Palace eyes a sober, simple EDSA commemoration, 21 Feb. 2017

Malacañan plans a “sober, simple, with no fanfare” celebration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution this Friday.

The EDSA People Power commemoration will be held inside the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, where the historical event began.

Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, in a press briefing in Malacañan on Tuesday, February 21, said P1 million has been allotted for the EDSA People Power commemoration, saying that it will be a “day of reflection.”

As such, Guevarra said that this year’s activities will be low-key to give way to a deeper appreciation of the EDSA event.

“That is precisely the reason why there is no pomp in this year’s anniversary celebration,” Guevarra explained. “It’s a time to settle down, quiet a bit, and think of what has happened over the past 30 years.”

EDSA People Power Commission’s Jose Ma. Concepcion III echoed that “it is going to be a very simple affair” and that there had been a consensus to “do it on a Friday” since there are some groups which had planned different forms of activities on Saturday.

“We would like to see it as a day of reflection,” Concepcion said adding that the heroes of EDSA should be remembered.

Concepcion added that the goal would be to inspire the coming generations.

Spirit of EDSA’s Cecile Guidote – Alvarez echoed that the abuses of a dictatorial regime which led to the EDSA regime should not be forgotten.

“We don’t want amnesia inflicted on our nation,” she said.

Abella on achievements of Duterte’s administration

In the same briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella welcomed the report by London-based professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers that the Philippines is number 19 in the list of 32 most powerful economies in the world by 2050.

“The Duterte administration aims to give Filipinos a stable and comfortable lifestyle consistent with Executive Order No. 5 or the “Ambisyon Natin 2040”, which PRRD signed last year, spelling out his long-term economic vision,” Abella said.

Abella also welcomed the Philippine Exporters Confederation’s (PHILEXPORT) report that the Philippines is seen as an upper middle-income economy by 2022.

“The reforms initiated by the Duterte administration, backed by its strong political will usher in the transformation of the Philippines,” Abella said.

“We are pushing for a comprehensive tax reform program and we hope to increase foreign investments in infrastructure through Charter change,” he said.

The Palace official meanwhile said that while the official foreign visits of President Rodrigo Duterte last year had incurred a total of about P277 million in expenses, his China visit alone has resulted in more than 20 agreements with a total value of US$4 billion and which will generate over a 100,000 jobs.

The President made a total of seven foreign trips, visiting a total of 12 countries since he took office last year.

Abella added that President Duterte’s visit to Japan last year produced investment commitments estimated at US$1.85 billion and will generate about 250,000 jobs in the next few years.

“There were also about five government-to-government agreements signed, including the exchange of note and agreements up to US$184 million,” Abella said.

“These official trips are part of the President’s obligation to maintain and strengthen diplomatic ties with neighboring countries and has clinched numerous economic investments and commitments amounting to billions of dollars — to billions of pesos and generate thousands of jobs in the following years,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Palace expressed its condolences to the families of the victims who died in the fatal bus mishap in Tanay, Rizal.

“The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has already been directed to ensure the road worthiness of the buses and to remind public utility drivers to guarantee the safety of all their passengers. The passengers must safely arrive at their respective destinations,” Abella said.

“The Commission on Higher Education is likewise conducting the necessary investigation to determine if proper procedures were observed by school authorities,” he added.

Andanar: Duterte continuous to enjoy public support

For his part, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that the President continues to enjoy the public’s support, adding the strides made by the Duterte administration in jumpstarting the economy and addressing corruption and law and order will ensure that efforts to unseat the president is ill advised.

Replying to reporters’ questions about a destabilization plot against the government starting with activities scheduled during the weekend, Andanar said the Palace will not waver in its commitment to democracy and good government.

“This administration takes criticism constructively and we do that everyday,” Andanar said.

Andanar pointed out the success of the administration in its war against illegal drugs as evidenced by the number of surrenderees and the subsequent decrease in the number of crimes against persons and property.###PND