the country’s workforce.

“The evidence of our successful partnership is clear as day, and perhaps the greatest example is your work with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Time and again, whether here or abroad, I have pointed to our cooperation as one of the best examples of what can be achieved when the public and private sector work together,” he said, noting that last year, TESDA had graduated 1,994 scholars for work in the electronics industry, 96 percent of whom found employment.

This year, he said, the number of graduates has increased to 3,423, and the employment rate has been maintained.
“Rest assured, we remain committed to completing the training of 5,172 scholars, and we will strive to sustain—if not improve on—the employment rate,” he added.

President Aquino further pledged more facilities for the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL), which gives electronics companies an option to have failure analysis and materials characterization done in the Philippines, instead of shipping their products abroad to do it.

“The number of companies availing of ADMATEL’s services have quickly risen from 34 in 2013 to 88 in 2014, and to 179 as of September this year, and may I add, as is warranted, we will increase their facilities,” he said.

The President also mentioned the inauguration of the Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC), which allows for electromagnetic compatibility testing for electronic products.

“This means safer products that can more easily meet international standards, and I am hopeful that you will also avail of the services that EPDC will offer,” he added.

President Aquino expressed optimism that the industry would continue to work with his successor.

“Given all that we have achieved together as one unified nation, I am convinced of (the Filipino people’s) resolve to sustain our upward trajectory borne of good governance and reform. My only hope is that, when the time comes for me to step down, you will work even more closely with my successor to continue our progress, to move Philippine manufacturing into the global spotlight, and ultimately, to allow us to bequeath to future generations a Philippine economy and, more importantly, a Philippine nation that is much more vibrant than we found it,” he concluded.

The SEIPI consists of more than 260 local and foreign semiconductor and electronics companies, allied industries, as well as the academe.

This year’s CEO Forum carried the theme, “Bayanihan: Building a Sustainable Future for the Philippines Electronics Industry”. PND (jm)

APEC pushes for increased mobility of region’s Science, Technology and Innovation Experts
The 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have been called on to pursue a number of strategic courses of action, taking into account the various levels of autonomy of post-secondary institutions in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as differences in the division of constitutional responsibilities.

In their joint statement issued following the conclusion of the 1st High-Level Policy Dialogue on Science and Technology in Higher Education held in Manila last August, high-level representatives responsible for policy and partnership in science, technology and education and building human resources in higher education, science and technology, and research and development proposed to encourage the implementation of Mobility of Science, Technology, and Innovation Experts, and Advancing Cross-Border Education and Inter-University Collaboration on Science and Technology.

These will be implemented through existing mechanisms, namely the Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) and the Policy Partnership in Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI).

In the same statement, the APEC high-level officials expressed optimism that the Researcher Mobility Workshop, to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia in December, will help better establish the scale and characteristics of research cooperation across the APEC, the barriers and benefits of that cooperation and ways in which economies can work together to enhance research cooperation by bringing together experts from governments, academics, university leaders, industry partners and research organizations from across the Asia Pacific.

They also recognized the importance of inter-university collaboration for research cooperation, and the mobility of students and researchers.

“Universities in APEC economies can and do make a vital contribution to economic growth and social well-being both through the development of STEM education and research skills and through the research that they undertake. This applies throughout the research spectrum from basic research through to applied research and development,” the APEC officials said.

They also proposed to explore mechanisms to better facilitate student, researcher and providers’ mobility in the Asia-Pacific region and encourage the conduct of the regular APEC Conference on Cooperation in Higher Education and other meetings about relevant issues in higher education, subject to endorsement by the economies.

They suggested identifying and addressing matters that are pivotal to Cross-Border Higher Education and Inter-University Collaboration. This includes cross-border supply, where services are transmitted across borders; credit transfer of students involved in study-abroad Science, Technology, and Innovation programs; recognition and validation of short-term studies and research internships in the context of the field of Science, Technology, and Innovation through regional platforms; institutional mobility; transnational individual service providers; and agreements on data sharing and intellectual property policies.

In the interest of catalyzing regional innovation in Science, Technology, and Innovation, they also proposed that initial focus of policy assessment be on the potential for programs on doctoral degrees in support of APEC priorities.

“In light of this evolving terrain in higher education, we propose to study where appropriate, or share information about qualification frameworks, professional standards, and novel quality assurance control policies or mechanisms that can promote equity and quality of expanding higher education systems in the APEC region,” the APEC officials said in the statement. (APEC Communications Group)