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Ochoa: President Aquino’s final decision on IIRC report will be fair

admin Sep 30,2010 0 Comments

President Benigno Aquino III will make his final decision on the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) based purely on merits.

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. made this assurance in the course of studying the recommendations of the IIRC, which was formed by President Aquino to look into the August 23 hostage-taking incident.

“Everyone has access to the report, but in the end the President will decide on this. Until then, let’s not preempt the President,” Ochoa said.

According to Ochoa, personalities and politics will not influence the Chie Executive’s final decision.

“The President has always been fair and he will decide on the merits of this case, and not on the personalities or politics involved. He will make a decision that will satisfy the demands of justice, not the demands of political expediency,” Ochoa said.

President Aquino has tasked the Executive Secretary and his Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Eduardo de Mesa, to assist him in the review of the recommendations of the IIRC panel which identified government officials and media men and organizations who should face sanctions.

According to Ochoa, the role of the Palace lawyers is to help the President understand the legal nuances of the IIRC report and recommendations. “It may or may not sit well with everyone, but the President is a man who is more concerned with truly doing the right thing, not the perception of doing the right thing.”

“Our people have entrusted the President with the task of upholding the Constitution and enforcing our laws. His job in this case is to see to it that justice is done, and unjustly sanctioning people left and right to satisfy the public’s desire to see heads roll is as big an injustice as letting those responsible for this tragic incident go scot-free,” he added.


Aquino sees need for global engagement in R.P. development

President Benigno S. Aquino III recognizes the importance of strengthened global engagement in the country’s development.

In his message at the forum organized by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) held at the CFR Auditorium in New York on Thursday (Friday in Manila), the President said strong relations with other countries and partnership with the international financial community will help realize his administration’s goals and objectives.

“Our engagements with the rest of the world will always be at the service of our aspiration to build a vibrant nation,” the President said.

At the forum, the President discussed the Philippines’ relations with its neighbors in the ASEAN, the US and development partners and the Pacific Rim and his government’s vision and platform of government, including the creation of an investor-friendly environment and the peace talks.

“Indeed we have high aspirations in our foreign relations,” the President said even as he quoted US President Barack Obama’s observation that “the Philippines punches above its weight in the international arena.”

The CFR is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the US and other countries.

Founded in 1921, the Council takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.


RP to seek US support for Trans-Pacific Partnership entry

The Philippines is seeking the support of the United States in its bid to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free trade agreement formed with the objective of creating a platform for promoting economic integration among nations in the Asia-Pacific region, President Benigno S. Aquino III said Thursday afternoon in New York (Friday morning in Manila).

In his speech at the Council of Foreign Relations at the CFR Auditorium in New York City, President Aquino said the country is “positioning” itself to join the TPP by laying out the tenets that will mark the new Philippines: good governance, employment generation, quality education, improved public health and a home for every family, within safe communities.
President Aquino is in New York for a weeklong visit.

“With keen interest, we note the Obama administration’s focus in negotiating a regional Asia-Pacific trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement,” President Aquino said.

“Envisioned as a platform for economic integration across the region, the TPP countries would be in a best place to become the region’s leading hub for trade, investment and growth,” he added.

President Aquino pointed out that by being a member of the TPP, “The Philippines aims to engage the US in joint trade initiatives that would serve as mutual building blocks.”

“Just like other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, the Philippines is already positioning itself as a viable member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the President said.

“We seek US support for this as we recognize its leadership role as host of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Community) in 2011,” he added.

The TPP aims to eliminate 90 percent of all tariffs among member countries—Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam, by January 1, 2006 and reduce all trade tariffs to zero by the year 2015.

It is a comprehensive agreement covering all the mainstays of a free trade agreement, including trade in goods, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade in services, intellectual property, government procurement and competition policy.


Aquino assures CFR of RP’s determination to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday (Friday in Manila) assured the United States Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that his administration will employ all available means to achieve lasting peace and equitable prosperity in Southern Philippines.

In his speech at the CFR forum at the CFR auditorium in New York, the President told America’s most influential foreign-policy think tank that his administration has a compact with the Filipino people who are dreaming of real peace and unity.

“My administration’s compact with the Filipino people will demand no less than the attainment of lasting peace and equitable prosperity. We will employ all the tools at our disposal to achieve this,” he said.

The CFR is an American non-profit non-partisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in US foreign policy and international affairs.

The President said he had informed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) of the government’s strong desire to revive the stalled negotiations with the Moro secessionist group and offered a table to restart the talks.

“I have offered a place at the table for everyone who wants to talk about peace to unite our country and bring the disillusioned and the disenfranchised, (and those) who have chosen the violent path, back into our democratic mainstream,” he said.

While busy strengthening the country’s infrastructure, the President told them that he will also “create the peaceful and stable environment necessary for economic growth.”

In Manila, Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Edwin Lacierda said the President is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia at the sidelines of the 65th UN Session of the UN Assembly.

Lacierda said the President is expected to inform the Malaysian Prime Minister of its role as third party facilitator at the resumption of the GRP-MILF peace process.


Aquino urges Filipinos in U.S. to support Save Our Industries Act pending in U.S. Congress

President Benigno S. Aquino III asked all Filipinos in the United States to actively support the Save Our Industries Act of 2010 which, once passed by the US Congress, is expected to generate some 200,000 jobs and bail out the dying textile industry in the Philippines.

The President made the pitch during his speech before the Filipino community at the Mason Hall of Baruch College on Thursday night (Friday morning in Manila) in New York.

The President set aside his prepared speech and talked extemporaneously in Tagalog before his delighted countrymen.

During its heyday, the President said the local textile industry is benefiting almost 800,000 Filipinos which at present have dwindled to only about 180,000 due to stiff competition in the world market.

Two proposed bills —House Resolution 3039 and Senate 3170—known as “Save Our Industries Act” or “SAVE Act,” are still pending at the US Congress.

The President said the pending bills will not only save the American textile and fabric industry but also give advantage to the Philippine garment and apparel industries which have suffered declines in sales after the US lifted its import quotas and was eventually swamped with cheaper textile apparel from other countries.

Once passed, the SAVE Act would grant duty-free status to garments and apparels wholly assembled in the Philippines, on condition that these are made of US-made textiles, fabrics, yarn and cotton.

On the other hand, US yarns, textiles and fabrics will also be granted duty-free status when exported to the Philippines.

As election in the US nears, the President urged US-based Filipinos to lobby and even send letters to their American congressmen and senators for its passage.

“Ano ang kapalit ho noon? Tinataya ko sa loob ng dalawang taon, dalawang-daang milyong dolyar na U.S. fabric ang mabebenta at yung amount na ito ay pwede pang lumaki ng $500 million in five years,” the President said.

Aside from creating some 2,000 jobs in the US, the President said the passage of the bill will create some 200,000 jobs in the Philippines.

“So, kailangan, seryosong-seryoso po, kailangan namin ma-mobilize sa inyong tulong dahil ito lang ho ang paraan para talagang maging batas itong panukalang batas na ito. So, pwede ko ho bang asahan iyan?” the President said.


First Secretary and Consul Emil T. Fernandez
Press and Information Officer
Tel: 202-467-9432


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