20 April 2015

President Aquino to attend 26th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Malaysia next week
President Benigno S. Aquino III will leave for Malaysia on Sunday (April 26) to participate in next week’s 26th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

President Aquino would be joining his fellow ASEAN leaders for the 26th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings slated on April 27 to 28, to be held in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Luis Cruz said on Monday.

“He (President Aquino) will have seven meetings: three of them with his fellow ASEAN leaders, and four with representatives of the private sector,” Cruz said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

On April 27, the President will attend the Summit Plenary Session, the Summit Retreat, and the meetings with representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, the ASEAN Youth, and the Civil Society Organizations.

On April 28, President Aquino is scheduled to join his three counterparts in the 11th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit.

The President will also attend the Gala Dinner and Barbecue Dinner, to be hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak and his spouse, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, for all ASEAN leaders and their delegations on April 26 and 27, respectively.

During the 26th ASEAN Summit Plenary Session in Kuala Lumpur, the leaders will discuss and exchange views on the establishment of an ASEAN Community; the ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision; and external relations and future direction.

On the 26th ASEAN Summit Retreat Session in Langkawi, the leaders will discuss and exchange views on ASEAN Centrality; the impact of the financial crisis and economic slowdown on the region and the ASEAN’s response; climate change and disaster management; and regional and international issues.

On the 11th BIMP-EAGA Summit, there will be a presentation on recent developments in the BIMP-EAGA and the way forward, along with discussion and directives from its leaders.

The theme Malaysia chose for its 2015 ASEAN chairmanship is “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision”, which highlights the importance of a united ASEAN. The theme also manifests Malaysia’s commitment to contribute to the realization of a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible, and people-centered community.

The President will be accompanied to the 26th ASEAN Summit by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, and a number of key Cabinet members. PND (co)

Islamic organization chief calls on President Aquino
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Ameen Madani of Saudi Arabia, paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III in Malacañang on Monday.

Madani was accompanied by OIC Special Envoy for Peace in Southern Philippines Sayed Kassim El Masry, and OIC Department of Muslim Communities and Minorities head, Dr. Hassan Ahmad Abdein, during the courtesy call, held at 1 p.m. at the Palace’s Music Room.

Present on the Philippine side were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao, National Security Adviser Secretary Cesar Garcia Jr., and Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis.

The OIC chief arrived in the country on April 16 for a five-day visit that aims to show the OIC’s support for the peace process in Mindanao.

Madani had a meeting with Deles, as well as with officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), during which he expressed hope that the peace process would continue.

“We are optimistic, we are supportive,” Madani said after presiding over the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) in Davao City.

The BCF is an OIC-sponsored group formed to harmonize and settle the differences between the MILF and MNLF.

Prior to his arrival in the Philippines, Madani had a three-day visit to Malaysia, which facilitated the peace dialogues between the government and the MILF.

Madani is the first OIC secretary general to visit Mindanao. The OIC, which has 57 Islamic countries as members, is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations. PND (jm)

Palace emphasizes necessity of implementing K to 12 program
The Palace on Monday reiterated the necessity of implementing the K to 12 basic education program in enhancing the competitiveness of the Filipino workforce in the global economy.

“Kailangang-kailangan ang pagpapatupad nito upang mapanatili at matiyak ang competitiveness ng mga Pilipino sa global economy,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Tayo na lang po ang isa sa iilang bansa na hindi pa nagkakaroon ng globally accepted basic education program na labing-dalawang taon dahil ang ating basic education program na papalitan nitong K to 12 ay 10 years lamang,” he noted.

Secretary Coloma further said that several options have been made available to teachers who will be affected by the program’s implementation this coming academic year.

“Kung gusto nilang tumigil na sa pagseserbisyo, merong inilalaang mga benepisyo sa kanila na naaayon sa batas. Kung gusto naman nilang mag-training, meron ding opportunity for retraining na ibibigay. Kaya nga mainam na pagkakataon ito na mag-level up din sila sa kanilang skills development habang isinasagawa ang transition,” he said. Coloma said that in the next few days, the Cabinet’s education cluster, composed of Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva, Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Cynthia Bautista, and other officials, will release more detailed information on how to address the concerns raised by some quarters on the implementation of the program.

“Tinitiyak lamang na ang lahat ay ginagawa upang maibsan ang epekto nito sa mga guro at sa mga mag-aaral; at tinitiyak din na lahat ng nararapat ay ginagawa para maging maayos ang pag-transition natin sa K to 12,” he said.

According to the Department of Education, the Philippines is the last country in Asia, and one of only three countries worldwide (along with Angola and Djibouti), with a 10-year pre-university cycle.

The department said the 12-year program is found to be the best period for learning under basic education and is the recognized standard for students and professionals globally.

A coalition of teachers, non-teaching staff, parents and labor groups has however sought to stop the implementation of the K to 12 program, claiming it has failed to protect teachers and non-teaching staff who will be displaced when the program is carried out. PND (ag)

Palace announces appointment of former Cavite governor as member of PCSO Board of Directors
Former Cavite Governor Erineo Maliksi has been appointed as member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and has been nominated as Chairman of the Board, the Palace announced on Monday.

Maliksi’s appointment was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last Friday (April 17), Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said.

He will be replacing PCSO Chairwoman Margarita P. Juico.

Maliksi served as governor of Cavite for three terms from 2001 to 2010. He also served as representative of the province for two separate terms from 1998 to 2001 and from 2010 to 2013. He was mayor of Imus, Cavite from 1988 to 1998.

He graduated from the University of the East in 1969 with a degree in Political Science. PND (ag)