June 02, 2015 – News Releases
|02 June 2015|
|Tragedy in Kentex factory fire must never happen again, says President Aquino|
|Emphasizing that the tragedy that killed 72 workers in the Kentex factory fire must never happen again, President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday vowed to press criminal charges against those responsible for the fire and ordered the inspection of 300,000 establishments in the National Capital Region (NCR) to ensure that they meet fire safety standards.
“Ang hinahabol natin, hindi maulit ang trahedyang ito at talaga namang mapagdiinan sa pamamagitan ng mga kasong isasampa sa lahat ng nagtulung-tulong para magkaroon ng ganitong trahedya,” he said during a press conference held at the Kalayaan Hall of Malacañang Palace.
The President noted that one of the charges that could be leveled against those responsible for the fire is “reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide.”
Describing the incident as a “tragedy waiting to happen,” President Aquino said multiple violations of the Fire Code have been found in the case of the Kentex factory fire, among them the lack of a protected fire exit, and the lack of a fire sprinkler system, fire detection and alarm system.
He also criticized the city government of Valenzuela for issuing the Kentex factory owners a business permit and a certificate of occupancy despite the lack of a fire safety inspection certificate.
The President further said that immediately after the incident, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) inspected 23 factories near the Kentex factory for fire safety and all of them failed.
“Twenty-three out of 23 ang may mga violations. Merong isa na sobrang dami ang violations, ipinasara na hanggang ma-correct ang mga ito,” he said.
To prevent the recurrence of the incident, the President said he has ordered the inspection of 300,000 establishments across the NCR. He however acknowledged that this is not easy.
“Hindi ganoon kadali ang proseso. Ang meron lang computerized data base dito sa mga factories na ito ay Quezon City at saka Valenzuela. Kaya nga kailangan pulungin ni Interior Secretary Roxas para ma-compile lahat itong mga data para talagang masuyod natin lahat ang mga establisyemento,” he said.
He also saw the need to attend to the welfare of factory workers.
“Paano ba natin babalansehin ang karapatan ng manggagawa na magtrabaho sa isang maaliwalas at safe na working environment at ang karapatan nilang hindi mawalan ng trabaho? So, pipilitin natin na ma-minimize ang disruption, pero kapag talaga namang glaring na fire trap na talagang konting sunog lang, puwedeng maging matinding trahedya, obligado naman tayong protektahan ang mga manggagawa,” he explained.Earlier during the press conference, BFP Chief Ariel Barayuga presented a scale model of the Kentex factory to show how the fire started and spread inside the building.
Also present during the press conference were Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. PND (ag)
|Meeting between President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe of Japan to center on South China Sea issues|
|(TOKYO, Japan) The meeting between President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will center on concerns about the South China Sea and other bilateral issues, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez said here Sunday.
President Aquino is due to arrive here on Tuesday for a four-day state visit.
“Surely, first and foremost will be the South China Sea issue because that is something that is quite sensitive to both Japan and the Philippines,” Ambassador Lopez said during an interview with Radio TV Malacañang (RTVM), when asked about the main topics to be discussed by the two leaders.
The President, he said, will definitely thank Japan’s government, corporations and individuals for their assistance to the Philippines, not only through the Official Development Assistance (ODA), but also for their donations in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
“Japan is probably our biggest donor country. It was really generous in helping the victims of Yolanda,” Lopez said.
The President will also thank Prime Minister Abe for easing the visa requirements for Filipino tourists to Japan.
A lot of Filipinos are now visiting Japan as a result of the relaxation of the visa requirements, Lopez said.
The relationship between the two countries is at its strongest at this time, with President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe having good vibes with each other, the envoy said.
“In the four-and-a-half years that I have been here, I have seen the steady progress of this relationship. And I believe that it will continue to grow under the presidency of President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe,” he said.
Lopez said the Philippines should be grateful because President Aquino was given the opportunity to make a state visit to Japan, considering the long list of world leaders who want to make an official visit to the country.
He explained that Japan only welcomes two state visitors a year and many world leaders have been waiting for years.
“This is just very timely because this is the last year of President Aquino in his term and it would only be a fitting invitation, since his late mother, President Cory Aquino, was invited also as a state visitor back in 1986,” he added. PND (as)
|Philippine embassy has several programs for Filipinos in Japan, says envoy|
|(TOKYO, Japan) The Philippine embassy here has been carrying out several programs to serve Filipinos in Japan, Philippine Ambassador Manuel Lopez has said.“We try to reach out to our kababayans here as much as we can, through our consuls in the different prefectures,” Ambassador Lopez said during an interview with Radio TV Malacañang (RTVM) on Sunday.
The embassy, for instance, has a year-round outreach program where a consular team is sent to far-flung prefectures to access Filipinos experiencing difficulties in renewing their passports, he said.
“We send a team to go to these different areas where our presence is needed,” Lopez said.
Every year, the embassy also organizes Philippine fiestas, which have become a well-attended event, he noted, adding that tens of thousands of Filipinos come to enjoy the entertainment, Filipino food, and the products for sale.
“And of course, pagdating ng Pasko, may Simbang Gabi tayo. We continue to observe that tradition and it is very well-attended,” he said.
President Benigno S. Aquino III is set to arrive here Tuesday for a four-day state visit.
Lopez said Filipinos from different areas in Japan are excited and will be coming to meet the President during a Filipino community event here.
Some 220,000 Filipinos are living in Japan. PND (as)
|Business meetings predominate President Aquino’s four-day trip to Japan|
|(TOKYO, Japan) A series of meetings with top executives of various Japanese conglomerates and trade organizations makes up the majority of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official itinerary for his four-day state visit here.
Upon his arrival on Tuesday, President Aquino will have separate meetings with Chairmen Senji Miyake, Teruo Asada, and Tadashi Yanai of Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd., Marubeni, and Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. (Uniqlo), respectively at the Imperial Hotel.
He will then witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Business Promotion Cooperation by officials of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
The President will cap off his first day of activities with the traditional meeting with the Filipino community, where he will have the opportunity to update his countrymen on the latest political and economic developments in the Philippines.
On Wednesday, President Aquino will be at the Imperial Palace for the official welcome ceremony, to be led by the Japanese Imperial Family. He will also pay a state call on Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
He will then head to the Okura Hotel to meet with Nikkei Inc. Chairman Tsuneo Kita, and President and Chief Executive Officer Naotoshi Okada, to be followed by a one-on-one interview with Nikkei’s Manila bureau chief, Minoru Satake.
Afterwards, President Aquino will keynote a special session of Nikkei’s 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia, and address the joint session of the National Diet of Japan.
He will likewise meet with Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, officials of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians Friendship League, and head of the Democratic Party of Japan Katsuya Okada.
In the evening, President Aquino will head back to the Imperial Palace to attend the state banquet to be hosted in his honor by Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
On Thursday, President Aquino will deliver a speech at the Philippine Investment Forum after a meet-and-greet with its organizers, who include members from JETRO, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ASEAN Japan Center, and the Philippine Society of Japan at the Hotel New Otani.
He will also meet with members of two business clusters, namely the Office Equipment, Electronics and Medical Devices, and Infrastructure, and have lunch with the heads of various Japanese associations.
President Aquino will then receive Akihiro Tanaka, President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and witness the signing of the contract on the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard, by representatives of the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Japan Marine United Corporation.
Afterwards, the summit meeting between President Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held at the Akasaka State Guest House, where they are expected to exchange views on recent developments in the region.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez said in a recent interview that the two leaders’ discussion would center on concerns regarding maritime disputes in the South China Sea, among other bilateral issues.
President Aquino will wrap up his engagements here on Friday with a farewell call on Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace and a press event with the Japan National Press Club.
He is scheduled to depart Tokyo for Manila at about 2:30 p.m. (Japanese time) and will arrive in Manila at about 5:20 p.m. (Philippine time). PND (hdc)
|Japan to employ more English-speaking Filipino teachers, says envoy|
|(TOKYO, Japan) Japan will soon hire more English-speaking teachers and other professionals from the Philippines, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez has said.
“We are starting to send more nurses and caregivers and soon, maybe even teachers, because Japan needs English-speaking teachers,” Ambassador Lopez said during an interview with Radio TV Malacañang (RTVM) at the Philippine embassy here Sunday.
“They like Filipino teachers. So, there might be a bigger demand for them here in Japan.”
He noted that a lot of Filipino professionals, particularly in the Information Technology industry, are working for multinationals in Japan.
Some of them, he said, do not need to speak fluent Japanese because their bosses are also expatriates.
Lopez further said that many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Japan are seafarers working for the Japanese maritime industry.
Filipino crewmen are manning some 75 percent of Japanese vessels, he added.
“They are very, very pleased with the quality of our seafarers,” he said.
There are also Filipino workers in Japan’s construction industry, he noted.
Lopez said Filipino nationals in Japan, among them 30 to 40 registered nurses, are excited to meet President Benigno S. Aquino III, who will arrive here Tuesday for a four-day state visit.
He said one of the highlights of the President’s meeting with the Filipino community here is the introduction of the nine Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets who are studying at Japan’s National Defense Academy under an exchange program.
An estimated 220,000 Filipinos are living in Japan, many of whom are permanent residents married to Japanese nationals, Lopez said. PND (as)
|President Aquino to witness signing of Philippine-Japan maritime safety agreement|
|(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III will witness the signing of the contract on the turnover of 10 patrol boats to the Philippine Coast Guard during his state visit here, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez has said.
The tie-up is between the Japan Marine United Corp. and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), under the latter’s Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) for the Philippine Coast Guard.
In an interview with Radio TV Malacañang (RTVM) here Sunday, Ambassador Lopez said the 10 patrol boats, to be used for monitoring the country’s coastlines and for disaster response and relief, will be turned over by Japan to the Philippines through an Official Development Assistance (ODA) facility.
He further said that the President will meet with several Japanese business executives, including the chief of the Fast Retailing Co. Ltd (Uniqlo).
He noted that the President will encourage Uniqlo, a popular apparel brand in the Philippines and in Asia, to produce its merchandise in the Philippines.
“Hopefully, it would lead to that discussion on expanding, not only in terms of opening more stores but also in terms of doing the actual manufacturing in the Philippines, where it will create thousands of new jobs,” he said.
During his state visit, President Aquino will also receive Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda in a courtesy call.
Kuroda, the former president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is expected to brief the President on the state of the Japanese economy.
The President is likewise scheduled to attend and address the Nikkei 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia, a prestigious business forum organized by Nikkei, the most influential media company in Japan.
Lopez said President Aquino will update some 700 to 800 Japanese business executives who are expected to attend the forum, on the Philippine economy and invite Japanese companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to relocate their factories to the Philippines.
The President will also meet with officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as well as the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). PND (as)
|Government allocates P34.6 million for President Aquino’s visit to Tokyo|
|The government has earmarked P34.6 million for President Benigno S. Aquino III’s state visit to Tokyo from June 2 to 5 at the invitation of the Japanese government, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Tuesday.
President Aquino left Tuesday morning via a chartered flight to Tokyo, accompanied by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Abad, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, and Presidential Protocol Chief Celia Anna Feria.
The amount covers expenses for transportation, accommodation, food, equipment, and other requirements of the Chief Executive and his 60-member delegation.
“President Aquino’s visit is anticipated to further enhance our ties with Japan, who has been a decades-long strategic partner of the Philippines,” Ochoa said.
“Our Chief Executive and leaders of the government of Japan, as well as Japanese business organizations, are expected to discuss recent developments in the region in order to boost bilateral and economic relations, among others,” he added.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, since President Aquino is a state guest of Japan, he will be received by Their Majesties, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, at the Imperial Palace for a welcome ceremony and a state call. A state banquet also awaits the Philippine leader.
President Aquino will likewise hold separate meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, numerous business managers, and Filipinos living and working in Japan. PND
|President Aquino leaves for state visit to Japan|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III left for Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday morning for a four-day state visit that aims to attract more Japanese investments to the Philippines and tackle concerns on the South China Sea issue.
The Chief Executive departed at 10 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 in Pasay City on board a chartered Philippine Airlines Flight PR001.
In his departure speech, the President said he will meet with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, as well as with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and address the joint session of the National Diet, Japan’s bicameral legislature.
He will also meet with business executives grouped in the Nippon Keidanren, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Keizai Doyukai, and Boekikai to invite them to invest in the country.
“Personal nating ipababatid ang panibagong sigla sa ating ekonomiya at kalakhang lipunan,” he said, noting that according to Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez, they get many inquiries regarding investment opportunities in the Philippines.President Aquino said he will also deliver a keynote address during the Nikkei 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia, which is organized by Japan’s biggest media group.
“Ibabahagi po natin doon ang mga repormang ipinatupad natin sa ating pamahalaan, na nagbunga ng positibong pagbabago para sa ating mga kababayan. Sa pamamagitan nito, maipakikita natin ang ating kahandaang makiambag sa magaganap na integrasyon sa ating rehiyon,” he said.
He also announced that he will receive the “Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum,” Japan’s highest order.
“Ang karangalang ito ay hindi lamang pagkilala sa mga nagawa ko bilang indibidwal, kundi, at mas importante, pati na rin sa kolektibong pakikilahok ng bawat disenteng Pilipino upang isulong ang kaunlaran, kapayapaan, at demokrasya,” he said.
In return, he said, the Order of Lakandula (rank of Supremo) will be conferred on Emperor Akihito, and the Order of Sikatuna (rank of Rajah) on Prime Minister Abe in recognition of their contributions to the strengthening of Philippine-Japanese ties.
“Ang palitan ng parangal na ito ay sagisag din ng lalo pang tumitibay na pagkakaibigan sa pagitan ng ating mga bansa at mamamayan,” he said.
The President further said that he will meet with members of the Filipino community in Japan and check on the nine Filipino cadets at the National Defense Academy of Japan, under an exchange program with the Philippine Military Academy.
“Makakaasa po kayo sa pagpapatibay ng ating ugnayan sa ibang mga bansa, mas mahusay nating matutugunan ang mga darating na hamon at mas mapapalapit tayo sa katuparan ng pinapangarap nating mas maunlad na Pilipinas,” he said.
The President was accompanied by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., and chief of the Presidential Management Staff Julia Abad.
At the airport to send off the President were Vice President Jejomar Binay and the Japanese Embassy’s Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Tetsuro Amano.
President Aquino is scheduled to return on Friday (June 5). PND (ag)
|President Aquino issues Executive Order on comprehensive automotive resurgence strategy program|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued Executive Order (EO) No. 182, which provides for a comprehensive automotive resurgence strategy program in the country.
Signed by the President last May 29, the Order is aimed at improving the automotive industry to boost the manufacturing capability of the overall industrial sector, spur the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and create more jobs.
In the EO, President Aquino noted “the need to enable the country’s automotive industry to seize market opportunities opened by the ASEAN Economic Community and deepen its participation in the regional supply chain.”
The President likewise recognized “the need to augment and enhance the policy and directions of existing motor vehicle development programs towards ensuring a resurgent automotive industry that supports innovation, technology transfer, environmental protection, and SMEs development.”
The Order states that the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program will “attract new investments, stimulate demand and effectively implement industry regulations that will revitalize the Philippine automotive industry, and develop the country as a regional automotive manufacturing hub.”
The program’s thrust is “to provide time-bound, and output or performance-based fiscal support to attract strategic investments in the manufacturing of motor vehicles and parts.”
The CARS Program is limited to the manufacture of three models of four-wheeled motor vehicles, and shall cover the models’ production, manufacture of body shell assembly and large plastic assemblies of the model, manufacture of common parts and strategic parts not currently produced in the country at original equipment manufacturer standards, and shared testing facility for vehicles and/or parts.
According to EO No. 182, the Board of Investment (BOI), as the lead implementing and coordinating agency of the CARS Program, will act upon the recommendations of the Inter-agency Committee on Automotive Industry Development, oversee the implementation of the program, submit the annual report of the performance of the program to the Office of the President, and coordinate automotive industry development efforts of all concerned agencies and instrumentalities of the government.
An Inter-agency Committee on Automotive Industry Development will be created to administer and implement the CARS Program.
The committee will be chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry-BOI representative, with members from the Department of Finance, Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Science and Technology, National Economic and Development Authority, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the co-chairman of the Industry Development Council, and the co-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council.
The Order likewise states that the Department of Budget and Management, in coordination with the BOI, shall propose through the National Expenditure Program, the inclusion of an Automotive Development Fund in the annual General Appropriations Act, to fund the fiscal support to be granted to registered and eligible participants.
The total fiscal support for the program will be given beginning 2016, and shall not exceed P27 billion, with each enrolled model qualified to a fiscal support in an amount not exceeding P9 billion. PND (jm)
|President Aquino arrives in Japan for state visit|
|(TOKYO, Japan) President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived at the Haneda International Airport here at about 3:19 p.m. Tuesday for a four-day state visit.
The President was welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez, Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Takashi Uto, Ministry of Foreign Affairs chief protocol Jun Yamazaki, and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa.
Immediately after his arrival, the President met with several Japanese business leaders at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
Among those who met with the President were Senji Miyake, chairman of the board of Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd; Teruo Asada, chairman of Marubeni; Tadashi Yanai, chairman of the Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. (Uniqlo); and officials of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
The President also witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Business Promotion Cooperation between the Department of Trade and Industry and JETRO.
After his meeting with the Japanese businessmen, the President joined the Filipino community at the Okura Hotel.
Among those who accompanied the President were Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Lilia de Lima, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., and chief of the Presidential Management Staff Julia Abad. PND (as)
|Japanese investors eye business expansion in the Philippines|
|(TOKYO, Japan) Japanese investors are pleased with the current business environment in the Philippines and have expressed strong interest in putting up new businesses or expanding their operations in the country, a Palace official has said.
Immediately after arriving here Tuesday for a four-day state visit, President Aquino had several business meetings with leading Japanese companies.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., who accompanied the President during the meetings, said Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd has expressed interest in expanding its investments in the Philippines.
“Kirin is highly satisfied with the investment and business climate in the Philippines,” Secretary Coloma said.
The President also met with Teruo Asada, chairman of Marubeni, which has had a 105-year presence in the Philippines.
Coloma said Marubeni is upbeat about its current Philippine investments in power, energy development, water utility, and mass transportation (MRT 7 and LRT 2 extension).
The Japanese company has also shown great interest in exploring new fields of business development in the Philippines, such as in commercial vehicles. PND (as)