13 December 2015

Government already speeding up construction of settlements for Typhoon Yolanda survivors
 The Palace asked for public patience in relocating the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda saying that government is doing everything to speed up the construction of new settlements for the affected residents.

It was reported that some of the survivors complained that until now they weren’t relocated yet to permanent settlement sites.

“Pinapamadali ng Pangulong Aquino ang mga magiging lilipatan ng ating mga kababayan diyan,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Saturday.

Valte explained that the agreement between the national and local government is that the local government finds the land for relocation and then the national government builds the houses.

“Ngayon, kahit medyo mayroon na po tayong mga na-identify na through the local government, it will take time to do the buildings,” she further explained over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“But, in any case, ito ang pinapatutukan talaga ng Pangulong Aquino. Alam ko mayroon na pong mga units na nagawa na natin diyan.”

“Humihingi din po tayo pa ng paumanhin at konti pang panahon, ngunit pinapatutukan na ng Pangulong Aquino ito.”

Valte also responded to criticisms that the administration failed to address the housing backlog in the country.

Valte said that despite the obstacles that the government has to surpass, it was able to accomplish a lot with regards to addressing the housing problems.

For instance, the National Housing Authority (NHA) inaugurated St. Joseph Ville, an in-city relocation site for informal settler families in San Juan, removing people from danger zones.

The NHA built less than 400 housing units under the project, she said.

“Kahit may mga challenges, kahit may mga obstacles, may mga balakid doon sa paghanap ng mga sites na pwedeng gawan ng malilipatan sa tingin ko…‘yung mga nagawa naman at ‘yung mga magagawa pa ay talagang magaganda naman ang kinalalabasan,” Valte said. PND (as) 

Government focuses on building strong cases vs drug traffickers, Says Official
The Palace said it remains committed to fighting illegal narcotics in the country but want to build solid cases against drug traffickers to be effective.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte countered criticisms on Saturday which highlighted government’s failure to jail big-time drug dealers although they are already known to anti-illegal drugs agency.

“It’s not just a matter of identifying, it’s also a matter of good case building,” Valte said as a response to the criticisms of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“Kasi mahirap naman po ‘yung operate lang nang operate tapos biglang hindi pala na-pro-prosecute or hindi maganda ‘yung ebidensya. So kailangan maingat din ang ating mga awtoridad doon sa case building against these people, dahil kung hindi naman, nakakawala lang,” she argued.

The government does not want to go after drug dealers just for media mileage, she said adding what the President wants is building good cases against traffickers.

“Ang instruction po diyan talaga ay make sure you have a good case when you run after these so-called identified persons,” she said.

So far, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been effective in going after big drug groups, she said expressing hopes that the anti-drug body could dismantle organized drug trafficking in the country. PND (as)

Government ready for ‘Typhoon Nona’, Says Palace
Government front liner agencies are already on standby as Typhoon Nona now enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, the Palace said on Saturday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has been closely monitoring Typhoon Nona in the past few days, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Saturday.

The weather disturbance enters PAR early Saturday morning.

“Ang utos po ng Pangulong Aquino ay siguraduhin ng ating NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council) na naka-coordinate na tayo doon sa mga lokal at mga provincial na DRRMCs natin,” Valte told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“At siguraduhin na nakaantabay tayong lahat, at naka-monitor lang ang Pangulo doon sa mga development na ito mula sa PAGASA.”

The President continue to receive updates from PAGASA about Typhoon Nona, Valte said.

Government frontliner agencies can immediately respond to emergencies, she said noting the existing protocols that the government has set up.

For instance when typhoon Signals No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 are declared there are corresponding response from the government. In an eminent hit by a typhoon, the government pre-preposition relief goods, basic medicine or heavy equipment on the affected region through the DSWD, DOH, and the DPWH, she said.

The local government units also begin to issue warnings to their constituents for possible preemptive evacuation.

Valte advised communities in Leyte and Bicol region that will be affected by Typhoon Nona, to stay alert and heed government warnings and advice.

“Sa atin naman ‘alerto,’ ‘yung nakaantabay lang, nagmomonitor lang kung ano ang bagong impormasyon. Hindi naman tayo kailangang mag-panic or anything. Basta kailangan lang talagang mag-antabay,” she said. PND (as)

Philippines welcomes landmark Paris agreement on climate change
The Philippines has welcomed a historic climate deal to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.

The deal was reached after two weeks of intense negotiations during the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties and the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) held at the French capital.

Nearly 200 countries attended the summit and have agreed to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees.

“The Philippines welcomes the Paris agreement as it responds to President Aquino’s call at the start of COP21 for all people to act and come to an agreement that allows all voices to be heard and take into consideration the particular situations of all the nations that have taken this historic step to end decades of deadlock and take decisive climate change action,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in his opening statement during an interview over Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday.

“This broad based agreement, as reported by our Philippine delegation, was reached by now 195 countries after almost two weeks of painstaking consensus building and convergence around five major points namely global temperature goal of 1.5 degrees; the inclusion of human rights as its bedrock principle; the emphasis on ecosystem integrity; the commitment of support in finance, technology and capacity building for all adaptation and mitigation efforts; and the inclusion of a loss and damage article that would ensure the recovery, restoration and resilience of communities, livelihoods and ecosystems,” he explained.

The Palace official noted the importance of the agreement to vulnerable countries such as the Philippines.

“The Paris agreement also addresses the situation of climate vulnerable countries like the Philippines that bear the heaviest albeit a most disproportionate share of the burden of climate change in terms of assuring the conveyance of resources that will fully support adaptation and mitigation efforts,” Coloma said.

“The Philippines will fulfill its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions conditionally by 70 percent by 2030 in solidarity with other nations that will provide support in terms of finance, technology and capacity building,” he added.

“Finally, the government will continually engage our people in the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ to work together in building disaster resilient communities,” Coloma further said.

President Benigno Aquino III, in a speech delivered at the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) on November 30 in Paris, said that even if countries are getting better at adaptation, they still need more help.

“People still die and whole communities are displaced; businesses are affected, thus stunting economic activity. Funds that could otherwise be used for other development needs and services are channeled towards the costly efforts involving relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction,” the President said.

The CVF, which is a coalition of 43 middle-sized economy and small-island developing countries headed by the Philippines, has called for strong support of adaptation actions. They said that adaptation will help them meet their goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to below 1.5° degrees.

The CVF pointed out that developing countries are already “leading the design of adaptation plans” as reflected in the intended nationally determined contributions or INDCs in 2015. INDCs capture the mitigation and adaptation targets of each country.

Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, vice chairperson of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, served as head of the Philippine delegation at the COP 21 summit. PND (jm)