31 MAY 2013.

bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino declares June 11 as special non-working day in Rizal province in celebration of its 112th Foundation Day
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Aquino approves laws converting two colleges into state universities
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Aquino cites role of geodetic engineers in sustaining the growth of the country’s thriving property market
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino declares the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque as national historical landmark in Tawi-Tawi
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino signs new law declaring December of every year as ‘Anti-Corruption Month’
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino signs a new law institutionalizing the Palarong Pambansa
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino inaugurates semiconductor testing facility in Taguig
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Palace says ongoing defense upgrade to boost Philippine Military capability
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino signs into law a bill repealing Presidential Decree No 1308 in order to make the law to be in tune with recent developments in environmental planning

President Aquino declares June 11 as special non-working day in Rizal province in celebration of its 112th Foundation Day
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared June 11, which falls on a Tuesday, as a special (non-working) day in the province of Rizal in celebration of its 112th Foundation Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 583 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on May 28, to give the people of Rizal the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

On June 11, 1901, the province of Rizal was created by virtue of Act No. 137. It was composed of 19 towns of Manila Province, and 14 municipalities of Morong Politico-Military District or a total of 33 towns.

On November 7, 1975, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 824, the 12 most progressive towns of Rizal namely: Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Parañaque, Pateros, Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Malabon, Navotas, Pasig and Marikina were incorporated in the newly formed Metro Manila Area. The Metro Manila also included the Valenzuela (formerly part of Bulacan), and the four cities of Manila, Quezon, Caloocan and Pasay.

At present, Rizal province is composed of Antipolo City, Angono, Baras, Binangonan, Cainta, Cardona, Jalajala, Morong, Pililla, Rodriguez, San Mateo, Tanay, Taytay and Teresa. PND (js)

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Aquino approves laws converting two colleges into state universities
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III signed on May 24 two laws converting two colleges into state universities in Mountain Province and Cotabato City.

The President signed Republic Act 10583 “An Act Converting the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College in the Municipality of Bontoc, Mountain Province Into a State University to be Known as the Mountain Province State University, with the Campuses in the Municipalities of Tadian, Bauko, Paracelis, and Barlig, all located in Mountain Province and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

The newly created state university will have a main campus in the municipality of Bontoc in the Mountain Province.

As mandated by the law, the university will provide advanced education, higher technological, professional instruction and training in forestry and agriculture, teacher education, engineering and technology.

It will also focus on arts, humanities, sciences and other relevant fields of study. The academic institution will also promote and undertake research, extension services and production activities in support of the socioeconomic development of Mountain Province and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

The President also signed Republic Act 10585 “An Act Converting the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College in Cotabato City into a State University to be Known as the Cotabato State University and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

The newly converted state university will have a main campus in Cotabato City.

Under the law, the Cotabato State University will focus on providing advanced education, higher technological, professional instruction and training in arts and sciences, psychology, and social work.

It will also extend training on community development, teacher education, agriculture, forestry, fishery, engineering, industrial technology, information technology, public administration, peace and development, business administration, health sciences, political science and law.

The university will promote and undertake research and extension services and provide progressive leadership in its areas of specialization.

The two laws will take effect 15 days after being published in two major newspapers of general circulation. PND (as)

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Aquino cites role of geodetic engineers in sustaining the growth of the country’s thriving property market
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the role of geodetic engineers in sustaining the growth of the country's thriving property market in this time of greater economic prospects.

"Land is among our most vital resources; ensuring its development into useful, productive spaces is essential to our country’s progress," the Chief Executive said in his message to the Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines on the occasion of its 39th Annual National Directorate Meeting and Convention.

The Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines opened on Friday its 39th Annual National Directorate Meeting and Convention which has for its theme "Steering the Geodetic Engineering Profession Towards Global Competitiveness." The event will end on Sunday.

"This meeting and convention is an opportune time to look at new innovations and best practices that can advance your profession, assuring its relevance and competitiveness in a globalized milieu," President Aquino noted.

"Our administration counts on you, our geodetic engineers, to perform your duties with excellence and integrity, that we may secure a better future for our people," he stressed.

He called on the geodetic engineers to help his administration sustain the gains achieved by the entire Filipino nation and empower our citizenry with the opportunities to lead the meaningful, dignified lives they rightfully deserve. PND (js)

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President Aquino declares the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque as national historical landmark in Tawi-Tawi
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque, which is considered as one of the country’s oldest existing Muslim Houses of Prayer or Mosques located in Tawi-tawi, as a national historical landmark.

The Chief Executive signed on May 24 the Republic Act No. 10573 otherwise known as "An Act Declaring the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque, considered as the site of one of the oldest existing Muslim houses of prayer or mosques in the Philippines, at Tubig Indangan, Simunul, province of Tawi-Tawi, as a National Historical Landmark and for other purposes."

The Act, which originated in the House of Representatives, was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on March 23, 2011 and February 4, 2013, respectively.

President Aquino said it is the policy of the State to preserve historical sites, monuments and other relics that represent the Filipino heritage and culture and should therefore be under the protection of the State.

Consistent with the constitutional mandate to conserve, promote and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage, President Aquino declared the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque located at Tubig Indangam, Simunul, province of Tawi-Tawi a national historical landmark to underscore the immense contribution of the Islamic faith to the enrichment, vibrance and diversity of our culture and civilization.

The newly-declared national historical landmark Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque was constructed in 1380 A.D.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) shall exercise supervision over the preservation of the site and shall issue the necessary rules and regulations to fulfill its functions, the President noted.

The President tasked the chairman of the NHCP to immediately include in the Commission’s program the operationalization of the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque as a national historical landmark, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

In order to afford the people an opportunity to participate in financing the preservation, reconstruction and/or rehabilitation of the shrine, President Aquino authorized the NHCP to organize and undertake a national fund campaign for the purpose of raising funds from private sources.

This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation. PND (js)

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President Aquino signs new law declaring December of every year as ‘Anti-Corruption Month
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed a new law declaring December of every year as "Anti-Corruption Month" in the entire country in a bid to create awareness among the Filipino people on the adverse effects of corruption.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday that the Chief Executive signed on May 27 the Republic Act No. 10589 entitled "An Act Declaring December of every year as 'Anti-Corruption Month' in the entire country."

The new law is also known as the "Anti-Corruption Month Act."

The Act, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3376 and House Bill No. 3005, was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on February 4, 2013 and February 5, 2013 respectively.

President Aquino mandated all heads of government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations as well as local government units and employers in the private sector, to conduct activities designed to create awareness among the people on the adverse effects of corruption.

"The awareness campaign must not only contain information on what constitutes an act of corruption, but also what citizens must do when faced with such corruption," the President noted.

The President designated the Office of the Ombudsman as the lead agency for coordination purposes.

The Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation. PND (js)

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President Aquino signs a new law institutionalizing the Palarong Pambansa
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed a new law institutionalizing the conduct of the Palarong Pambansa to improve the physical, intellectual and social well-being of the youth.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday the Chief Executive signed on May 27 the Republic Act No. 10588 entitled "An Act Institutionalizing the conduct of the Palarong Pambansa and Appropriating Funds Therefor" or otherwise known as the “Palarong Pambansa Act”.

The Act, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill 3377 and House Bill 6119, was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on February 4, 2013 and February 5, 2013, respectively.

The President said it is the policy of the State to promote physical education and encourage sports programs, league competitions and amateur sports, including training for international competitions, to foster self-discipline, teamwork and excellence for the development of a healthy and alert citizenry through the institutionalization of the Palarong Pambansa as the country’s premier national sporting event.

The state shall support programs that will improve and promote the Palarong Pambansa as the primary avenue for providing in-school sports opportunities to improve the physical, intellectual and social well-being of the youth.

He directed all educational institutions to promote physical education and undertake regular sports activities as well as support the local meets and the Palarong Pambansa.

The law aims at institutionalizing the Palarong Pambansa as the premier national sporting event of the country under the Department of Education (DepED) as a venue for talent identification, selection and recruitment of student athletes.

It also seeks to improve the DepED’s national school sports program and give more prestige to the annual sports event by encouraging better participation of schools through incentives and rewards.

The law also encourages the local government units (LGUs) to take a proactive role in the promotion of the Palarong Pambansa locally and nationally by providing incentives and rewards.

The law mandates the creation of a Palarong Pambansa Board as the lead policy-making and coordinating body for the preparation and conduct of the Palarong Pambansa.

The Board shall be attached to the DepED and shall be the proprietary owner of the words Palarong Pambansa and its related symbols, logos and concept. The Board shall have seven (7) members composed of the Secretary of the DepED as Chairperson, Undersecretary of the DepED, two (2) Assistant Secretaries of the DepED, the Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, the President of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). A Secretary General shall be appointed by the Board from among the members of the Board representing the DepED.

The DepED Regional Offices shall organize the Regional Athletics Associations (RAAs) which shall supervise the conduct of the regional meets and organize their respective regional delegations to the Palarong Pambansa.

The hosting of the Palarong Pambansa shall be determined by bidding and guided by the principle of rotation among the geographical clusters: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

"The Board shall formulate the criteria for the selection of the host LGU and shall take into consideration the existing sports facilities, their capacity to accommodate participants and guests, the security and peace and order situation of the area, and the need of the LGU for an opportunity to promote and showcase its socioeconomic-cultural uniqueness through the Palarong Pambansa: Provided, That existing sports facilities shall be given the highest weight among the criteria to be formulated," the law stated.

Under the law, the official sports events in the Palarong Pambansa shall include, but not be limited to athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, chess, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball and arnis for elementary division.

In addition to the aforesaid sports events, archery, billiards, boxing, futsal, wrestling and wushu shall be included in the Palarong Pambansa for the secondary division.

The law also provides that appropriate sports events shall be organized for students with disability.

The Board is mandated to conduct a review of the current rules and regulations and an inventory of existing sports facilities, venues and equipment being used in the Palarong Pambansa.

All sports events must be played according to international rules and regulations and the sports venues, facilities and equipment to be used shall be in accordance with international standards.

The Board shall consult the National Sports Associations (NSAs) in the review of the rules and regulations of each sports event.

The Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of the Interior and Local Government were also tapped to help in the conduct of the Palarong Pambansa.

The amount currently appropriated in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the conduct of the Palarong Pambansa including pre-national Palaro activities under the DepED shall be allocated and utilized for the initial implementation of this Act. Thereafter, such amount as may be necessary for its continued implementation shall be included under the budget of the DepED in the annual General Appropriations Act.

Within ninety (90) days after the approval of this Act, the DepED, together with the concerned agencies, shall prepare and promulgate the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to carry out the provisions of this Act. The IRR shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in a major daily newspaper of general circulation.

The implementation of this Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in a national newspaper of general circulation. PND (js)

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President Aquino inaugurates semiconductor testing facility in Taguig
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III inaugurated Friday the Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) compound in Bicutan, Taguig, pledging government’s full support to the country’s semiconductor industry.

In his message during the inauguration, the President said the newly opened facility will pull the country’s semiconductors industry up the value chain, moving it closer to becoming a 50-billion dollar industry by 2016.

“To fast track this growth, we need to become the country that not only has the capacity to build semiconductors—and build them well at that—but that which has the capacity to design, and test them here,” The President said.

“And I can promise you: you have a government committed to helping you do just that,” he added.

The President said his administration always believed in the inherent skill and talent of the Filipino people, and given every opportunity available, he said the country must capitalize on those talents to help upgrade local jobs.

But this can’t happen overnight, he said adding that if the country puts a premium on innovation, dreams big, does better, and enriches local talents, it’s only a matter of time before overall progress is attained.

“So I encourage all those who will be working on this facility, or working with it: Keep working at it every day. Persevere and improve,” he said, noting that the progress of Philippine technology lies in the talents of these people.

Aside from the newly inaugurated facility, the President announced that the DOST is working on the Philippine Product Development Center that will open next year, which will improve the industry’s testing and prototyping capabilities.

This is in addition to the Philippine Microelectronics Center that will be opened later this year in cooperation with several universities. The facility aims to train engineers in integrated circuit design, simulation, and lay outing, he said.

Officials of the Semiconductor Electronics Industry of the Philippines (SEIPI) welcomed ADMATEL’s opening hoping that that facility would help the country gain bigger slice of the world market for semiconductors.

The laboratory houses state-of-the-art facilities for failure analysis and advanced materials characterization which are vital steps in detecting defects and checking the reliability of the electronic device components coming out from production line.

Currently, local semiconductor firms send their samples abroad for testing, spending around $9 million to $18 million each year for material testing alone.

With the ADMATEL’s operation, testing cost could drop significantly and this will also reduce the turnaround time from one month to just four days.

At present, the Philippines only captures 10 percent of the total world semiconductor market earning $30 billion in 2011. The country’s semiconductor industry mainly assembles integrated circuits, chips, rectifiers, capacitors, and resistors.

Based on government figures, the semiconductor industry contributes 71.3 percent of electronics exports and 61 percent of the country’s total exports in 2010. PND (as)

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Palace says ongoing defense upgrade to boost Philippine Military capability
 
Malacanang sees the ongoing military upgrade a big improvement in the country’s defense capability particularly when the minimum credible defense posture goal is achieved.

In a press conference in Malacanang on Friday, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the procurement of various defense equipment is currently in different stages of acquisition.

Judging by the equipment that the country is looking to upgrade, Valte said she believes that once the acquisition is completed it would be a huge improvement in the country’s military capability.

The goal is to defend the country’s waters and territory, given the Philippines’s unique position, she said.

Asked by reporters how soon the country could achieve the minimum credible defense posture, Valte said they expect BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the second naval ship from the US will arrive in the next few months.

The military is also awaiting the arrival of additional helicopters after the country received initial delivery of new Polish-made combat choppers. The Philippines is also eyeing for the procurement of 12 T-50 trainer/fighter jets from South Korea.

But Valte clarified that buying modern military hardware is different from deciding to send a stronger force in the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea.

“You know having the hardware is one thing. The strategy is not borne out of just wanting to send something there. Of course, it is a coordinated effort between all agencies in the government,” Valte said when asked if those equipment would be used to fend off intruders in the country’s waters.

The Palace official also said that it’s a deliberate choice in the part of the Philippine government not to respond to any provocative actions regarding disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

“It’s a deliberate step taken not to respond to any provocative actions but whether it will achieve the minimum credible defense posture we want to achieve is something that need to assess military and security officials,” she said. PND (as)

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President Aquino signs into law a bill repealing Presidential Decree No 1308 in order to make the law to be in tune with recent developments in environmental planning
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law a bill repealing Presidential Decree 1308 entitled "Law Regulating the Environmental Planning Profession in the Philippines" in order to make the law to be in tune with recent developments in the field of environmental planning.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday the Chief Executive signed on May 27 Republic Act 10587 entitled "An Act Regulating the Practice of Environmental Planning, Repealing for the Purpose Presidential Decree 1308, entitled “Law Regulating the Environmental Planning Profession in the Philippines,” and for Other Purposes.

The new Act is otherwise known as the "Environmental Planning Act of 2013."

The Act, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill 3138 and House Bill 4692, was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on February 4, 2013 and February 5, 2013 respectively.

The law creates the Professional Regulatory Board of Environmental Planning tasked to regulate the practice of environmental planning in the Philippines.

The Board shall be composed of a Chairperson and two members under the administrative control and supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The chairperson and two members of the Board shall hold office for a term of three (3) years from the date of their appointment by the President or until their successors shall have qualified and been appointed.

The Board shall prescribe and adopt the rules and regulations; supervise the registration, licensure and practice of environmental planning in the Philippines; administer oaths, issue, suspend, revoke or reinstate Certificate of Registration for the practice of environmental planning; adopt an official seal of the Board; prepare contents of licensure examination, score and rate the examination papers and submit the results thereof to the PRC, and adopt and promulgate a Code of Ethics and a Code of Technical Standards issued by the Accredited Professional Organization (APO).

The Board shall also assist the Commission on Higher Education to ensure that all instruction and offering of environmental planning comply with the policies, standards and requirements of the course prescribed by the CHED or other authorized government offices in the areas, among others, of curriculum, faculty, library and facilities; adopt measures necessary for the enhancement of the profession; investigate officially reported violations of the Act, its rules and regulations, Code of Ethics, Code of Technical Standards, policies and measures and for this purpose issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum to secure appearance of witnesses and submission of the documents and other pieces of evidence; seek assistance of the PRC in the conduct of the hearing or investigation of administrative cases filed before the Board; promulgate decisions on such administrative cases, discharge such other powers and duties that may affect professional, ethical and technological standards of the environmental planning profession, among others.

The law also provides for a foreign reciprocity policy which would enable foreign environmental planners to practice in the country, provided that their countries of origin provide the same privilege to Filipino environmental planners.

Violators of this law may face imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than five years or a fine of not less than P100,000 nor more than P500,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

The chairperson of the PRC shall include in its programs the implementation of the Act, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Acts and thereafter.

The Board, subject to the approval of the PRC, shall prescribe, promulgate and issue the implementing rules and regulations of this Act, after consultation with the APO, other agencies and concerned private organizations within 120 days from the constitution of the Board.

The implementation of this Act shall take effect 15 days after its publication in 2 newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines. PND (js)

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