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Aguinaldo Shrine

Pagsanjan Falls

Taal Lake

Antipolo Church

Lucban Pahiyas Feast

PIA Calabarzon 6 PR ( March 14-15 ,2013),Dispatch for March 15 , 2013 (Friday),
10 Weather Watch, 1 Regl.Watch , 2 OFW Watch , Pres. Aquino’s . Speech , 15 Online News

Weather Watch
2 hours ago

DZRH: Bumalik ang northeast monsoon o hanging amihan na magdadala ng maulap na papawirin at pabugso-bugsong
papawirin sa ilang bahagi ng bansa. Samantala, ang tail-end of cold front ay sa dulong Hilagang Luzon na siyang magdadala naman ng mga pag-ulan sa malaking bahagi ng Luzon kabilang na ang Southern Tagalog ng region. Samantala, sa Metro Manila ay maranasan ang katamtamang lagay ng panahon na maaaring magkaroon din ng pag-ulan lalo na sa dakong hapon at gabi. Inaasahan ang mainit na panahon ngayong araw ng Biyernes na maaaring umabot ng 34 degrees Celsius. Ang araw ay nagpakita kaninang 6:03 ng umaga at lulubog mamayang 6:06 ng gabi.

Weather Watch
14 hours ago

GMA-7 resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz on 24 Oras:
- Isang local thunderstorm ang naranasan sa Metro Manila kanina. Isa rin sa naging sanhi ng pag-ulan ang matagal na mainit na panahon na naging dahilan sa mabilis na pagbuo ng ulap na nagdala ng pag-ulan. - Ayon sa datos ng PAGASA, asahan ang pag-ulan sa Northern Luzon dahil sa epekto ng tail-end of a cold front. - Mayroon namang maliit na tsansa na umulan sa umaga at gabi sa Metro Manila subalit malaki naman ang posibilidad na umulan sa hapon. - Maaliwalas ang panahon ang asahan sa Visayas - Makakaranas naman ng mahinang pag-ulan ang malaking bahagi ng Mindanao.

Weather Watch
14 hours ago

ABS-CBN: Asahan ang maulap na panahon na may kaunting pag-ulan sa Tuguegarao, Aurora at Quezon habang maulap din
ang panahon sa Naga at Legazpi. Magiging maganda naman ang panahon sa natitirang bahagi ng Luzon ngunit may posibildad pa rin ng mahinang pag-ulan. Tinataya namang magiging maulap ang panahon sa Samar at Leyte habang maganda naman ang panahon sa natitirang bahagi ng Visayas. Asahan naman ang mahinang pag-ulan sa Davao habang maliit naman ang posibilidad ng pag-ulan sa natitirang bahagi ng Mindanao.

Weather Watch
14 hours ago

ABS-CBN: Sugatan ang walo katao kabilang ang pitong bata matapos mabasag ang salamin ng isang fast food chain sa
Quezon City sa kasagsagan ng malakas na hangin at ulan kanina. Samantala, umulan din ng yelo na kasing laki ng butil ng sago sa ilang bahagi ng nasabing lungsod.

Weather Watch
14 hours ago

GMA News TV:

Nakaranas ng pabugso-bugsong pag-ulan ang Metro Manila kaninang hapon na may kasamang mga

butil ng yelo. Tinatayang tumagal ng 15 minuto ang pag-ulan ng yelo. Ilang mga mamamayan ang nakakuha ng larawan ng mga bumagsak na yelo. Samantala, isang fast food chain sa may Frisco, Quezon City ang nabasagan ng salamin makaraang hagupitin ito ng ipu-ipo kasabay ng malakas na ulan.

Weather Watch
15 hours ago

DZMM: Umulan ng yelo sa kalsada sa Quezon City kung saan ilang sasakyan ang nabasag ang wind shields. Siyam na
customer ng isang fast food chain sa Frisco, Quezon City ang nasugatan matapos mabasag ang salamin sa establishment dulot ng malakas na hangin at malakas na pag-ulan. Samantala, ipinaliwanag naman ng PAGASA na localized thunderstorm ang naranasan sa ilang lugar sa Metro Manila. Sinabi ng PAGASA na normal na nararanasan ang localized thunderstorm kapag panahon ng tag-init o mula Marso hanggang Mayo. Sa localized thunderstorm umano ay karaniwang nararanasan ang sandaling bahagya hanggang sa malakas na pag-ulan na minsan ay may kasamang pagbugso ng hangin at pag-ulan ng yelo. Paliwanag ng PAGASA, kapag mainit ang panahon ay mas malaki ang chance na magka-water cycle o evaporation.

Weather Watch
16 hours ago

24-HR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST issued at 5:00p.m. of March 4, 2013
SYNOPSIS: Tail-end of cold front affecting Northern Luzon. FORECAST: Cagayan Valley Region and the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Apayao will experience cloudy skies with light rains. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have partly cloudy skies wiht isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast will prevail over northern Luzon and its coastal waters will be moderate to rough. Elsewhere, winds will be light to moderate blowing from the northeast with slight to moderate seas.>> NDRRMC OPCEN

Weather Watch
16 hours ago

PAGASA weather forecaster Samuel Duran on DZRH:
Re: Hailstorm in Quezon City - Ang nangyari kanina ay hailstorm (pag-ulan ng yelo). Iyon kasing thunderstorm ay kapag malakas siya o intense kung tawagin ay may kaakibat na hail at saka gustiness, iyong pagbugso ng hangin. - Para sa ganitong mga panahon, iyong mga thunderstorm na nararanasan natin ay hindi naman gaanong katagalan, panandalian lamang, although sometimes masyadong malakas, pero hindi malawakan. Maaaring dito lang sa QC ang hailstorm at panandalian lamang at sa ibang lugar ay wala naman. - Mararanasan ang matinding araw at biglang bubuhos ang ulan kapag mayroon pa ring tinatawag na easterlies na tumatagos sa Metro Manila. Usually, ang pag-ulan ay nasa silangang bahagi ng bansa, Kabikulan, Eastern Visayas, Aurora at Quezon. - Naitala kanina ang 31.8 degree Celsius na temperatura dahil umulan. Dito sa Quezon City, malakas ang ulan pero panandalian lang.[pia-mr/rz]

Weather Watch
18 hours ago

Earthquake Information No. 2 issued on 1:40pm as of Mar. 14, 2013:
Date/Time: Mar. 14, 2013/1:33pm Location: 26 degrees east of Bangued, Abra. Depth of Focus: 10km Origin:Tectonic

Magnitude: 3.9 Reported intensities: Intensity 3 in Dolores, Abra Expected damage: None Expected aftershocks: None >> NDRRMC OPCEN@

Weather Watch
18 hours ago

TAAL VOLCANO BULLETIN issued at 800a.m. of March 14, 2013:
-Taal Volcano seismic network did not detect any volcanic earthquake during the past 24-hoour observation period. Field measurements last Mar. 12, 2013 at the eastern sector of the main crater lake yielded a slight decrease in water temperature of 30.6deg Celsius from 30.9degrees Celsius, a decrease in water level of 0.51 meter from 0.61 meter and a decrease in acidity of pH 3.26 from pH3.15. Ground deformation survey in the volcano island on Dec. 3-15, 2012 denoted slight inflation at Calauit, Daang Kastila and New Eruption Site precise leveling lines. Furthermore, GPS data for the period of October 2012 to February 2013 show inflationary changes in ground deformation while the edifice is still slightly inflated in general compared to February 2011 baseline data. -Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission at the main crater lake increased to 947 tonnes per day on Mar. 3, 2013 compared to 720 tonnes per day last Nov. 27, 2012. Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Taal Volcano. This means that hazardous eruption is not imminent. The public, however, is reminded that the main crater should be strictly off-limits because sudden steam explosions may occur and high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate. The northern portion of the Main Crater rim, in the vicinity of Daang Kastila Trail, may also become hazardous when steam emission along existing fissures suddenly increases. Furthermore, the public is also reminded that the entire Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ)>> NDRRMC OPCEN

Weather Watch
22 hours ago

PAGASA weather forecaster Jun Galang on DZBB:

Weather Watch
17 hours ago

GMA News TV:

2 hours ago

CAVITE : LAGUNA : BATANGAS : RIZAL : QUEZON :

Sunny Sunny Fair weather Partly cloudy Sunny skies

PIA Regional Watch

PIA Regional Watch
13 hours ago

PIA-4A/LAGUNA: An estimated 500 regular and casual employees recently joined the launching of "Fitness Hour," a
physical fitness program of the City Government of San Pablo through the Sports and Youth Dev't Office headed by Ms. Janquil Bumagat in coordination with the Human Resource Office led by CHRMO Elvira Celerio. The activity is in compliance with CSC's Memorandum Circular No. 8, series of 2011, a directive to all government agencies to adopt a health and fitness management program for government employees dubbed as "The Great Filipino Workout."

PIA OFW Watch
An hour ago

PIA OFW Watch ANC: The PHL Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel welcomed the 21 freed Filipino UN peacekeepers. The

peacekeepers arrived at Camp Ziouani and were personally received and greeted by Ambassador Calonge

PIA OFW Watch

DZBB: Hinihikayat ng OWWA ang mga manggagawang Pilipino, partikular sa Syria na ikonsidera ang posibilidad
ma maging negosyante kahit maliit lamang ang kapital sa Pilipinas kaysa makipagsapalaran at ilagay ang kanilang sarili sa panganib sa gitna ng nagaganap na kaguluhan sa nasabing bansa. Ayon kay OWWA Administrator Dimzon, ito ay dahil may nakahanda namang pakete o training modules na maaaring makatulong sa mga Pinoy na makapagsimula ng maliit na negosyo bukod pa sa konting pinansyal na tulong sa mga kasapi ng OWWA.
about an hour ago

PIA Calabarzon 6 PR ( March 14-15 ,2013),Dispatch for March 15 , 2013 (Friday),
10 Weather Watch, 1 Regl.Watch , 2 OFW Watch , Pres. Aquino’s . Speech , 15 Online News

A. QUEZON
1. Sariaya women's group, celebrate women's month
By Ruel M. Orinday Thursday 14th of March 2013

SARIAYA, Quezon, March 14 (PIA) --The Municipal Gender and Development Council, along with Sariaya Women’s Federation, Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina (KALIPI)- Sariaya and female residents from 13 barangays of this town celebrated women’s month on March 8 at Sariaya Sports Complex. The theme of said activity is “Kababaihan Gabay sa Pagtahak sa Tuwid na Daan”. Mrs. Rowena Masilang, wife of Sariaya Mayor Boyet Masilang stressed the importance of giving the women’s sector stronger voice and firmer hold in society. Her husband, Mayor Boyet Masilang continues to aid the town’s female sector by providing livelihood projects and constructing of a livelihood center 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez also attended the event to represent Quezon’s first lady and KALIPI Quezon President, Mrs. Ana Villaraza-Suarez. According to Rep. Suarez women have come a long way in history. Now, they share the same rights as men and can perform same tasks as them without fear of social stigma. He also quoted the adage that behind a successful man is a woman who supports him. Meanwhile, a representative from the Women and Children Protection Desk of Sariaya PNP explained womens’ rights and the laws that protect them. They are also encouraged not to be afraid and to report immediately cases of abuse. Also present during the event were Board Member Bong Talabong, former Congresswoman Aleta Suarez, former Board Member Liza Alvarez, former Lucena Mayor Barbara Ruby Talaga, members of the Sariaya municipal council, as well as the town’s barangay captains. (RMO-PIA- Quezon with reports from Quezon PIO)

2. Tagalog news: Mga natapos na proyektong farm to market road, pinasinayaan
By Ruel M. Orinday Thursday 14th of March 2013 TweetFacebookYahooEmailShareThis PAGBILAO, Quezon, March 14 (PIA) -- Dalawang farm-to-market road project at isang kalsada ang magkasunod na pinasinayaan ng pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Quezon sa bayang ito kamakailan. Unang pinasinayaan ang proyektong farm-to-market road na nag-uugnay sa mga barangay ng Talipan, Bigo at Aniato, Pagbilao, Quezon. Sinabi ni Nerissa Jamilano, punong barangay ng Bigo, biglang sumigla sa kanilang lugar ang pagtatanim. Aniya, maraming mamumuhunan ang nagtatanong sa kanila ngayon kung papaano sila makapagtatayo ng negosyo sa lugar pagkatapos na ito ay mapasementuhan. Pangalawang pinasinayaan ay ang provincial road na nasa bahagi ng barangay Pinagbayanan na pinondohan ng pamahalaang panlalawigan ng 10 milyong piso. Hiniling ni Kapitan Celso Merle ng barangay Pinagbayanan kay Gob. David Suarez na pondohan pa ang natitirang mahigit isang kilometro ng nasabing kalsada para naman masmaging maluwag na ang paglalakabay sa kanilang lugar. Tiniya naman ni Suarez na itutuloy nito ang pagtatapos ng proyekto kapag nakabalik muli ito sa panunungkulan dahil naniniwala ito na makakatulong ng malaki ang magandang kalsada sa pagpapaunlad ng turismo sa Pagbilao dahil malapit ito sa dagat. Pinakahuling farm-to-market road na pinasinayaan ay ang kalsada sa bahagi ng Barangay Ilayang Polo, kung saan matagal ding nagsakripisyo ang mga naninirahan sa naturang lugar dahil sa maputik na daan. Isa pa sa binigyang pansin ng gobernador na programa ay ang paglalagak ng mga gamot sa health center at pagdaragdag ng health coupon sa bayang ito. Aniya, ito ay naglalayon na hindi na magtungo pa sa lungsod ng Lucena ang mga naninirahan sa barangay sa Pagbilao para lang bumili ng gamot.

Dagdag pa ng gobernador na aabot ng tatlong daang milyong piso ang pondo na inilaan ng pamahalaang panlalawigan para sa bayan ng Pagbilao. Ito aniya ay para masmapabuti ang kalagayan ng Pagbilao at ng mga residente dito. (CPG/RMO-PIA4A Quezon at ulat mula sa Quezon PIO)

B. CAVITE 1.
New diversion road in Cavite town to ease traffic

By Ruel B. Francisco Friday 15th of March 2013 GENERAL TRIAS, Cavite, Mar 15 (PIA) --A two-lane diversion road in this progressive town was formally open to the motoring public to ease traffic congestion in Manggahan junction along Governor’s Drive especially during rush hours. Manggahan junction along Governor’s Drive houses several commercial establishments and a university wherein, various traffic schemes were implemented by the local government to lessen the traffic condition but because of heavy volume of vehicles and commuters, using the said junction, said scheme is not enough to reduce the traffic problem. During the inauguration program, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between officials of the local government, office of the representative of the sixth district and Suntrust Properties, Inc for the improvement, operation, and maintenance of the said diversion road. The Governor’s Drive-Governor’s Hill Diversion Road is a 15-meter by 600-linear meter two-lane diversion road constructed under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Congressman Ony Ferrer costing P10 million. The diversion road will serve as alternative road for the motoring public going to barangays Biclata, Javalera, Panungyan, and Alingaro of said town. Vehicles coming from these barangays have the option to use the diversion road going to Dasmariñas City and the north side of the province by-passing the Manggahan junction. Because one of the subdivisions is owned by Suntrust Properties, said alternative road will be open to the public from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. The finished project is only one phase, soon, they will be adding one-lane on each side, according to Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator, Jemie Cubillo, engineer. He added that lamp posts will be funded by the Suntrust while the local government will shoulder the cost of electrical wiring. “This is a good and concrete example of Public-Private Partnership. This road is one of the priority projects for the development of General Trias,” Cubillo said. (RF-PIA 4A, Cavite/General Trias Economic Enterprise Office)

2.Prov’l gov’t leads fire prevention month celebration
Thursday 14th of March 2013 TRECE MARTIRES CITY, Cavite, March 14 (PIA) -- The Cavite Office of Public Safety (COPS) of the provincial government, in cooperation with the city Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), has conducted a Fire Drill at the Finance Building as part of observance of Fire Prevention Month. With this year theme: “Sunog at Sakuna Paghandaan, Kalikasan ay Pangalagaan Nang Matamasa anf Pag-unlad ng Bayan,” the COPS selected the said building for the fire drill because it houses five (5) different offices, namely, Assessor, Treasury, Budget, Accounting and Commission on Audit offices which serve a lot of clienteles. The drill started at 9:15 in the morning simulating a fire breaking out at the Assessor’s Office. After the fire alarm went off, over 70 personnel were evacuated from the building. With the help of the BFP Officers and the 3 drill teams - firefighting, evacuation and valuable and documents – which were composed of personnel from the 5 offices, the fire drill was successfully conducted and took about 15 minutes. Prior to this, the PG-COPS through its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division (DRRM) had participated in a motorcade activity organized by the BFP of Trece Martires City last March 01, 2013 in observance of the Fire Prevention Month. According to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the government should intensify public awareness, community preparedness, mitigation and response in any disaster and emergency that may happen in any community. (Ruel Francisco, PIA-Cavite/PICAD)

C. LAGUNA

D. BATANGAS

E. RIZAL
1. PIA-Rizal conducts news writing seminar
By Gideon Gapayao Thursday 14th of March 2013 TweetFacebookYahooEmailShareThis

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal, March 14 (PIA)—Selected students, out of school youth and teachers of Jalajala, Rizal attended a Philippine Information Agency (PIA) – Rizal’s basic news writing seminar last March 6. Jalajala Municipal Information Officer Rolando Pillas said the municipal government invited the PIA to help equip children and several teachers in basic news writing to promote information dissemination within the municipality. Topics tackled by PIA-Rizal during the seminar include tips in basic news writing, writing headlines, leads and the body of the new article all in English and Filipino. Jalajala IO Pillas also expressed the LGU’s intent to hold another news writing seminar in the future. Around 15 youth from the Jalajala Child Friendly Federation, Jalajala Out of School Youth and Barangay Council for the Protection of Children were present at the seminar held from 1-4pm in the afternoon. The activity was held in cooperation with the Jalajala municipal government at the Sangguniang Bayan Session Room, Jalajala Municipal Hall, Jalajala, Rizal. (GG-PIA4A)

14 MARCH 2013.

PCOO Secretary Sonny Coloma's Statement President Aquino joins nation, Catholic faithful in welcoming the new Pope Malacanang says Philippines to continue seeking all opportunities to build climate of mutual trust and cooperation with People’s Republic of China Government renews resolve to bring justice to pyramid scam victims in Visayas, Mindanao Government to file charges against followers of Kiram fleeing Sabah Philippines exerting efforts to gain access to detained Filipinos in Malaysia
PCOO Secretary Sonny Coloma's Statement We expect to resume public display of the President's website in a few hours after needed protection measures have been put in place. At around 1:30 a.m. today, we detected a breach when an errant sentence critical of the government on the Sabah issue was found to have been inserted in one of the news items within the website. No further intrusions were made as the internal security protocols were activated. TOP

President Aquino joins nation, Catholic faithful in welcoming the new Pope President Benigno S. Aquino III, along with the Filipino people, joined all the Catholic faithful in welcoming the new pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, and prayed that the holy pontiff will serve as a voice for peace, justice, and charity in a world threatened by tension and armed conflict, poverty, uncertainty, and loss of confidence in institutions. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement on Thursday following the election of Bergoglio as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The new pope has taken the name Francis and is the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1,300 years. "The President, along with the Filipino people, joins all the Catholic faithful as they receive their new leader and meet his proclamation with a sense of boundless promise," "As the first pope from outside Europe in a millennium—the first pope from the Society of Jesus, and the first from Latin America—the election of Pope Francis brings with it the promise of renewal in the Catholic Church, as it strives to fulfill its mission here on earth," Lacierda said. The 76-year-old Pope Francis appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica just over an hour after white smoke poured from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel to signal that 115 cardinal electors had chosen him to lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

"We hope and pray that this will inaugurate a pontificate that will bear witness not only to the basic tenets of the Gospel, but will also serve as a voice for peace, justice, and charity in a world threatened by tension and armed conflict, poverty, uncertainty, and loss of confidence in institutions," Lacierda noted. "This is not merely a time for all Catholics to come together. This is a call for unity across nations—across ethnicities—to work with the new Catholic leadership towards shaping a world in which each and every human being is allowed to live a life of peace, joy, and dignity. Our administration is eager to work with the new Catholic leadership to achieve that end," he stressed. In congratulating Pope Francis, Lacierda said: "May God continue to grant you strength and wisdom as you lead the Catholic Church into its next chapter." PND (js) TOP Malacanang says Philippines to continue seeking all opportunities to build climate of mutual trust and cooperation with People‟s Republic of China Malacañang on Thursday said the Philippines will continue to ―seek all opportunities to help build a climate of mutual trust and cooperation‖ with the People‘s Republic of China following the formal assumption of Xi Jinping as its new president. In a statement extending its ‗sincere congratulations‘ to the newly-installed Chinese leader, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda expressed that the Philippines is in one with the people of China in welcoming Xi‘s presidency. ―The People‘s Republic of China views this as an auspicious moment as they work towards their prosperity and stability. This is a sentiment shared by all peoples of good will, who look forward to opportunities for positive engagement fortified by trust, good will, and cooperation, for the mutual benefit of all peoples in our region and around the world,‖ Lacierda said. Xi assumed the presidency after getting majority of the votes in the 18th National People‘s Congress, held Thursday in Beijing, and his election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission. ―We will seek all opportunities to help build a climate of mutual trust and cooperation to enhance stability in our region so that the positive economic momentum of our respective nations may be sustained,‖ Lacierda concluded. PND (hdc) TOP Government renews resolve to bring justice to pyramid scam victims in Visayas, Mindanao The Aquino government made an assurance on Thursday that it is doing everything to serve justice to the victims of the pyramid scam organized by Manuel Amalilio and his cohorts. ―We will continue to work for the successful prosecution of Amalilio et al. And as you know, there have been a series of complaints or cases filed in court because there have been determinations already of probable cause by the panel of prosecutors,‖ Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in a press conference in Malacanang on Thursday. Palace reporters asked De Lima if there is an assurance that Amalilio‘s case will not be put in the backburner particularly with the ongoing incident in Sabah that might affect his return to the Philippines to face charges here. In assuring the victims, De Lima said there are arrest warrants issued by different courts such as in Cagayan de Oro City and Pagadian City. The Department of Justice is also waiting for the Iligan City court to issue similar warrants against Amalilio and his co-conspirators at Aman Futures. ―There are several complaints filed and several are still under preliminary investigation and some are already in court, and there have been warrants of arrest. We will continue to work for the successful prosecution of Amalilio et al,‖ she said. Currently, the DOJ is working on how to repatriate Amalilio, De Lima said. Amalilio is currently serving a two-year sentence in a Malaysian jail for using a fake Philippine passport.

Philippine justice officials discussed with their Malaysian counterparts ways to bring Amalilio to the Philippines even before the lapse of his two-year jail sentence in Malaysia, the justice official said. ―So if the right time comes, kung mag-die down na ‗yung heat or ‗yung situation sa Sabah, then we can already send our team to Kuala Lumpur,‖ she said hoping that the ongoing conflict in Sabah won‘t affect the prosecution of Amalilio in the Philippines. The DOJ cancelled the trip of its team who was supposed to leave last Tuesday for Kuala Lumpur to begin the initial talks for Amalilio‘s repatriation. De Lima said they do not believe the current situation in Sabah would yield a fruitful outcome if the DOJ proceeds with the talks. The cancellation is one of the ―unintended consequences‖ of the acts of Kiram‘s group in Sabah. Amalilio, the head of Aman Futures Group, allegedly duped some 15,000 people in the Visayas and Mindanao amounting to P12 billion. PND (as) TOP Government to file charges against followers of Kiram fleeing Sabah The government is readying appropriate charges against 36 individuals intercepted by the Philippine Navy (PN) entering Philippine waters from Sabah, Malaysia in two boats on Wednesday (March 13), Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said. In a briefing in Malacanang on Thursday, De Lima confirmed earlier reports that the individuals, who were intercepted within the vicinities of Omapoy and Adulingan islands in Tawi-Tawi, were members of the Royal Security Forces (RSF) of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III. ―We confirm the reports yesterday about the interception of two groups of armed men from Sabah, Malaysia. So the first group was intercepted yesterday at 6:35 in the morning by Philippine Navy vessel PS38. There were 18 of them, 17 males, and one female, and with assorted firearms, and one of them was even found wounded, and they identified themselves as Royal Security Force,‖ De Lima said. ―The second group came in at 7:37, also yesterday, so isang oras lang ang pagitan. The same Philippine vessel PS38 intercepted the second group, and again, there were 18 passengers who were identified to be RSF members, and again, with assorted firearms,‖ she added. She pointed out that a composite force composed of members from the National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group are studying the appropriate charges to file against these individuals. ―So with that development, the processes are now being undertaken by a composite team with the end view of filing the appropriate charges against them as soon as possible,‖ De Lima said. PND (rck) TOP Philippines exerting efforts to gain access to detained Filipinos in Malaysia The Philippine government will continue to exert efforts to gain access to Filipinos detained by Malaysian authorities following the deadly offensive launched by Malaysia in Sabah, Malacanang said on Thursday. It was reported that Malaysia rejected the Philippines‘s request to have full access to Filipino detainees in its custody. ―Our concern is for our Filipinos in custody. We will continue to pursue our desire to seek access to our Filipino brethren who are in Malaysian custody,‖ Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Thursday. Asked by reporters about the government‘s option if ever Malaysia wouldn‘t grant the Philippine‘s request, Lacierda said that DFA has to work on it.

Malaysian authorities have reported that 64 people have been killed during the Sabah offensive, mostly followers of the Sulu sultanate. Also 97 people have been arrested in Sabah. Malaysia said security operations are continuing in the area. The Philippine Navy reported it had detained 35 suspected Filipino militants on Wednesday sailing home from Sabah. The 35 people, fleeing Sabah, were seized by the navy on board two small boats from the Malaysian state. The justice department said it is mulling filing charges against the detained Filipinos for carrying a large cache of weapons suspected to have been used during the Sabah conflict. PND (as) TOP

ARCHIVE 2013 14 MARSO 2013 Nakiisa ang Pangulong Aquino sa bansa at sa mga Katoliko sa pagbubunyi sa bagong talagang Papa Patuloy na itataguyod ng Pilipinas, sabi ng Malacanang ang tiwala at pakikipagtulungan sa People‟s Republic of China Katarungan para sa mga biktima ng pyramid scam sa Bisaya at Mindanao, pinag-ibayo pa ng Malacanang Ipaghaharap ng kaso ng gobyerno ang mga tagasunod ni Kiram Sinisikap ng Pilipinas na makaugnay ang mga Pilipino na nakapiit sa Malaysia

Nakiisa ang Pangulong Aquino sa bansa at sa mga Katoliko sa pagbubunyi sa bagong talagang Papa

Nakiisa ang Pangulong Benigo S. Aquino III sa sambayanang Pilipino at sa lahat ng Katoliko sa pagpupugay at pagbati sa bagong talagang Papa Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio ng Argentina nang lakip ang dalanging ang bagong papa ay maging tinig ng kapayapaan, katarungan at kawanggawa sa daigdig na niyayanig ng mga banta ng ligalig at sagupaan, karalitaan, kawalang katiyakan at pag-aalinlangan sa mga istitusyon. Inilabas ng Tagapagsalita ng Pangulo Edwin Lacierda ang pahayag Huwebes matapos mahalal si Cardinal Bergoglio bilang bagong lider ng Simbahang Katoliko. Minarapat ng bagong Papa na gamitin ang pangalang Francis. Siya ang kauna-unahang Papa na nagmula sa hindi bansang Europeo sa loob ng 1,300 taon. ―Ang Pangulo, kasama ang sambayanang Pilipino, ay kaisa ng lahat ng Katoliko sa masiglang pagtanggap sa kanilang

bagong lider nang umaasa sa walang hanggang pangako.‖ ―Bilang kauna-unahang Papa sa loob ng halos 1,300 taon na buhat sa bansang hindi Europeo, kauna-unahang Papa buhat sa Society of Jesus at una rin mula sa Latina Amerikana, ang pagkahalal kay Papa Francis, ay may hatid na pag-asa ng bagong pangako ng pagbabago sa Simbahang Katoliko sa pagsisikap nitong gampanan ang misyon sa balat ng lupa,‖ dugtong pa ni Lacierda. Ang 76 na taong gulang na Papa Francis ay lumabas sa gitnang balkonahe ng St. Peter‘s Basilica isang oras matapos na makita ang puting-puting usok na ibinubuga ng tsiminea sa bubungan ng Sistine Chapel na palatandaang nakapili na ang 115 kardinal ng bagong magiging lider ng 1.2 bilyong Katoliko Romano. ―Umaasa at dumadalangin kami na ito ang magpapasinaya ng isang papa na magiging saksi hindi lamang sa mga pangunahing saligan ng Banal na Kasulatan, kundi magiging tinig pa rin ng bawa‘t isang nilikha ukol sa kapayapaan, katarungan at kawanggawa sa isang daigdig na niyayanig ng ligalig at sandatahang pagtutuos, pagdarahop, kawalang katiyakan at kawalan ng tiwala sa mga istitusyon,‖ sabi ni Lacierda. ―Ito ay hindi lamang pagkakataon para sa lahat ng mga Katoliko na magsama-sama. Ito ay panawagan sa pagkakaisa ng mga bansa—sa gitna ng pagkakaiba ng lahi—upang makiisa sa bagong liderato ng mga Katoliko sa paghubog ng daigdig na kung saan ang bawa‘t isang nilalang ay tutulutang mamuhay sa kapayapaan, kaligayahan at dangal. Ang aming administrasyon ay nananabik makipagtulungan sa bagong lider ng mga Katoliko upang makamtan ang hangaring ito,‖ pagbibigay-diin pa sa pahayag ni Lacierda. ―Harinawang patuloy kayong bigyan ng lakas at talino sa inyong pamamatnubay sa Simba-hang Katolika papasok sa isang bagong Kabanata,‖ dagdag pa ng pahayag ng Malakanyang. PND TOP Patuloy na itataguyod ng Pilipinas, sabi ng Malacanang ang tiwala at pakikipagtulungan sa People‟s Republic of China Ipagpapatuloy ng Pilipinas ang pagsisikap na "mamayani ang tiwala sa isa‘t isa at pakikipag-tulungan‖ sa People‘s Republic of China ngayong pormal nang maluluklok si Xi Jinping bilang bago nitong pangulo. Sa pahayag ng pagbati sa bagong talagang lider ng Tsina, sinabi ng Tagapagsalita ng Pangulo Edwin Lacierda na kaisa ng mga mamamayan ng Tsina ang Pilipinas sa pagsalubong sa bago nitong Pangulong Xi. ―Itinuturing ng People‘s Republic of China na napakagandang pagkakataon ito sa kanilang pagsisikap na matamo ang kasaganaan at kapanatagan. Ito ang saloobin ng lahat ng mamamayang may magandang kalooban at naghahangad ng pagkakataon para sa kaunlarang pinatatag ng pagtitiwala, pakikisama at pagtutulungan sa kapakanan ng lahat ng mamamayan ng ating rehiyon, gayundin ng buong daigdig,‖ dugtong pa ni Lacierda. Si Xi ang nagwaging Pangulo matapos makuha ang mayorya ng boto ng 18th National People‘s Congress na ginanap noong Huwebes sa Beijing at ang pagkahalal sa kanya bilang Pangkalahatang Kalihim ng CPC Central Committee at Tagapangulo ng CPC Central Military Commission. ―‖Sisikapin naming magamit ang lahat ng pagkakataon upang magkaroon ng tiwala sa isa‘t isa at magkatulungan upang magibayo ang kapanatagan sa ating rehiyon upang patuloy na mapaunlad ang ekonomya ng mga bansa natin. PND TOP Katarungan para sa mga biktima ng pyramid scam sa Bisaya at Mindanao, pinag-ibayo pa ng Malacanang

Tiniyak ng gobyernong Aquino Huwebes na ginagawa nito ang lahat upang makamit ang katarungan ng mga biktima ng pyramid scam na ginawa ni Manuel Amalilio at mga kasabuwat nito. ―Patuloy naming sinisikap na matagumpay na mausig si Amalilio at mga kasama. Naiharap na namin sa mga hukuman ang mga kaso dahil nakitaan ito ng probable cause ng mga tagausig,‖ sabi ni Kalihim Leila de Lima sa pulong-balitaan sa

Malacanang Huwebes. Tinanong ng mga reporter sa Palasyo si De Lima kung tiyak na hindi matatabunan lamang ang mga kaso laban kay Amalilio sapagka‘t hindi ito mapabalik sa Pilipinas dahil sa mga kaguluhang nagaganap sa Sabah ngayon. Sinabi ni De Lima na may mga kautusan sa pagdakip kay Amalilio buhat sa mga hukuman ng Cagayan de Oro at Lungsod ng Pagadian. Hinihintay rin ng Kagawaran ng Katarungan ang mga kautusang manggagaling naman sa Lungsod ng Iligan laban kay Amalilio at mga kasabuwat niya sa Aman Futures. Sinisikap naman ng kagawaran na maipabalik si Amalilio sa bansa kahit hindi pa tapos ang hatol niya sa Malaysia, ayon kay De Lima. Si Amalilio ay nakakulong sa piitan sa Malaysia dahil nahatulan siyang mabilanggo ng dalawang taon doon. Nakipag-usap ang mga pinunong Pilipino sa Malaysia tungkol sa pagpapabalik kay Amalilio sa Pilipinas bago pa matapos ang hatol niya sa nasabing bansa, sabi pa ni De Lima. Ayon kay De Lima, kapag napawi na ang gulo sa Sabah, maaaari nang magpadala ng mga tauhan sa Kuala Lumpur para dito at hindi naman apektado ng gusot sa Sabah ang kaso ni Amalilio. Ipinagpaliban ng DOJ ang pagpunta sa Kuala Lumpur noong Martes ng pangkat ng DOJ at naniniwala si De Lima na kapag natapos na ang gusot sa Sabah, maaari nang magtungo sa Kuala Lumpur ang mga tauhan ng DOJ. Si Amalilio, puno ng Aman Futures Group ay nakapanlinlang umano ng 15,000 katao sa Kabisayaan at Mindanao ng halagang aabot sa P12 bilyong piso. PND TOP Ipaghaharap ng kaso ng gobyerno ang mga tagasunod ni Kiram

Inihahanda ng pamahalaan ang paghaharap ng karampatang mga kaso laban sa 36 kataong nasabat ng Lakas na Pandagat ng Pilipinas na papasok sa mga karagatan ng bansa mula sa Sabah, Malaysia sakay ng dalawang bangka Miyerkoles (Marso 13), alinsunod kay Kalihim Leila de Lima ng Katarungan. Sa pulong-balitaan sa Malacanang Huwebes, sinabi ni De Lima na ang mga taong nasabat sa may mga Pulo ng Omapoy at Adulingan sa Tawi-Tawi ay mga tauhan ng Royal Security Forces (RSF) ni Sultan Jamalul Kiram III ng Sulu. ―Pinatutunayan namin ang ulat kahapon na may nasabat na dalawang pangkat ng mga sandatahang lalaki buhat sa Sabah, Malaysia. Ang unang pangkat na ito ay nasabat kahapon dakong ika-6:35 ng umaga ng sasakyan ng Lakas na Pandagat PS38. Labing-walo silang lahat, 17 ang lalaki at isang babae at may dalang iba-ibang uri ng sandata. Ang isa sa kanila ay sugatan at nagpakilalang tauhan sila ng Royal Security Force,‖ wika ni De Lima. ―Ang ikalawang grupo naman ay dumating ika-7:37 kahapon din. Isang oras lamang sng pagitan. Ang bapor ding iyon ng Lakas Pandagat PS38 ang nakasabat sa ikalawang grupong mayroon ding 18 sakay at nagpakilalang mga tauhan ng RSF at may dala ring mga sandata,‖ dugtong ni De Lima. Idinugtong ni De Lima na ang pangkat na binubuo ng mga tauhan ng Pambansang Kawanihan ng Pagsisiyasat (NBI), Pambansang Pulisya at Criminal Investigation and Detection Group ay nagsasagawa ng pag-aaral tungkol sa angkop na ksong dapat iharap sa mga taong ito. ―Ang karampatang hakbang ay gingawa na ng ating mga tauhan upang maiharap sa madaling panahon ang kaso laban sa mga kinauukulan,‖ sabi pa ni De Lima. PND TOP Sinisikap ng Pilipinas na makaugnay ang mga Pilipino na nakapiit sa Malaysia

Patuloy ang pagsisikap na ginagawa ng pamahalaang Pilipino na makausap ang mga Kababayan uuuhna ikinulong ng mga maykapangyarihan sa Malaysia pagkaraan ng puspusang pagsalakay na inilunsad ng Malaysia sa Sabah, alinsunod sa

Malacanang Huwebes. Salig sa mga ulat, tinanggihan umano ng Malaysia ang kahilingan ng Pilipinas na makausap ang mga Pilipino na ikinulong nila. ―Inaalaala namin ang mga kababayan nating nakapiit. Patuloy nating sisikaping madalaw ang mga kababayan nating nasa pag-iingat ng mga Malaysian,‖ sabi ng Tagapagsalita ng Pangulo Edwin Lacierda sa pulong-balitaan sa Malacanang Huwebes. Binigyang diin ni Lacierda na ang Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas ang bahalang makipag-usap tungkol sa bagay na ito. Iniulat ng mga maykapagyarihan sa Malaysia na 54 katao ang nasawi sa pagsalakay nila sa Sabah, karamihan ay mga tagasunod ng Sultanato ng Sulu. May 97 katao ang dinakip sa Sabah, sangayon sa Malaysia pagkaraan ng kanilang ginawang patuloy na operasyon. Alinsunod sa Hukbong Dagat, pinigil ng mga ito ang 35 pinaghihinalaang miitanteng Pilipino noong Miyerkoles habang naglalayag silang pauwi buhat sa Sabah. Ang 35 kataong tumatakas sa Sabah ay dinampot ng Hukbong Dagat habang sakay ng dalawang maliit na bangka buhat sa estado ng Malaysia. Ayon sa Kagawaran ng Katarungan, pinag-aaralan nila ang paghaharap ng sakdal laban sa mga nakapiit na Pilipino sa pagdadala ng napakaraming sandatang hinihinalang ginamit nila sa sagupaan sa Sabah. PND TOP

President Benigno S. Aquino III's Speech at the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum 2013 Manila Peninsula Hotel, Makati City 12 March 2013 Thank you. Good morning. Please sit down. Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps; secretaries Cesar Purisima, Ricky Carandang; Mr. Tony Shale; Governor Amado Tetangco; Chairperson Tess Herbosa; President and General Manager Roberto Vergara; former Prime Minister Cesar Virata; distinguished business leaders and members of the business sector; fellow workers in government; honored guests; ladies and gentlemen: Again, good morning. The last time we met, I shared with you a biblical verse that I believed to be the most apt description of both our country‘s condition and our determination to propel it forward: ―Physician, Heal Thyself.‖ Then, I shared with you the story of the Philippines—a country both patient and physician, one that succeeded in reversing its backwards slide simply through a commitment to good governance. What you see today is a country on the rise, propelled by our determination to change the way things were done in the Philippines and ensure that integrity, transparency, and accountability characterize our actions. From day one, we have been making good on this promise. We are making sure that neither power nor money gives anyone an undue advantage, whether in justice or in business. We are making sure that public funds are used to help our countrymen, and that information on expenditures is made available to the public, to help in guarding against corruption. We are giving our bosses, the Filipino people, a government they can trust. This commitment has allowed us to turn the country around in less than three years: if last year, I spoke to you of this turnaround—today, allow me to share with you the continuing journey of a country that has even more achievements under its belt.

2012 was an outstanding year for our economy, besting all expectations—including our own analysts‘—by growing 6.6 percent—one of the highest growth rates in ASEAN. Last year was also a historic year for our stock market, with record highs sometimes coming every day in the trading week. At last count, in the two years and eight months of our administration, we are at 84 record highs—and close to breaking 7,000, when last year, we were astounded with breaching 5,000, and not too long ago, 4,000 seemed an impossibility. The performance of our economy, brought about by our prudent fiscal policies, strong external position, macroeconomic stability, and our dedication to reform, has allowed us to reverse a decade‘s worth of decline in our credit ratings. Right now, Standard and Poor‘s, Moody‘s, and Fitch Ratings have all placed the Philippines at one level below investment grade, even as bond markets are already pricing us at investment grade. The confidence in our economy likewise resonates within the businesses and institutions you lead. After all, the Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO‘s 2012 Survey of Japanese-Affiliated Companies in Asia and Oceania states that the proportion of profitable firms for the countries in the ASEAN 5 declined—except for the Philippines, which, in fact, increased. This places us squarely in the middle, with 71.9 percent of surveyed firms expected a profit. In just a year, we have overtaken Singapore and Malaysia in this regard. As your businesses progress, and as we remain committed to growing the Philippines, there is plenty of reason to believe this upward trend will continue. All of these only set the stage for the next chapter—one that we envision will bring us even closer to our goal of lasting, inclusive growth, and I am here to invite you to play an even bigger role in the years to come. There are many opportunities available in our country, but, in particular, I would like to give you an update on the three sectors that remain our priority: agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure. Agriculture remains one of our priorities precisely because it is the source of livelihood and employment for so many Filipinos— 12.1 million individuals, as of last year. This is why, for this year, we have increased our agriculture budget by 22 percent from 61.4 to 75 billion pesos. This will fund the construction and rehabilitation of farm to market roads, enhance irrigation systems, and provide support services, among others. Weather permitting, we hope to strengthen our position as regards rice self-sufficiency, and regain our footing in the export markets by exporting 100 metric tons of high quality rice in 2013. If there is anyone interested out there in being a part of the rise of the Philippine agricultural sector, our Agribusiness Lands Investment Center (ABLIC) will be more than happy to conduct briefings for you. Tourism is another sector in which we are heavily invested, and for good reason—one only need visit Boracay or the beautiful islands of Palawan, attend Cebu‘s Sinulog Festival, or walk around the walled city of Intramuros to understand the attraction that has kept visitors flocking to the country. From the 4.3 million international tourists who visited the Philippines in 2012, to the 37.5 million Filipinos who traveled around our country in 2011 alone, so many agree: it is indeed more fun in the Philippines. May I also add that 37 broke the original 35-million target for 2016. The new target for domestic tourism is now at 56 million. We want you to join in on the fun. Right now, for example, we expect the number of travelers to the Philippines to spike over the next few years. So, despite the great number of hotel inaugurations I‘ve attended as President, it appears that we will need an estimated additional 37,000 rooms by 2016. This presents a good opportunity to anyone in the hotel or real estate industry—or even for entrepreneurs wanting to try their luck, especially since we‘re offering competitive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for tourism enterprises. In support of tourism, agriculture, and in fact, the overall viability of the Philippines as an investment destination, we have also been working on constructing, rehabilitating, and enhancing the quality of our infrastructure. Both public and private construction activities expanded in 2012, contributing to the growth of industry and our GDP. To sustain this, we increased the infrastructure budget by 18 percent, from 205.33 billion pesos in 2012, to 242.3 billion in 2013. This will fund the development of our road network, ports, and airports, among others. Even as we are working on this, we also know that harnessing the expertise and resources of the private sector can complement government efforts to get big-ticket projects done. This is why we continue to open some of our biggest infrastructure projects to the participation of the private sector. Again, those of you interested in partnering with us will be happy to know that there are two other major projects that will be rolled out namely: the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, and the NLEXSLEX link connector road—both of which are meant to cut travel time and enhance connectivity among our cities in Luzon. At the end of the day, we are inviting you to come to the Philippines whether in these three sectors, or in others, because we

know that, here, hard work, innovation, and creativity are rewarded with success. This is not an empty promise: you will have the Filipino people and our administration as committed partners. Over the past years, we have been doing everything we can to level the playing field—from reforming the judiciary, to streamlining the process of setting up business in the Philippines, to following the proper bidding and procurement processes. We are also investing heavily in our countrymen—empowering them to take stock of their lives and to realize their potential. Among our government‘s achievements in the past year include the Sin Tax Reform Act and the Responsible Parenthood Law, both of which will help us in our quest to achieve universal healthcare, even as the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro will foster peace and stability in the Philippines. Training programs that meet the need of industries and a roadmap for the development of our state universities and colleges will ensure that our workforce is well-educated and capable of holding gainful employment, as greater access to quality healthcare ensures that they are healthy enough for the physical demands of work. We are determined to see our people succeed. We hope that, in considering our country for your businesses, you share this goal with us as well. Those of you who have long had businesses in the Philippines will understand why I say this. If it‘s simply a matter of how much you pay for labor, perhaps it is true that there are others in the region who may cost less—but you chose to come here anyway. You know, as well as we do, that, pound for pound, the Filipino worker delivers: he adapts well to any environment, he is creative and hard working, adept in communicating in English—which is especially important as we strive to be even more competitive globally, and he is loyal. To give you just one example: Filipino workers have already brought our BPO industry to great heights, in such a short time. Given the opportunity, they will do the same for you, whatever industry you may be involved in. The investments that you will bring into our country will redound to tens of thousands of jobs for our countrymen—men and women who will be able to put food on their tables, send their children to school, and meet the needs and wants of their families. Together, we will be empowering them: giving them greater power to contribute to economic growth and opportunities to uplift their lives and even the lives of their fellow Filipinos. All together, we will be building the success of industry, the Philippines, and the Filipino people. This is what we mean when we speak about inclusive growth. We will never settle for numbers that look good only on paper; for our administration, growth is a narrative that has always depended on the success of its people—including you leaders, who have the capacity and the resources to empower others. This is, in essence, the opportunity you are all given today. Even if you have come here only with a mind to invest in the Philippines and ride on the resurgence of our economy—with your decision to bet on our country, you will be doing so much more: you will be giving thousands of Filipinos gainful employment, that will empower them as consumers—thus spurring the growth of both your businesses and the Philippines. And we hope you will take this chance and join us on the straight path to progress. Thank you, and good day. [HOME]

ONLINE NEWS
14 MARCH 2013
DPWH pushes for revising contractors' maximum capacity DepEd and Negros Oriental sign MOU for 2013 Palarong Pambansa Mobile Humanitarian Desks Set-up in Sabah DSWD conducts re-validation of „Pablo‟ victims Embassy Humanitarian/Consular Teams Intensify Efforts to Reach Out, Assist Filipinos in Lahad Datu and Tawau Philippine Permanent Delegation to UNESCO Celebrates International Women‟s Day Deles cites enhanced role of women in PH peace process Justice Secretary commends NBI Forensic Team BI warns aliens not to meddle in RP polls Govt moves to prevent humanitarian crisis over Sabah conflict Roxas, Kirams open talks to resolve Sabah standoff - priority is "disengagement" of sultanate forces says SILG Improvement in exports of semiconductors to be seen despite decline in January 2013 - NEDA Searching for the Next Philippine Art Maestro

Q & A on the Lahad Datu situation PCOO wins Anvil Award of Excellence

DPWH pushes for revising contractors' maximum capacity Source: http://www.dpwh.gov.ph Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L. Singson pushes for revising the contractors‘ maximum capacity to undertake government projects taking into consideration the amount of income taxes they pay to the government. ―If a contractor pays higher income tax, this means that he has a higher networth and correspondingly, bigger capacity to undertake government projects.‖ This means, Singson said, ―the contractor is more financially capable and eligible to enter into much bigger government project contracts.‖ ―We noticed that some of the contractors undertaking huge projects with DPWH has very little networth and little declared assets thus, they pay little amount of taxes,‖ said Singson. ―We should change this old practice,‖ he said. ―We want that contractors of DPWH pay the right taxes. DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima and BIR Commissioner Kim Henares are fully behind this initiative. The contractor‘s maximum financial contracting capacity to execute projects shall take into account the taxes paid to the government as verified from BIR records.‖ To check on the veracity of the contractors‘ financial data, Secretary Singson has secured the support of Finance Secretary Purisima, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and BIR Commissioner Henares to come up with an indexing of the contractors‘ Net Financial Contracting Capacity (NFCC). Contractors are categorized according to ―size range‖ and ―license category‖ which are based on their financial and assets (including equipment) capabilities to undertake such projects. Singson also directed the DPWH accountants and financial personnel to counter check the authenticity of the BIR signatories on the ―Application for Contractor‘s Final Payment Release Certificate‖ or BIR Form 2555, prior to the processing of the final payments of work accomplished for civil works. This directive also applies to the authenticity of the Tax Clearance Certificate issued by BIR, a requirement prior to the eligibility of the contractors to participate in the procurement process. As of end of December 2012, the DPWH, as BIR collection agent, was able to collect and remit a total of P7.51 Billion E-VAT and withholding taxes from all taxable financial transactions processed and paid. |TOP| DepEd and Negros Oriental sign MOU for 2013 Palarong Pambansa Source: http://www.deped.gov.ph The provincial government of Negros Oriental is this year‘s host of the 2013 Palarong Pambansa, the country‘s biggest sporting event that aims to develop world-class athletes. Participated in by elementary and secondary students from public and private schools nationwide, the annual sporting event will be held at the Don Mariano Perdices Memorial Coliseum in Dumaguete City from April 21 to 27, 2013. Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC and Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo signed on Friday the memorandum of understanding that stipulates the duties and responsibilities of both parties to ensure a well-managed and professionally-run Palaro. ―Yung Palaro ay marami siyang aspeto, hindi lamang ito yung games mismo. Pero yung ating tinututukan sa DepEd at sa bawat Palaro ay kalimutan niyo na ang lahat h‘wag lang kalimutan ang ating mga atleta. Siguraduhin natin sa Palaro, ang star dito ay yung mga atleta,‖ said Luistro. Based on DepEd Memo No. 4 series of 2013, the events played in the 2012 Palarong Pambansa and the related technical guidance shall remain in effect unless amended. However, three more events will be added as demonstration sports this year. These are wushu for secondary boys and girls, billiards for secondary boys and futsal for elementary girls. Luistro said the additional sporting events is consistent with DepEd‘s policy to work closely with the Philippine Sports Commission in promoting sports where Filipinos have a greater chance of excelling in the world sporting arena. He also emphasized the values that the athletes get from competing in a sports competition such as Palaro. ―Ang ating mga atleta ay hindi lamang nakikipagpaligsahan sa isa‘t isa at hindi lamang ang makakamit ng gintong medalya ang dapat isipin. Ang pinakamahalaga po ay lumalakas ang ating katawan at ang ating disiplina para makamit natin ang inaasam-asam na pangarap. Hindi man tayo manalo, dapat maitatak sa isip at puso ng mga atleta na hindi naman nasa medalya ang pagpapanalo, ito ay nandoon sa papaano natin tunay na isinulong ang ating mga hinaharap sa buhay.‖

DepEd is the lead agency in the conduct of the annual Palarong Pambansa to promote physical education and sports as an integral part of learning. It hopes to develop and mold a holistic youth who are socially responsible and globally-competitive. |TOP| Mobile Humanitarian Desks Set-up in Sabah Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph President Aquino through Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman and Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, directed the establishment of a mobile Humanitarian/Welfare Desk to complement the Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) in Sabah to respond to the situation of Filipino nationals in Sabah. Two Rapid Response Teams (RRT1 and RRT2) were deployed in different areas in Sabah where there is a large concentration of Filipinos. DSWD Secretary Soliman said that RRT1, comprising of DFA personnel and accompanied by DSWD Undersecretary Parisya Hashim-Taradji, Director Dulfie Tobias- Shalim, and Social Welfare Attaché Bernard Bonina visited the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA). FELDA Plantations in Sabah and Sarawak, currently employs 451 Filipinos, with some 350 dependents, doing mostly field upkeep and maintenance work. Secretary Soliman said that based on the report of the humanitarian team, the FELDA management assured the safety and continued employment of Filipinos in the company. The Secretary added that there are four evacuation centers established inside the FELDA plantations with 1,464 total evacuees broken down as follows: Cenderawasih Gym- 507; Embara Budi – 468; Fajar Harapan – 208; and Gemalapura – 281. Most of the evacuees are Filipinos but there are Indonesians, Temorese and local villagers as well. ―There are no Filipino FELDA workers in the evacuation centers. The evacuees are either villagers from the conflict area or workers of FELDA‘s subcontractors and their family members,‖ Secretary Soliman stated citing the report of RRT1. The RRT1 also visited Kampung Batu-Batu , where many villagers expressed their intent to return to the Philippines. Many of them are undocumented and mostly are natives of Tawi-Tawi. The team conducted group interviews and asked the villagers to accomplish the ―Case Intake Forms‖ to obtain their particulars. The forms will aid in assessing the situation of Filipinos in the villages surrounding FELDA . In Lahad Datu town In Lahad Datu, RRT1 interviewed a student from Tawi-Tawi, who requested anonymity. He is working as a vendor at the Pasar Bakyat Lahad Datu wet market. He said that there are more or less 500 Suluks and 400 Bajaus in Kampung Puyot (downtown Lahad Datu) where he lives. Most of them are undocumented and entered Sabah via boats plying the Bongao-Tawi-Tawi route. Most of them earn a living either as market vendors, construction workers or carpenters. The team also learned that most Filipinos are not affected by the incident and are just in Lahad Datu to earn a living. Some of them fear being wrongfully accused or of being involved in the incident and thus, could lose their livelihoods. Some also are asking how they could obtain documents to be recognized as Filipinos. Updates from Sandakan The RRT1 members also visited an informal school in the outskirts of Sandakan where 119 undocumented Filipino children (i.e., Suluks, Bajaus and Bisaya) are studying in two classrooms with volunteer – teachers. The school, unrecognized by Malaysian authorities, is operating on paltry donations from kind-hearted individuals. It does not have basic facilities, such as

school clinic and library. However, volunteer -teachers said students at least can learn how to read and write. The RRT1 informed the teachers that their dilemma will be brought to the attention of the Philippine authorities. Under Malaysian regulations, children of undocumented parents could not be accepted in Malaysian government schools. Meanwhile, the Rapid Response Team 2 (RRT 2) reported that there also Filipinos who are working in the plantations in Tawau, where there is an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 documented workers and about 20,000 to 30,000 undocumented workers. The team also learned that round up of Filipino males are being conducted in Sandakan and Semporna which are bastions of Suluk communities. Fearing for their safety, Filipinos from Semporna, Sandakan and Lahad Datu started to evacuate using small boats. More than 500 evacuees are now in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. The team met with some 50 Filipinos who are working at Fook Ngiap sawmill at Pasir Puti in Tawau. Secretary Soliman said that the Filipinos in Tawau were happy to see the team knowing that the Philippine government is concerned about their welfare and that a travel document may be issued to those who do not have legal status in Tawau. |TOP| DSWD conducts re-validation of „Pablo‟ victims Source: http://www.dswd.gov.ph Three months after typhoon ‗Pablo‘ hit the country, particularly badly affected the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has commenced the conduct of special household validation and assessment on the present socio-economic condition of typhoon victims. Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the DSWD though its National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) conducted the validation assessment primarily to monitor the status of the poor and non-poor households after Pablo struck affecting thousands of lives of our countrymen. It is expected to be completed on March 28, 2013, a day before the election ban. The validation of households in affected Regions XI, CARAGA, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will also determine whether there were still typhoon victims who are unserved or underserved of relief supplies from the government. The Household Needs Assessment Form (HNAF) will be used by field enumerators to evaluate the present state of these households included in the NHTS-PR database. Household Assessment Form (HAF), on the other hand, will be administered to enumerate households who were not included in the nationwide enumeration in 2009. ―Families who are presently staying in the different evacuation centers or in transition homes whether poor or non-poor are all subjected to HAF. The DSWD and concerned local government units are now identifying their permanent resettlement sites,‖ Secretary Soliman said. The DSWD Region XI recently deployed 470 trained enumerators, 78 area supervisors, and 13 area coordinators who will conduct said revalidation. ―In case that a non-poor household is assessed as a poor household in the special validation, that particular household could then become a potential beneficiary for social protection programs like Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and PhilHealth, for instance,‖ Secretary Soliman explained. |TOP| Embassy Humanitarian/Consular Teams Intensify Efforts to Reach Out, Assist Filipinos in Lahad Datu and Tawau Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph 13 March 2013 - The humanitarian/consular teams from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur have intensified efforts to reach out and assist more Filipinos affected by the recent events in Lahad Datu and other places. ―We are exerting utmost efforts to reach out to as many Filipinos in eastern Sabah at the soonest time possible. We are making arrangements to repatriate those who express the desire to do so. We feel and understand the anxieties felt by many of our kababayans,‖ Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya said.

Even as we await the approval from local authorities for full access, our humanitarian/consular teams are working full time to ensure our kababayans‘ safety and well-being,‖ Ambassador Malaya added. In Lahad Datu, a three-man team from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led by Undersecretary Parisya Hashim-Taradji arrived there on March 12, and teamed up with the Embassy humanitarian/consular team which has been in the town since March 1. They now help in manning a mobile humanitarian/welfare desk to further assist affected Filipinos. Together with the DSWD team, the group again visited the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) plantation and met a FELDA official, who committed to help out in allowing the team to visit more evacuation centers and assured them of the safety and continuous employment of Filipinos in the plantations. According to the FELDA official, there are currently 451 workers and 350 dependents in FELDA, doing mostly upkeep and maintenance work. He also said that there are a total of 1,464 evacuees in four of their centers located at the Cenderawasih Gym, Embara Budi, Fajar Harapan and Gemalapura, comprising of Filipino, Indonesian, Timorese and local workers. The groups also visited Kampung Batu-Batu, where Undersecretary Taradji talked to the leaders and members of the Filipino community there. Many of them expressed their desire to be repatriated back to the Philippines. The team also provided food items to the children and to those present. On the other hand, the Embassy consular/humanitarian team dispatched to Sandakan also visited a learning center catering to Filipino children of undocumented migrants. The children and their parents were grateful for the team‘s presence. Meanwhile, the Embassy humanitarian/consular team in Tawau reached out to and met some 50 Filipinos working at the Fook Ngiap sawmill, who were happy to see the team and know that the Philippine Government is concerned about their welfare. The humanitarian/consular team will be visiting more sites today and also conduct further mapping out of Filipinos in the area. The team in Sandakan is overseeing the departure of Filipinos out of Sandakan to Zamboanga. The three Embassy teams, with augmentation from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other Philippine agencies, were dispatched to Lahad Datu, Semporna, and Sandakan, and arrived there on March 8 to assist the members of the Filipino community in those areas. |TOP| Philippine Permanent Delegation to UNESCO Celebrates International Women‟s Day Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph 14 March 2013 - As part of its celebration of International Women‘s Day, the Permanent Delegation of the Philippines to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), organized a mini fashion show on March 07 featuring Filipino fashion designer, Ms. Dita Sandico-Ong. The event was held at the Salon des Délegués at UNESCO Miollis and the Guest of Honor was Madame Brigitte Ayrault, spouse of the French Prime Minister. In her opening remarks, Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Delegate, Cristina G. Ortega, stressed that women – the other half of humanity – have a significant role to play in the progress and development of a country. The Ambassador said that ―Filipino women have always played a very important role in society and have always been in the forefront of nation-building,‖ and she cited how women in the Philippines have made significant contributions in politics, the judiciary, business and the economy. She also mentioned that almost half of the 10 million Filipinos working overseas are women. As Guest of Honor, Madame Ayrault also shared her thoughts on International Women‘s Day. She called on everyone to continue the fight for gender equality as there are still many challenges remaining. Recalling her visit to the Philippines last year, Madame Ayrault remarked on the capacity of Filipino women to rise above their situation.

Ms. Sandico-Ong, who has worked as an ethical fashion designer for the past 27 years, is a good example of an empowered Filipina who is also making a difference for others. Through her strong advocacy for the use of Philippine indigenous fibers such as abaca, she has worked to promote sustainable livelihood and improve socio-economic conditions in Baras, Catanduanes, an island in the Philippines. The audience had the opportunity to view a short video on the painstaking process of weaving and transforming the abaca fiber into the colorful and beautiful designs of Ms. Sandico-Ong. As models walked down the room garbed in the elegant abaca wraps of Ms. Sandico-Ong, people then had the opportunity to truly appreciate Filipino creativity and artistry. |TOP| Deles cites enhanced role of women in PH peace process Source: http://www.opapp.gov.ph Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles stressed the Philippine government's significant headways in enhancing women‘s roles in the peace process. ―In the past couple of years, the Philippine government has achieved great strides in ensuring women‘s presence on our peace tables – in what has been referred to as Track 1 of the peace-making process,‖ she said in a statement delivered recently during the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.Deles joined the Commission‘s round table which adopted the theme, ―Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).‖ Attending the event were high-level representatives from 98 member states of the UN. Deles stressed that the Philippines is a country faced with internal armed conflict on several fronts for the past decades. ―We are very interested in sharing experiences and lessons learned on women empowerment and participation across countries facing internal armed conflict, which has had a major impact on making women‘s lives more difficult, including the aggravation of violence against women and girls.‖ She relayed the efforts and achievements of the Philippine government in enhancing women‘s participation in the peace process. ―Specifically on our peace table with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which has been fighting a four decade rebellion against the Philippine government, women have been on the front line of our peace-making work. In the last three years, our national peace office which has oversight over five peace tables has been led by a woman – myself,‖ she said. Deles went on to discuss that women are currently taking important roles on the peace tables. She said that the Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel is headed by a woman, Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and joined by a Bangsamoro woman Undersecretary Yasmin Busran-Lao. Other bodies, such as the Secretariat, Legal Panel, and Technical Working Groups on the Annexes are headed by and composed mostly of women. The peace adviser added that three out of seven members designated by the government in the Transition Commission (TransCom) are women. The TransCom is a body mandated to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will be certified as urgent by the President and submitted to Congress for passage before it undergoes a plebiscite. Once ratified, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will be abolished and the new Bangsamoro region will be established. ―We already see the difference that has been made by the strong women‘s presence on the peace table,‖ said Deles. She added that, in fact, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed by the GPH and the MILF in October 2012 has a section that promotes the basic rights of women to ―meaningful political participation and protection from all forms of violence.‖ In another section, the FAB underscored that women should not be excluded or disadvantaged in the normalization phase which includes the ―economic facilitation for return to normal life‖. Deles also related that the Philippine government‘s socio-economic program for combatants and communities ―deliberately targets the inclusion of women and girls‖ such that under its education component, college scholarships were awarded mostly to female high school graduates. ―In evacuation sites for families internally displaced by armed conflict on natural disasters, our Department of Social Welfare is

setting up women friendly spaces including the provisions of separate toilets and private spaces, trauma healing and therapeutic play time for children,‖ she added. Deles, a staunch advocate of women‘s rights, said that the government is also undertaking the localization the Philippine National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 – a landmark resolution that acknowledges women‘s capacity to make decisions on women, peace and security issues. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a policy-making body of the UN Economic and Social Council, dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Every year, representatives of member states gather at the UN headquarters to evaluate the progress on gender equality and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and women's empowerment worldwide. |TOP| Justice Secretary commends NBI Forensic Team Source: http://www.doj.gov.ph Secretary of Justice Leila M. De Lima today formally commended the National Bureau of Investigation Forensic Team for exemplary performance beyond the call of duty in response to the disaster brought about by typhoon "Pablo" that wrecked lives and destroyed properties in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. "It is these men and women who continue to toil behind the scenes and yet delivering consistent and dedicated service that inspires all of us in government," said Secretary De Lima. The primary role of the NBI in this tragedy was the identification of victims through forensic technology. Dr. Wilfredo E. Tierra, medico- legal officer, said in response, "We sincerely thank the Secretary for taking time out to send her message of support. We shall carry on and meet the challenges." The NBI under the leadership of Director Nonnatus Caesar R. Rojas is upgrading its forensic capability and crime fighting technology of enforcement units under the DOJ Development Plan. The same NBI Forensic Team was previously recognized by the Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin and Chairperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). |TOP| BI warns aliens not to meddle in RP polls Source: http://immigration.gov.ph The Bureau of Immigration (BI) warned foreigners against extending support to candidates in the forthcoming national and local elections, lest they face arrest and deportation for meddling in the country‘s internal affairs. Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said the warning stemmed from the issuance by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of a resolution specifically prohibiting, among others, foreigners taking part in the elections. He was referring to Comelec Resolution No. 9615, issued last Jan. 15, which spells out the implementing rules and regulations of the Fair Election Act, Republic Act 9006. The said act, which Congress passed in 2001, seeks the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections through fair election practices. Section 4 of the Comelec resolution states that ―it is unlawful for any foreigner, whether juridical or natural person, to aid any candidate, or political party, organization or coalition, directly or indirectly, or to take part in, or influence in any manner, any election, or to contribute or make any expenditure in connection with any election campaign or partisan political activity.‖ David said the BI may receive and investigate complaints against foreigners, particularly those who engage in partisan political activitiy and make campaign donations to candidates. He explained that the prohibition aims to prevent candidates from enjoying undue advantage over their opponents due to the financial support they get from foreigners.

Lawyer Ma. Antonette Mangrobang, BI acting intelligence chief, said that the under the fair election act, any person found guilty of an election offense may be punished with a jail term of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. ―If he is a foreigner, he shall be punished with deportation but that penalty shall be enforced after he has served his prison sentence,‖ Mangrobang said. |TOP| Govt moves to prevent humanitarian crisis over Sabah conflict Source: http://www.dilg.gov.ph Manila, Philippines The Philippine government is stepping up efforts to prevent a potential humanitarian crisis with the feared exodus of tens of thousands of Filipinos from Sabah to the southern provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi as a result of the continuing standoff and uncertainty in the Malaysian-ruled territory. Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas today met with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya, Maritime Industry Authority Nic Conti and National Food Authority Administrator Orlan Calayag to coordinate government efforts in ensuring the welfare of evacuees in the three provinces. ―Nagpulong po kaming mga tagapangasiwa ng iba‘t ibang ahensya ng pamahalaan sa utos ni Pangulong PNoy upang siguraduhin na may sapat na pagkain at sapat na suporta ang ating mga kababayan doon po sa Basilan, Sulu, at higit sa lahat sa Tawi-Tawi,‖ said Roxas after emerging from the meeting in Camp Crame. Roxas said based on latest information, there are already about 1,500 evacuees from Sabah, majority of them staying in Taganak Island and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi and Jolo in Sulu. He said the President is on top of the efforts to assist the evacuees and his directive is for all concerned government agencies to be ready in case the number of evacuees swells to crisis proportions. ―Sa ngayon 1,500. Maaring bukas-makalawa ay sampung libo na kaagad iyan, kaya bago pa mangyari iyon, naghahanda na tayo,‖ Roxas said. ―Ang utos ng Pangulo ay siguraduhin na nasa mabuting kalagayan unang-una ang ating mga kababayan na naninirahan sa Sulu, Basilan, at Tawi-Tawi at pangalawa yung mga evacuees. Kailangan ay handa ang pamahalaan, handa ang pagkain, handa ang gamot para masiguro ang kanilang kaligtasan at mabuting kalagayan,‖ he said. Soliman said as early as Friday, March 8, some 450 evacuees have arrived in Sibutu and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi and Siasi in Jolo. She said they were attended to by social welfare workers who gave them food and fare money so they could go to their relatives in Mindanao. Last Sunday, 512 evacuees also ended up in remote Taganak, the nearest Mindanao island to Sabah. Soliman said Navy ships from Bongao brought food for them and later ferried the evacuees to Bongao so they could also stay with relatives and families. Soliman said the Labor Department and the Bureau of Immigration also assisted the evacuees in securing proper documents especially those who intend to return to Sabah. She said the evacuees either have no travel and immigration documents or have incomplete work papers. Soliman said a team composed of DFA, DSWD, and PNP personnel were also sent to Felda in Lahad Datu, Malaysia to visit an evacuation center for affected Filipinos so they could offer assistance there. Meanwhile, Calayag said the NFA has sent the DSWD offices in Bongao and Jolo 1,000 sacks of rice each for inclusion in the food packs for the evacuees. He said the NFA is sending an additional 100,000 sacks of rice in affected areas to ensure that supply and prices remain stable. Maglaya of the DTI said except for rice, prices of other commodities in the areas are normal.

Conti said the MARINA has already alerted commercial vessels plying various routes in Mindanao to be on standby for the possible shipping of goods and other supplies to remote parts of Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi should the need arise. "Itong mga commercial vessel na bumibyahe sa mga lugar na ito, pwede po natin silang bigyan ng direktiba na pansamantalang iwanan muna ang kanilang ruta upang tumugon sa pangangailangan na maghatid ng pagkain at iba pang pangangailangan,‖ he said. Alcala, for his part, said the DA is working with the DSWD in packaging a livelihood program for evacuees who intend to stay in the Philippines for good. PNP Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas for his part said the PNP has deployed teams to provide to provide security to the refugees whom he said are vulnerable. The PNP will also assist in securing food warehouses and in maintaining the orderly distribution of relief goods to evacuees |TOP| Roxas, Kirams open talks to resolve Sabah standoff - priority is "disengagement" of sultanate forces says SILG Source: http://www.dilg.gov.ph Manila, Philippines The brother of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III today met with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to discuss ways to resolve the crisis in Sabah – a move both the government and the Kirams believe could help end the deadly standoff in Lahad Datu. Roxas said the government‘s main concern remains the safety and welfare of the Filipinos in Sabah, estimated to number around 800,000. ―Napakahalaga na tugunan muna natin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan,‖ he said. Roxas said today‘s meeting in Camp Crame is actually a follow up to the preliminary talks he had with Esmail‘s representatives last week in Zamboanga City, and said he made sure that Esmail has the blessings of his brother so that further talks could prosper. ―Ang sinabi ko lang nung sine-setup ang meeting na ito ay siguraduhing mayroong basbas mula sa pinuno nila na si Jamalul. Hindi naman natin gusto na iba-iba ang mensahe. Siniguro naman nila na may basbas ito,‖ Roxas said. The secretary also clarified that, contrary to claims by some parties, talks with the Kirams have been on-going in different levels since the crisis erupted in early February. ―Pabubulaanan ko ang sabi na walang pag-uusap. Maraming pag-uusap on so many levels sa iba‘t ibang paraan,‖ he said. ―Talk is better than no talk.‖ While both parties agreed not to make public yet the details of their discussions, Roxas said they generally centered on the disengagement of Jamalul‘s armed followers in Lahad Datu. ―Sabihin na lang natin na nakapaloob sa disengagement. Lahat naman kasi tayo ay nababahala sa nagaganap sa Lahad Datu at sa Sabah. Binigyan ko din sila ng updates kung ano ang mga isinasagawa ng pamahalaan,‖ Roxas said. Esmail, who was joined by at least a dozen other members of the Kiram royal family, concurred: ―Ang pag-uusap namin is only to find ways and means para ma-resolve ang problema natin doon sa Sabah.‖ Esmail said what he discussed with Roxas would not be made public until the DILG chief has reported them to President Aquino. Roxas said the closed door meeting with the Kiram family, which lasted nearly two hours, covered many aspects of the Sabah issue. "Malawak ang aming pag-uusap tungo sa paglutas sa kasalukuyang masalimuot na problema. May mga mensahe na gusto niyang paratingin sa ating Pangulo at iyon naman po ang ating ipinangakong gagawin,‖ Roxas told the media after the meeting.

Roxas said that from the start, Esmail has been active in pursuing a peaceful resolution to the Sabah standoff. Roxas said Esmail has also been talking directly to Sabah authorities to prevent further bloodshed in Lahad Datu. ―Sa pagpunta po ni Esmail Kiram, itinutuloy lang po niya ang mga ganitong simulain upang maresolba ang kaganapan sa Sabah,‖ Roxas said. |TOP| Improvement in exports of semiconductors to be seen despite decline in January 2013 - NEDA Source: http://www.neda.gov.ph MANILA—Improvement is expected for the growth of semiconductor exports despite its 23.2 percent contraction in January 2013, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). ―The annual gain of worldwide chip sales recorded suggests an improvement for the industry for the year,‖ said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan. Based on the report of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), worldwide chip sales recorded an annual gain of 3.8 percent. ―Moreover, more orders for semiconductor equipment may be expected as indicated by the upward trend of book-to-bill ratios in major electronics production hubs like the United States (US) and Japan,‖ the Cabinet official added. The Philippines‘ lower overseas sales of semiconductors (-23.2%), electronic data processing (-72.7%), copper metal (-78.9%), communication radar (-63.7%), consumer electronics (-53.4%) and machinery and transport equipment (-3.4%) mainly accounted for the contraction of manufactures (-5.8%), which eventually declined total export performance by 2.7 percent during the period. ―The decline in semiconductors exports may be partly attributed to lower value of outward shipments to Singapore, the People‘ Republic of China (PRC), the US and Japan, which accounted for more than half (51.6%) of the country‘s semiconductor revenues,‖ said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General. Other manufactured exports that also declined year-on-year during the period were garments (-41.7%), machinery and transport equipment (-3.4%), miscellaneous manufactures (-13.9%), textile yarns/fabrics (-9.2%), iron and steel (-6.1%) and baby carriage and toys (-6.1%). However, total agro-based exports were up by 33.3 percent (US$388.9 million) in January 2013 from US$291.7 million and 12.4 percent contraction in the same month last year. This was driven by higher exports of bananas (151.7%), coconut oil (27.3%), copra meal/cake (380.8%), centrifugal and refined sugar (28.9%), natural rubber (222.3%), molasses (83.1%), pineapple concentrates (181.8%), pineapple juice (26.2%), fish products (1.9%) and ramie fibers (100.0%). ―It should be noted that despite the damage caused by Typhoon Pablo in major banana plantations during the latter part of 2012, exports of bananas sustained robust growth in January 2013,‖ he said. Also, petroleum exports grew by 53.9 percent in January 2013 to US$72.8 million from US$47.3 million in the same period in 2012 as volume of petroleum shipments registered a 70.4 percent year-on-year growth. In terms of destination of Philippine exports, Japan was the top market accounting for 19.2 percent of total receipts. Following Japan were the Republic of Korea with a 14.1 percent share, the US (13.0%), the PRC (10.5%), and Hong Kong (8.2%). |TOP| Searching for the Next Philippine Art Maestro Are you ready to become the future of Philippine Art? The much-awaited art and design competition in the country, the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE), once again opens doors of opportunities for the future for young artist and designers this 2013! Who are eligible?

For the painting competition, MADE invites Filipino artists ages 18-35 years old who have not held a solo exhibition and professional/practicing Filipino sculptors who have staged at least one solo exhibition for the sculpture competition. Painting Competition: A participant may choose to join one of the two categories: oil based medium on canvas or watermedia on paper. Painting entry should not be smaller than 18 x 24 inches and should not exceed 36 x 48 inches, excluding the frame. Sculpture Competition: For the artpiece: a minimum volumetric size of 1,728 cubic inches and a maximum volumetric size of 13,824 cubic inches excluding the base. The height of the base should not exceed 2 inches. Medium can be one or a combination of: resin, fiberglass, glass, metal, wood, stone (concrete), or fired clay. All artworks should be original and must be left unsigned by the artist for the purpose of anonymity. The competition remains to have an open theme. The deadline of entries for Painting and Sculpture participants in Metro Manila and nearby provinces is April 26-27, 2013. Interested participants in provincial areas may drop off their entry forms in the nearest Metrobank branch in their area on April 23, 2013. MADE will award three artists with a grand prize of P300,000 and one sculptor with a grand prize of P300,000. Winners are also entitled to be recipients of a separate grant for their first solo exhibition, opening more opportunities for the winner. The Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) competition is an art and design competition that has been strengthening Philippine art and design for 29 years by discovering excellence in art and design. Through MADE, the winners were able to launch their artistic careers and become future masters in their field. Some of the past winners who have succeeded in the contemporary art scene are: Jan Leeroy New, Lynard Paras, Mark Andy Garcia, Ronald Ventura, Anton del Castillo, Elmer Borlongan, Boby Feleo, and Noell El Farol to name a few. Entry forms with full competition and requirement details may be downloaded from the Metrobank Foundation website,www.mbfoundation.org.ph. Interested participants may also contact the MADE Secretariat at (02) 898-8856 or like the MADE (Metrobank Art and Design Excellence) Competition fanpage in Facebook for more details. |TOP| Q & A on the Lahad Datu situation Source: http://www.dfa.gov.ph 1.What transpired in the discussions between Secretary del Rosario and the Malaysian officials? The Secretary, in pursuing a peaceful resolution, has been in contact on a daily basis with the Foreign Minister and other officials of Malaysia. The trip to Malaysia is consistent with that effort. During this particular trip, the Secretary continued seeking the exercise of maximum tolerance to avert further loss of lives. The Secretary also followed up on the Philippines‘ requests for a full briefing on the situation, for clearance for the Philippine Navy ship to proceed to Lahad Datu and for humanitarian and consular services to be made available to the Filipinos in Lahad Datu. While in Malaysia, the Secretary likewise sought the consideration for women and other civilians not involved in the hostilities to be able to exit the area of conflict. The Secretary was also specifically tasked by the President to explore avenues to end the standoff that is acceptable to all parties. 2.Was the Secretary able to achieve his objectives? The abovementioned requests are still being considered in light of the security environment. 3.What avenues did the Philippine Government explore domestically for a peaceful resolution to save lives? From the outset of this conflict, the Philippine Government has been pursuing options which could lead to a peaceful resolution where no lives would be lost. Sultan Jamalul Kiram‘s group was well aware of this as they were directly involved. These

options, which involve the peaceful withdrawal of the Kiram group from Lahad Datu in order to ensure that lives are not compromised, were relentlessly pursued on a 24/7 basis. Unfortunately, some of these plans did not merit acceptance by all parties and those that did could not be implemented in time. The Philippine Government‘s constructive efforts were overtaken by events that were beyond its control. With the peaceful withdrawal, the President initially offered that no charges would be filed and that an avenue for discussion would be made available. 4.What avenues did the Secretary explore with the Malaysian officials? The Secretary worked with the Malaysian officials in ensuring that maximum restraint was exercised for the first two weeks. Until hostilities erupted, Malaysia agreed on a peaceful withdrawal where no charges would be filed. Even as hostilities had begun, the Secretary was still exploring the option of peaceful withdrawal. 5.What avenues did the Secretary explore with the Malaysians during this trip to end the standoff? In meeting with the Foreign and Defense Ministers, the Secretary again pursued the possibility of allowing for an unconditional surrender of the group to avert further loss of lives and allow them to return to their respective homes and families. Negotiations for this remain in progress. 6.Despite our request for maximum tolerance, why were airstrikes and ground operations still conducted? This is a question that can best be answered by the Malaysians. 7.Is it true that the Secretary agreed with the Malaysian authorities‟ labelling the Filipino group as “terrorist”? According to Ambassador Malaya who was present at the meeting, the report is out of context and the Secretary did not label the Filipino group as ―terrorist.‖ In Semporna, there were alleged acts of terrorism. As reported by the Malaysian Foreign Minister, after the police forces were lured into an ambush and killed, their bodies were brutally mutilated and desecrated. If indeed these atrocities were committed as reported to him, the Secretary and the Foreign Minister both agreed that these were, at the very least, terroristic acts. 8.Will this affect the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro? It should not affect the peace process with the MILF. 9.How many casualties were there from the latest assault? We do not have information on the number of casualties from the latest assault. 10. Is the standoff over? According to the Malaysian Foreign Minister, as of noontime of 5 March, actions by the Malaysian security forces are ongoing. 11. What is the Philippine Government‟s plan to avert further loss of lives? The Philippine Government will continue to explore all possible channels in an effort to achieve the objective of minimizing the loss of life and bringing the matter to an expeditious conclusion. 12. If the members of the Kiram group are criminally charged by the Malaysian authorities, would the Philippine Government assist them and how? Consistent with the President‘s policy of caring for the Filipino people wherever they are, the Philippine Government will provide the necessary assistance. 13. What is the Secretary‟s comment on the news that thousands of Tausugs are now sailing to Sabah? There is a close cooperation between the Philippine and Malaysian navies to jointly enforce a blockade for such an eventuality.

14. What is the DFA‟s position on the Sabah claim? The DFA has been named a member of the team tasked to undertake the necessary study on the Sabah claim. 15. On the issue of the “missing” letter, what does the DFA know about it? On the issue of the missing letter written by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram to the President days before the President took his oath in June 2010, that letter has been found with the DFA. The Secretary is taking full responsibility for the oversight. 16. What is the Secretary‟s opinion on Sultan Jamalul Kiram‟s letter to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee? It is Sultan Jamalul Kiram‘s right to appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee. 17. What is the Secretary‟s opinion on Misuari‟s suggestion to involve the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)? It is a domestic issue and is therefore outside the purview of the OIC. 18. Is the Philippine Government reinforcing the security of the Malaysian Embassy in Manila and the Malaysian Consulate-General in Davao City? Yes. The Philippine Government has provided appropriate security to these diplomatic establishments in accordance with the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and on Consular Relations. 19. In light of the advisory issued by the Malaysian Embassy in Manila for Malaysian citizens in the Philippines to exercise additional precaution, is the DFA planning on issuing a similar advisory for Filipinos in Malaysia? For now, the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has issued an appeal to Filipinos in Sabah to remain calm and abide by the guidelines issued by local authorities. 20. With everything that has happened, how would the Secretary describe Philippines-Malaysia relations? The relationship remains strong and both countries continue to exert efforts for enhancement of their bilateral relations. The Secretary believes that a close cooperation between the two countries is necessary for dealing with the challenges presented by the current issue. 21. How does the situation in Lahad Datu affect the 800,000 Filipinos in Sabah? All concerned agencies of the Philippine Government are taking proactive steps to assist Filipinos in Sabah who are being negatively affected by the violence there. The Philippine mission in Malaysia, composed of representatives from the DFA, DOLE and DSWD, is closely coordinating with the Malaysian Government in order to ensure that the rights and welfare of Filipino migrant workers and communities are protected. The DFA, particularly our Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, has a contingency plan in place to quickly extend consular and humanitarian assistance to the affected Filipinos. Meanwhile, DOLE has activated an inter-agency Task Force Malaysia to coordinate and monitor the assistance to returnees at the one-stop centers in Zamboanga City and Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. 22. What is the DFA‟s view on the statement issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon? The DFA welcomes the statement. This is consistent with our call for a peaceful resolution of the situation. 23. What is the DFA‟s view on Sultan Jamalul Kiram‟s call for a unilateral ceasefire? A ceasefire will only work if it is accepted by the other party. In this case, Malaysia has not accepted it. |TOP| PCOO wins Anvil Award of Excellence Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph

QUEZON CITY, March 11 (PIA) -- The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) was awarded the Anvil Award of Excellence at the 48th Anvil Awards held last March 6 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. PCOO Undersecretary George Syliangco received the award together with other PTV officials, namely: Atty. Jennifer JimenoAtienza, head ot PTV Corporate Communications, News Overseeing Officer Ed Finlan, Public Affairs Overseeing Officer Maria Cristina Mariano and New Media Head Dina Libunao. The program, entitled: ―Pagmumulat ng lingkod-bayan sa mga mamamayan,‖ which covered the events leading up to the death of the late Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, won the Anvil Award of Excellence in the Public Relations Programs category. The award is presented to an outstanding program or tool that surpasses the standards set in a specific category. This year, the Anvil Awards received 387 entries, surpassing their target of 300 entries. The Public Relations Society of the Philippines conducts the Anvil Awards annually. It is a symbol of excellence in public relations in the country, awarded by a distinguished multi-sectoral panel of judges to outstanding public relations programs and tools designed and implemented during the previous year. Vishnu Moran, chief executive officer of Havas Media Asia Pacific, led the board of jurors coming from the public and private sector, academe and the media. (JJOA,PIACentral) |TOP|