09 November 2015


President Aquino honors outstanding public servants
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday commended the dedication and professionalism of the winners of this year’s Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees during the awarding ceremony held in Malacañang.

In his speech, the President also thanked the public servants for their contribution to the advancement of the country as he urged them to do their best to serve their fellowmen.

“Talaga pong ikinalulugod ko ang maging bahagi ng ganitong pagtitipon—ang pagkilala naman sa mga huwarang kawani ng ating pamahalaan. Sa ngalan po ng sambayanan, taos-puso akong nagpapasalamat sa dedikasyon at propesyonalismo ng ating awardees; sa pagsisilbi ninyong dangal ng gobyerno, at sa pagiging katuwang sa pagbabago,” said the President, who was assisted by Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala and Commissioner Nieves Osorio in recognizing 28 exceptional individuals and two groups during the ceremony at the Palace’s Rizal Ceremonial Hall.

“Ang atas ko sa bawat kawani ng ating gobyerno: Tumotoo tayo sa sinumpaan nating tungkulin. Isagad natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya upang mapabuti ang kalagayan ng ating kapwa, lalo na ang mas nangangailangan. Sa malasakit at ambagan, tiyak pong nararating natin ang inaasam nating mas masagana at mas maliwanag na kinabukasan,” the Chief Executive further said.

Scientists Arsenio Ella of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Mario Navasero of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Los Baños, Laguna; medical technologist Lilibeth Martin of the Abra Provincial Health Office; leading cybercrime advocate Gilbert Sosa of the Philippine National Police; and heroic fire officer Trixie Dagame from Tacloban City were among the winners of this year’s Search for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees, which the CSC holds annually under its Honor Awards Program, the biggest reward and incentive program for government workers.

Ella, Martin and Sosa received the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award, along with Professor Teodora Balangcod of UP Baguio; Alma Dickson of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; Dina Genzola of Negros Occidental Office of the Provincial Agriculturist; Roberto Guarte of the Visayas State University in Leyte; Julius Lecciones of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center; Amer Saber of Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur; special education teacher Cecilia Vidoy of Rabat-Rocamora Mati Central School SPED Center in Davao Oriental; and Professor Jonar Yago of Nueva Vizcaya State University.

Aside from Navasero and Dagame, the other recipients of the Dangal ng Bayan Award were program supervisor Menia Alvidera of the Department of Education (DepEd) Division in Roxas City, Capiz; Maria Daisy Bercede of the Commission on Audit in Cebu City; Vivencio Claros of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology; truck driver Roy Esteron of the National Food Authority Quirino Provincial Office; information officer Juvy Gaton of the Department of Agriculture Regional Office in Iloilo City; and director Jo Anne Haber of the Office of the President.

Presented with the CSC Pagasa Award were Danny Cachola, principal of Matucay Elementary School in Allacapan, Cagayan; teacher Jinglebert Collado of the DepEd in Tagum, Davao del Norte; Gloria dela Cruz of the Philippine Carabao Center in La Union; Virgilio Fuertes of DOST Regional Office in Cagayan de Oro City; associate professor Eunice Layugan of the Cagayan State University in Aparri, Cagayan; Luz Marcelino, chief science research specialist of the Department of Agriculture Regional Office in Pili, Camarines Sur; and Albert Ramos, senior facility technician of the Plaridel Water District in Bulacan; Ernesto Rivera, information technology officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation; Mary Anne Timbreza, civil registrar of the municipal government of Tayum, Poblacion Tayum in Abra; the Commission on Elections-ITD iREHISTRO Team; and Office for Agricultural Services (Rice Group) of the provincial government of Kalinga in Tabuk City.

Winners of the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award received a gold-gilded medallion crafted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), a Presidential plaque bearing the citation and signature of President Aquino and a cash prize of P200,000.

The Dangal ng Bayan awardees were presented with a trophy designed by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva and P200,000 in cash while winners of the CSC Pagasa Award received a gold-gilded medallion crafted by the BSP, a plaque bearing the citation and signature of the CSC chairperson and P100,000 in cash. PND (jm)

President Aquino endorses pay hike for government employees
President Benigno S. Aquino III has endorsed to Congress a proposed bill that will increase the salaries of government workers.

Undersecretary Abigail Valte said the bill that the President recommended to Congress through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday, is called the Salary Standardization Law of 2015 and it mandates a P226 billion increase in compensation for 1.53 million civilian, military and uniformed personnel in government, over four years.

According to the DBM, the compensation package is composed of a salary increase, a mid-year 14th-month bonus pay, and an enhanced performance-based bonus (PBB) system.

Valte noted that if it is approved, the first of four tranches would be released on January 16.

“Some of you may be asking why we are doing this now because if you remember, the last salary standardization, as contained in the joint resolution of Congress, mandates government to review the salary standardization structure of government every three years. So, noong huling naipasa po natin ito ay 2009, natapos po ang tranches noong 2012, so 2015 po talaga ang pasok doon sa timetable na ma-review na ‘yung SSL 3,” the presidential deputy spokesperson explained during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Valte explained that the four tranches amount to P225.8 billion, of which only 3.9 percent will go to government executives or those whose salary grades start from 29 to 33.

“’Yung sub-professionals will get 4.28 percent. Ang professionals ay makakakuha po ng 60.4 percent; middle managers, 8.26 percent; military and uniformed personnel, 23.16 percent. ‘Yon po ang percentages at least of increase per category,” she explained.

Valte said that at the end of the four tranches, government compensation is estimated to increase by 45 percent.

“That will bring us to around 84 percent of private sector pay. Kasama po lahat ‘yan, salary grade 1 to salary grade 33 ang pinakamataas,” she added.

“Ngayon po sa gobyerno, hanggang 13th month so makakasama na po ang mid-year na 14th-month bonus at kasama na din po dito ‘yung enhanced PBB, which will be equivalent to, I think, one month’s worth of salary. So, tataas na po din ang mga benepisyo, hindi lang po ang basic salary ng mga kasamahan sa pamahalaan, ngunit pati rin ho ang mga bonuses nila,” she further said.

Valte said the President, Vice President and Cabinet members are not included in the pay hike.

“May provision po kasi tayong sinasabi na kapag sila ang nagtaas ng sweldo, hindi po sila magbe-benefit doon sa pagtaas na ‘yon, not unless some of them end up in the government still after July 1, 2016,” Valte added. PND (jm)

Reduction of food losses in APEC region needs strong public-private partnership – industry experts
Senior officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), who will soon meet in Manila, have been called upon to support the examination of the multi-dimensional aspects of food waste and loss, particularly fishery and livestock, in the region, including genetics, production, protection, post-harvest quality, consumer behavior, capability development, science-based production, and best practice business models.

This was one of the recommendations made by delegates from the public and private sectors who attended an APEC dialogue on reducing food losses in the supply chain of fishery and livestock, held in Iloilo City last September.

In particular, the event was designated to identify the importance of developing a systematic approach to reducing post-harvest loss through the value chain, and increasing capability for producers to target high-value products in export and domestic markets, thus providing economic gain.

The participants determined that building technical and policy capabilities across APEC economies, and providing a stable regulatory framework to encourage investments in innovative solutions would best achieve a sustainable reduction of post-harvest loss.

The participants to the dialogue also urged APEC member economies to foster communication among smallholders, business groups, researchers and decision-makers for further collaborations in food loss assessment methodologies and toolkit development, and for working in a wide variety of agricultural trade and sustainable development-related policy issues.

According to the delegates, the outcome of the event supports their position that the sustainable business model to reduce food losses along the value chain needs strong partners from both the public and private sectors in the APEC region. (PCOO-APEC Communications Group)

APEC is not a talk shop, says Philippine organizer
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is not just a talk shop, Philippine organizer for APEC 2015, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, said on Monday.

The APEC has been where ideas incubate, del Rosario said, citing two instances of the successful transformation of ideas into action: the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that was introduced during APEC 2009, and the digital revolution that followed APEC 2010.

The TPP, a binding trade agreement that contains measures to lower trade barriers, such as tariffs, and establishes an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, was introduced by United States President Barack Obama in APEC 2009, del Rosario said.

Twelve of the 21 APEC economies finalized the TPP last October 5, building on the 2005 formation called P4, composed of four APEC members — New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, and Chile.

Later, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam joined to expand P4 into the TPP. In a recent visit to the US, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said his country intends to join the TPP formation.

On the other hand, the product innovation that saw the invention, manufacture, and sale of digital items like iPods came after Japan’s hosting of the APEC in 2010. In that conference, the Yokohama Vision, which emphasized innovation, was produced.

Del Rosario explained that the non-binding nature of the APEC can be advantageous because its discussions are at the level of principles and therefore less restrictive, unlike for instance in the stalled World Trade Organization negotiations. (PCOO-APEC Communications Group)

Security for APEC Leaders’ Meet most challenging aspect of hosting summit, says organizing council chief
The director-general of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 National Organizing Council (NOC) on Monday asked for public understanding for the security measures being undertaken to prepare for the APEC Leaders’ Summit next week.

Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr. said the security considerations for the leaders’ meeting this year is the most challenging aspect of hosting the APEC.

“The challenges are twice or three times more (compared to the 1996 hosting),” Paynor said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“More than anything else, there are security considerations. ‘Yun ang hinihingi namin na pang-unawa ng ating mga kababayan na bisita natin sila, kailangan natin silang pangalagaan.”

He noted that the security threats against some of the 21 leaders of the APEC economies are not domestic, but external.

Compared to the security measures undertaken during Pope Francis’ visit to Manila in January this year, the NOC director-general said pressure for the APEC preparations is “much more”.

The security consideration, he added, is at the “highest level”.

During the briefing, Paynor sought public understanding during the leaders’ meeting on November 18 to 19 because of the expected heavy traffic in certain parts of Metro Manila.

The government has appealed to the public to avoid closed roads and follow rerouting schemes during the leaders’ week.

Paynor said that despite the challenges and the pressure to keep the meetings secure, it is high time for the Philippines to host another APEC meet.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has just confirmed attendance to the APEC meet, following the confirmations by US President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.

There is an expected 10,000 delegation coming to Manila for the APEC leaders’ week. (PCOO-APEC Communications Group)