24 JULY 2013.

bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino declares August 2 special non-working day in Kabangkalan City, Negros Occidental in celebration of 16th Charter Day
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino cites Association of Safety and Health Training Organizations of the Philippines for its dynamic contribution to country’s development
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino lays down the principles and reforms that shaped the proposed P2.268 trillion National Budget for 2014
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Government vows transparent, real public consultation for the planned MRT, LRT fare hikes
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Aquino in good health condition, says official

President Aquino declares August 2 special non-working day in Kabangkalan City, Negros Occidental in celebration of 16th Charter Day
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared August 2, which falls on a Friday, as a special (non-working) day in the city of Kabankalan in the province of Negros Occidental in celebration of its 16th Charter Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 622 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on July 12 to give the people of Kabankalan the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

The town of Kabankalan was declared by former president Fidel V. Ramos as a chartered city on August 2, 1997, under Republic Act No. 8297. PND (js)

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President Aquino cites Association of Safety and Health Training Organizations of the Philippines for its dynamic contribution to country’s development
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the Association of Safety and Health Training Organizations of the Philippines (ASHTOP) for its dynamic contributions towards equitable progress.

"Occupational safety is a vital component of our collective task to further unify the public and private sectors. In this light, your specialization adds strength to the foundations we have laid in securing inclusive growth," the Chief Executive said in his message to ASHTOP on the occasion of the 3rd ASHTOP National Congress.

The ASHTOP will hold the two-day 3rd ASHTOP National Congress which has for its theme "Public & Private Partnership in Occupational Safety and Health" at the Subic Bay Travelers Hotel in Olongapo City on July 25 and 26.

"As you promote health and safety in behalf of the Filipino workforce, may you help generate more effective results among our public-private partnership programs. May your members remain passionate in this significant undertaking," the President said.

The President called on the association to work with the government in creating a more conducive atmosphere of cooperation among our institutions to accelerate Philippine development.

"May this occasion empower you further in your dynamic contributions towards stability and lasting, equitable progress," he said. PND (js)

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President Aquino lays down the principles and reforms that shaped the proposed P2.268 trillion National Budget for 2014
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III laid down the principles and reforms that shaped the proposed P2.268-trillion National Budget for 2014.

In his 2014 Budget Message, the Chief Executive said the 2014 National Budget will support his administration's agenda for Inclusive Development.

The key reforms include the Performance-Informed Budgeting, Tighter Budget Prioritization for Inclusive Development, Better Collaboration as the New Standard in Government, Enabling the Private Sector as Engine of Economic Growth,Transparency at the Core of Effective Public Financial Management and Empowering the Citizenry Through the Budget.

"For this Proposed Budget for 2014, we embark on a bold move to change the way the Budget is presented. With the Performance-Informed Budget Structure (PIB), each peso is now presented alongside the results that we want to achieve," the President said.

Before, the annual Budget presented an incomprehensible mix of financial numbers. With the PIB, the Budget has a new face which presents each peso together with the outcomes, outputs and performance targets that government agencies commit to achieve with their respective budgets.

In preparing the 2014 Budget, the President said the government issued a Budget Priorities Framework that enjoins all agencies to design their respective proposals along program priorities with the Key Result Areas of the Aquino Social Contract.


"This Budget Priorities Framework also identifies geographic focus areas where our poorest people are and where great potential lies. We have directed these departments to not only prioritize their resources for these programs and areas but also tighten their collaboration in these areas for greater impact," the President stressed.

The President said Budget was designed not in the usual way, where agencies competed against each other for a share of scarce national resources. With the Program Budgeting Approach, government agencies moved out of their silos to converge their efforts and resources along priority programs.

"Sa pagsasakatuparan ng ating Social Contract, mahalagang siguruhin na nagbubukluran—at hindi nagkakanya-kanya—ang bawat institusyon ng ating pamahalaan," he said.

He acknowledged that government spending alone is not enough to push growth upwards. Thus, he underscored the need for the administration to create the right environment for the private sector to flourish.

"As we do our part in establishing the right environment for growth, the private sector must likewise fulfill its role as engine of economic growth," he said.

This Budget seeks to sustain macroeconomic stability, promote the streamlining of business processes and invest in the needed public goods like infrastructure.

In line with the Public Financial Management Reform Roadmap, the government will move towards a Budget-as-Release Document regime in 2014.

"Last year, we announced the move toward a Budget-as-Release-Document Regime through the 2014 Budget. This regime promotes predictability and speed in budgetary releases, as well as in implementation, as the budgets of agencies—except for those that need prior clearance, to be contained in a negative list—are considered as released as soon as the Budget is enacted," he said.

In crafting the 2014 Budget, the government expanded mechanisms for citizen's meaningful participation in the budget process.

"We introduced the process of Budget Partnership Agreements between government agencies, corporations, and civil society organizations and piloted it in crafting the 2012 Budget. In this process, government agencies and civil society organizations partners enter into a formal partnership in the review of the budgets, programs, and projects of the agencies, as well as in the crafting of their budget proposals for the following fiscal year," he said. PND (js)

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Government vows transparent, real public consultation for the planned MRT, LRT fare hikes
 
Malacanang assured Wednesday on the conduct of a transparent and real public consultation before the government adjusts the rates of the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit as mentioned by the President in his 4th State-of-the-Nation Address on Monday.

“Yes, you can be assured of a transparent, real public consultation. And they will inform the public, all the stakeholders. It is going to be a free public consultation,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda when asked by reporters in a press briefing in Malacanang.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) is currently studying the MRT and LRT rates as spelled out by the President in his SONA, Lacierda said.

The DOTC will also follow all the requirements for the conduct of public consultation before a fare hike is implemented, according to the Palace official.

The President laid down the reasons why there is a need to adjust the fares of the MRT and LRT considering its toll on the country’s financial condition and the ability of the MRT and LRT managements to provide better services to the riding public, Lacierda said.

In his SONA on Monday, the President criticized previous officials for delaying fare increases in the MRT and LRT at the expense of public good.

The LRT rate is P40 for each passenger, with the government subsidizing P25 for every LRT passenger. Every passenger only pays P15 per ride.

MRT’s original fare rate is P60 but every passenger only pays P15. This means the government shoulders P45 for every passenger.

“Nasa Mindanao ka o Visayas ka man, na ni minsan ay hindi nakatuntong sa LRT o MRT, kasama ka sa pumapasan nito,” President Aquino said.

Former officials have also given away the commercial development rights for the LRT and MRT, which could generate advertizing revenues that could augment LRT and MRT operations.

“Ang puwede sanang pagkunan ng pantustos sa maintenance at operasyon, nawala pa.

Siguro naman po, makatuwirang ilapit man lang natin sa ibinabayad sa aircon bus ang pasahe ng LRT at MRT, upang maituon ang subsidiya sa iba pang serbisyong panlipunan,” the President said. PND (as)

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Aquino in good health condition, says official
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III is in the pink of health and the public should not worry about his health condition, a Palace official said on Wednesday.

The Philippine Medical Association, expressing concern over the Presidents health condition, had advised the President to undergo a full executive check-up after his coughing episode during his State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

But Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday that there is no concern over the health of the President and he could very well fulfill his function as chief executive.

“The President is in good condition, good health. Sa haba ng pagsasalita niya, walang patid na talumpati, siguro naman kahit sino ay masasamid o mauubo nang kaunti,” he said.

Still health experts underscored the need for the chief executive to be always in tip-top shape as he confronts enormous tasks with limited time to rest. It was noted that speaking lengthily, as the President did last Monday, could dry up the pharynx which leads to coughing. Pharynx dryness without lubrication is what stimulates the coughing reflex.

Considering the age of the President, who is in his 50’s, a chronic smoker and with a family history of cancer, are the reasons for him to undergo a full executive checkup, they added.

The President’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, died of colon cancer on August 2009.

An executive checkup involves a complete physical examination and consultation by a qualified physician. PND (as)

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