Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Statement of Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail F. Valte on the SWS 2012 Survey of Enterprises on Corruption

MANILA, September 18, 2012-The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey of Enterprises on Corruption conducted from July 16 to September 14 this year shows that the business sector recognizes the results of the Aquino administration’s relentless drive against corruption.

Based on interviews of 826 company executives representing large, medium and small enterprises, 71% see less public sector corruption now compared to the previous administration. Of all the government institutions rated for sincerity in fighting corruption this year, the Office of the President shot up the most, from -37 in 2009 to +81 this year, an improvement of +118. Indeed, the President leads by example and the Filipino people see in his leadership the embodiment of positive change and honest public service. This is indicative of the overwhelming trust, confidence, and support in the President as he undertakes anti-corruption initiatives. In the eyes of the business community, good governance is good economics.
The mandate of reform is one of hope, change, and the belief that corruption is at the root of our country’s social ills. The results of this survey affirm the Aquino administration’s commitment to pursuing the straight and righteous path throughout the public sector – from Malacañang to Barangay Halls that serve our people.

Senate body approves P23-B DENR budget for 2013

MANILA, September 18, 2012-Senator Franklin M. Drilon, chairman of the Senate committee on Finance, approved today the proposed 2013 budget for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) totaling P23.63 billion which was crafted to strengthen the country’s’ resiliency to climate change impacts.

“The increase is attributed to the two poverty alleviation programs which put priority to massive reforestation, land distribution, and other key climate change initiatives upon which the government’s thrust to promote inclusive and sustained economic growth hinges,” Drilon explained.

“With the National Greening Program (NGP) in place, the DENR anticipates a sustained robust increase for its budget. Next year’s budget would be utilized to attain next year’s NGP target of300,000 hectares of denuded forests with some 150 million indigenous and fruit-bearing trees,” Drilon said, reiterating that NGP’s 2011-2016 target of planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares is about 28 percent more trees than what was planted for the past 50 years.

Included in the 2013 target is for the maintenance of another 300,000 hectares of established plantation and the protection of some 4.7 million hectares of untenured forestland, noted Drilon.

Key activities to be funded in the 2013 budget include the rehabilitation of some 30,000 hectares of coral reefs and 2,000 hectares of denuded mangrove areas, as well as the protection of the country’s protected areas (PAs) with the delineation of some 3,156 kilometers of boundaries of 34 PAs, planting of native trees in some 24, 104 hectares within PAs, he added.

For his part, DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that the increase is to ensure that social commitments are instituted with a focus on the country’s idle assets and turn these into productive lands.

In the lands sector, Paje bared that the DENR targets to issue next year some 102,573 residential and other patents, 113,636 agricultural patents covering 100,000 hectares to beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and 1,992 government lands covering 39,123 hectares.

He likewise said that the DENR aims to digitize some 2,389,956 public land and survey records.

On geohazard mapping, he said that the DENR aims to assess some 548 municipalities and cities for the preparation of 1:10,000 geohazard maps, conduct groundwater resources assessment of 28 provinces and municipalities, including the creation of an integrated map system as a guide for planning and decision making.

He added that the mapping activities will cover the mapping of 15 coastal provinces located within the country’s 18 major river systems to include the implementation of a unified mapping program covering the 18 river systems with the production of 1,700 map sheets on a 1:10,000 ratio.

“The undertaking will also require the acquisition of two 20-meter survey vessels,” Paje added.


MANILA, September 18, 2012-Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the government to allocate more funds for the skills training of frontline leaders and potential Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) employees as he expressed confidence that the Information Technology and BPO (IT-BPO) sector will continue to fuel the country’s economy.
Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), said Filipinos possess a clear edge over all other countries providing offshore call center outsourcing owing to our proficiency in the English language as well as our flexibility in dealing with other cultures.
The veteran legislator noted that the IT-BPO industry is seen to generate at least 120,000 new jobs for the highly skilled in knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), like healthcare management and legal research. Moreover, it aims to directly employ 1.3 million Filipinos by 2016.
“In such a short time, the IT-BPO industry has become one of the biggest job creators in the country. In the past decade, the sector has grown exponentially in terms of work force and income generation, from a fledgling subsector of the service industry to a multibillion-dollar earner,” Angara said.
According to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), the industry generated $11 billion in revenues and provided jobs to 638,000 employees by the end of 2011, surpassing its annual growth rate target of 20 percent.  

Angara noted that close to P1 billion of the 2012 national budget, specifically from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has been allocated for talent development in IT-BPO.   

"The government should continue to invest in this booming industry by providing  trainings and seminars for people seeking job opportunities in IT-BPO. This is a very promising age for Filipinos, especially highly educated, skilled and trained Filipinos,” he concluded.


MANILA, September 18, 2012-The Senate Committee on Social Justice and Rural Development, chaired by Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, convened on Tuesday morning to discuss the Magna Carta for the Poor, a measure that is aimed to bring more social services to impoverished Filipinos.

According to Pangilinan, “The Magna Carta for the Poor is meant to give the poor access to basic social services such as healthcare and medicines, public education, housing and the like. Our belief is that giving them equal access to these services will help level the playing field and empower more Filipinos to work toward a better future.”

Among those covered by the Magna Carta as those defined as “poor”, i.e., those living below the poverty threshold, and “basic sectors” such as farmers and fisherfolk, workers in the formal and informal sectors, indigenous peoples, and communities, persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens, victims of calamities, children, and urban poor, among others.

“Pinangangalagaan ng Magna Carta ang karapatan ng bawa’t Pilipino na magkaroon ng access sa mga serbisyong nararapat nilang makamtan bilang mamamayan. Hindi dapat ipagkait sa mga mahihirap ang karapatang makapag-aral, ang karapatang magkaroon ng sariling tirahan, ang karapatang magpagaling kapag sila ay maysakit, at iba pa. Pinoprotektahan nito ang kapakanan ng mga mahihirap na ang tanging masandalan na lamang ay ang batas at ang pamahalaan.”

Legarda Hails Adoption of Resolution to Support Efforts for Parliamentary and Inclusive Democracy in Cambodia

MANILA, September 18, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda hailed the adoption of Senate Resolution No. 873, which expresses support for parliamentary and inclusive democracy in Cambodia, last September 17.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, stressed that the value of democratic governance and parliamentary democracy cannot be understated, and building on electoral reforms is vital to developing a lasting a vibrant democracy.

“I filed this Resolution in cognizance of the 2012 report of Professor Surya Subedi, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia. Cambodia’s national election in July 2013 offers as excellent opportunity to further democratic consolidation,” she said.

“We take exceptional note of Professor Subedi's report that Cambodia has made progress with regard to democratic reforms, observance of the rule of law, and the human rights situation in the country following its adoption of the Paris Peace Agreements,” she detailed.

Senate Resolution No. 873 expresses the sense of the Philippine Senate to offer its hand of support to its counterparts in Cambodia, through dialogue and cooperation.

Legarda remarked that, “The Philippines has had its share of challenges in improving our electoral processes. Our electoral system may not be perfect yet, but we have acquired a depth of experience that we can share in pursuit of the promotion of ASEAN’s principle of “good neighborliness, partnership, and community building”. Hopefully, through mutually beneficial cooperation, we can also learn from them.”

“I am urging my fellow legislators to adopt this resolution as soon as possible, that we may show solidarity with our ASEAN neighbor as they conduct crucial electoral reforms,” she concluded.


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