Saturday, 3 July 2010

MMDA spy cameras show President following traffic rules

By Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — On their screens linked to spy cameras on the road, personnel of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) watched the President pass through Edsa, stop at every red light and make U-turns like an ordinary motorist.

“We are very impressed,” MMDA General Manager Robert Nacianceno said yesterday after monitoring the convoy of President Aquino on its way to Camp Aguinaldo for the military handover ceremony.

“We kept talking about it over the radio. It was amazing to see our President setting an example for our motorists,” Nacianceno said.

Nacianceno advised Aquino, however, that if he wanted to survive the heavy traffic in Metro Manila and avoid being late for his appointments, he should leave his house “earlier than usual.”

“He is showing us that a government official is a public servant and, thus, must serve the people. How will you do that if you always get ahead and take advantage of your constituents?” he said.

Reminder to violators

Nacianceno said Aquino’s policy banning the use of street sirens had helped the MMDA enforce traffic regulations.

“Every time we apprehend those with blinkers and sirens, traffic enforcers would say ‘Even the President follows the rules.’ Violators will now be ashamed to evade the law,” he said.

Nacianceno said he and other MMDA officials were no longer resorting to unnecessary counterflows on the road. “Nakakahiya (It’s embarrassing),” he said.

Even cops must obey
The Manila Police District (MPD) director, Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, reminded policemen to themselves obey traffic rules, including avoiding the use of blinkers and sirens in non-police operations.

Apart from avoiding use of blinkers and sirens on their private vehicles, policemen driving motorcycles should always wear crash helmets and heed traffic signs.

Magtibay particularly warned policemen against driving against the flow of traffic and flaunting their badges when stopped for traffic violation.

“How can we expect private motorists to obey traffic rules if the policemen themselves are disregarding them,” Magtibay said.

Manila policemen caught violating traffic rules will be charged administratively, he said.

Quezon City police operatives said the anti-sirens policy should be reviewed so not to hamper their operations.

“We volunteered to dismantle the devices in compliance with an order and avoid possible administrative charges, but guidelines should be issued because there are police operations where these gadgets are needed,” said one officer, who asked not to be named for fear of sanctions.

With reports from Jeannette I. Andrade and Nancy Carvajal

Pancake buying Indon, Thai restaurant chains

by Jenniffer B. Austria
Manila Standard

Pancake House Inc. is expanding in Southeast Asia by acquiring restaurant chains in Thailand and Indonesia.

Pancake House president Martin Lorenzo told reporters after the annual stockholders’ meeting that the company was in talks with the owners of one restaurant in Indonesia and another in Thailand for the planned acquisition. The purchase of the two brands is expected to cost between $10 million and $15 million.

Lorenzo, without naming the restaurant brands, said he hoped the transactions would be completed within the year.

He said the Indonesian restaurant had 80 outlets while the Thai chain had 30. Both brands are in the fast casual segment of the market with cashflow of between $6 million and $7 million annually.

“We believe that the fastest way to expand in Southeast Asia is by acquiring brands in these areas,” Lorenzo said.

He said the acquisition of the two restaurants would increase the contribution of overseas operations to 40 percent of the company’s revenues from just less than 5 percent.

The local company has several Pancake House branches in Malaysia.

Pancake House is looking at system-wide sales to grow by 15 percent to P2.6 billion from P2.2 billion in 2009 and cashflow to increase to P340 million from P300 million a year ago.

Pancake House operates several restaurant brands, including its flagship brand Pancake House, Dencio’s, Kabisera, Singkit, Teriyaki Boy, Sizzlin Pepper Steak and Le Coeur de France.

Lorenzo, meanwhile, said the company planned to acquire a popular roadside barbeque restaurant and transform into a fastfood chain.

San Miguel and Metro Pacific in Clark airport talks

by Jeremiah F. de Guzman and Cecille Garcia
Manila Standard

Diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp. confirmed Thursday that it is in talks with Metro Pacific Investments Corp. to build a modern terminal building in Clark Airport.

San Miguel made the disclosure after the chairman of Clark International Airport Corp. said Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan was holding negotiations with San Miguel president Ramon Ang to jointly construct a second terminal in Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga.

“Mr. Pangilinan has already expressed intentions to contract the construction and management of the DMIA terminal II in partnership with San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang and the government should act swiftly to be able to realize the project without delays,” said Nestor Mangio, chairman of CIAC and concurrent head of Subic-Clark Alliance for Development.

Mangio told Manila Standard after the inauguration of the P308-million DMIA Terminal 1 Expansion Building over the weekend that Pangilinan, also chairman of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., had expressed strong interest to invest billions of pesos in tourism and transportation-related projects in Central Luzon.

Metro Pacific recently bagged the contract to maintain and operate the 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. It also operates the 8-km Subic Tipo Road that connects SCTEx to the Subic Bay Freeport.

Mangio said DMIA also planned to build a high-speed railway system and airport hotels, similar to those in Hong Kong International Airport to complement the DMIA terminal expansion project.

“We have been asked to look at international airports, and we’re looking at it. All I know is the country needs a new international airport,” Pangilinan earlier said.

A Malaysian consortium, Bristeel Overseas Ventures Inc., earlier offered to invest $150 million to develop and expand DMIA Terminal to reach a passenger capacity of seven million annually. It proposed to enter into a joint venture agreement with CIAC on the project.

CIAC, however, said a joint venture special committee appears to favor Philco Aero Inc.’s proposal to instead build a second terminal building for the airport expansion.

DMIA Terminal 2 will San Miguel’s second investment in an airport project after acquiring a majority stake in Caticlan International Airport Development Corp., the developer of Caticlan Airport off Boracay Island.

DMIA, which is 85 km away from Naia, is the main airport serving the immediate vicinity of the Clark Special Economic Zone.

It is host to several foreign budget carriers, including Tiger Airways of Singapore, Air Asia of Malaysia and Asiana Airlines of Korea and local airlines like Cebu Pacific Air, South East Asian Airlines and Spirit of Manila Airlines.

The carriers fly to routes such as Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok and South Korea with connecting flights to the US, China and Japan.

Clark, which is part of major growth corridors, is about one-and-a-half to four hours away from other major Asian destinations.

Courtesy Call of Foreign Dignitaries at Malacanang Palace

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Aquino takes oath as 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines

Departure honors held for outgoing President Arroyo

PGMA reign ends, CGMA era begins
Manila Bulletin

President-turned-Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Wednesday left Malacañang for the last time as Chief Executive with a smile and a farewell wave to the nation, a bittersweet ending to a rollercoaster nine year-presidency marked by high economic growth and political unrest.

The outgoing President congratulated President-elect Benigno Aquino III during their brief meeting in the Palace and accompanied him to the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for his inauguration. She left before Aquino was sworn in as the country’s 15th President to take her oath in Pampanga as congresswoman of the second district.

The two leaders stood inside the Palace entrance lobby, sharing handshakes and posing for photographs, to mark the start of the formal turnover of power to the next leadership.

“Congratulations Mr. President,” said the President Arroyo who was all smiles when she greeted her successor at the Palace.

President-elect Aquino, looking relaxed in a barong tagalog and black pants, arrived at the Palace around 10:20 a.m. to fetch his predecessor for their ride together to the inaugural venue.

The two leaders shook hands at least four times at the entrance lobby, a symbolic gesture to the transfer of power soon to take place. In the Palace decorated with white orchids and yellow chrysanthemum flowers, photographers and television cameramen scrambled to record the slice of history.

Vice President Noli de Castro, Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Justice Secretary Alberto Agra, Public Works and Highways Secretary Victor Domingo, and Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr. were present in the ceremony of the President.

The incumbent and Aquino then boarded the presidential car, a black Mercedes Benz S-Class with plate number 1, to the inaugural venue. The limousine ride took less than 10 minutes. The trip to the Quirino Grandstand was the outgoing President’s final official motorcade, a long parade and familiar sight that include an ambulance and several black vans filled with elite members of the Presidential Security Group.

Prior to meeting Aquino, Arroyo took a final stroll in her office at the Palace and then made final goodbyes to loyal aides and staff.

Several Palace aides and staff members occupying part of the Palace lobby were teary-eyed when they bade farewell to the outgoing Arroyo. “We will miss her. She is the most hardworking President,” said Jocelyn Mones, one of the Palace household members who cried when she left the Palace.


PGMA’s performance in retrospect
Manila Bulletin

Much has been said about President Arroyo’s nine years in office, with the bad seeming to outweigh the good.

While she worked tirelessly to advance the country’s economy, her governance has been marred by charges of corruption, human rights abuses, and election fraud.

She leaves behind a stable economy with unprecedented growth. She also leaves as the most unpopular president in Philippine history.

To be the most reviled leader in the country’s history and still survive nine tumultuous years and lead the country to peaks of economic growth is a testament to President Arroyo's enduring qualities – tough, hardworking, and intelligent.

A daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal, she has endured a number of dreadful challenges in politics, the economy, and security that nearly led to the downfall of her leadership. The diminutive leader, the country’s second female president, took all the hard punches and still remains standing.

Arroyo, a survivor of impeachment attempts, protest actions, and coup attempts, also made a number of hard decisions, including raising taxes, supposedly in the interest of the public even at the cost to her popularity. She could not care less about her record-low popularity rating as long as the economic numbers are good.

Her tough persona, however, has rubbed many people the wrong way, leaving an impression she is an aristocratic and ruthless leader, inconsiderate of the people’s feelings.

Aware of her sagging popularity, the President recently admitted that she was nearly tempted “to slow down, take it easy, choose the road more traveled, take the path of least resistance” to win more popularity, create fewer enemies, or pacify fierce opposition.

“I count myself fortunate in having been able to stand up to all those moments of weakness. It has always been a core conviction of mine that a leader must do what is right even if it might initially be unpopular. Very often, the right policies demand sacrifice – most of all from those in leadership – in order to secure a better future for the many. Democratic leadership is never easy,” she said in her foreword in the book, “Beat the Odds: Another Stone for the Edifice.”

Whenever a leader yields to what is momentarily popular but destructive to the country, he or she does a disservice to the nation, according to the President.

Another good aspect about the outgoing leader is her intelligence and economic sense. The US-educated economist has steered the nation from the threat of global recession, helping keep a positive growth rate.

In her 10-point legacy agenda, her government has generated 9 million jobs, advanced educational reforms, modernized transportation network, among others. Her political opponents however still criticize that all the President’s economic gains were not all translated into real benefits for the people.

President Arroyo, a former trade official before rising to become the country’s leader, also boasts of having a good work ethic. Hardly accused of having a midnight cabinet, she has dedicated her mornings to official engagements and afternoons to paper work in the Palace.

But her all-business attitude has triggered criticisms that she lacks the heart for the masses and merely wanted to prolong her stay in power beyond 2010. The usually quiet President also rarely shows her funny side, compared to her male predecessors. Former

Presidents Joseph Estrada and Fidel Ramos are known to be good-humored, often cracking jokes in public. Only in the remaining weeks in office did President Arroyo start to get cozy with the press and show her lighter side.

While she appeared aloof to the people, Arroyo is also considered a loving wife, mother, and grandmother.

She once defended the First Family from criticisms they were involved in money-making schemes in government. When her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo endured ailments, she skipped some of her engagements to be with him. Sundays were also reserved as family day of the Arroyos.

While she is hardly adored by the people, the President has declared in her farewell address that she is leaving a much stronger country when her tenure ends on June 30 but left that for history to judge.

“The judgment of history now begins of presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We look forward to a dispassionate evaluation of her record for a change, one that will seek illumination of facts and numbers, not hide in the fog of ideology, partisanship, bad rhetoric, and worse reasoning,” Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar said.

Arroyo bids farewell to Malacañang

Kimberly Jane Tan/YA

After more than nine years in power, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has finally left Malacañang and formally turned over the reins of government to incoming President Benigno Aquino III.

Mrs. Arroyo served as president of the Philippines from January 21, 2001 to June 30, 2010.

In a symbolic gesture, Mrs. Arroyo left the Quirino Grandstand - the site of the presidential inauguration - before Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay take their respective oaths of office at noon Wednesday.

Before Mrs. Arroyo left the Quirino Grandstand, she was greeted by a 21-gun salute by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to honor her as the head of state for the very last time.

She arrived at the inauguration venue together with Aquino from the Malacañan Palace, and departed on board a private black SUV amid cheers from the crowd.

Mrs. Arroyo will head straight to San Fernando City in Pampanga, where she will take her oath of office as congresswoman of Pampanga's second district.

"As per tradition, at the moment the President-elect takes his oath as President at 12 noon, the incumbent is already at home to mark his reverting to being an ordinary citizen," said inauguration spokesman Manolo Quezon on his blog.

He said this is a tradition which dates back to the inauguration of President Ramon Magsaysay in 1953. "The symbolism is that the old administration has come to an end, and the new one begins," he said.

He said that only President Sergio Osmeña (1946), President Corazon Aquino (1992), and President Fidel Ramos (1998) attended the inaugurals of their successors.

He said Osmeña attended because it was the first time power was to be transferred from one party to another; Aquino, to symbolize the first peaceful and constitutional transfer of power since 1969; and Ramos as part of the centennial celebrations of 1998.

Arroyo was first sworn in as president after former President Joseph Estrada was overthrown over corruption charges in 2001. In the 2004 national elections, she was proclaimed as president over the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. amid electoral fraud allegations that surfaced the following year.

Last Cabinet Meeting of the Arroyo Admnistration

Incoming cabinet announced

Noynoy to act as DILG chief
Manila Bulletin

After weeks of deliberation and much speculation from the media and the public, President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III finally introduced the members of his Cabinet a day before his inauguration as the 15th President of the Republic.

Aquino will act as Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary as he has yet to decide on who will take the DILG portfolio.

As earlier reported Aquino’s Cabinet was a combination of seasoned government officials and names from the private sector.

Aquino made the announcement at the P-Noy lawyers' headquarters on Samar Street in Quezon City.

The incoming President's Cabinet picks are diverse which featured some familiar faces and some new ones.

The Aquino officials:

Executive Secretary – Lawyer Paquito Ochoa Jr.; Foreign Affairs – Alberto Romulo; Justice – Leila de Lima; Defense – Voltaire Gazmin; Education – Bro. Armin Luistro; Finance – Cesar Purisima; Presidential Management Staff – Julia Abad; Budget and Management – Florencio Abad; National Economic and Development Authority – Cayetano Pederanga; Agriculture – Proceso Alcala; Environment and Natural Resources – Ramon Paje; Transportation and Communication – Jose “Ping” de Jesus; Labor and Employment – Rosalinda Baldoz; Health – Dr. Enrique Ona; Tourism – Alberto Lim; Trade and Industry – Gregory Domingo; Social Works and Development – Corazon “Dinky” Soliman; Science and Technology – Dr. Mario Montejo; Energy – Jose Rene Almendras; Public Works and Highways – Rogelio Singson; Agrarian Reform – Virgilio delos Reyes; Office of the Presidential Adviser of the Peace Process – Ging Deles; Commission on Higher Education – Dr. Patricia Licuanan; Presidential Legal Counsel – Eduardo de Mesa; Bureau of Internal Revenue – Kim Henares; AFP Chief of Staff – Lt. Gen. Ric David; Presidential Security Group chief – Col. Ramon Dizon; Philippine National Police – Jesus Verzosa; Presidential Spokesman – Lawyer Edwin Lacierda; and Truth Commission – Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

Some positions such as Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Bureau of Customs, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are still pending.
Aquino will act as DILG head in concurrent capacity until such time that the Cabinet portfolio is filled up.

What has been most striking about Aquino's appointments so far is the lack of controversy. The president-elect has moved swiftly to try to bring reassurances to the capability of his probable choices by pointing out that they have been subjected to extensive questions during the screening process.

Questions remain about how well Aquino and his newly formed Cabinet will work together. To erase any doubts, Aquino has constantly pointed out that tried assembled the team he did in part because of the strong personalities they bring to the table.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Photo update: South Luzon Expressway (28 June 2010)


What is the ‘Business Model of Philippines Inc.’?

Written by John Mangun
Outside the Box
Business Mirror

In 1992 the campaign of presidential candidate Bill Clinton adopted an unofficial slogan that may have succeeded in focusing the election.

Clinton campaign strategist James Carville hung a sign on the wall of Clinton’s campaign headquarters with the simple thought, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The US was in a recession, and this catchphrase overshadowed the public’s support for Bush’s handling of the Iraq war after the invasion of Kuwait.

The reason I mention this is that the Philippines may be one of the few places left on the planet where political leaders are still acting “politically” rather than “economically.”

Nearly without exception, governments around the globe are focused on their economies, with decisions made almost exclusively with the economic impact of those decisions being the prime motivator.

Even when it appears to be political, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Everything, virtually every decision is about the economy.

Here in the Philippines we are going to have to keep it all focused on the greater economic good in order to prosper. It is that simple. There must be a clear, concise and practical business model for Philippines Inc. that does everything possible to eliminate the politics and political power that does not serve economic purpose.

In the 1980s Thailand heavily subsidized its national airline carrier, not for political gain, but to make Thailand one of the cheapest travel destinations in the world. The purpose was to bring in quick and easy foreign capital. Notice there was no emphasis on foreign investment, just foreign capital. The funds from tourist spending were used first on tourism-related ventures ,thus creating more tourism. The resort area of Pattaya was a key focus of tourism spending that now attracts million of visitors and millions of dollars of foreign investment. What an impressively successful business model.

Instead of trying to please and fund every special economic-interest group in the country, the government must be focused.

People tend to forget that a decade ago China’s business model had only one item on the agenda; food self-sufficiency. Manufacturing, exports, everything else followed.

The director of the Department of Agriculture’s national rice program, Frisco Malabanan, says the entire requirement to achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2013 might even reach P15 billion. But (from BusinessMirror) “for 2010, the budget approved for the GMA Rice Program was P3.1 billion.”

In 2090 the Philippines bought nearly P4 billion of imported rice. If the government spends only P5 billion annually through 2013, potentially we are rice self-sufficient. Which idea, importing or investing, makes better business sense? Can the government afford it? Of course. The budget deficit is P340 billion, so by increasing the deficit by an additional 2 percent, we reduce foreign-rice purchases and potentially increase rural employment and rural wealth. That is a good business model.

While we hear almost nonstop talk about good governance, when are we going to hear calls for efficient government? No one wants corrupt governance. But an “honest” government can be completely incompetent. Most articles of good governance fail to include a “competency” principle.

A $5-billion foreign investment is threatened in the mining sector. While the company adhered to all the requirements and restriction of a 15-year-old national law passed by legislators elected by all the people, signed by a president elected by all the people, local officials have decided they do not like the law and are choosing not to follow, writing their own rules.

Can you imagine a bank branch manager deciding to create his own lending rules? Or one of San Miguel’s breweries deciding on its own to change the beer recipe? These companies would soon be out of business. Yet that is the way the Philippines Inc. business model works sometimes.

The closest the government comes to formulating a business plan is the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan. Please do not read it; your head will explode. Hundreds of pages of well-thought-out plans and programs that have virtually no chance of coming to reality. If a similar business plan were presented to any corporate CEO or president, the people preparing would be fired.

A sensible corporate plan, which is needed for the country, would detail perhaps three programs that need to and can be accomplished in the next year, three years and five years for each of the corporate divisions. For the Philippine development plan to be accomplished would require Harry Potter and his magic wand. So, therefore, nothing is fully accomplished and successful.

The heart of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) P13-billion rice self-sufficiency program essentially does not require hundreds of pages. “The funds will be used for providing subsidies, especially to farmers who use hybrid-rice seeds and the training of extension workers. Under the Rice Master Plan drawn up by the DA, the government has targeted to produce 21.61 million metric tons of paddy rice by 2013 through the use of new rice technologies such as saline-tolerant and drought-tolerant seeds, as well as the provision of support to farmers.” In other words, give the farmers the money they need to buy better rice seed, money to dig more irrigation wells, and the support and training to make it happen.

The same sort of concise, precise and brief action plan could be a part of every government department’s agenda if the idea that “It’s the economy, stupid” becomes the unofficial national agenda.

E-mail comments to PSE stock-market information and technical analysis tools provided by Inc.

Asia's first airport service for VIPs, celebrities to rise in Clark

CLARK AIRBASE, Pampanga (PND) --- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Saturday laid the time capsule that signals the start of the work on VIP Jet Services Inc., an ultra-modern facility for prominent personalities and their private aircraft preferring to have privacy during airport arrival at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport here.

The exclusive facility is the first of its kind in Asia and is ran by the same family that owns the VIP center in the Van Nuys, California, This facility is expected to turn the DMIA an “aircraft hub” for small or regional jets for very prominent people who do not want to go through airport hassles.

The President was delighted when told by Dean Cambe Sr., owner of America-based VIP Jet Services Inc. that it was only during her administration that the company was finally able to get the required permits for its Philippine operations.

“I hope Madam President that the incoming administration will share your vision and passion to get foreign investors into the country and that we will be able to go ahead with our plan to operate this facility by the middle of 2012. Maybe, Madam President, you will continue to support us and help us in our needs,” Cambe said during his briefing to President Arroyo.

Cambe said he has high hopes that the incoming Aquino administration will similarly encourage them further to do business here.

“I hope the new administration will carry on everything that was started. It is for all of us. If we fail then we all lose,” Cambe said.

“At VIP we have aircraft charter services, we fix and fuel the aircraft, we also have aircraft sales,” Cambe said.

First phase of this project is the setting up the P30 million building and then the tooling as well, Cambe said,

Cambe said VIPs and celebrities come in with their private jets and security, we will take them to limousines with the bodyguards. The VIP facility also has suites where the guests could stay overnight.

Cambe, a Filipino-American, left the Philippines in 1973 and joined the US Navy and now manage several companies in the United States. His two sons and another American partner are helping him in the project.

The Philippine facility will be company’s largest with 10 hectares.

Last acts (I) -- Cebu, Clark, Iloilo, Bohol

PGMA leaves Cebu with 2 more projects during farewell visit

CEBU CITY (PND) -- With two days left before she bows out of office on June 30, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will make her last presidential visit to Cebu province on Monday (June 28) to inspect a fishing port project and inaugurate a theme park.

The President will be flying in from Bohol where she also have scheduled projects visits. Upon arrival about Monday noon at Mactan Airport, she will motor to Talisay City for a viewing of the on-going construction of the P136.4 million Macapagal-Gullas Fishing Port project in Tanke,Talisay City.

The fishing port project, widely welcomed here due to the benefits it will bring to the fishing villages, will be completed in August this year.

The fish port is equipped with an ice plant, ice storage, administration building and public toilet.

The President will then proceed to the Cebu International Convention Center to administer the oath of office of Cebu 6th district Rep. Luigi Quisumbing, 4th district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon, 3rd district Rep. Pablo John Garcia, 2nd district Rep. Pablo Garcia and winning re-electionist Gov. Gwen Garcia.

Her last stop will be the inauguration of the P24.172 million President Diosdado Macapagal Park and Boardwalk in Danao City. The President shall lead in the ribbon cutting and unveil the monument of her late father President Diosdado Macapagal.


PGMA opens Clark's new P338-M passenger terminal

CLARK AIR BASE, Pampanga (PND) --- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo inaugurated Saturday the new expanded passenger terminal of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport here that will increase passenger handling capacity to an additional 600,000 a year.

Costing P338 million, the expanded passenger terminal contains two passenger boarding bridges, two escalators, two elevators, concession areas, two VIP lounge areas, X-ray walk thru machine, flight information display system (FIDS), closed circuit television, background and music/public address system, centralized airconditioning system and building maintenance system, said Alex Cauguiran, DMIA Executive Vice President..

It sits on 2,790 square meters of land inside the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, where flights from Asia now make their call. The annual capacity of the DMIA is 2 to 2.7 million passengers.

The expansion of the terminal 1 of DMIA was deemed necessary because of increasing passenger traffic and because a lot of Asian aircraft are looking for aero-bridges instead of the tarmacs, said Caugiran.

From just 20,000 passengers two years ago, visitor arrivals at Clark have increased to about 600,000 and still expected to grow by about 10 percent annually with the Philippines tourism now booming and Clark now becoming a favorite among Asian airlines.

Airplanes landing and taking off from Clark are those from Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Macau and Malaysia. Flight frequencies are: two from Malaysia daily, one Singapore, one in Korea, then we have in Bangkok, Taiwan and Macau. Most of the flights come in daily while others are six times a week.

Since the DMIA operated, it has been able help ease the congestion at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“Our goal is to make Clark as the premier gateway of the future, complimentary with NAIA,” Cauguiran said.


PGMA opens P147-M Iloilo bridge

CABATUAN, Iloilo (PND) – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will inaugurate the newly rehabilitated Tigum Bridge here when she visits the province tomorrow (Monday) morning.

The President will lead marker unveiling and ceremonial drive-thru formally opening the bridge to vehicular traffic after a project briefing by Public Works Secretary Victor Domingo.

The Tigum Bridge, which serves as a vital link connecting the central towns of Iloilo to the city proper and which also serves an alternate route to the provinces of Capiz and Aklan, was destroyed when Typhoon Frank pummeled the Visayas region in 2008.

Rebuilt and rehabilitated at a cost of P147.65-million, the new Tigum Bridge now consists of six spans of 170-linear meters long pre-stressed concrete girders on bored pile foundation with new approaches.

Joining the President for the project inaugural will be Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas, Sr., Iloilo 3rd Dist. Rep. Arthur Defensor, 1st Dist. Rep. Janette Garin, 2nd Dist. Rep. Judy Syjuco, 4th Dist. Rep. Ferj Biron, Cabatuan Mayor Ramon Yee, Tabucan Barangay Chair Nelson Arcos, Banguit Barangay Chair Gary Bibanco, and DPWH 6 Regional Director Rolando Asis.


PGMA bids Bohol goodbye with P368-M RORO port

Ubay, Bohol (PND) --- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will inaugurate tomorrow (June 28) the P368-million Ubay port here which will connect the province of Bohol with the three islands of the country by land, sea and air.

The Ubay port falls under the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) program.

Complementing the existing sea port and airport in Tagbilaran City, the new port serves as Bohol’s gateway to Cebu, Leyte and Samar in the Visayas onwards to Luzon via the Matnog, Sorsogon land route and to Mindanao via Southern Leyte and Lipata, Surigao del Norte.

Port Ubay is seen here as the province’s link to the 3 major islands of the archipelago.

Phase I of the project is the back-up area, R.C. Pier. RORO Ramp, dredging and disposal work, mooring and fendering system and port lighting system. The project started on March 20, 2008 and was completed on March 9, 2010.

Phase II is an expansion project contracted at P130.89 million involving the reclamation of a 1 hectare back-up area.

Upon arrival at the inaugural site, the President will unveil the marker of the Ubay port to be followed by welcome remarks by outgoing Gov. Erico Aumentado, a short message by Bohol 2nd District Rep. Roberto Cajes and a project briefing by Philippine Ports Authority District Manager Alex Cruz.

At the Tagbilaran airport, the Chief Executive will be welcomed by Gov. Aumentado; Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Lim; outgoing 1st Dist Representative Edgar Chatto (also incoming provincial governor); 3rd Dist. Representative Adam Relson Jala; Presidential Adviser for Visayas Felix Guanzon; COMCENTCOM Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva; PNP 7 RD C/Supt. Lani-o Nerez; and Tagbilaran City OIC Airport Manager Edgar Solis. At the inaugural site, she will be met by 2nd District Rep. Cajes, Ubay Mayor Eutiquio Bernales, Philippine Ports Authority District Manager Alex Cruz and Ubay Port Terminal Supervisor Rodrigo Ampo.

Aumentado will take his oath before the President as the new representative of 2nd congressional district of Bohol and Arthur Yap, former Agriculture Secretary and now the 3rd congressional district representative.

PGMA is “most LGU-friendly President” – says head of governors’ league

Outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was hailed as the most LGU-friendly (local government unit-friendly) Chief Executive on account of her policies that infused massive government funds --specifically the so-called internal revenue allotments or IRA -- directly to the countryside.

In statements aired today, Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, secretary general of the 80-member League of Governors of the Philippines, also praised President Arroyo’s consultative approach towards LGUs during her rural visits that firmed up national support to the local governments.

Evardone, outgoing governor and the congressman-elect of the province, said IRA releases during the Arroyo years have been noted to be substantial and delivered with ease without delay to the LGUs because of the move in 2006 of the President to consider as automatic appropriations the IRA and other funds due to the local governments. The automatic process was facilitated by the transfer to the municipal finance corporations of all projects assistance to the LGUs.

Evardone said that the automatic or direct mode of releases to LGUs and the yearly increasing IRA due to the corresponding increase in annual national revenues, provided enormous and unprecedented amounts of human capital for the countryside.

IRA is the share of local governments from the national tax collections.

A law—Rep. Act 7160 or the Local Government Code -- mandates that 40 percent of the yearly tax revenues would go to the LGUs, with the remaining 60 percent to the national government.

The IRA in turn is apportioned by the LGU, with 20 percent for barangays, 34 percent for municipalities, 23 for cities and 23 percent for provinces.

Government sources said that the IRA share of LGUs is about one-fifth of the P1.414 trillion national budget for fiscal year 2009.

This was a far cry from the IRA share of LGUs in the years preceding the enactment of the landmark Code – P2.58 billion on 1987, P3.33 billion in 1988, P4.23 billion in 19898 and P7.50 billion in 1990.

“President Arroyo also made it a point to consult the LGUs over major policy issues through constant dialogues and actual visits, even to remote barangays, Evardone said.

“Her being pro-LGU would be a tough act to follow,” added Evardone. (PND)

Final assessment of government performance held

PGMA confers medals on Fr. Pascual, Donald Dee

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today conferred the Order of Golden Heart with a rank of Golden Cross on Fr. Anton C. F. Pascual, chairman of the Pro Performance System Steering Committee (PPS-SC), and the Presidential Medal of Merit on Donald G. Dee for his partnership with the Philippine government.

As chairman of the Pro Performance System Steering Committee, Pascual was in charge of monitoring the developments of programs and projects of the Arroyo administration and ensuring their completion, identifying backlogs, and meeting with the various stakeholders to be affected by such programs and projects to ensure that they will feel the impact of these projects in their lives.

Dee was given the presidential medal of merit for helping the Arroyo administration achieve its goals and mobilizing the private sector to help the government realize its vision for the country.

The two attended the PPS-SC meeting held at noon at the Arlegui Mansion, which was participated in by both government and private industry leaders to analyze and summarize the Arroyo administration’s scoreboard of its projects and programs.

As mandated by Executive Order No. 789 of March 2009, the PPS is tasked with being the integrated monitoring system to facilitate, evaluate and advocate and to strategically monitor the implementation of the President’s priority programs and projects.

The steering committee is headed by Fr. Pascual of Caritas Manila and co chaired by Maria Elena Bautista-Horn of the Presidential Management Staff and has members from mass media, the youth, business, church/religious sector, local governments, civil society organizations, academe, national government and international development organization.

Dee represents the business sector; Ambassador Marita Magpili-Jimnez of the Asian Development Bank for international development organizations; Ruperto Nicdao of Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas for mass media; Dr. Vincent Fabella of the COCOPEA for the academe; Mayor Benhur Abalos of the Union of Local Authority of the Philippines for local governments; Rosario Uriarte of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for government; and Richard Nalupta for the youth.

The PPS-SC reported that of the remaining 102 programs and projects, it is still closely monitoring the ongoing construction of six of which 47 are 85 to 90 percent complete and are expected to be completed by the second semester of 2010.

There are 35 projects that are in various pre-construction stages from procurement, right of way acquisition and loan application and negotiation stages. These are also being continuously monitored by the PPS-SC to ensure that civil works are started within the second semester of 2010.

To date, a total of 52 priority infrastructure projects have been completed amounting to P10.6 billion as of June 2010. (PND)