14 March 2015

Palace says recommendations of PNP BOI report could fine tune future police, military operations against terrorists
Malacanang said it hopes that with the release of the police’s Board of Inquiry report, law enforcement agencies and the military could effectively conduct operations against terrorist organizations and avoid the repeat of the deadly Mamasapano clash two months ago.

“One of the effects of this BOI report should be to make everyone in the civilian establishment, in the military and security establishment, to make us all very aware of the consequences of lack of coordination when it comes to sensitive operations like the one that happened in January 25,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview on Saturday.

Valte also highlighted during the radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan the importance of proper coordination between the police and military particularly with regards to sensitive operations like the Mamasapano raid.

Even during the Senate hearings, Gen. Carlito Galvez of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities noted that the bloody clash could have been avoided if the police Special Action Force commandos made proper coordination and followed appropriate protocols, Valte said.

The Philippine National Police’s BOI report also cleared President Aquino from any liability because as the head of the police and the military, he has the prerogative whom to give his orders, Valte explained.

It is also clear in the BOI report that the President ordered the police officials overseeing the operation to coordinate their efforts with the military to provide the SAF raiding team appropriate cover and backup.

“At malinaw din naman po doon sa mga naging findings ng BOI report na sinuway po ni SAF Commander Napeñas ‘yung mga utos ng Pangulong Aquino,” Valte said.

In legal terms, Valte said it is called “proximate cause,” in which an outcome is traced to the most direct factor causing the end result.

“At kung bubusisiin mo ang mga nakalagay doon sa BOI ay makikita na talagang lack of coordination ang naging problema sa buong operasyon na ito,” she explained.

A total of 44 SAF commandos died in the bloody Mamasapano encounter last January 25 after a fierce firefight with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other armed groups. PND (as)

Malacanang not keen on the creation of truth commission on Mamasapano incident
The Palace said the creation of a truth commission to investigate the bloody Mamasapano encounter is not necessary because there are already several bodies doing their respective inquiries to shed light on what happened last January 25 in Maguindanao.

Some lawmakers insisted the creation of a truth commission arguing that the Board of Inquiry report by the Philippine National Police is incomplete.

But in a radio interview Saturday, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte asked for public patience adding everyone should wait for the results of several ongoing probes on the incident.

She told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan that there are eight institutions that are doing their own investigations on the Mamasapano encounter and their findings could answer questions lingering in the minds of the public.

“Siguro po hintayin natin ang paglabas din ‘nung mga findings ng ibang report. Baka naman sa sinasabi ‘nung kongresistang ito ay makita pa doon sa mga ibang report na lalabas,” she said in the radio interview.

Among those doing the probe include the Senate, the International Monitoring Team, the Department of Justice, and the Commission on Human Rights. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said it is also conducting its own inquiry over the incident.

Valte also argued that if a truth commission is organized, which is usually done by the President, it will not satisfy everyone because a body created by the President could be viewed as impartial.

“Kung matatandaan po natin even in the past commissions that have been constituted, ang Pangulo ang nag-a-appoint,” Valte said.

“At kung sasabihin naman sa ilalim ng batas na Pangulo pa rin ang mag-a-appoint, hindi ba baka sabihin naman nila biased, hindi independent?”

With regards to criminal liability of former PNP chief Alan Purisima, who is being implicated in the incident, especially after the PNP released its report on the clash, Valte said it is up to the DOJ to determine the liability of anyone involved.

The DOJ is already doing its investigation into the criminal liability of the officials, as well as other individuals, and the public should just wait for the result of the probe. PND (as)

Government continues to help communities displaced by conflict in Central Mindanao
The government will continue to provide assistance to communities displaced by recent military campaign in central Mindanao with the help of other organizations, a Palace official said.

People affected by the fighting asked the government to stop the military offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters so they could back to their homes. They also asked for additional humanitarian assistance.

“Tutugon naman po tayo doon sa mga assistance na kailangan nila, hindi lang doon sa ‘pag provide ng pagkain sa mga kababayan nating nasa loob ng evacuation centers, at siyempre ang mga attendant services na rin diyan, katulad ng medical services at kung ano pang mga kailangan,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview Saturday.

There is ongoing counseling for people who are displaced by the conflict in coordination with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the provincial disaster risk management council and municipal governments, Valte told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

The Department of Health is also conducting medical missions, and it also provides prepositioned supplies, hygiene kits and other essential medicines to affected communities.

Health officials are also doing blood sugar screening, and vaccination against pneumonia. They also conduct medical consultations in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), according to Valte.

Valte also reported that based on the record from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the number of displaced families staying in evacuations centers had gone down.

Most of the 56,000 displaced persons are staying in 44 evacuation centers, Valte said. Those who stay outside the evacuation centers are pegged at 8,500. The government continues to assist them as well, she said.

“Ang priority naman siyempre ng AFP diyan is ang safety ng mga civilians so talagang nagkakaroon ng displacement,” she noted.

“On the side of government, hinahabol na natin ang pagbibigay ng kalinga sa mga nadi-displace na mga pamilya doon.” PND (as)

Aquino government committed to providing employment to every Filipino
Malacanang made an assurance that it will continue to pursue initiatives that will give Filipinos employment to improve their lives.

A report by the Philippine Statistics Authority indicated that the country’s unemployment as well as its underemployment rate have gone down. But it also reported that there are 2.6 million Filipinos who remain jobless.

To address this concern, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said among the main efforts include the coordination among government agencies involved in providing employment.

These agencies are the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education, and Department of Education.

“Sila ang mga naatasan na magtulak ng convergence na laging ipinapaalala ng Pangulo,” Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Another government effort is the continued attraction of new investments, Valte said noting that the country’s foreign direct investments increased last year.

The Philippines more than doubled its foreign direct investments in the last two or three years, according to Valte.

“Ang continued optimism ng ating mga businessmen ay nakikita naman nating patuloy na nagbubunga kasi dumadami ang mga industriya na pumupunta sa Pilipinas para magbukas ng kanilang mga negosyo dito,” she said.

Those who have existing operations in the Philippines are also expanding, she noted.

“Kaya ang lagi hong sinasabi ng Pangulo ay dapat tinutulungan ang mga industriyang ito para siguraduhing level ‘yung playing field so everyone has the chance to grow their businesses and, in turn, making more jobs for our people,” she added. PND (as)

President Aquino to lead 110th Philippine Military Academy graduation rites
BAGUIO CITY—President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead on Sunday the 110th commencement exercises for the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinag Lahi Class of 2015 at Fort Gregorio del Pilar.

Joining the President in this event are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang, as well as other ranking military officials.

Malacañang this early has sent its well wishes to this year’s batch of graduates led by class valedictorian, Cadet First Class Arwi C. Martinez, who will soon join the ranks of the Philippine Army.

“We wish all the graduates luck and safety as they continue to bear the flag for us,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Saturday.

Valte also welcomed the news that a woman, Cadet Caroline Jhoy R. Nacional, once again made it to the Top 10 as the nation continues to observe the National Women’s Month.

President Aquino is scheduled to arrive here at 9:00 a.m. to first inaugurate the newly completed PMA Sports Complex at the Jurado Hall. He will then proceed to the Fajardo Grandstand to grace the estimated two-hour Commencement Program.

About 5,000 people are expected to attend the program including members of the AFP Cadet Corps, former PMA Superintendents, PMA Command Personnel Officers, AFP Major Services and Area Commanders, PMA alumni, members of the Foreign Armed Forces Attaché, enlisted personnel and civilian employees, friends and relatives of the graduating class, local government officials and other guests.

President Aquino will also take part in the Merienda Cena for the PMA Sinag Lahi Class of 2015 at the Conference Hall of the Mansion in Leonard Wood Road before heading back to Manila. PND (hdc)