Palace declares June 30 a special non-working holiday

MALACAÑANG issued Proclamation No. 2085 on Thursday declaring June 30, 2010 a special non-working holiday to enable Filipinos to witness the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Benigno Aquino III.

The oath taking and inaugural address of Aquino, the 15th Philippine president, will be held at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park (formerly Luneta) in Manila is expected to be simple, but star-studded. A celebration later on in the day will be held at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

Aquino is slated to fetch Arroyo from Malacañang. When they arrive at the Quirino Grandstand, Arroyo will be given arrival honors.

The 2 presidents will shake hands and then Arroyo will make her exit.

According to inaugural spokesperson Manolo Quezon, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles will read the proclamation.

Vice President-elect Jejomar “Jojo” Binay will then take his oath, followed by Aquino.

A 21-gun salute to the new commander-in-chief will follow and then he will deliver his inaugural address. (PIA-Bohol)

Arroyo rejects Lakas offer to run for House Speaker

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has rejected an offer to be the candidate of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD for Speaker in the House of Representatives, according to Presidential Political Affairs Adviser Prospero Pichay Jr.

In a news briefing last Wednesday in Malacanang, Pichay said the President instead wants to play a role similar to that of Sonia Gandhi who heads a powerful congress party in India but not necessary holding a high position in government.

President Arroyo according to Pichay, would rather let the party choose from among the members of Lakas-Kampi-CMD their candidate for Speaker. Pichay said the President was cool to the party offer, despite the urging of many party members in the House of Representatives.

Arroyo, an incoming Pampanga congresswoman, heads Lakas-Kampi-CMD and has been considered top candidate for Speakership. The party has yet to agree however on who to field for the Speakership.

Pichay expressed confidence that a Lakas candidate would get the Speakership, saying they still have the number. (PIA-Bohol)

PGMA’s breastfeeding program ushers new direction

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s policies and programs increased the exclusive breastfeeding rate almost four times and ushered in a new direction for breastfeeding as an important part of public healthcare and national development.

Dra. Elvira Henares-Esguerra, founding president of Children for Breastfeeding Inc. (CfB), said the President’s compassion and political will saved breastfeeding from the brink of extinction, reversing 20 years of frustration from among its advocates.

The Chief Executive received last Monday a copy of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) promoting the importance of breastfeeding between the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and technology (DOST) and the Children for Breastfeeding Inc. (CfB). The MOU was presented to her by Esguerra and PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya in simple ceremonies last Monday morning at Malacanang’s Rizal Hall.

Esguerra said the MOU further promotes researches in breastfeeding that include the intake of virgin coconut oil for breastfeeding mothers to increase the anti-microbial properties of human breast milk.

In 2005, the President issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1113 promulgating the yearly celebration of World Breastfeeding Week every August 1-7. (PIA-Bohol)

May 2010 is National Census Month

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed Proclamation No. 2028, which declares May this year as National Census Month.

For the declaration, the President cited Batas Pambansa Blg. 72, which provides for the taking of an integrated census every 10 years beginning in 1980 and the requirement for an up-to-date and comprehensive data of the population at the local levels.

This is also in line with the national government’s thrust to decentralize functions to the local government units (LGUs)

President Arroyo enjoined all departments and other government agencies to implement and execute the operational plans, directives and order for the nationwide conduct of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH).

The National Statistics Office (NSO) is the lead agency in the conduct of the 2010 CPH that shall commence on May 17.

The census will take an inventory of the total population and housing units in the country and collect information about their characteristics.

The data that will be collected by the undertaking will be useful in the formulation of policies, plans and programs of the government relative to the delivery of basic health and social services to target beneficiaries and the general public, in determining business opportunities and industry status, in research and development, and in academic studies.

More specifically, data obtained from the census provides government basis for redistricting and apportionment of congressional seats, allocation of resources and revenues, and creation of political and administrative units.

The Philippines population was 76.5 million as of May 1, 2000 based on the 2000 CPH.

In 2007, a census of population (POPCEN 2007) was conducted by the NSO in order to get an updated population count for all barangays to serve as basis for the Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) of the LGUs, among others.

Presidential Proclamation No. 1489 issued on April 16, 2008 made the results of POPCEN 2007 official and the country’s population was placed at 88,574,614 persons as of August 1, 2007.

The NSO will submit to the President of the Philippines for proclamation the population counts by barangay based on the 2010 CPH before the end of the year.

These data will be made available in print and electronic copies. (PIA-Bohol)

Disabled gets more benefits

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday signed the amended Magna Carta for Disabled Persons which directs local government units to establish a “Persons with Disability Affairs Office” (PDAO) to ensure the implementation of programs and services for persons with disabilities in every province, city and municipality nationwide.

Mrs. Arroyo signed the Republic Act No. 10070, a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3560 and House Bill No. 1387, on April 6.

Under the amended law, the local government units are ordered to promote the formation of organizations of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in their respective areas. The law also encouraged the national agencies and the LGUs to enter into joint ventures with organizations or associations of PWDs “to explore livelihood opportunities and other undertakings that shall enhance the health, physical fitness and the economic and social well-being of PWDs.”

Republic Act No. 10070 also called for the appointment of a qualified PWD to assume as a PWD affairs officer to manage and oversee the operations of the PDAO.

Among the responsibilities of the appointed PWD affairs officer are: formulate and implement policies, plans and programs for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs; represent PWDs in meetings of local development councils and other special bodies; and ensure that the policies, plans and programs for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs are funded by both the national and local government.

The Amended Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on January 18 and January 26, respectively this year. (PIA-Bohol)