11 APRIL 2012 .

bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Aquino issues Proclamation No. 362 declaring as official the 2010 population has reached 92.34 million
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Malacanang assures government will conduct thorough investigation of recent bomb blast in North Cotabato
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Malacanang says government to assist families of Filipino seafarers killed in Iran
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Aquino urges Filipinos to join government efforts to effect judicial reforms
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Aquino directs AFP and Philippine Navy to monitor activities in Scarborough Shoal
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) Aquino to welcome Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in Malacañang Thursday

Aquino issues Proclamation No. 362 declaring as official the 2010 population has reached 92.34 million
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared that the official population of the Philippines as of 2010 has reached 92.34 million as determined by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Based on the 2010 Census of Population and Housing conducted by the NSO, the total population of the Philippines as of May 1, 2010 is 92,337,852.

The census counts were made official with the signing by President Aquino of Proclamation No. 362 on March 30, 2012.

The 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) was undertaken by the NSO in May to June 2010 pursuant to Commonwealth Act 591 and Batas Pambansa Blg. 72.

Commonwealth Act No. 591, which was approved on August 19, 1940, authorized the then Bureau of the Census and Statistics (now the National Statistics Office or NSO) to collect by enumeration, sampling or other methods and statistics and other information concerning the population, and to conduct, for statistical purposes, investigations and studies of social and economic conditions in the country, among others.

Batas Pambansa Blg. 72 further accorded the NSO the authority to conduct population censuses every ten years beginning in 1980, without prejudice to the undertaking of special censuses of agriculture, industry, commerce, housing, and other sectors as may be approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

"Section 9 of Executive Order No. 121 (s. 1987), otherwise known as the “Reorganization Act of the Philippine Statistical System,” declared that the NSO shall be the major statistical agency responsible for generating general purpose statistics and for undertaking such censuses and surveys as may be designated by the National Statistical Coordination Board," the Chief Executive said.

The 2010 Census of Population and Housing was conducted with the aim to count the number of residents in the country and their available housing units.

The NSO revealed that the 2010 population is higher by 15.83 million compared to the 2000 population of 76.51 million. In 1990, the total population was 60.70 million.

The Philippine population increased at the rate of 1.90 percent annually, on the average, during the period 2000-2010. This means that there were two persons added per year for every 100 persons in the population.

Population censuses are held every 10 years beginning in 1980.

The NSO is the major statistical agency responsible for generating general purpose statistics and conducting censuses and surveys as may be designated by the National Statistical Coordination Board. (js)

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Malacanang assures government will conduct thorough investigation of recent bomb blast in North Cotabato
 
Malacanang assured the people that the government will conduct a thorough investigation to bring to justice those responsible behind the recent bomb blast in North Cotabato expressing disappointment over the act of violence against the civilian population.

In a regular press briefing in Malacanang, Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda condemned the irresponsible acts of violence perpetuated by some groups that has adversely affected innocent individuals.

“Any act of violence against the civilian population is an act that is always condemnable and certainly we will look into the incident,” Lacierda said.

He said that the administration will coordinate with Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo to look into the incident and the possible government assistance that can be given to those who were affected.

“We will investigate first… we will have to defer to Secretary Robredo as to the status and we will ask him if we can provide any assistance to those who were affected, injured and slain in that bombing incident… certainly we condemn the bombing,” Lacierda stressed.

Despite the recent bomb blast in the southern Philippine province, Lacierda said the scheduled energy summit will still push through to discuss and formulate solutions to the power situation in the area.

“Tuloy po yung summit sa Biyernes, hindi po magbabago yun,” Lacierda said.

Initial reports from the regional military and police officials revealed that two passengers were killed while five others were injured following an explosion inside a commercial bus in the southern Philippine province of North Cotabato.

The reports also said that the explosion occurred at 10:25 a.m. when the Cagayan de Oro-bound Rural Transit bus (with body number 2922), bearing the license plate number KVS 740, reached Carmen Terminal in the said province in Mindanao. (jcl/3:17 p.m.)

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Malacanang says government to assist families of Filipino seafarers killed in Iran
 
Malacanang extended its condolences to the families of two Filipino seafarers who died in a rescue effort in Iran after their vessel was hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of India last month.

The Palace also promised assistance to the families of the seafarers.

“We condole with the families of the two Filipino who were unfortunately slain in that rescue attempt. But our understanding is that there will be assistance provided to them. So, we are grateful that we are able to secure the release of our Filipino seamen,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the victims were among the 10 Filipino crew members of the carrier MV Eglantine hijacked by Somali pirates. The Iranian-owned vessel was seized by Somali pirates off the coast of India last March 26.

When the Iranian navy launched a rescue operation, the pirates allegedly used crewmen as human shields, the DFA said.

Although the rescuers were able to free eight Filipino seamen from their captors, the two Filipino crewmen died--one of a gunshot wound in the head and the other of suffocation at the engine room.

Iranian commandos were also able to capture 12 Somali pirates who hijacked the bulk carrier.

The surviving crew members will arrive in Manila on Wednesday, April 11. The repatriation of the deceased, however, is still being worked out by the Philippine embassy in Iran, the DFA said.

The shipping company also made an assurance that it will provide sufficient financial compensation to the families of the deceased, the DFA added. (as/3:08pm)

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Aquino urges Filipinos to join government efforts to effect judicial reforms
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III called on all Filipinos to join the government in its efforts to implement widespread reforms in the judiciary, saying that it is the responsibility of the citizenry to ensure a just and free society for the next generation.

The President made the call in his speech after he was conferred the Doctor of Laws degree, Honoris Causa, by the Centro Escolar University at the Manila Hotel on Wednesday.

He said it was high time to change the old image of the judiciary that has been known to favor the rich, the slow pace of hearing and resolving cases, as well as the seemingly indifference of court employees to the performance of their duties.

“Ito po mismo ang nais nating baguhin. Isang malawakang reporma ang nais nating mangyari hindi lamang sa mabagal na sistema sa mga bulwagan ng korte sa bansa kundi sa kaisipan ng bawat kawani ng hudikatura mula sa mga huwes, abogado’t clerk of court partikular na sa pagtupad nila sa kanilang mga tungkulin,” the President said.

“Nais lang nating masiguro na pag may nagsampa ng kaso nakatira man sa bahay na bato o nakasilong lang sa tagpi-tagping yero, makakatanggap siya ng desisyon na hindi lalagpas sa dalawang taon at ang timbangan ng katarungan ay papanig lamang sa kung ano ang makatuwiran,” he added.

The President said it was the duty of all Filipinos to work towards ensuring that we have a judiciary that dispenses fair and just rulings.

“Tungkulin natin manindigan para sa isang sistemang pangkatarungan na may katiyakan ---isang hukuman kung saan ang inosente ay lalabas na inosente at ang lumabag sa batas ay siguradong mapananagot,” the President strssed.

“Nasa atin po bilang mamamayan ang gawing sistemang makatarungan ang sistemang pangkatarungan,” he said.

The President likewise called on the Filipino citizenry to join him in working towards achieving a fair and just society for the next generation of Filipinos.

“Samahan niyo ako. Manindigan tayo at makilahok upang maabot natin ang tunay na hustisya sa ating lipunan at para makasiguro na isang makatarungang Pilipinas ang maipamamana natin sa susunod na salinlahi,” the President concluded. (rck)

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Aquino directs AFP and Philippine Navy to monitor activities in Scarborough Shoal
 
Following the sighting of several fishing vessels believed to be of Chinese origin in the vicinity of the Philippines’ Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal last Sunday, April 8, President Benigno S. Aquino III has directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Navy to step up its monitoring activities in line with its enforcement of the Philippine Fisheries Code and marine environment protection laws.

In an interview after being conferred the Doctor of Laws Degree, Honoris Causa, by the Centro Escolar University at the Manila Hotel on Wednesday, the President said he directed the AFP and the Philippine Navy in order to assert our sovereignty over the shoal.

“Ang importante diyan mapangalagaan natin ang ating sovereignty. Hindi natin pwede ipamigay ‘yan at wala tayong aasahan kundi ang sarili natin,” the President said.

“Kaalinsunod ‘non, kinausap natin lahat ng mga kinauukulan—ang ating Sandatahang Lakas pati na rin ang Philippine Coast Guard—para maliwanag ‘yung tinatawag na rules of engagement para matiyak na walang karahasan na mangyayari diyan,” he added.

The Panatag Shoal is an integral part of Philippine territory. The Shoal is 124 nautical miles from the nearest basepoint in Zambales Province. It is within the Philippines’ 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, in a statement released on Wednesday said that the Philippine Navy had deployed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) from Palawan to Northern Luzon waters on April 8, 2012 to protect the marine environment and resources in the Panatag Shoal and to assert the Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights over the area as a responsible coastal state.

In the course of its patrol, PF-15 confirmed the presence of the eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored inside the lagoon of the shoal. The Philippine Navy vessel remained in the vicinity of the shoal for continuous monitoring of the fishing vessels.

In the morning of April 10, Tuesday, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, in accordance with the established rules of engagement, dispatched a boarding team to inspect the fishing vessels and collect photos and other evidence of their catch. The inspection team reported that large amounts of illegally collected corals, giant clams and live sharks were found inside the compartments of the first fishing vessel that was boarded by the Philippine Navy team.

The BRP Gregorio del Pilar later reported that two Chinese maritime surveillance ships identified as Zhonggou Haijian 75 and Zhonggou Haijian 84 managed to sail at the mouth of the Shoal, placing themselves between PF-15 and the eight Chinese fishing vessels, thus preventing the arrest of the erring Chinese fishermen.
This situation has remained unchanged as of Wednesday morning, April 11.

To seek a diplomatic solution, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario communicated with Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing on Tuesday evening, April 10, that the Panatag Shoal is an integral part of the Philippine territory and the Philippine Navy is enforcing Philippine laws on the Shoal, which is within the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf of the country.

Furthermore, Secretary del Rosario has invited Ambassador Ma to the DFA Wednesday morning for further discussion of this issue. (rck)

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Aquino to welcome Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in Malacañang Thursday
 
President Bengino S. Aquino III will welcome Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, who will be conducting a two-day State Visit to the Philippines from April 12 to 13.

The President will accord Bryce the traditional welcome given by Malacañang to visiting Heads of State which includes the full military honors and a 21-gun salute on the palace grounds Thursday morning after which a State Dinner will then be hosted by the President in Her Excellency’s honor.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that aside from meeting with the President, Bryce will also undertake site visits of the Conditional Cash Transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the BRACE (Building the Resilience and Awareness of Metro Manila Communities to Natural Disaster and Climate Change Impacts) program of the Australian Agency for International Aid (AusAID).

Bryce’s visit, her first as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, is expected to further strengthen the vibrant and dynamic partnership between the two countries that have spanned for 66 years. (rck)

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