29 January 2015

Economy posts 6.9 percent growth during 4th quarter of 2014, says Palace
The Palace announced on Thursday that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.9 percent during the last quarter of 2014, up from 6.3 percent in the same quarter in 2013.

In a statement posted at the Official Gazette (www.gov.ph.), Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the National Economic and Development Authority put the country’s full-year economic growth at 6.1 percent.

“The Philippines recorded the second fastest growth in the region, next to China, based on a full-year analysis; we rank third, next to China and Vietnam, for fourth quarter growth,” said Lacierda.

The major sectors that contributed to our fourth quarter growth include services (3.3 percentage points), industry (3.1 percentage points), and agriculture (0.5 percentage points), he added.

The government has set its full-year GDP target for 2014 at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

Lacierda noted that despite the economic slowdown during the third quarter of 2014 due to calamities, the Philippine economy has shown remarkable resilience and continues to accelerate at a pace that demonstrates that reform works.

He assured the public that the Aquino administration will further its efforts in strengthening the economy.

“As we enter the last 18 months of the Aquino administration, rest assured that our people can only expect government to double its efforts in making sure that the opportunities brought about by our resurging economy will redound to the benefit of every Filipino,” said Lacierda. PND (ag)

President Aquino pledges continued government support as Mitsubishi inaugurates new plant in Laguna
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday attended the inauguration of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation’s assembly plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, pledging continued government support for the automotive company.

“Rest assured that, in all other aspects, government will continue to do its part to fulfill your goals,” the President said in his speech during the event.

“To stimulate the Philippine automotive industry, our government has likewise continued to provide incentives in the form of income tax holidays and reduced taxes and duties, amongst others.”

Together with other endeavors, he said, the government seeks to encourage more investments into automotive assembly and parts manufacturing for the Philippines to move up the value chain and create more opportunities for Filipinos.

Mitsubishi’s newly constructed facility represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the country’s automotive manufacturing industry, President Aquino said.

Completed last December, the plant has a production capacity of up to 50,000 units per year, and is expected to employ up to 1,150 individuals over the next six years.

The company aims to market 100,000 vehicles annually by 2020.

According to the President, the company’s expansion in Laguna manifests its optimism in the country’s economic prospects, which are driven by Overseas Filipino Workers’ remittances and the growth of various local industries.

In 1964, Mitsubishi Motors began its operations in Cainta, Rizal. After more than 50 years, it has become the longest-staying automotive company in the Philippines.

Mitsubishi is also the first car manufacturer to reach 500,000 units of cumulative production in the country.

In 2014, the company had the second largest share of the local market, selling more than 50,000 units. This year, the company aims to sell 62,000 units.

Mitsubishi transferred its operations to a 21-hectare location in Sta. Rosa to increase its production capacity and accommodate future expansions.

The Sta. Rosa plant will mainly produce the L-300 and Mitsubishi Adventure, with more than 60 percent of automobile parts to be sourced locally, the company said. PND (as)

Nation must not deviate from real issues confronting Mindanao, says Palace
The Palace has appealed to the public for patience, following the death of 44 police commandos in Maguindanao, saying the nation has to remain focused on fighting terrorism and achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.In a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said it is not a surprise that a lot of people are showing overwhelming emotion over the death of members of the police’s Special Action Force while trying to arrest high-value terrorist suspects in Maguindanao.

However, the people should not deviate from the two main objectives of the country–neutralizing terrorists operating in the Philippines and achieving an enduring peace in Mindanao, Secretary Coloma said.

“Dahil sa nangyari sa Maguindanao, hindi naman kagulat-gulat ‘yung lawak at lalim ng mga damdamin at pananaw na naipahayag, at mahalaga rin ito sa pag-unawa sa saloobin ng buong bansa. Pero dapat pa rin tayong mag-focus sa kung ano ang malaking larawan para sa ating bansa,” he said.

“Ang malaking larawan ay may dalawang mahalagang elemento: una, ang digmaan o ang paglaban sa terorismo, sapagkat patuloy itong lumiligalig at nagbabanta sa kapayapaan at sa mga buhay ng ating mga mamamayan; at ang ikalawa ay ang prosesong pangkapayapaan.”

He noted that if there were lapses in the police operation in Maguindanao, the public must understand the complicated nature of such police raids.

The 44 elite police personnel who perished in the clash had done an extraordinary job and had paid the ultimate price to keep the country safe, he said.

“Huwag naman nating tawaran ang kanilang pagsasakripisyo sa pamamagitan ng paglilihis ng atensyon doon sa mga mas mahalagang dapat pagtuunan ng pansin, at ayon nga sa aking pahayag, dalawang bagay ito: ang pagsulong ng paglaban sa terorismo at ang pagkamit ng kapayapaang pangmatagalan,” Coloma added.

On Wednesday evening, President Benigno S. Aquino III made a televised address to the nation, rallying support for the peace process in Mindanao.

He maintained that despite the large number of police casualties in the Maguindanao incident, the government must be more resolute in passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law to bring peace to Mindanao.

While welcoming the inquiry to be conducted by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the President said he expects the organization to show its sincerity and be a real partner in the peace process.

He also promised full assistance for the families of the slain policemen.

President Aquino declared Friday (January 30) as a National Day of Mourning to honor the fallen police personnel and to show solidarity with their families. PND (as)

President Aquino to lead National Day of Mourning for fallen police commandos
President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the observance of the National Day of Mourning on Friday (January 30) at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig during the memorial service in honor of the 44 members of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF), who died in Maguindanao on Sunday, the Palace said.In a statement issued on Thursday, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the necrological service would be attended by the families of the slain police commandos, members of the Cabinet, and other government officials, as well as officers and personnel of the Philippine National Police.

President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 953 on Wednesday, declaring January 30, 2015 as a day of national mourning, in solidarity with the bereaved families and friends of the 44 SAF members.

“The entire nation is requested to offer prayers and all public institutions are directed to lower the Philippine flag at half-mast on Friday,” he said.

The President, in his televised address on Wednesday evening, called for public support for the peace process in Mindanao despite the Maguindanao incident.

He also made an assurance that the families of those killed will receive assistance from the government. PND (as)