PALACE INSISTS POLITICS DIDN'T AFFECT RELIEF, REHAB EFFORTS

DECEMBER 12 -Malacañang insisted on Wednesday that there was no politics involved in providing aid to victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), maintaining that the focus now would be to help them get back on their feet. But Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma did not say why Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had to remind Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez about his family’s political relationship with President Aquino’s at the height of the relief operations in Leyte. “Discussions like that, the tendency is to focus on personalities,” he said in Filipino. “Our focus now is on the program…the attention of the government is on the implementation of immediate reconstruction and recovery programs.” Coloma could not say if President Aquino shared Roxas’ contention that the Tacloban mayor should “be careful,” he being a “Romualdez” and the Chief Executive being an “Aquino.”

ALSO: Palace slams ‘media campaign

DECEMBER 11-Malacañang insisted on Wednesday that there was no politics involved in providing aid to victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), maintaining that the focus now would be to help them get back on their feet. But Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma did not say why Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had to remind Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez about his family’s political relationship with President Aquino’s at the height of the relief operations in Leyte. Coloma said there would be time, upon the completion of the region’s rehabilitation, for the government to “look back on how to improve the process” in responding to disasters. “The primary consideration of the government is providing assistance to our people,” he said.

ALSO: Aquino communications exec resigns

DECEMBER 12-Presidential Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang resigned his post and President Benigno Aquino III accepted it Tuesday, Malacanang said in a press briefing Thursday. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino accepted the resignation of Carandang effective December 31. Malacanang kept mum on the details of his resignation. Lacierda said Carandang would return to the private sector after a short and well-deserved vacation. He added that Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III being the most senior official of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) would oversee the office’s operations.


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Palace insists politics didn’t affect relief, rehab efforts in Tacloban By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:02 am | Thursday, December 12th, 2013


Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, DECEMBER 16, 2013 (INQUIRER) Malacañang insisted on Wednesday that there was no politics involved in providing aid to victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), maintaining that the focus now would be to help them get back on their feet.

But Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma did not say why Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had to remind Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez about his family’s political relationship with President Aquino’s at the height of the relief operations in Leyte.

“Discussions like that, the tendency is to focus on personalities,” he said in Filipino. “Our focus now is on the program…the attention of the government is on the implementation of immediate reconstruction and recovery programs.”

Coloma could not say if President Aquino shared Roxas’ contention that the Tacloban mayor should “be careful,” he being a “Romualdez” and the Chief Executive being an “Aquino.”

“He expressed no opinion on that,” Coloma said. “The focus of the President and the entire Cabinet now is finalizing the recovery and reconstruction program, the critical and immediate actions that are needed.”

Roxas earlier insisted that the President was “being very careful in just taking over [Tacloban] because he does not want anything to be misconstrued.”

Coloma said there would be time, upon the completion of the region’s rehabilitation, for the government to “look back on how to improve the process” in responding to disasters.

“The primary consideration of the government is providing assistance to our people,” he said.

“There’s a right time, when we are no longer preoccupied with recovery and reconstruction efforts, when we could revisit events in the hope that the conflicts would no longer be repeated.”

Malacañang announced on Wednesday, the release of P238.6 million to the National Housing Authority for the construction of permanent houses for poor families hit by supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Palace slams ‘media campaign’ By Christian V. Esguerra, Marlon Ramos Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:25 am | Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang insisted on Wednesday that there was no politics involved in providing aid to victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), maintaining that the focus now would be to help them get back on their feet.

But Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma did not say why Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had to remind Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez about his family’s political relationship with President Aquino’s at the height of the relief operations in Leyte.

“Discussions like that, the tendency is to focus on personalities,” he said in Filipino. “Our focus now is on the program…the attention of the government is on the implementation of immediate reconstruction and recovery programs.”

Coloma could not say if President Aquino shared Roxas’ contention that the Tacloban mayor should “be careful,” he being a “Romualdez” and the Chief Executive being an “Aquino.”

“He expressed no opinion on that,” Coloma said. “The focus of the President and the entire Cabinet now is finalizing the recovery and reconstruction program, the critical and immediate actions that are needed.”

Roxas earlier insisted that the President was “being very careful in just taking over [Tacloban] because he does not want anything to be misconstrued.”

Coloma said there would be time, upon the completion of the region’s rehabilitation, for the government to “look back on how to improve the process” in responding to disasters.

“The primary consideration of the government is providing assistance to our people,” he said.

“There’s a right time, when we are no longer preoccupied with recovery and reconstruction efforts, when we could revisit events in the hope that the conflicts would no longer be repeated.”

Malacañang announced on Wednesday, the release of P238.6 million to the National Housing Authority for the construction of permanent houses for poor families hit by supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

VIDEO OF THE CNN INTERVIEW


Published on Nov 13, 2013 A well-publicized estimate that Typhoon Haiyan killed 10,000 people in the Philippines is "too much," and the death toll likely is closer to 2,000 or 2,500, President Benigno Aquino told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. "There was emotional trauma involved with that particular estimate quoting both the police official and local government," he said, adding that "they did not have a basis for it". He did however acknowledge that the number "might still get higher." President Aquino said they are still trying to establish their numbers and have another 29 municipalities to contact before they can finalize a death toll.

Aquino communications exec resigns By Nestor Corrales INQUIRER.net 12:33 pm | Thursday, December 12th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang resigned his post and President Benigno Aquino III accepted it Tuesday, Malacanang said in a press briefing Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino accepted the resignation of Carandang effective December 31.
Malacanang kept mum on the details of his resignation.

Lacierda said Carandang would return to the private sector after a short and well-deserved vacation.

He added that Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III being the most senior official of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) would oversee the office’s operations.

“Secretary Carandang thanked the President for the chance to serve the administration and the country. The president also thanked him for his service to the country,” Lacierda said.

Before joining Aquino’s Cabinet, Carandang was in the business sector and then became an anchor of the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

He is the first head of the PCDSPO, created in 2010 at the beginning Aquino’s term. PCDSPO serves as the President’s chief message-crafting body.

EARLIER REPORT ON THE DAP

Palace exec admits ‘problem’ in ‘disbursement acceleration program’ By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:11 pm | Saturday, October 5th, 2013

BALI, Indonesia – A Malacañang official admitted Saturday that there was a “problem” with the system that allowed legislators to direct projects using government savings released through the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program.

“I think it’s very clear there’s a problem,” Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang told reporters here Saturday on the eve of President Aquino’s arrival for the 21st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

But Carandang defended the two-year-old DAP, saying Cabinet members involved in the implementation of projects under the program would show in the “coming days and weeks” that P72 billion in government savings had been generally “well-spent.”

“A lot of these went to social services, a lot of these went to infrastructure and I think the benefits of that would be clearly explained and demonstrated by members of the Cabinet,” he said.

Carandang maintained that DAP projects coursed through legislators had been suspended in the wake of reports that part of the savings had been misused or gone to fake foundations.

“We’ve conceded. We see that there are things that need to be fixed and we’re fixing them,” he said.

“I want to be fair to everybody. There appears to have been some problems in the allocation of savings to projects identified by some lawmakers. As a result of that, I think [Budget] Secretary [Florencio] Abad has announced that that portion of the program has been suspended,” he added.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer on Saturday reported that four senators had sought the release of a total of P400 million to the Department of Agrarian Reform in November 2011, a month after the Department of Budget and Management announced the DAP.

Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and Vicente Sotto III later asked the DBM to realign the amount to the National Livelihood Development Corp., as shown by copies of letters obtained by the Inquirer.

The four senators then wrote NLDC president Gondelina Amata recommending that their respective projects be implemented by certain foundations. These groups were later linked to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Sotto, Revilla, and Marcos have all denied asking for such amounts and channeling them to bogus foundations, saying their signatures on the letters might have been forged.

“Certainly, there have been some issues as far as some lawmakers attempt to allocate some of those funds, but that issue is being addressed,” Carandang said. “There will be many side issues but at the end of the day, no one can say that we’re not doing what has to be done to correct this problem.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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