Official Week in Review: April 7 – April 13, 1975

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April 7—

THE PRESIDENT gave the Philippine Coast Guard the sole authority to issue permits for salvaging derelicts and sunken vessels or wrecks, and the Bureau of Customs the sole authority to issue permits for salvaging cargoes carried by sunken vessels. Previously, both agencies had the power to issue permits for these purposes independent of each other, resulting in an overlapping of functions between the two agencies. No license or permit for salvage operations, however, shall be valid unless approved by the President. The President made the clear division of functions between the two agencies, through Letter of Instructions No. 263, directed to the Coast Guard commandant and the customs commissioner, “to promote simplicity, economy and efficiency in the government service and to provide a healthier economic atmosphere for the salvage operations business.”

THE GOVERNMENT has acquired ownership of Luzon Stevedoring Corporation, with the sale of 99.8 percent of the company’s outstanding shares of common stock to the Philippine National Oil Co. and the Land Bank. The purchase was consummated at signing ceremonies held at the Lusteveco’s main office at Port Area, Manila. PNOC Chairman and President Geronimo Z. Velasco signed the documents of sale in behalf of the buyers. Alberto M. K. Jamir, director and corporate secretary of Lusteveco, represented some 150 shareholders who sold 3,005,790 out of a total of 3,010,900 shares outstanding. In a statement, Chairman Velasco said that acquisition of said corporation by the PNOC will enhance the latter’s operational flexibility and assist in the rationalization of the petroleum industry. At the same time, the acquisition by the Land Bank of part ownership of Lusteveco is consistent with its policy of diversifying its asset portfolio, he added.

HOLDERS of doctor of philosophy degree (Ph. D.) in chemistry or their equivalent are now allowed to register as chemists without the need of examination. The new chemistry law, as provided-by Presidential Decree No. 683, recognizes the “long and rigorous training” of Ph. D. degree holders.

THE PRESIDENT received Ichiro Fujimoto, president of Kawasaki Steel Corp., who paid a courtesy call at Malacañang following his arrival here to inspect the progress of the work on the PI.5 billion iron ore sinter plant being set up by his company in Misamis Oriental. Secretary of Industry Vicente Paterno, concurrently chairman of the Board of Investment, who was present during the call, explained that the sinter plant, which is exclusively owned by the Kawasaki Steel Corp., will process iron ore from nearby countries, primarily Australia, mix it with. limestone from the Visayan islands and burn it into a sinter. This raw material will be shipped to blast furnaces in Japan to produce steel, Secretary Paterno said.

THE PRESIDENT received officials of the First National City Bank of New York, headed by George J. Vojta, executive vice president, who paid their respects at Malacañang. Mr. Vojta, who also heads the bank’s international banking group, informed the President that his company is inaugurating the Citibank Center building in Makati, Rizal, as a manifestation of faith and confidence in the future of the country. “You have done well,” Mr. Vojta informed the President, “and our chairman. has asked me to convey his congratulations and best wishes” FNCB, or Citibank, has reputedly the largest banking network in the world, with branches, subsidiaries and affiliates in 103 countries.

EXACTLY $159 million (PI.113 billion) in new foreign equity investment poured into various local enterprises last year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported. As registered with the Central Bank, last year’s new foreign equity investments bring to $335 million the total approved foreign investments since February 21, 1970. Of the $159 million, $146 million or 92 per cent was in cash, the NEDA said. Unremitted dividends, profits and loans and technical fees con­verted to equity amounted to $10 million or six per cent while investment’s in kind came to P3 million or two per cent of the total. Investments inwardly remitted amounted to $123 million, the NEDA reported. This represents an increase of 84 per cent over the previous year’s total of $103.32 million. The increase in foreign equity investments was registered during the year in spite of inflation, recession and rising prices of oil, the NEDA said. This was a result of a much improved business climate which includes improvements in peace and order, increased government support for industrial development through attractive and liberalized investment incentive measures, priority allocation of loans to the industrial sector and continuing government aid to industry the NEDA added.

THE GOVERNMENT has signed a P754 million loan, agreement with 55 electric cooperatives in a move to step up rural electrification in the country. Col. Pedro G. Dumol, acting administrator of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), said in a conference with the mass media and representatives of the business sector the amount includes funds for the procurement of §26.5 million worth of electrification equipment and materials. As of last fiscal year, Acting Administrator Dumol, said, 778 towns and 63 cities have been served with electricity by NEA cooperatives and private franchise holders. NEA cooperatives cover 122 towns and seven cities while private franchise holders have 656 towns and 56 cities, including the Greater Manila Area. Acting Administrator Dumol said the electrification in the country will be a continuing program as envisioned by Presidential Decree No. 40 and Letter of Instruction No. 38 which provides for the integration of private and municipal systems into electric cooperatives.

DEPARTMENT of Labor warned seamen applicants to refrain from dealing with unauthorized persons in their quest for employment aboard foreign-going vessels. The warning followed reports that certain persons and agencies were still entertaining seamen applications despite circulars instructing otherwise. Under the new Labor Code, only the National Seamen Board has the authority to recruit Filipino Seamen for employment aboard ocean-going vessels free of charge. Acting Labor Secretary Amado Inciong said any recruitment activity shall be ground for the revocation, suspension or cancellation of the license granted to recruiting shipping agents or representatives.

April 8—

THE PRESIDENT said that the greater monument which Filipinos can build in fulfillment of the dreams of the heroes who gave their lives in Bataan is a New Society where the people can live in freedom, peace and prosperity. At the unveiling of a Bataan Memorial erected at the center of the Ayala triangle in Makati, Rizal, the President pointed to the monument and stressed that it was not only a homage to the past but was also a symbol of the future. Depicting the gallantry, the struggle and the suffering that was Bataan, the memorial was of five bronze figures of mound representing the hills of Bataan where Filipino and American troops made their gallant stand against the invading Japanese forces in the early months of World War II. “Today, we are building a greater monument,” the President said. “As memorials like this remind us of the turbulence of war, they also remind us of the dangers that confront us while building a nation. If there be any leader who shrinks at the threat of the hooting crowd, then he must face the accusations of those men for whom this memorial is built.”

THE GOVERNMENT approved the exportation of four major Philippine products to Mainland China valued at $4,448 million (P29.59 million). The approval was made by the Department of Trade under the provisions of Executive Order No. 384 which set the guidelines for trade with socialist and communist countries. Trade Secretary Troadio T. Quiazon Jr. said the export to be made by the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), a semi-government trading agency, consists of copper concentrates, $1.7 million; crude coconut oil, $1.79 million; and sawn logs and plywood, $740,996.

April 9—

THE PRESIDENT and President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania pledged to promote closer cooperation and understanding for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the Philippines and Romania. The two heads of state exchanged pledges during the welcome ceremonies held at the Manila International Airport where the President and the First Lady led the official welcome for President and Madame Ceausescu, who are on a four-day state visit to the Philippines. In welcoming the visiting Romanian President, the President said the event marks the start of a new era for the further strengthening of the bonds of friendship and mutual understanding between the two countries which opened diplomatic relations only three years ago. The President said that with the visit, the two countries can now move into cooperation not only for mutual advancement and prosperity, but to advance the cause of peace and international understanding.

THE PRESIDENT and visiting President Nicolae Ceausescu of the Socialist Republic of Romania exchanged decorations in a ceremony held at Malacañang. The President conferred on the Romanian President the “Order of Sikatuna, rank of rajah,” while the latter conferred on the former the “Steaua Republicii Socialists Romania, Clasa I.” The President also conferred the “Order of Gabriela Silang,” on Madame Ceausescu while President Ceausescu likewise conferred the “Order of the 23rd August” award on the First Lady. The “Steaua Republicii Socialiste Romania, Clasa I” award represents the star of the Romanian Republic in solid gold. It is awarded to foreign heads of state who foster the promotion of international friendship and cooperation. The “Order of 23rd August” conferred upon- the Philippine First Lady, is similarly made of gold and is conferred upon First Ladies of foreign heads of state. The award has been established to commemorate August 23, 1944, the day Romanian workers liberated their country from Hitler’s war machine.

NATIONAL Grains Authority Administrator Jesus Tanchanco signed for the Philippine government an implementing contract for the supply of US $1.5 million rice donation from Japan under the Kennedy Round Agreement. Co-signing in behalf of the Japanese suppliers, Mitsui, Nichimen, Ataka and Sumitomo, was assistant General Manager Juri Kudo of the Mitsui and Co., Ltd., Manila branch.

April 10

THE PRESIDENT and visiting President Nicolae Ceausescu of the Socialist Republic of Romania briefed one another on the economy of their respective countries for the purpose of exploring possible areas where the two economies could complement each other to their mutual advantage. In the course of the briefings, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of a contract for the acquisition by the Philippine government of an oil drilling rig. The contract was signed by Geronimo Velasco, president of the Philippine National Oil Company, and Emilian D. Uleia, president-director general of Industrial Export, Bucharest, Romania. The President likewise expressed the hope that a similar agreement with Romania for the acquisition of equipment for the exploitation of the Philippines’ rich geothermal power resources, would soon be finalized. Accompanied by their First Ladies, the two heads of state boarded the RPS “Aug Pangulo” on Pier 15 in Manila.

NATIONAL Grains Authority will collect irrigation fees which will be in palay form starting July 1 this year. The NGA will remit to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) the money value of the total palay collected as fees from farmers all over the country. Under the revised rate of irrigation fees, a farmer will pay two-and-a-half cavans per hectare during wet season, and three-and-a-half cavans of palay per hectare during dry season. The revised system of collecting irrigation fees was signed by NGA Administrator Jesus Tanchanco and NIA Administrator Alfredo Juinio.

FOUR revised secretarial courses have been approved for implementation beginning school year 1975-76 by Secretary of Education Juan L. Manuel. The revised programs are the live-month non-credit courses in typing, stenography, and office procedures; one-year general clerical courses; two-year junior secretarial course; and the four-year bachelor of science in secretarial administration. Private schools Director Julian B. Yballe said the Bureau of Private Schools would give schools cur­rently offering six-month secretarial courses one year to prepare for the five-month non-credit course in typing, stenography, and office procedures; and the one-year general clerical course. The new five-month non-credit course is described as purely technical program consisting of at least 50 hours of practicum. it will be open to high school graduates,  whether  or  not they pass  college  entrance  examination.

MALACAÑANG has authorized the National Youth Council Philippines to conduct an educational, membership and fund drive from April 1 to September 30, 1975. Proclamation No. 1410, issued by Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor Jr. for the President, said proceeds of the fund campaign would finance the First Asian Youth Cultural Festival, known as “KULTURASYA”, to be held in Manila in December this year, and the NYCP’s charitable, educational, civic and benevolent act­ivities. In issuing the proclamation, the Executive Secretary called upon all citizens, professionals, military establishments, business and economic sectors, local government, institutions of learning and other groups, whether Filipinos or aliens, to contribute their share in the undertaking.

April 11—

PHILIPPINE export earnings for the first three months of 1975 totalled $590,947,891, with sugar as the prime export product, Customs Commissioner Rolando Geotina reported. Basic and premium duties col­lected from the export trade amounted to P581.3 million. The top 15 export products and their earnings were: sugar, $78,473,471; copper concentrates, $24,972,510; coconut oil, $18,696,526; logs, $13,704,098; bananas, $11,538,179; copra in bulk, $11,365,750; molasses, $4,825,967; handicrafts, $3,203,387; abaca fiber, $2,427,357; desiccated coconut, $1,737,556 ; plywood, $1,575,613 ; lumber, $1,507,232; cement, $1,404,135; copra cake expeller pellets, $1,337,874, and chrome bearing iron ore, $1,239,262.

April 12

THE GOVERNMENTS of the Republic of the Philippines and the Socialist Republic of Romania formally laid the foundation for lasting cooperation with the signing of five documents in Malacañang. Signed by the President in behalf of the Philippines, and by President Nicolae Ceausescu for Romania, the documents were: 1) Joint Solemn Declaration; 2) Joint Communique; 3) Basic Agreement in Economic and Technical Cooperation; 4) Trade Agreement; and 5) Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation. The President said that the documents not only constitute “pledges to international cooperation, but constitute a symbolic manifestation of the faith of the two countries in the future, despite tensions and actual wars that ravage many parts of the world.” Continuing, the President said that “the documents represent a promise to our peoples that we join hands in seeking to elevate the standards of living of the individual nations and countries,” and, at the same time, seek “to attain the greater goals of international peace and the estab­lishment of one family of humanity.”

THE PHILIPPINES has begun a hard-headed reassessment of its security ties with, the United States, including the continued presence of American military bases, after the President had stated that developments in Indochina have compelled the government to review its pol­icies on security and development. The President made the statement during a dinner hosted by visiting Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, the first socialist head of state ever to visit the Philippines. As of April 1, three government agencies had been put to work on the question of the usefulness to the Philippines of the American military bases. In a recent meeting of the Joint Mutual Defense Board, the President di­rectly asked the American panel to inform the Philippine government how useful the bases were to the United States, and for how long they would continue to maintain them in the Philippines. The Philippines, maintains a mutual defense treaty with the US which in theory says that an attack on the Philippines will be considered an attack on the US and will be instantly dealt with. Philippine officials today, however, doubt that such a proviso protects the country enough.

April 13

THE PRESIDENT hailed the visit of President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania to the Philippines as a very short but productive one. The President and the First Lady led the official sendoff for President and Madame Ceausescu and their party. In bidding goodbye to the Romanian president, the President said that “your visit has been too short but it was marked by a relaxed and free exchange of ideas which led to the most productive conversations and negotiations resulting in nine agreements.” The President said that the visit is historic because it opens the gateway to Philippine relationships with countries of Eastern Europe. Before boarding the plane, President Ceausescu expressed confidence that with the signing of the agreements by him and the President, the foundation for a lasting cooperation and friendship, particularly cooperation in the economic, technical, scientific and cultural areas, will have been laid. The Romanian President said that in establishing the foundation of lasting cooperation between Romania and the Philippines “we are also contributing to the cause of international collaboration.” He reiterated his invitation to the President and the First Lady to visit his country, saying “we are looking forward with great joy to receiving you in Romania as soon as possible.”

THE PRESIDENT and President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania approved the contract previously entered into by the Philippine National Power Corp. and the Import-Export Enterprise of Romania. The two heads of state signed the contract shortly before the departure of President and Madame Ceausescu at the end of their four-day stay in the Philippines. Under the contract, the Import-Export Enterprise of Romania will supply the equipment and financing at concessional terms for a 50-megawatt thermal unit which, can be fired with, either coal or crude oil in Cebu. In approving the contract, the President said that it was another manifestation of collaboration between the two countries in economic matters. He also thanked President Ceausescu for the grant of the loan under concessional terms. In response to the President, President Ceausescu urged the organization in the Philippines and in Romania of groups to expand economic, technical and scientific collaboration between the two countries.

Source: Supreme Court Library

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1975). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 71(18), lxxxix-xciv.