11 August 2015

APEC News Releases

Palace extends its condolences for the passing of former President Arroyo’s elder brother
The Palace on Tuesday offered its condolences to the family of Arturo Macapagal, the elder brother of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We extend our condolences to the bereaved family of Mr. Macapagal,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement.

Secretary Coloma noted that “the nation lost an outstanding Olympian and a respected business leader with the passing of (Art) Macapagal.”

“He is a recognized leader in the automotive industry and is a staunch supporter of various socio-civic organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity and Scholarship Foundation for the Filipino Youth, where he served as chairman,” he said.

Macapagal died at the Makati Medical Center early Tuesday due to prostate cancer.

Macapagal, the son of former president Diosdado Macapagal and his first wife Purita de la Rosa, and half-brother of former president Arroyo, had represented the country in the 1972 Munich and the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. He also held the national record in Olympic free pistol shooting for more than 21 years. PND (ag)

South Korean scientist wins aspire 2015 for work on El Niño, arctic climate change
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education – or the ASPIRE Prize – was given on Monday night to a South Korean scientist for his work on climate change that affects the Asia-Pacific region.

Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo presented the ASPIRE 2015 award to Dr. Jong-Seong Kug for his field research entitled, “Climate Change, Seasonal Prediction Systems”, during a ceremony held at the Manila Hotel.

In addition to the award, Dr. Kug also received $25,000 in prize money.

In his message, Secretary Montejo said climate change is the biggest challenge the present generation faces, as severe weather conditions and the incremental degradation of the natural ecosystem could cause a catastrophic impact on the environment.

Member economies of the APEC must thus share information on weather modeling to prepare for the impact of climate change, he added.

“We really want to collaborate with our grand winner, especially on El Niño. It is affecting the Philippines this coming October, November and even early part of next year,” he said referring to the work of Dr. Kug.

“It (El Niño) will cause significant change or reduction in our rainfall. The government is now being proactive and is now preparing for El Niño and it affects (the country) starting in October or November. We need more science-based information,” Montejo said.

“ASPIRE is a good platform. It encourages innovation and I hope next year’s theme would be disaster preparedness and coping with climate change.”

Jointly sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier, ASPIRE is an annual award which recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from APEC member economies.

Wiley is one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific research and a provider of workflow solutions for global research community.

Elsevier, on the other hand, is the world’s leading provider of solutions that enhance the performance of science, health and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions.

Launched in 2011, when the APEC was hosted by the United States, ASPIRE has since honored four outstanding young scientists in the fields of Green Growth (2011), Health Innovation (2012), Sustainable Ocean Development (2013), and Intelligent Transportation (2014).

The ASPIRE Prize supports APEC’s mission of enhancing economic growth, trade and investment through research and development; strengthening global science and technology networks; and improving linkages and efficiency between research and innovation.

The prize also wants to involve and encourage the potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

Each year, the APEC host economy provides a theme to guide nominations for the prize. As the chair of APEC 2015, the Philippines selected the theme, “Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability” for this year’s ASPIRE prize.

The theme focuses on innovative technologies that may help economies adapt to the changing climate, protect the natural environment, and build resilient and sustainable societies. PND (as)

Palace optimistic that Bangsamoro Draft Law would be passed, says official
Malacañang on Tuesday expressed its optimism on the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is aimed at bringing peace and development to Mindanao.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the signing of the committee report filed by Senate local government committee chairman Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., is a good indication that the senators are ready to deliberate on the draft bill.

“Ang joint committee report ay nilagdaan ng labing-pitong senador at karamihan sa kanila ang nagpahiwatig ng paninindigan na dapat nang umpisahan ang pagtatalakay ng BBL sa plenaryo,” Secretary Coloma said during a press briefing at the Palace.

“’Yung committee report ay maraming tinatakalay na mga isyu hinggil doon sa naihain na Senate bill hinggil dito sa BBL. At mainam siguro na yaman din lamang at pumirma na ang mga senador, senyales na ito na handa na silang umpisahan ang pagtalakay nito sa plenaryo. Ang ating tinutukoy dito ay ang pagsulong sa prosesong pangkapayapaan at umaasa tayo na magkakaroon ng kaliwanagan ang mga isyu na ilalahad nila, bahagi ng kanilang pagtatalakay sa draft BBL,” he added.

The proposed measure will go to the Senate plenary on August 17.

Coloma also reiterated the Palace’s stand on the importance of the BBL, which is the embodiment of the peace talks and agreements between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Ang posisyon natin dito ay malinaw. Kailangang magkaroon ng Bangsamoro Basic Law na magtataguyod at magsusulong sa prosesong pangkapayapaan at may mga mahahalagang probisyon ito na naaayon sa mga kasunduang nilagdaan ng Philippine at MILF panels,” he explained.

“Iyong pagbubuo ng isang batas ay nasa kamay ng mga halal na kinatawan at senador. At sa ating demokrasya ay nararapat lamang na talakayin ang mga mahahalagang isyu na nakapaloob sa anumang panukalang batas, at umaasa tayo na ang resulta ng kanilang pagtatalakayan ay ang pagsusulong ng prosesong pangkapayapaan,” he further said.

Coloma said the Palace is also coordinating with Congress regarding the passage of the bill.

“Patuloy kaming nakikipag-ugnayan sa liderato ng Kongreso sa pagpasa ng isang BBL na magtataguyod ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan at pag-unlad,” he added. PND (jm)

Palace defends Budget Secretary Abad from charges he perpetrated pork barrel scam
The Palace on Tuesday defended Budget Secretary Florencio Abad from accusations that he perpetrated the pork barrel scam.

“Sa atin pong pagkakabatid, ang mga tinutukoy na paratang hinggil sa maling paggamit ng pondo ng bayan, ayon na rin mismo sa special audit report ng COA (Commission on Audit), ay naganap noong 2007, 2008, ang karamihan sa mga transaksyon na ito. At hindi naman po ang kasalukuyang administrasyon ang nanunungkulan noon,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during the daily press briefing in Malacañang.

“So paano kaya magkakaroon ng katuwiran ‘yung alegasyon hinggil sa partisipasyon ni Secretary Abad dahil hindi naman po siya naninilbihan sa Department of Budget and Management (DBM) sa panahong iyon?” he added.

Lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan on Monday asked the Sandiganbayan to include Abad in the plunder case, saying the latter was responsible for issuing the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and Notice of Cash Allocation.

Alentajan is the counsel of former Technology Resource Center director-general Antonio Ortiz, one of the accused in the two graft charges against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

“Napakasimple lang po ng datos na dapat maunawaan diyan. Kung ang tinutukoy ay mga transaksyon ‘nung nakaraang administrasyon, paano naman po magkakaroon ng katuwiran na ang papanagutin ay ang nanunungkulan sa kasalukuyan?” said Coloma. PND (ag)

APEC member economies share common concerns on Science and Technology issues
The topics discussed during the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI) Meeting in Manila show the common problems and issues in the APEC region that every member confronts, a science and technology official said on Tuesday.

In a press briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said the common topics during the two-day event were climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and bioeconomy.

The PPSTI is also spearheading two events this November – the November 2 to 4 meeting will discuss typhoons, while the November 24 to 25 meeting will tackle disaster risk reduction, said Guevara.

“The beautiful thing is that they actually scheduled these two events in November because they want to remember what happened during Typhoon Haiyan and the lessons learned from there,” she said.

“Given these as the common themes among APEC economies, it is now very clear how we can have collaboration and cooperation among APEC economies in these particular themes.”

The Philippines has also raised some proposals during the event in Manila, such as low carbon energy for MSMEs, Guevara said.

Because the backbone of the APEC economy is mostly MSMEs, she said, the regional bloc could make a dent in greenhouse gas reduction if it addresses the industry where the MSMEs actually operate.

“There was general agreement in the meetings that it is an important support to MSMEs and with that, I’m very happy to say that the concerns that DOST are addressing resonates with the concerns being addressed by our APEC member economies,” she said.

Another concern that confronts MSMEs in the region is the lack of science and technology (S&T), as well as research and development (R&D).

In response, the APEC PPSTI has decided to train trainors on low-carbon economy to reduce the GHG in the production process of MSMEs, Guevara said.

“But more importantly, it will make them more efficient and therefore, they would be able to have more income because they are more efficient in their production,” she noted.

“And we also decided that we will find ways for science and technology intervention in MSMEs, the same way the DOST is doing it with the program Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading,” she added. PND (as)

APEC adopts Philippines’ recommendation on policy translation on science, technology and innovation
Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have adopted the recommendation of the Philippines on the Policy Translation Initiative on science, technology and innovation (STI), during the 6th Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI) Meeting in Manila.

Chariman of the APEC PPSTI, Chen Linhao, said during a press briefing on Tuesday that member economies were able to come up with a policy statement to institutionalize STI in every APEC economy.

The Philippines’ push for the Policy Translation Initiative became a vehicle for APEC economies to draft the policy statement, which aims to promote research and development (R&D) and commercialization activities, and support STI development to foster sustainable economic growth and job creation in the region.

During the meeting, APEC economies agreed to strengthen R&D and STI by promoting the development of common approaches to STI policies that will contribute to policy formulation; encouraging joint research across APEC economies on matters related to linking science advice to STI policies, such as governance, design, and implementation;

Strengthening STI policies through evidence-based research and analysis, relying on quality-assured data, making full use of opportunities raised by information technology and new sources of data; fostering the commercialization of research results inter alia by bringing together governments, academia, and business representatives;

Emphasizing the digitalization of STI particularly for the benefits it offers to the ability of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to partner with academia and participate in the global value chain; institutionalizing policy development in PPSTI’s framework through capacity building of APEC member economies, consistent with APEC priority agendas on promoting human capital development; and raising the profile of R&D, commercialization and STI development by highlighting the contributions of STI to sustainable economic growth.

“We will submit this policy statement to the Senior Officials’ Meeting of APEC and hope it can be incorporated on more high level policy document and even to (the APEC Economic) Leaders’ Meeting,” said Linhao. PNA (kc)

Philippines concludes hosting of Policy Partnership on Science, Technology meeting
The Philippines, as the host country of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit 2015, has concluded two meetings of the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI).

The 6th PPSTI Meeting in Manila ended on Tuesday with new developments in the field of science, technology and innovation (STI).

One of the key developments during the two-day meeting is the APEC member economies’ adoption of the Philippines’ recommendation to create a policy statement to institutionalize STI or the Policy Translation Initiative.

The Policy Translation Initiative was introduced by the Philippines during the 5th PPSTI Meeting, hosted by the country in Boracay last May.

This is the first time for the Philippines to host a PPSTI meet.

During the 6th PPSTI meeting, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo said the low productivity of the region’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is the result of the lack of access to technologies, weak technological capabilities, and failure to engage in innovation and research and development (R&D).

Secretary Montejo urged the APEC economies to hasten efforts and initiatives to leverage STI in the region to help MSMEs.

The meeting also reiterated the intervention for long-term mechanisms in STI of PPSTI centers, including the APEC Climate Center, Asia-Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics, APEC Center for Technology Foresight, APEC Research Center for Advanced Biohydrogen Technology, APEC Research Center for Typhoon Society, APEC Cooperation for Earthquake Simulation, and APEC Mentoring Center for the Gifted in Science.

The PPSTI awarded the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) to South Korean scientist Dr. Jong-Seong Kug for his research on the El Niño weather phenomenon and arctic climate change.

During the meeting, the Philippines also announced the PPSTI delegates’ successful coral fragment planting in the municipality of Malay, Aklan during the 5th PPSTI meet.

The planting of coral fragments expresses APEC support for biodiversity.

The local government of Malay has designated a 100-square meter area of coral reefs as PPSTI Coral Garden.

Meanwhile, the 7th and 8th PPSTI meetings next year will be held in Peru. PNA (kc)