'JOJO' OCHOA: TO SUBMIT 12 PRIORITY BILLS TO P-NOY / ON ROXAS: NO PROBLEM

[PHOTO - Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr: Paquito “Jojo” N. Ochoa Jr. is a Filipino Lawyer who serve as City administrator of Quezon City, Philippines, under the term of Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. He has been appointed Executive Secretary to President-elect Benigno Aquino III. Aquino’s long-time legal counsel and former Quezon City Administrator Paquito Ochoa Jr. (Noynoy Aquino’s Little President), Ochoa headed a team of Filipino lawyers that actively campaigned for Aquino. Ochoa finished economics at the University of Santo Tomas and law at the Ateneo de Manila.
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MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2011 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said yesterday they would submit to President Aquino today the list of 12 priority bills to be sent to Congress for approval and that the reproductive health (RH) bill would now be called the responsible parenthood (RP) bill.

Ochoa said “we changed that RH Bill, we renamed it” as the President’s guideline was to consider the suggestions of religious sectors on this.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also disclosed that the responsible parenthood bill was among the 32 bills discussed during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and this would be how it should be called now, RP and not RH bill.

Asked about the difference between RP and RH bill, Valte said “responsible parenthood reflects more the stand of the President on this particular issue.”

“I believe he has already mentioned that we want to focus on the kind of information that will be given and the subjects that will be taken up for the information drive. There are also discussions on setting up natural family planning centers so that people will see really all the methods that are available. He did mention that there should be some kind of sanction for people who will try to suppress that freedom to have the information available,” Valte said.

Ochoa said the RP bill was among the 32 discussed and which would be trimmed down to 12 based on the President’s instructions.

“We presented all 32 bills from among which the President made his choice, some of which he immediately approved; some he had comments and would like to get more details on, and there are those that he did not approve. Well, the main reason for that is because the President would want to really make the correct priority by reducing it further to around 10 to 12 proposed bills, or perhaps not more than 15,” Ochoa said.

The executive secretary said they were working to have the priority bills ready by today since this was the deadline given to them by the President.

Ochoa said the RP bill was among the 32 discussed during the Cabinet meeting because “the population really has a big, big impact on our economy” in terms of resources.

“So our economic development is also hinged on that,” Ochoa said.

For economic development, Ochoa said the measures in line with the Public-Private Partnership program were discussed.

“We want to pull in private resources... because even if government budget amounts to trillions, this is still very small compared to what the country needs. So we have to tap all possible resources and we are encouraging all investors to come in and we’re reviewing all regulations to make it easier for them to do business in this country, not only for our foreign investors but also for our domestic investors to get encouraged – they should stay on and keep doing business in this country,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa on Mar: No problem By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated January 21, 2011 12:00 AM

[PHOTO FROM LEFT - BINAY, MAR ROXAS AND OCHOA]

MANILA, Philippines - Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. sees no problem with former senator Manuel Roxas II joining the Cabinet as chief troubleshooter.

According to Ochoa, the present setup in the Cabinet would not change with the entry of the former senator by June. As of now, Roxas is serving as a personal senior adviser of President Aquino.

The executive secretary is traditionally seen as the “little president” and troubleshooter of the Chief Executive.

“My view is that nothing will change because, in the first place, the functions of the executive secretary (are) already mandated by law, so that is a matter of duty as far as I’m concerned,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa and Roxas are perceived to belong to feuding factions in the Aquino camp.

Roxas, however, downplayed this, saying factionalism could only hamper their work in government.

Ochoa is said to be a member of the Samar group while Roxas is from the Balay group. The Samar group allegedly dumped Roxas and supported Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2010 elections. Roxas ran as Aquino’s running mate under the Liberal Party but lost to Binay.

Ochoa has denied supporting Binay and said he was fine working with Roxas.

Aquino had said he would need Roxas in his team, saying he was no “superman” who could do everything by himself.

Ochoa said Aquino was free to allow Roxas to serve in the Cabinet in an advisory capacity because of the one-year ban in appointing candidates who lost in the last elections.

“If he (Roxas) has a specific task to perform, to do for the President, and representing the President in solving that task, I think that will be his role at the moment,” Ochoa said.

“But then, there is no harm if eventually, after the election ban… he will be part of the Cabinet because like what I’ve been saying ever since we started… is we welcome all kinds of help that we can get because the presidency is a Herculean task. No single person including the President can really solve everything within a span of six years,” he said.

Ochoa noted Aquino had seen the expertise of Roxas.

Meanwhile, Ochoa said he was looking into the possibility of privatizing some services of the government and leaving these to experts in the private sector who could do a better job.

Ochoa told “Talking Points” on government-run dzRB that lack of expertise and funds to continue the operations of some government entities is hampering services to the public.

“My bias really in government is we have to privatize services as much as we can,” Ochoa said.

“Because the expertise of government is limited so there are a lot of areas that should be left to the private sector (that) is more equipped, has more logistics, and who are experts in those fields,” he added.

Ochoa, however, did not elaborate on which services would be lined up for privatization.

Ochoa also cited the case of government-run NBN 4 and sequestered television networks RPN 9 and IBC 13.

He said a decision has to be made on the fate of the television stations, with discussions still underway with Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma.

“It’s still in the process… we’re still studying it very carefully,” Ochoa said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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