Apr 202014
While the approval and trust ratings of President Benigno Aquino III dipped, that of Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Franklin Drilon went up, a recent survey by Pulse Asia showed.

In a media release Monday, Pulse Asia said Binay and Drilon experienced gains in their national approval ratings and overall trust ratings.

A survey conducted from March 19-26, 2014 showed Binay’s approval rating went up by seven percentage points from 80 percent in December to 87 percent in March while his trust rating went up by nine percentage points from 77 percent in December to 86 percent in March.

On the other hand, after a big dip in his ratings last year, Senate President Franklin Drilon came back with a 15-percentage-point increase in both his approval and trust ratings.

Drilon’s approval rating went up from 43 percent in December to 58 percent in March while his trust rating rose from 40 percent in December to 55 percent in March.

In September last year, Drilon’s ratings were pulled down by the pork barrel scam which hounded the Senate.

Drilon was dragged into the controversy after he admitted meeting businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the scam, at a party. He denied having any transactions with her.

His approval rating further went down to 43 percent in December from September’s 50 percent, while his trust ratings plunged from 46 percent in September to 40 percent in December.

President Aquino’s ratings

Survey results released earlier this month showed a slight dip in the President’s ratings despite high-profile arrests and the conclusion of a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Pulse Asia said there is nothing wrong with the decline in the President’s approval and trust ratings as it is still within the ± 3 percent error margin.

“Filipinos’ views regarding presidential performance and trustworthiness remain constant during the period December 2013 to March 2014,” it said.

“The movements in President Aquino’s ratings at the national level and across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings are not considered significant as they fall within the relevant error margins,” it added.

In the December survey of Pulse Asia, the President ‘s approval rating went down from 79 percent in September to 73 percent in December, while his trust rating plunged from 76 percent in September to 74 percent in December

Binay, on the other hand, got an approval rating of 80 percent in December, which was up three notches from 77 percent in September. His trust rating also went up to 77 percent in December from 74 percent in September.

Belmonte, Sereno

The approval and trust ratings of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno went down in March.

“Approval for and trust in House Speaker Belmonte ease during this period (both at -7 percentage points),” Pulse Asia said.

Sereno got 40 percent approval rating in March which is four percentage points down from December and a 36 percent trust rating in March which is five percentage points down from December.

In March 2014, only the Supreme Court succeeded in scoring a majority approval rating with 53 percent or one percentage point up from December, while the Senate and House got 41 percent and 38 percent, respectively, or four percentage points down from December.

A total of 1,200 adults were interviewed all over the country for the survey.

Among the local and international developments in March were the investigation on the pork barrel scam, the arrest of Globe Asiatique president Delfin Lee, the power crisis in Mindanao, the conclusion of the peace negotiations between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the arrest of two key leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Amita O. Legaspi/KG, GMA News

Apr 032014
Aquino pushes defense dialogue with Singapore

A TOAST TO SINGAPORE’S GENEROSITY. President Aquino toasts Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam, thanking him in Malacañang on Thursday for Singapore’s post-“Yolanda” help. Tan, here on a four-day visit, flies to Western Samar on Saturday to deliver medical supplies to Basey District Hospital. EDWIN BACASMAS MANILA, Philippines—Facing an increasingly aggressive China, President Aquino on Thursday proposed a defense dialogue with Singapore to boost the two countries’ military defense ties, during visiting Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s courtesy call at Malacañang. “The Philippines proposed the holding of a defense dialogue to further strengthen our cooperation,” said Aquino at the Palace reception hall. “I believe that strengthening defense and security cooperation between the Philippines and Singapore is key to maintaining regional stability.” 45th anniversary This year marks the 45th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations. In the last few days, the Philippines has had to deal with China’s verbal onslaughts and naval maneuvers in the South China Sea, which the Philippines now calls the West Philippine Sea. After filing a memorandum with a United Nations tribunal challenging China’s “nine-dash line” claim in the international waterway on Sunday, the Philippine government drew a sharp rebuke from Chinese Embassy officials in Manila. Charge d’Affaires Sun Xiangyang said the move “seriously damaged” the bilateral relations between the two countries, and accused the Philippines of unilaterally shutting the door to negotiations and consultations. China, Taiwan and Asean members the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, which Read More …

Mar 022014
Mining sector seeks inclusion in Palace action plan on poverty reduction

MANILA, Philippines – The mining industry wants to be included in Malacañang’s new action plan to reduce poverty in the country by increasing funding and assistance in 30 priority provinces that need heightened economic activity. In a statement, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said the mining industry should not be left out in this approach as a strong minerals development sector is a “critical component for industrialization.” “The Chamber of Mines applauds this approach but we also urge the government not to forget minerals development in its plans as a vital gear in driving the economy forward,” said COMP. During a recent full cabinet meeting, President Aquino ordered the employment of a so-called geographical and surgical approach to poverty reduction that entails increased support for the country’s 30 poorest provinces through job creation, trade facilitation and increasing their resilience to natural disasters. “Of the 30 poorest provinces in the country, at least 10 provinces have significant mineral potential which, to date, remain largely unexplored and untapped,” said COMP. “If these provinces’ mineral resources are properly harnessed, the economic growth that they experience will be transforming,” it added. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 COMP said that a “flourishing” mining industry could provide at least 410,000 jobs by 2018. As provided for in Executive Order No. 79, also known as the New Mining Policy, no new mineral agreements shall be entered into until a law rationalizing the existing revenue sharing scheme between the government and Read More …

Jan 202014
Mendez named new NBI director

Atty. Virgilio Mendez (photo courtesy of www.nbi.gov.ph) MANILA (Mabuhay) – Atty. Virgilio Mendez is the new Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Mendez, NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Services before assuming the bureau’s top post, took his oath before Justice Secretary Leila De Lima Thursday morning, exactly 36 years since he joined the bureau as an agent on Jan. 16, 1978. Mendez assumed the post four months after Atty. Nonnatus Rojas tendered his irrevocable resignation. Mendez, 61, is an NBI insider who rose from the ranks of the country’s top investigation arm. He is the first NBI insider to be appointed Director since the passing of NBI Director Federico Opinion in 2000 due to kidney failure and diabetes. A native of Bohol, Mendez also served as NBI Regional Director for Region X in 2004, Deputy Director for Comptroller Services from 2007 to 2009, and Deputy Director for Administrative Services from 2009 to 2011. He became NBI Deputy Director for ROS from 2011. De Lima, who personally endorsed Mendez to President Aquino as Rojas’ replacement, said the former’s appointment will be a boost to the morale of the men and women of the NBI. “It is, perhaps, time to, once again, hail somebody from the NBI ranks. Besides the obvious experience that an insider will bring to the NBI leadership, it will also serve as a considerable morale booster for those serving in the NBI,” De Lima said. When Rojas, a member of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Read More …

Dec 172013
PNoy expects rehab effort in Yolanda-hit areas finished by 2017

President Benigno Aquino expects the reconstruction and rebuilding efforts in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda to be finished by 2017. “Larger investments will be spread over multiple years and will be completed by 2017 if not earlier,” Aquino said in his speech on Wednesday at the briefing for Philippine development partners on reconstruction assistance on Yolanda. He said the rebuilding and repair of infrastructures and construction of temporary houses for the typhoon victims will be done by December 2014. On the other hand, rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson said bunkhouses are being prioritized to make it easier for the people to organize their lives. “How can the people engage in livelihood activities or income-generating activities kung walang shelter,” Lacson said. On Monday, Lacson said he is aiming to rehabilitate areas hit by Yolanda within the next three years, or before President Aquino’s term ends in 2016. That wish flies in the face of what some experts are saying will be at least a ten-year process akin to “rebuilding a country.” — Amita O. Legaspi /LBG, GMA News

Dec 132013
P15-M: Aquino’s budget for ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit

President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the Cabinet Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (December 10). (MNS photo) MANILA, Dec 12 (Mabuhay) – The government is spending P15 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s bilateral meetings and participation in the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit from December 12 to 14 in Tokyo, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Thursday. President Aquino left this morning for Tokyo via a chartered flight, along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Transportation and Communications Secretary Emilio Abaya, Presidential Management Staff head Julia Andrea Abad, Presidential Protocol chief Celia Anna Feria and Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. The expenses cover transportation, accommodation, food and equipment, among other requirements, of the President and his 57-member official delegation. “The participation of President Aquino in the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit will further strengthen our relationship with Japan, a long-time ally and strategic partner in trade, tourism and labor,” Ochoa said. According to Ochoa, the President is expected to deliver a statement during the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit scheduled on Saturday at the Akasaka State Guest House. The Chief Executive is set to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Prime Minister’s official residence for bilateral discussion on disaster management, economic and maritime cooperation, and progress on the Mindanao peace process. The President’s schedule also includes a social call by Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and a courtesy call by Read More …

Dec 122013
President Aquino to pursue closer PHL-Japan ties in Tokyo visit

President Benigno S. Aquino III and His Excellency Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, review the honor guards during the Arrival Ceremony at the Malacañan Palace Grounds for his Official Visit to the Republic of the Philippines on Saturday (July 27, 2013). The visit of Prime Minister Abe will further advance the Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and Japan. The last time that the prime minister of Japan visited the Philippines was in December 2006 when Prime Minister Abe visited Manila during his first term as the head of the Japanese Government. Japan is one of only two strategic partners of the Philippines. In 2012, Japan was the Philippines’ number one trade partner and provider of official development assistance as well as the second major source of approved investments and third source of tourist arrivals. (MNS photo) TOKYO, Japan (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III will pursue closer ties between the Philippines and Japan during his visit here this week for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative summit. President Aquino and the Philippine delegation are to take part in several events aimed at bolstering various aspects of Philippine-Japan friendship. On Friday, the President is scheduled to receive an Honorary doctorate law degree from Sophia University. The President is then expected to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a bilateral meeting and a working lunch at the Prime Minister’s official residence. He is then to meet with the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) at the Keidanren Read More …

Dec 032013
Phl hosting of APEC still a go, says P-Noy

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ scheduled hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2015 will push through despite a proposal from a Cabinet member to cancel it, President Aquino assured yesterday.  “There’s a proposal. But I was saying that is there a need to do so? I don’t… At this point, I don’t agree,” he told officers and members of the weekly Bulong Pulungan forum of mostly female veteran journalists at the Sofitel Plaza in Pasay City.  Aquino’s statement was in reply to a query from a businesswoman Sandee Masigan who wanted to hear it from the Chief Executive whether the report was true, since backing out of the APEC 2015 hosting would definitely not do the country any good.  “If it will make the Cabinet or everybody in government feel better, we from the business sector are like really behind you, and we wish and hope and pray that we push through with APEC,” she told the President. Masigan has since been looking forward to the hosting in Manila. “It’s really going to do the country a world of good. So we’re all behind you, if you need anything, we’re all here from the business sector.”  Aquino nonetheless defended the Cabinet member  who made the proposal.  Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “In fairness to that particular Cabinet member, iyung given the enormity of the reconstruction, rehabilitation efforts for Yolanda, he was thinking na shouldn’t this be the sole priority, in a sense, at this Read More …

Nov 302013
Government raises post-Yolanda reconstruction cost to P40.9B 

The national government on Saturday raised the projected budget for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda to P40.9 billion.  According to a report on GMA News’ “24 Oras” Saturday evening, the Presidential Communications Operations Office announced the increase in the rehabilitation fund from P38.8 billion after the costs of rebuilding local government buildings and facilities were factored in.    The P40.9 billion rehabilitation fund will be allocated as follows:  67 percent for construction of public infrastructure, including roads, bridges and other facilities 12 percent for livelihood projects 11 percent for local facilities 9 percent for social services, including health services and education The government has identified 171 municipalities in 14 provinces as first-priority areas for reconstruction. The first-priority areas were within 50 kilometers of the eye of the typhoon when it hit, the report said.  The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the typhoon caused P30.6 billion in damage. The typhoon left at least 5,602 dead, and 26,136 injured. Another 1,759 have yet to be accounted for. On Thursday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the P38.8 billion in government funds that has been “approved in principle” by President Benigno Aquino III will be used to bankroll “critical and immediate interventions” that also include housing assistance for displaced typhoon survivors. President Aquino reportedly threshed out the details of the long-term rehabilitation plan for the typhoon-stricken areas in a meeting Friday with Task Force Yolanda Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. — Xianne Arcangel/JDS, GMA News

Nov 292013
Aquino wants ‘weather-proof’ communities to avoid repeat of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ tragedy

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III wants communities redesigned such that they will not be as vulnerable to storm surges and other effects of powerful cyclones like super typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). The President, who was interviewed at the Ormoc City Airport Tuesday, said it pained him to learn of so many deaths because of the effects of Yolanda. “Siyempre gusto natin malaman bakit umabot ng ganoon, mayroon pa ba tayong magagawa? Pwede ba nating ire-design ang communities para mas maging resistant to such things … ‘yung maski sa mamatayan, talagang mabigat sa kalooban ko ‘yun (We want to see if there is something we can do to prevent such a tragedy in the future. Can we redesign our communities to be more resistant to such occurrences? The deaths of so many people have weighed heavily on me),” he said. Yolanda, one of the most powerful cyclones in recent history, barreled through parts of Visayas and Southern Luzon earlier this month. It left more than 3,000 dead in its wake. Since Sunday, the President had been visiting areas in the Visayas that were affected by Yolanda. He returned to Manila Tuesday afternoon. President Aquino said the concerned government agencies are already working on medical attention, power restoration, and helping people get their lives back to normal. Meanwhile, the President said he is returning to Manila to make sure there are enough funds to provide for the needs of those affected. He said he wanted to meet the Cabinet, including Read More …