PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO SHRUGS OFF U.S. WARNING OVER CHINA

Commander of the US Air Forces in the Pacific gave warning after Aquino described China’s leadership as dictatorial: President Benigno Aquino has disregarded a United States army general who cautioned the Philippines and Japan over making incendiary statements against China, a spokesman said. President Aquino’s words in an interview with the New York Times, which described China’s leadership as being dictatorial due to the latter’s intensifying claims on the whole of the South China Sea “should be put in proper context,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. “President Aquino simply called attention to the need for international solidarity in asserting the primacy of the rule of law to deter expansionism [of China] in the West Philippine Sea [the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines in the South China Sea],” Coloma explained. He was reacting to General Herbert Carlisle, commander of the US Air Forces in the Pacific, who earlier said Aquino’s comparison — in the Times interview — of China’s territorial claims on the South China Sea to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s imperialism was “not helpful”.

ALSO: Malacanang admits ‘Yolanda’ shortcomings

MALACANANG on Sunday admitted that the government has been unable to adequately address the needs of those affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda. But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr (photo). said the government is determined to carry out rehabilitation in all 171 municipalities and cities affected by the calamity. “We realize that despite its best efforts, government is unable to adequately respond to all the needs of all the affected families and individuals. We continue to welcome suggestions on how we can improve our response and assistance,” Coloma said in a statement. As the country marked the 100th day of the devastation, the official vowed that families now living in bunkhouses and temporary shelters will be provided permanent housing in new human settlements with facilities for livelihood activities. “New school buildings, municipal halls, public markets, and town centers will be constructed,” he added. According to Coloma, President Benigno Aquino 3rd has directed members of the Cabinet to prepare a detailed roadmap for effective response to disasters before the onset of the rainy season in June.

ALSO: Noy orders Cabinet to intensify job creation

President Aquino ordered his Cabinet Tuesday to “intensify programs on job creation and social protection” amid the ballooning 12.1 million unemployed Filipinos. “The President directed Cabinet members to be proactive in delivering front-line services that will assist Filipinos in provinces where there is a high incidence of poverty,” Presidential Communications Operation Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a news briefing in Malacañang yesterday. The President’s directive came after the Social Weather Stations reported that unemployment grew in December 2013, from just about 9.6 million jobless in the country in September of the same year. Coloma said the main agenda of the Cabinet meeting was the “action plans on job creation, social protection and poverty reduction presented by the departments comprising the Cabinet’s human development and poverty reduction cluster.”

ALSO: Noy sees ‘new chapter’ in Mindanao

It’s time for a new chapter in Mindanao to unfold. Speaking before the 2nd Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Local Government Units Summit on Governance and Development in Davao City yesterday, President Aquino rallied the people to support the government’s peace initiatives to ensure success in the long term. Aquino called on stakeholders to give their all for the sake of peace and development that had long evaded the South, rather than focus on what they could get. Aquino compared the situation to planting a seed and then nurturing it with fertilizer and enough sunshine so it would fully bloom and bear fruit. The President underscored the importance of the spirit of volunteerism and collective effort of the people in attaining a lasting peace in Mindanao. He added the current leadership of the ARMM has made a lot of sacrifices as the region transitioned into another phase of its history.


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Philippines President Benigno Aquino shrugs off US warning over China statements

Commander of the US Air Forces in the Pacific gave warning after Aquino described China’s leadership as dictatorial

MANILA, FEBRUARY 10, 2014 (GULFNEWS.COM) By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief Gulf News - President Benigno Aquino (photo) has disregarded a United States army general who cautioned the Philippines and Japan over making incendiary statements against China, a spokesman said.

President Aquino’s words in an interview with the New York Times, which described China’s leadership as being dictatorial due to the latter’s intensifying claims on the whole of the South China Sea “should be put in proper context,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr.

“President Aquino simply called attention to the need for international solidarity in asserting the primacy of the rule of law to deter expansionism [of China] in the West Philippine Sea [the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines in the South China Sea],” Coloma explained.

He was reacting to General Herbert Carlisle, commander of the US Air Forces in the Pacific, who earlier said Aquino’s comparison — in the Times interview — of China’s territorial claims on the South China Sea to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s imperialism was “not helpful”.

Carlisle had also reacted to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about confrontation in the past between Germany and Britain despite their strong economic ties, in reference to a possible confrontation between China and Japan over territorial claims in the East Sea.

“It’s understandable for a military commander to adopt a viewpoint that’s different from a head of state’s perspective,” said Coloma.

A US ally, the Philippines has been asking for US military assistance as it moves against a China flexing its naval might.

China has taken over shoals near Philippine territory, beginning with the Mischief Shoal near Palawan, southwestern Philippines in 1995 and the Scarborough Shoal near northern Luzon in 2012.

Beijing’s building of structures on the Mischief Shoal in 1995 resulted in the inking of the code of conduct to be implemented by claimants in the South China Sea, between China and the 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2002.

Since then, ASEAN has been urging China to sign an amendment to the document to make it legally binding. China wants bilateral agreements with claimants instead.

China, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim the entire South China Sea based on their respective historical rights over the sealane.

Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines claim some parts of the Spratly Archipelago off the South China Sea based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which grants countries 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zones starting from their shores.

ASEAN is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Four of the claimants of the South China Sea are ASEAN member countries.

FROM MANILA TIMES

Malacanang admits ‘Yolanda’ shortcomings February 16, 2014 4:27 pm



MALACANANG on Sunday admitted that the government has been unable to adequately address the needs of those affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr (photo). said the government is determined to carry out rehabilitation in all 171 municipalities and cities affected by the calamity.

“We realize that despite its best efforts, government is unable to adequately respond to all the needs of all the affected families and individuals. We continue to welcome suggestions on how we can improve our response and assistance,” Coloma said in a statement.

As the country marked the 100th day of the devastation, the official vowed that families now living in bunkhouses and temporary shelters will be provided permanent housing in new human settlements with facilities for livelihood activities.

“New school buildings, municipal halls, public markets, and town centers will be constructed,” he added.

According to Coloma, President Benigno Aquino 3rd has directed members of the Cabinet to prepare a detailed roadmap for effective response to disasters before the onset of the rainy season in June.

“This will include adoption of new emergency alert protocols for storm surge, floods, and landslides; strict implementation of no build zones along coastlines; and higher standards for disaster resiliency of buildings and infrastructure,” he said.

Learning from Yolanda’s lessons, the Palace official also said that priority would be given to setting up of an all-weather communications system including satellite phones and mobile communications kits to ensure uninterrupted connectivity despite power service interruption.

“As we stated in the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit last December 2013, the Philippines and other disaster prone countries must break the cycle of prediction, devastation, and rehabilitation by adopting the principle of build back better and being more productive. The President has also said that, with the worsening effects of climate change, we must make even greater measures to adapt including reinforcing our supply of power,” said Coloma.

He also promised to act on reports of abuse or anomaly in the provision of relief services to victims of calamities. Coloma called on all Filipinos to continue working with government and all donor and aid agencies in extending a helping hand to the victims.

“In order to build back better, reconstruction and rehabilitation must be needs-based and grounded on concrete realities at the grassroots level. For this reason, Secretary Panfilo Lacson has prioritized local government units that have done their homework in preparing a post-disaster needs assessment analysis and corresponding rehabilitation plan,” Coloma said. JOEL M. SY EGCO

FROM PHILSTAR

Noy orders Cabinet to intensify job creation By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 1

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino ordered his Cabinet Tuesday to “intensify programs on job creation and social protection” amid the ballooning 12.1 million unemployed Filipinos.

“The President directed Cabinet members to be proactive in delivering front-line services that will assist Filipinos in provinces where there is a high incidence of poverty,” Presidential Communications Operation Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a news briefing in Malacañang yesterday.

The President’s directive came after the Social Weather Stations reported that unemployment grew in December 2013, from just about 9.6 million jobless in the country in September of the same year.

Coloma said the main agenda of the Cabinet meeting was the “action plans on job creation, social protection and poverty reduction presented by the departments comprising the Cabinet’s human development and poverty reduction cluster.”

“A key recommendation of the Cabinet cluster on human development and poverty reduction was to implement strategies with spatial and sectoral dimensions to ensure attainment of inclusive growth,” he said.

Categories in which government’s efforts in job generation must be focused were also specified.

Category 1 for the “most” number of poor, Category 2 where “poor households are high” and Category 3 for those “exposed to multiple hazards.”

“The objective for Category 1 provinces is to create more economic opportunities; for Category 2, enhance mobility of labor and goods; and for Category 3, increase resilience since they are most vulnerable to disasters,” Coloma explained.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo will focus on increasing the country’s competitiveness in industry sectors with high employment multipliers like shipbuilding, food processing, furniture, chemicals, automotive, copper and copper products, electronics and garments.

“Continuing support will be given to the IT-BPO sector that has been a consistent generator of new employment opportunities. The Department of Trade and Industry will also pursue initiatives in further improving the ease of doing business and lowering power costs to enhance employment and job creation,” he said.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the Department of Labor and Employment would “facilitate job matching and placement of jobseekers” through their “convergence programs” in 30 priority provinces that include those hit by disasters.

NEDA: Gov’t missed job creation targets

Coloma also told reporters that Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan presented a mid-term assessment of the government’s performance and admitted that the government missed its job creation targets and objectives with regards to the Philippine Development Plan.

“We are on track with respect to our economic targets, but we lag with respect to our social outcomes,” Coloma said, quoting Balisacan.

The National Statistical Coordination Board reported in April 2013 that poverty incidence for the first half of 2012 was 27.9 percent, slightly less than the 28.8 percent recorded in the first half of 2006 and the 28.6 percent recorded in the first half of 2009 and 2011.

By “economic targets,” Balisacan meant the robust 7.2 percent GDP growth in 2013 – the second highest in Asia next to economic giant China.

This is mostly “consumption-driven,” according to Coloma.

Coloma also said the National Economic and Development Authority reported that “fixed capital formation has also been on the uptrend, reaching 21.1 percent in 2013 or just a shade below the 22-percent target.”

As far as the national government is concerned, however, “unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in 2013 compared to the forecast range of 6.8 to 7.2 percent,” Coloma said.

He noted that the Aquino government has managed to reduce poverty level in the country to 25.2 percent based on the latest 2012 full-year figures.– With Paolo Romero

Noy sees ‘new chapter’ in Mindanao By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - It’s time for a new chapter in Mindanao to unfold. Speaking before the 2nd Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Local Government Units Summit on Governance and Development in Davao City yesterday, President Aquino rallied the people to support the government’s peace initiatives to ensure success in the long term.

Aquino called on stakeholders to give their all for the sake of peace and development that had long evaded the South, rather than focus on what they could get.

Aquino compared the situation to planting a seed and then nurturing it with fertilizer and enough sunshine so it would fully bloom and bear fruit.

The President underscored the importance of the spirit of volunteerism and collective effort of the people in attaining a lasting peace in Mindanao.

He added the current leadership of the ARMM has made a lot of sacrifices as the region transitioned into another phase of its history.

“The best advice I got was, we win when we think of how the other can win, instead of how we can win,” he said.

Aquino said the signing of several components of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as other initiatives being undertaken by the government would lead to systemic reforms in the region.

He said the Land of Promise must finally realize its potential with long-term reforms.

Aquino said Mindanao had actually started to move to a new era of better governance towards an improved society, noting the region was now able to free itself from repeating the errors of the past.

“I am excited for the day the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be passed to finally open a new chapter in Muslim Mindanao’s history,” he said.

Under the agreement between the government and the MILF, the ARMM will be dissolved to pave the way for a Bangsamoro government.

The complete agreement between the two parties is expected to be finished by March.

The President thanked the leadership of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman for carrying out reforms in the region, calling him the region’s “ghost buster.”

The only hurdles in Mindanao’s quest for enduring peace are the doubts and fears of the people that could cause them to commit the same mistakes that happened in the past, he said.

This is the reason why the people should give peace a chance in Mindanao.

Hataman led the local officials of the ARMM in expressing their support for the transition to the proposed Bangsamoro government.

Hataman, the members of the regional government, the governors of the four provinces and the municipal mayors in the ARMM presented a resolution of support to Aquino at the closing ceremony of the summit. – With Edith Regalado, Roel Pareño, Cecille Suerte Felipe
 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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