DOLE Sec. Baldoz graced opening of 1st Career Fair at the Eastwood City

Shot of Eastwood City in the Libis area of Que...
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has cited the private sector for its effort to create better access to job opportunities and to contribute actively to employment generation through the conduct of job fairs.
Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the 1st Career Fair at the Eastwood City complex, the labor and employment chief said that the private sector has been the real engine of the economy in creating jobs.
In her message, Baldoz encouraged jobseekers, companies and organizers of the job fair to lin up with the DOLE’s nationwide network of Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) found in local governments and schools to facilitate better job and skills matching processes and results.
To facilitate hiring during job fairs, Baldoz advised jobseekers to have the self-confidence and all pertinent documents and requirements ready, adding that they should not be discouraged if found unqualified, but should instead pursue appropriate skills retooling and upgrading.
Baldoz also encouraged the participating companies to hire on-the-spot (HOTS) more qualified jobseekers. At the same time, she urged jobseekers and companies to link up with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the DOLE’s agency in charge of HRD, to avail of appropriate training to ensure that they are qualified for jobs available in the growing call center and other industries of the country.
Baldoz was joined in the job fair by two executive officials of the organizers, Megaworld first vice president for business development Jericho Go, and commercial division head Mr. Kevin Tan.
According to the organizers, while the career fair did not target a definite quantity of opportunities, they were pleased that more than 20 top-line companies decided to join. On top of call center jobs, opportunities from a diverse array of industries abound, including customer care, banking, digital services, information and communications technology, food service, real estate and resorts, and tourism.
With and The Philippine Star as co-sponsors, the more than 20 companies that participated in the fair were Acquire Asia Pacific, Concentrix-Synnex Corporation, Hinduja Global Solutions, Banco de Oro, Chinabank Corporation, Citibank, VCustomer, Canon, Dell Inc., HP, IBM, Siemens, Stream Global, Thakral One it, Yell Adworks, Coca-Cola Bottlers Phil. Inc., Emperador Distillers Inc., McDonald’s, Resorts World Manila, and also Megaworld Corporation.
Following Baldoz’s message, Megaworld FVP Go thanked the Labor Secretary for her presence during the occasion signifying government’s unwavering support for jobs growth in the country’s industries.
Go said that the 1st Career Fair is a hallmark event for the thriving Eastwood City, as he recalled that the booming area was built by jobs.
“Eastwood City began with only some 1,000 workers,” Go said, adding that, “now it is approaching 35,000 to 40,000 workers and we are looking at the range of 50,000 productive people soon as the complex expands alongside other investments in the metropolis and the Philippines.”

DOTC’s 5-year infra projects will create jobs in line with PNoy's stimulus package

Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas said that the DOTC’s five-year infrastructure projects will create thousands of jobs in consonance with President Aquino’s government stimulus package, which aims to help Filipinos keep their jobs and reduce poverty.
In a speech delivered during the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 37th Philippine Business Conference and Exposition Thursday at the Manila Hotel, Roxas said the DOTC’s plan to improve the country’s transport infrastructure will result in lower costs of moving people and goods throughout the archipelago.
“When completed, the transport infrastructure projects will spur jobs creation as a large number of direct jobs will be generated. That, along with indirect employment in the insurance, finance, packaging, travel and tourism services, and manufacturing sectors, which are all interlinked with the transport sector,” Roxas said.
“The President’s P72-billion stimulus package is designed to keep growth levels up by preserving investment momentum,” Roxas said. “The Department’s master plan will build the enduring impact of the stimulus package by clearing the arteries of commerce and mobility.”
Roxas again highlighted DOTC’s half-a-trillion 5-year plan in his presentation, stressing that the infrastructure projects will adhere to President Aquino’s 5Rs—the Right project, at the Right cost, at the Right quality, with the Right people, and Right on time.

Php6 billion economic package for MRT and LRT rehabilation -- Roxas

A P6 billion transport stimulus package for the rehabilitation of the LRT and MRT is being worked out by DOTC as part of the Aquino Administration’s P72 billion fiscal pump-priming aimed at shielding the local economy from the European financial crunch.
DOTC secretary Mar Roxas told the Philippine Business Conference Thursday that projects that will have an immediate effect of reducing poverty nationally and improving countryside economic condition will be a priority in this fiscal build-up.
“President Aquino, in his dialogues with President Obama and China President Hu Jintao, as well as international business leaders mid this year began to sense the turbulence in the world’s financial market, so he directed his economic team on a stimulus package,” said Roxas.
“It will accelerate government spending across all departments from both infrastructure and poverty alleviation’s point of view. It will help insulate our economy from the turbulence abroad as well as increasingly apparent weakness in the economies of our major trading partners.”
In order to decongest the trains, the government plans to acquire new light rail vehicles (LRV) or the coaches for MRT (SM North to Taft line), while also trying to resolve the breakdown and service interruption problems of the rails.
“Older LRVs are not running, so we need to fix these, but that’s one each time, and one each direction. This means we can’t pick up one train from an LRT and bring it to another LRT because each of them has different computer systems,” he said.
“We’re studying the purchase of LRVs. MRT’s design capacity is only for 360,000 passengers a day, but its actual load is at 488,000 passengers, so it’s really overloaded. That’s why there’s a breakdown almost every day,” he said.
Collectively, the MRT and LRT lines 1 (from Caloocan to Edsa through Taft Avenue) and LRT 2 (from Santolan to Recto) ferry around one million people daily.
“As a window to see how messed up rail transport planning has been, (I’m not pointing fingers here, but this is a fact), all three lines have different physical specifications—meaning sizes, engines, signaling systems, types of LRVs or cars. There is no interchangeability or economy of scale at all,” he said.
Regarding the government’s plan to provide jeepney operators a loan for the conversion of their engine from diesel to lower-priced LPG, he said the DOTC, through a University of the Philippines-commissioned work, is studying its economic feasibility.
“DOTC and the jeepney transport sector are looking at the conversion itself. We’re calculating the energy co-efficient because an initial study shows that one glass of diesel is equivalent to 1.5 glasses of LPG. The power or energy contained is not 1:1, so where’s the savings?”, he asked.
The European fiscal crisis that started in 2007-2008 involves a crisis of rising sovereign debt as the governments of European countries sought to aid their banks.
An alarm in European, and consequently international, financial markets ensued due to rising public budget deficit and debt levels in these countries. Fiscal rescue packages have since been released to Greece, Portugal, and Ireland.

Milagros Magsaysay spotted the "dead" leader of the gambling syndicate

The "dead" leader of the gambling syndicate that defrauded Philippine casinos from P160 million to P400 million has been reportedly spotted at the Cagayan Export Zone Authority, according to House Assistant Minority Leader Milagros Magsaysay (1st District, Zambales).

With this development, the House Committee on Games and Amusement will continue its investigation on the scam, Magsaysay said, adding that the panel will summon Lui and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) officials to the next hearing.

"There is a need to determine the real amount that Lui’s syndicate got from the government," Magsaysay said.

"Government officials should also be made accountable and the PAGCOR insiders who may be in connivance with the syndicate should be held responsible," Magsaysay added. 

The committee may also summon Lui's alleged girlfriend, Maria Zerra Hao, a cigarette candy vendor inside the casino, and his assistant Redin Capilan to provide information on Lui’s gambling and other activities in the country, according to Magsaysay. 

Magsaysay, who is awaiting the report on Ben Lui case which PAGCOR promised to submit to the committee on October 10, 2011, surmised that both Hao and Capilan could be in hiding for security reasons as they know so much about Lui's activities.

Lui, whose real name is Loo Choon Beng, a Singaporean lawyer, was caught cheating along with his cohorts at a baccarat table in the PAGCOR Airport Casino using concealed sophisticated communications devices last May 8. 

He was arrested along with the other members of the syndicate and they were charged with syndicated estafa at the Parañaque Regional Trial Court. The Department of Justice, however, downgraded the syndicated estafa charge to simple estafa, allowing the suspects to post bail.

Despite the hold-departure order issued against them, the suspects were able to slip out of the country. Lui flew to China where he allegedly died last August. 

"As a result of the cheating done in its casinos, the State thru PAGCOR was deprived of its rightful revenues which could have been used to fund government projects," said Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (Lone District, Dasmariñas City), author of House Resolution 1588 that prompted the committee probe.

PAGCOR had said it lost some P160 million to the syndicate but other news reports estimated the losses to be at about P400 million, which undoubtedly will not be recovered due to the flight of the members of the syndicate, according to Barzaga.

Barzaga said there are insinuations that some PAGCOR and government officials are in cahoots leading to the flight of the syndicate members and enabling them to evade criminal prosecution. 

Such allegations if found true are of a very serious nature as these deprive the State of hundreds of millions of pesos which were supposed go to the national coffers, Barzaga said. 

Spokesperson Lacierda commended PNP on Bacoor Cavite Hostage-taking

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Statement of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:
On the hostage taking in Cavite
[Released on October 13, 2011]
We commend our police forces in Cavite for the timely and peaceful resolution to the hostage-taking situation in Bacoor this Thursday evening. It serves as proof of the effectiveness of the reforms that our police forces have undertaken in their operational procedures, and the upgrading of their equipment.
In a seamless execution of protocol, the provincial police immediately applied a dragnet operation to seal off escape routes even as they informed and assembled the Crisis Management Committee. Specialized units such as a Special Weapons and Tactics Team, public safety officers, and medical personnel were likewise on-site within a few minutes, while fire trucks had been put on standby in the area and a police line was put up. The negotiating team was able to establish contact with the hostage-takers within 40 minutes. The leadership of Police Senior Superintendent John Bulalacao, who served as ground commander, and the competence of Superintendent Redrigo Maranan, who served as negotiator, were instrumental to the success of the operation. Due to the professionalism of our police forces, the crisis was resolved in a little over two hours.

House approved benefits for barangay volunteer workers

World Tour 2011- Barangay Nova Proper Visit with U...The House of Representatives has approved on third reading the bill providing benefits for barangay volunteer workers to strengthen and enhance their skills to become effective guardians of peace, security and safely.

House Bill 5228 provides allowances to barangay volunteers not lower than P1,500 per month and shall be charged to the budget of the Barangay, from 80% of its annual Internal Revenue Allotment and income from other sources, subject to the availability of funds.

The bill authored by Rep. Loreto Leo Ocampos (2nd District, Misamis Occidental) seeks to grant various benefits and incentives to volunteers, which shall include Philhealth coverage, free legal services and trainings and seminars on human rights, disaster response and risk reduction in recognition of their services.

Ocampos said the proposed act shall cover all members of accredited civilian volunteer organizations (CVOs) and all other volunteers who perform regular governance of service functions in the barangay.

"It is the declared policy of the State to enhance and promote the social and economic status of barangay volunteers and protect their rights and promote their welfare," Ocampos stressed.

The measure to be known as the "Barangay Volunteer Workers' Benefit Act," clearly defines the qualifications of a Barangay volunteer and allows the volunteer to continue with community work for as long as these are maintained, and his performance is considered commendable by Barangay officials.

The bill provides for security of term of office of volunteers following a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the volunteer, the civilian volunteer organization of which he is a member and the Barangay Chairperson.

Likewise, it lists the duties and obligations of a Barangay volunteer and exempts the payment for allowances from the 45 to 55% cap on Personal Services.

Under the bill, the rules and regulations to effectively implement the measure shall be promulgated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), National Liga ng mga Barangay and Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs).

Also, the Sangguniang Barangay is mandated to review every incentive or benefit given to volunteers.

The co-authors of the bill are Reps. Benjamin Asilo (1st District, Manila), Edwin Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque), Catalina Leonen-Pizarro (Party-list, ABS), Reena Concepcion Obillo (Party-list, Una ang Pamilya), Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Christopher Co (Party-list, Ako Bicol) and Salvador Cabaluna III (Party-list, 1-CARE). 

House proposed for the expanded of national budget on 2012.

Former House Speaker Sonny Bemonte
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen - 

Thus, in record time and despite many contentious issues which we successfully resolved, we finalized and approved yesterday the 2012 proposed national budget. Through this budget, we seek to realize two things: first,efficiently fund social programs such as the expanded Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program that nurture the potential of those previously neglected and currently marginalized, and second, stifle the source of and the opportunity for corruption through an itemized budget. When we return in session after a brief break, we hope to finally enact, with the Senate's concurrence, a national appropriations act for next year. The timely passage of our national budget should engender stability amidst the great uncertainty brought about by developments outside the country. 

We likewise approved a number of significant legislation. We passed on third reading the Hazardous and Radioactive Waste Management Act as well as the measure banning plastic bags thinner than 15 microns. These twin measures are essential in protecting our environment, the destruction of which cause greater damage on the poor who have less resources and therefore lower adaptive capacity.

We also passed on third reading the measure implementing open learning through distance education. Distance education is an alternative system of learning which provides wider access to quality higher education. It is designed to lower the cost of education through, among others, digital interconnection. This measure will therefore support our quest to further develop our human resources, and improve the efficiency and employability of the members of our labor force.

Earlier, today, approved the bill fixing the country's maritime zone.

Last Monday, we also approved the bicameral conference committee report on the measure imposing a fixed term for ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. By doing so, we put a lid on the revolving door policy which rendered insecure our national security. 

Apart from our accomplishment in plenary work, our committees continued to act on a number of our legislative priorities. Their diligence and perseverance allowed us to approve 208 measures on third reading, and eight bills approved on second reading, including the proposed Creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology which should further help boost the growth of our Business Processing and Outsourcing Sector. The BPO sector has become an important contributor to the employment of our people, and a pillar of our economy. We also adopted 166 resolutions.

There are also four priority measures for Committee Report Preparation, 25 priority measures approved at the Committee level, another 25 priority measures for or under technical work group deliberation and 20 priority measures for or under committee deliberations.

With the conclusion of our first Legislative Summit last September 29, we hope to accomplish more as we complete our term. The Summit gave us an opportunity to explore and thresh out common legislative priorities with the Senate, and to reduce deadlocks between our chambers. It also gave us an opportunity to discuss the possibility of amending certain economic provisions of our Constitution in order to make our economy more competitive and responsive to the needs of the present globalizing world.

As we adjourn therefore, I once again thank our deputy speakers and majority and minority leaders for their assistance in facilitating our work in plenary.

I give special mention to the Hon. Joseph Abaya, Chair of the Committee on Appropriations, and his able Vice Chairs, for competently sponsoring and shepherding the budget. 

Thank you as well to all our members whose presence and participation has made it possible for this House to accomplish so much in so little a time. 

To the Secretariat, House officials, and congressional staff who unselfishly shared their time and skills, we also owe our debt of gratitude.

And to the Filipino people who continue to give us their trust and confidence, makakaasa kayo sa aming patuloy na pagpupunyagi para sa ikabubuti ng ating bayan. 

Thank you and a pleasant evening to us all.

Develop rehabilitation plan to aid flood victims -- Sen. Alan Cayetano

Helicopter supplying flood victims relief goods
Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the government to develop a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to aid flood victims recover from the devastation brought about by typhoons.

He cited the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's (NDRRMC) assessment that pegged the recent damages by the recent two successive typhoons estimated at P15 billion in properties and a death toll of 102.

Pedring affected 651, 899 families in 3,545 villages in 312 towns and 42 cities in 35 provinces while Quiel affected 260, 216 families in 1,720 villages in 135 towns and 10 cities in 17 provinces.

While the senator commended the efforts of government officials who took part in handing out relief goods to those who were hit hardest by the typhoons, he also said that the government should do more to enable the victims to fully recover from the calamities.

"What is the rehabilitation plan of the government? Kung anak mo 'yan, sapat ba na sabihin na, 'Anak, nawala ang buo mong negosyo, ito ang limang libo'? Hindi. Ang iisipin mo, 'Anak, mag-meeting tayo. Paano mo ba mapapatayo ang negosyo mo ulit para makabangon ka?'" he said.

The minority leader called on the Aquino administration to follow the example set by neighboring Asian countries and institute more social service programs like a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to aid victims of calamities.

"As we commemorate the International Day for Disaster Reduction, I think the government needs to ask itself: "Were we able to bring a real rehabilitation program or did we just stop at the distribution of relief goods?'" he said.

Cayetano pointed out that the task of fully equipping the country to handle the average of 20 typhoons includes both the preparation for these typhoons and the rehabilitation of the lives of the victims if there are any.

"It is essential that we do not use piecemeal solutions to solve this widespread problem. This means that all our actions now must be part of a well-thought bigger picture which is complete disaster preparedness for the whole country," he said.

Sen. Angara said Intensify Gov't Spending In 2012.

Government spending in the United States for F...
Senator Edgardo J. Angara tasked Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad to ensure efficient and stimulative government spending in 2012 and avoid idling government funds in state coffers.

"This year, the government became too shy to spend most of it funds--and this unfortunately influenced the private sector to likewise keep their money in their pockets," he explained during today's budget hearing.
Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, advised the leaders of the DBM to channel the government resources into initiatives that will help minimize unemployment.

"We must intensify spending in the next fiscal year and make sure that the bulk of it goes to job creators and job-multiplying infrastructure projects such as road building and housing construction," said Angara.

Citing statistics from the Department of Public Works and Highways, he said that 66 workers gain employment per kilometer of road constructed. Meanwhile, for every 100 jobs created in housing, 18 jobs are generated in ancillary industries.

The veteran senator and former president of the Philippine National Bank also suggested that perhaps, government spending can be decentralized.

"Why don't we assign some of these projects to the LGUs, who, in turn can tap the private contractors in their area to do the work. We can also approach the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Makati Business Club to help with classroom-building programs," he said.

PAGASA Typhoon "Ramon"moves toward Southern Mindoro, Calamian.

bagyong ramon 2011
MANILA, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tropical Depression "Ramon", after making its landfall over eastern Visayas, has maintained its strength as it moves toward Southern Mindoro and Calamian Group Area.
PAGASA weather forecaster Sonny Pajarilla told a press conference at noon on Wednesday at the PAGASA Forecasting Center in Quezon City that as of 10 a.m., "Ramon" was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 30 kilometers northeast of Roxas City at coordinates: 11.8°N, 122.9°E with maximum winds of 55 km per hour near the center.
"Ramon" is forecast to move west northwest at 19 kph toward Southern Mindoro and Calamian Group Area.
'Ramon's forecast positions by Thursday morning would be at 190 km. west of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro; by Friday morning at 420 km. west of Dagupan City and 560 km west of Laoag City on Friday evening out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
Pajarilla said there are reported flooding in Roxas City and Kalibo, Aklan and that PAGASA has issued flood advisories to Regions 7, 6, 8 and MIMAROPA.
PAGASA administrator Dr. Nathaniel T. Servando said although "Ramon" has weakened, a storm warning signal is still hoisted and it is still risky for fishermen and other seafarers to go out to the sea.
Servando said it has no more effect over Metro Manila since its course is northwestward towards the West Philippine Sea.
Signal No. 1 (45-60 kph winds) is still raised over Marinduque, Mindoro Provinces, Romblon, Southern Quezon, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Albay, Burias Island, Ticao Island, Masbate, Northern Palawan, Calamian Group of Islands, Panay Island, Guimaras Island and Northern Negros Occidental. Storm warning signal over Mindanao is lowered.
Residents in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides.
Estimated rainfall amount is from 5-25 mm per hour (heavy) within the 400 km. diameter of the tropical depression.
Meanwhile, on the dam status, Hydro-Meteorology Division hydrologist Danilo Flores said the trend of the dams is generally receding and that flooding is not expected because there is no tropical cyclone affecting the dam areas.

RDRRMC at lease 2,034 Passengers Stranded in Bicol ports, due to Tropical Depression "Ramon"


LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- At least 2,034 passengers were marooned since Tuesday in various major ports across Bicol after maritime authorities prevented all types of sea vessels to sail as storm warning signal no. 1 was hoisted over Bicol due to Tropical Depression "Ramon", the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) said Wednesday.

The “no sailing” policy also stranded 59 trucks, 20 cars, 51 passenger buses, 15 sea vessels and 15 motor bancas in the ports of Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Masbate and Catanduanes.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Bicol reported that as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, 1,407 or half of the stranded passengers, who were bound for the Visayas, were in the Matnog port in Sorsogon while the rest were stranded in the ports of Tabaco (150), Pioduran (191) all in Albay; Pilar (163), Bulan (25) in Sorsogon; Sasban (920), Pasacao (35) Masbate (30) and Catanduanes with only eight passengers.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, Albay PDRRMC chairperson, suspended classes in the elementary and secondary levels in schools in the third district of the province covering the towns of Guinobatan, Jovellar, Oas, Polangui, Pioduran, Libon and Ligao City, saying that these areas are prone to floods and landslides.

Salceda however said that classes in all levels in other areas (1st and 2nd districts) are not suspended.

US Ambassador Tomas apologizes to De Lima on sexual tourism

MANILA, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. has extended his apology to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima for his recent declaration that 40 percent or four out of every 10 foreign male tourists visiting the Philippines come here for "sex tourism."

In a one-page letter to De Lima dated October 11, 2011, Thomas said he regrets issuing the statement without any factual basis during his speech at a recent roundtable discussion on "Combating Human Trafficking in the Philippines" with the Philippine Judicial Academy, Court of Appeals (CA), and the U.S. DOJ Criminal Division.

"I deeply regret that my comments regarding human trafficking and sexual tourism in the Philippines have caused angst and misunderstanding. Clearly it was not my intent to insult Filipinos, a people who I have come to admire and respect," Thomas said in his letter.

"I should not have said that '40 percent of American males come to the Philippines for sexual tourism,' without the ability to confirm those statistics," he stressed.

"I want to assure you that the U.S. Embassy Manila will continue to work with your government to combat this modern day form of slavery... Working together with honest and dedicated officials, our two governments can end this global scourge," Thomas said.

The U.S. State Department's 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released in June this year removed the Philippines from its human trafficking watchlist following 21 convictions from July 2010 to March 2011. The TIP report covered 170 countries.

Had the Philippines remained in the watchlist, some US$ 700-800 million in U.S. humanitarian and non-trade aid would have been lost.

In his letter to De Lima, Thomas highlighted a project already underway between the U.S. 
Embassy and the DOJ for human trafficking victims.

"During our meetings this week, I shared our 2011-2012 Trafficking in Persons Plan and invited representatives from your office to join me during visits to shelters housing children who have been rescued from the horrors of sexual trafficking. Thank you for your support for our approach," Thomas said.

Many politicians and government officials have cried foul with the statement of the U.S. ambassador and they demanded that he explain his basis.

It can be recalled that Thomas claimed that the DOJ could back up his statistic since he is working closely with the DOJ in combating human trafficking.

The DOJ chairs the country's Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and is the lead agency in monitoring the implementation of Republic Act No. 9208, otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

Denying the DOJ had any statistic on tourists coming to the Philippines for sex, De Lima wrote a letter to Thomas on October 3, 2011 asking him to explain the basis for his comments.

PNoy Message on Youtube Philippines Launch (read by Sec. Ricky Carandang)

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
During the launch of YouTube Philippines
YouTube Philippines
[As read by Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon A. Carandang at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on October 13, 2011]
Mr. Julian Persaud, Managing Director for South East Asia, Google; Mr. Adam Smith, Director for Product Management at YouTube; Mr. Lito Nadal of RTVM; and other people from Google; friends; ladies and gentlemen:
Good morning.
First of all, let me convey my apologies that the President was not able to attend today. He had previously confirmed that he was actually very excited to attend but, as sometimes happens, last minute things come up then there were scheduling changes yesterday and so you are stuck with me. [Laughter]
Anyway, regardless, it is a pleasure for me to be here on behalf of the President to share his message with you on this occasion.
As consumers, Filipinos have always taken to technology like fish to water. To this day, Filipinos remain among the most active texters in the world, to the point of creating different and sometimes amusing text sub-languages. I once got a text from somebody that said, “w-r-u.” And I’m like: “What does this mean?” Today, I think most people would understand that means where are you.
The Filipino online community has had a very visible presence on many of the most well known avenues on the internet: how many of us has not had an account with Friendster, in its time—I bet some of you still do— and today, of course, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube?
Given the enthusiasm with which we Filipinos have taken to technology and the Internet, it’s not surprising that we rank as one of the highest number of YouTube users in the Asia Pacific region. As a people, we have learned to make the most of the voice YouTube has given the ordinary citizen: from sharing topics from the lighter side of life, such as a video of more than a thousand inmates from Cebu dancing to “Thriller,” to those that stir our social awareness, such as the different eyewitness videos that went viral in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy. That so many people have viewed these videos only affirm that the Filipino people have a strong voice on YouTube, and that the millions of others out there are willing to listen.  
I’m so happy to be here with you today, as we launch a localized version of YouTube—the first of its kind in South East Asia—tailor-made for the Philippines. YouTube Philippines aggregates Philippine-based content on YouTube—in effect customizing the YouTube experience for Filipinos. Category browse pages and featured videos will make it much easier to access content from and for Filipinos and for that matter, anyone in the world who is interested in the Philippines.
This is another affirmation the Filipino people have a strong presence in the cyber universe, and this innovation will allow us to more effectively share the things that matter to us with the rest of the world, from funny and touching moments in our lives, to eyewitness reports and testimonies of important events, to political and social matters.
I am happy to announce that the government of President Aquino is also harnessing this form of social media in order to engage our countrymen more actively. Today, we are also launching two premium YouTube Channels: the RTVM and the Official Gazette, which will make our government more accessible to the Filipino people by providing them with an online library of audio and video coverage of government activitiesamong other things.
There’s an estimated 90 million Filipinos living in our country and another 10 million scattered all over the world. As much as the President would like to personally reach out to them all, this simply is not physically possible. But through social media, most particularly the new RTVM and Official Gazette channels, Filipinos around the world can see and hear their government in action, and just as importantly, they can have another channel to make their voices heard.
The RTVM channel, for instance, will become a free and accessible means through which the Filipino people, or anyone interested in the Philippines, can watch the President’s public appearances. The Filipino living in Tokyo, who was not able to attend the President’s gathering with the Filipino community on his last visit, will soon be able to watch that event on the RTVM channel. What’s even better is that unlike before when videos are usually uploaded and viewed in parts, one entire video can now be accessed, because the premium YouTube channel platform sets no time limit for those uploaded videos. The RTVM channel will also feature videos of speeches, media interviews, and other events from its historical archives, which date back from 1987. When it’s all up and running, I’m sure we’ll all be excited to see it and it will be a valuable resource for anyone with an interest in our recent history.
The Official Gazette Channel, meanwhile, on the other hand, which is the “baby” of Undersecretary Quezon, will serve as the main portal for the video content of the Philippine government, such as infomercials and public service announcements from the Office of the President, as well as those of Cabinet members and their attached agencies.
These two channels will allow us to more effectively communicate what the Philippine government is doing, while we are doing it. Open and transparent governance has always been one of our priorities, and we have been actively exploring the ways through which social media can deepen democracy and make it more meaningful in our everyday lives. And so, knowing that it can be difficult for the ordinary Filipino to view his government as accessible and transparent, we are taking the first step in coming to you.
It’s my hope that this localized version of YouTube and that these two government channels will become instrumental in spurring the Filipino people to become more involved in governance, starting with familiarizing themselves with the issues.
In a time in which it has never been easier to reach millions, even billions of people in a few minutes, the Filipino people can indeed be a powerful force. Armed only with your cellphones, you have the ability to report problems, from relatively minor matters such as pothole-ridden roads in your district to bigger ones like the abuse of authority and corruption. You have the ability to tell the rest of the world your being part of the solution, whether by capturing your fellow Filipinos working together in relief efforts for typhoon victims, or by posting videos that show the inherent talents of the Filipino people when it comes to problem-solving. And, ultimately, you have the ability to become involved in shaping the history and culture of our country, in partnering with your government toward achieving lasting and inclusive progress here in our country.
And so, with this launch of a version of YouTube customized for the Filipino people, I invite you all to log in to the Internet, explore this domain. Whether in real life or in the virtual world, we must never forget we are part of a community. Let us use this resource not just to entertain ourselves but also to turn YouTube into the greatest classroom the planet has ever seen: where we can debate, discuss, analyze, and share both our problems and also the solutions to these problems.
Now, In connection with this, I’d also like to announce that President Aquino has agreed to take part in the Google-YouTube WorldView interview series, which has seen different world leaders and luminaries answering selected questions from people all over the world, during live interviews aired on YouTube. President Barack Obama of the U.S., Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain are some of the leaders who have participated in these interviews. Our president will be joining their ranks when he is interviewed on November 4th of this year—the first Asian Head of State to do so.
So, I’d like to invite you all to participate in this unique event. You can do so by submitting your questions via and by voting for the questions that you want answered beginning October 21st, or more simply you can watch the President’s interview as it airs on November 4 and take a quieter, although no less important role in the discussion by keeping yourself informed of the issues that will be addressed.
The power you have in your hand—the power of a single click, to choose the video you want to watch, to express your like or dislike for a video, and to type your comments on what you see—can change the world. We’ve seen that already this year in many parts of the world like in North Africa and the Middle East. So we do have all that power. Let’s make sure that we use it to make your country and our world, a better place.
Thank you, and good day.