Malaysia to remain as peace talks facilitator

MALAYSIA will continue to act as facilitator at the resumption of peace talks in Mindanao.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo disclosed this Tuesday following the courtesy call
of Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Sri Anifah Aman on President Benigno S. Aquino III in

Romulo said Malaysia has been playing a constructive and positive role to encourage a
peaceful resolution in the Mindanao problem.

The President welcomed Minister Anifah who was accompanied by Malaysian Ambassador
to the Philippines Dato’ Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad.

Also present during the call were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
Secretary Teresita Deles and DFA Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio.

Minister Anifah’s visit centered on Malaysia’s role in the formal peace negotiations scheduled
this month between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

As its closest neighbor in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the
Philippines earlier decided to retain Malaysia as third party facilitator in the resumption of the
GRP-MILF peace talks, a role which Malaysia has assumed since 2001.

Since 2004, Malaysia also led the International Monitoring Team together with Libya, Japan
and Brunei which successfully contributed to the comprehensive peace process in Mindanao.

Gov’t and media groups agree to four-point consensus on safety measures in crises situations

Government and media groups have acceded to a four-point consensus on the proper observance of safety measures to ensure that media coverages do not hamper police or security operations in times of crisis situations.

In a media briefing in Malacanang, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma said the consensus was reached when he and other Malacanang officials recently conducted dialogues with major media organizations, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Council on Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

One of the consensus, Coloma said, is that media practitioners and spectators will now be prohibited in the immediate vicinity of the crisis area. This is to ensure the safety of media members and spectators during crisis situations such as the recent hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand.

According to Coloma, members of the media should refrain from directly involving themselves or interfering in police operations such as during hostage negotiations which require professional training and professional background.

Another result of the dialogue, Coloma said, is the possibility of restraining the live coverage of an assault or actual troop movement.

Also generally agreed upon during the dialogue is the designation of a point person in the police organization or a senior government official to have some kind of a crisis communication coordination center, he added.

Coloma also said the government is not keen on supporting any legislated regulations as it would be against the policy of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

On the other hand, Coloma noted that media groups have been conducting on their own assessment and adopting improvements in their operating guidelines including disciplinary measures to prevent a repeat of the hostage-taking incident two weeks ago. (PCOO/PIA)

Palace determined to freeze perks and bonuses of GOCCs

Malacañang is ready to freeze the generous perks and bonuses enjoyed by executives of government-owned and controlled corporations in line with the austerity measures of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

In a news briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said the implementation will take effect once the salaries, bonuses and perks of the GOCC officials have been rationalized.

Coloma said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is now working on how to tighten up existing Administrative Order No. 103 of 2001 adopting austerity measures in government. He said it will be included in the draft Executive Order that President Aquino will soon issue.

The President had earlier divulged that he will issue an EO to prevent the excessive pay benefit packages of some GOCC executives which have reached scandalous levels.

He said the EO will be all-encompassing, and will rationalize, put a cap and limit the pay packages for government nominees. The EO will also reiterate the cap contained in an existing order of the previous administration but which was not enforced.

Meantime, Coloma said Malacanang is ready to dissolve around 15 non-performing GOCCs once they fail to demonstrate their capacity for viable operations. (PCOO/PIA)

Palace confident of hostage probe body findings

MALACAÑANG on Monday expressed confidence that the investigating body looking into the botched Quirino Grandstand hostage rescue would be able to get to the bottom of the case and pinpoint responsibility in the incident which left eight Hong Kong nationals dead.

In a news briefing, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda underscored the importance of the findings of the Incident Investigation and Review Commission (IIRC) which he said President Benigno S. Aquino III will use as a basis in giving justice to those who perished in the Aug. 23 crisis.

“We are letting the investigation committee take its course. It has been a very credible investigation process and we will wait for the report and the conclusions and the recommendations of the investigation committee,” he said.

Meantime, Lacierda appealed for everyone’s patience and restraint and let the investigation take its course.

“Let’s wait for the report of the investigation committee to come out and it will be submitted to the President and the President will study the recommendations,” he said. “The fact that there is an investigating committee…will show who were responsible for the incident.” (PCOO/PIA)

Palace orders formulation of MTPDP, MTPIP

MALACAÑANG has directed the formulation of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) and the Medium Term Investment Program (MTPIP) for the duration of the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Memorandum Circular No. 3 dated Sept. 2, according to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. directs the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to coordinate the preparation of the MTPDP and MTPIP for 2010-2016 to be jointly formulated by the executive and legislative branches of the government in a participative process involving the marginalized sectors and communities as well as private organizations.

“All government departments, offices and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations, shall formulate their respective medium-term development plans and action programs. These plans and programs shall have results-oriented focus on national development goals,” MC No. 3 stated, “in order to translate the ‘Social Contract with the Filipino People’ into consistent policies and programs, and considering the need to specify the resource allocation of the national government to ensure efficiency in public spending and implement effective government policies, programs and projects.”

The memorandum is pursuant to Section 9, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which mandates that the economic and planning agency of the of the Government shall implement continuing integrated and coordinated programs and policies for national development after consultations with appropriate public agencies, various private sectors, and local government units, the order stated.

The MTPDP which shall be submitted to the NEDA Board and Legislative Executive Advisory Council (LEDAC) by December this year, shall contain the basic elements of “development goals and objectives; strategic policy framework to attain such goals and objectives; and strategy planning matrix, a list of result-based priority sectoral activities, and the necessary supportive legislations.

“All departments, offices and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporation, shall draw inputs from their respective regional offices. The regional development concerns of the various departments, offices and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations, must be consistent with the regional development plan,” the MC No. 3 stated.

Malacanang said that “all plans of the local government units shall be consistent with the regional development strategies, physical framework, and local needs.”

It also directed that all sectors of society, public or private, shall be consulted to the fullest to obtain their opinions and positions on matters related to the formulation of the MTPDP.

“The planning guidelines to be followed in the formulation of the plans and programs shall be issued by the NEDA Secretariat and shall be made an integral part of this Circular. The Department of Budget and Management shall provide the funds necessary for the attainment of the objectives of this Circular, subject to the usual accounting and auditing requirements,” the memorandum said. (PCOO/PIA)