24 April 2017

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the SWS First Quarter 2017 Survey regarding property crime

The First Quarter 2017 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey saying 6.3% of families lost property to street robbery, burglars (break-ins), or carnappers within the past six months validates earlier reports showing an increase in crime after the Philippine National Police (PNP) suspended Oplan Tokhang and Project Double Barrel last January.

The temporary suspension of police anti-drug operations proved to be a window of opportunity for illegal drug violators to engage in burglary and car theft.

The 6.3% figure, however, is still 1.3% below the 2016 annual average of 7.6%.

The same survey showed a steady number, at 52%, of drug addicts in the neighborhood as perceived by respondents; meaning, there was no decrease in the number of drug addicts from last December’s figure, which can likewise be attributed to the temporary halt of police anti-drug operations.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the beheading of a soldier by the Abu Sayyaf Group

We strongly condemn the beheading of Staff Sergeant Anni Siraji of the 32nd Infantry Battalion (32IB).

The fallen soldier was abducted by the members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Igasan, Patikul, Sulu, on April 20 while he was on his way for a peace and development mission. The cadaver of Staff Sergeant Siraji was found in the vicinity of Sitio Kan Suil, Barangay Tagbili, Patikul, Sulu at 2pm yesterday, April 23.

While Staff Sergeant Siraji was a soldier, he was a MNLF member who decided to trade his rifle as a fighter to become a peacemaker and agent of development to his fellow Tausugs.

This barbaric act committed by ASG to a fellow Tausug has no place in a civilized society. We call on all citizens to remain vigilant, alert and watchful and to cooperate with our security forces as our troops continues to pursue this bandit group and hold them accountable for their brutal and senseless crimes.

This is our assurance to the family of Staff Sergeant Siraji: That we would not stop until justice is served. Let us work against common criminals to have safer and more secure communities.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On Atty Jude Josue Sabio, lawyer of Mr. Edgardo Matobato, asking the International Criminal Court in The Hague to hold PRRD accountable for mass murder in the Philippines

The timing of the filing of the case is suspect – apparently meant to create negative news in the midst of the Philippines ASEAN debut; as it cannot prosper. International Criminal Court rules provide that the ICC, as a court of last resort, will only exercise jurisdiction over a case once legal remedies in the Philippines have been exhausted.

Atty. Sabio or his client, Mr. Edgardo Matobato, did not avail/exhaust all domestic remedies allowed under the Philippine Constitution.

Furthermore, an independent Senate investigated the charges hurled against the President with self-confessed hitman Mr. Matobato as star witness. As such, there is no unwillingness or inability on the part of the State to investigate and prosecute the President.

The so-called “Extrajudicial killings”, are not state-sanctioned or state-sponsored. Police authorities are conducting legitimate operations that require observance of operational protocols and those who breach procedures are made to answer before the law.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has an Internal Affairs Service (IAS) tasked to probe police accused of violating procedures. This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges.

The intent of this filing in ICC is clearly to embarrass and shame the President, and undermine the duly constituted government of the Philippines. It is a cynical effort against the reform-oriented agenda of the Duterte Administration and of the betterment of the lives of the Filipino people.

PNA launches new website and mobile app

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday, April 24, formally launched the redesigned website and mobile application of the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“During my recent visits to China, Malaysia, and Bahrain, I saw the cutting edge technology in the newsrooms of Xinhua News, Bernama, and Bahrain News Agency—the counterparts of PNA abroad. They have coped with the changing tides of the time and are setting the bar in technological advancement,” Secretary Andanar said.

The Presidential Communications Chief added that he was all the more inspired to “effect changes” to the PNA because he saw the dedication of its personnel to “disseminate timely, reliable, and relevant news stories to the public” despite of the agency’s “meager resources”.

“The neglect of PNA is a thing of the past now. In this administration, PNA will be given the much-needed attention and support to overhaul and modernize its operations starting with the launch of its website interface design,” Andanar underscored.

From a text-heavy format and static file, the newly revamped PNA website now has a more user-friendly and interactive interface, while the PNA mobile application, which is available on Android and iOS, offers users quick and easy access to the latest news and information using their smart phones.

Part of the total makeover of the country’s official news agency, Andanar continued, is the planned renovation of PNA’s central office in Quezon City and construction of state-of-the-art facilities that house a modern news television studio and high-tech teledub audio booth this year.

“PTV under its modernization plan to digitize or digitalize the broadcast will have four sub-channels. And one of the sub-channels will be dedicated to the Philippine News Agency. PNA will have its own newscast of digital TV and own newscast on digital online,” the Communications Chief disclosed, adding that the PNA will also have its own audio recordings for audio news that require the installation of a teledub.

These facilities are expected to boost PNA’s delivery of relevant news and information on the various programs and advocacies of the government to Filipinos here and abroad.

PNA is part of the substantive coverage of Presidential activities. Currently, it is also one of the lead agencies in covering the meetings of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit being held here in the Philippines. ###PCO-Content