Official Week in Review: March 1 – March 9, 1976

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March 1—

THE PRESIDENT exchanged decorations with King Hussein of Jordan in Malacañang. He conferred the ancient order of Sikatuna, rank of rajah, on King Hussein and the Order of Gabriela Silang on Queen Aliah. King Hussein, on the other hand, conferred on the President the Grand Collar of Al’Hussein Bin AH, named after the King’s grandfather who led the Arab revolution against the Ottoman Emperor during World War J. The King also announced that his government will confer on the First Lady, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, the Abnahdah (meaning renaissance), one of the highest decorations of the Kingdom of Jordan. The conferment rites were held at the dinner, tendered by the President and the First Lady, in honor of the King and Queen of Jordan and their party.

BUDGET Commission announced that it will release this week, specifically, March 5, checks representing salary differentials under Budget Circular No. 256 of some 10,000 teachers in Manila. BC 256 is the implementing circular of Letter of Instructions No. 345, which directs the implementation, effective January 1, 1976, of the salary increases resulting from the WAPCO salary survey.

March 2—

THE PRESIDENT appealed to all states in Asia to help preserve peace and to attend to the development of their respective economies to improve the living standards of their respective peoples. He made the appeal in a brief interview with- newspapermen at the VIP Kiosk of the Manila International Airport shortly after he and the First Lady led the official send-off for King Hussein and Queen Aliah of Jordan who departed for Sydney, Australia. “Instead of this word war, they should now participate in the effort to develop our respective economies; any deficiency, weakness, failure or frustration on the part of any country in Southeast Asia will affect everyone whether they belong to ASEAN or not,” the President said by way of commenting on the North Vietnam statement calling for the overthrow of all non-communist governments.

THE PRESIDENT created a Waterways Recovery Committee to accelerate the government’s flood control programs for Greater Manila. The Recovery Committee, formed through Letter of Instructions No. 376, is charged with the function of recovering rivers, creeks, esteros, drainage canals and other similar waterways in Greater Manila which: have been illegally filled up. The committee is composed of the justice secretary as chairman, and of the public works secretary, the solicitor general, the Land Registration commissioner and director of lands, as members.

THE FIRST Lady, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, said that the recent visit of King Hussein and Queen Aliah of Jordan will usher the cultural exchanges and trade relations between the Philippines and Jordan. In a brief talk with newspapermen at the VIP Kiosk of the Manila International Airport after seeing off the King and Queen; of Jordan, the First Lady said she had discussed with Queen Aliah about the promotion of cultural exchanges, while the President took up with the King the establishment of trade relations with Jordan.

THE PRESIDENT ordered the immediate investigation of the charges filed against the president of the Philippine College of Commerce to determine if there is any basis for his suspension. According to the presidential directive, Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza is directed to investigate the administrative complaints lodged by PCC professors and employes against Isabelo T. Crisostomo, PCC president.

March 3—

THE PRESIDENT has created, through Administrative Order No. 381 an executive committee, to take charge of the planning and execution of commemorative activities for the 34th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan and the Fall of Corregidor. Bataan fell April 9, 1942, and Corregidor May 6, 1942, to the Japanese. Designated chairman of the committee are Defense Undersecretary for Civil Relations Carmelo Z. Barbero and Gen. Romeo C. Espino, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

March 4—

THE PRESIDENT strengthened the organizational group of the Budget Commission by creating two positions of deputy commissioner and forming a new office within it. He effected this in Presidential Decree No. 899 to enable the commission to perform its functions and responsibilities more effectively and “to cope with the substantial growth of the national budget under the new society.” The two deputy commissioners include one for budget operations and accounting, and another for management improvement and compensation and position classification administration. They are career administrators.

THE PRESIDENT gave more power to the Commission on Audit by signing Presidential Decree No. 898, completely reorganizing the constitutional commission. The COA is authorized to implement its reorganization within one year, until March 3, 1977. The decree is held significant because it will immeasurably insure the independence of government auditors in the exercise of their auditing functions, decentralize auditing operations and drastically rearrange the personnel structure.

GUATEMALAN government was presented by the President 1,000 tons (20,000 cavanes) of Masagana 99 rice as a donation of the Philippine government to the earthquake victims of that country. The donation was turned over at Malacañang by the President to Leoncio B. Monzon, honorary consul of Guatemala in Manila, who expressed the deep gratitude of the government and people of Guatemala for the generous donation.

PROFESSIONAL Regulation Commission (PRC) was directed by the President to require all successful examinees of the medical and nursing board examinations to present duly signed certificates of completion of the six-month rural training program as a prerequisite to their registration with the PRC. According to Letter of Instructions No. 377 addressed to the PRC commissioner, the certification shall be issued and signed by the officer or head of hospital or office under whom the successful examinee has undergone rural health service. The move was designed “to ensure the effective implementation of the rural training project required by Department of Health under the Rural Health Practice program,” the President added.

PHILIPPINE delegation to the ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur to be held on March was constituted by the President and at the same time, laid down the policy guidelines for the delegation. The President named Director General Gerardo Sicat of the National Economic and Development Authority and Industry Secretary Vicente Paterno, as chairman and co-chairman, respectively, of the delegation.

March 5—

THE PRESIDENT acted to fill in the country’s shipping needs for international trade by creating, through Presidential Decree No 900 the Philippine National Lines (PNL). The creation of the PNL came about as a result of the failure of the Philippine shipping companies “to expand and modernize their fleets due to the heavy capital requirement, despite incentives granted by the government,” according to PD 900.

THE PRESIDENT lauded the reassessment of Philippine-Australian trade policies by a group of businessmen in the wake of the imbalance in trade between the two countries, and in relation to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Addressing about 70 Filipino and Australian businessmen who paid their respects to him in Malacañang the President conveyed the Filipino people’s gratitude “for your efforts to correct this all-important subject of imbalance not only in trade but in the balance of payments between our countries.” The businessmen belong to the Philippine-Australian Business Cooperation Committee chairmanned by Jovino S. Lorenzo, who is also conference chairman-and the Australian-Philippine Business Cooperation Committee led by Leslie Bullen, conference vice-chairman.

March 8—

THE PRESIDENT has created a legal service in the Department of Public Highways to provide legal service and support to all its bureaus regions and field offices. The creation of the DPH unit in Presidential Decree No. 902, which amends PD 458, as amended by PDs 548 636 and 702, was made in view of the magnitude of work and responsibility of the department, as well as the wide scope of its operations. The newly-created legal service shall be headed by a director for legal affairs assisted by an assistant director for legal affairs, to be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the public highways secretary.

THE PRESIDENT called for the rational management of the country’s land resources in order to insure an adequate food production for the rapidly expanding population. Addressing the opening session of the National Conference on Human Settlements, at the Maharlika Hall of Malacañang, the President said that private property is respected but that since the country has a “finite source, it must be planned and managed for the general welfare.” He also took the occasion to call on the citizenry to participate actively in the human settlements program because, he said, it is not a mere policy of government but a plan of action for the mass of the citizenry.

THE COORDINATE Committee in charge of implementing Letter of Instructions No. 287 known as census of veterans, set April 15 as the deadline for the submission of veterans’ accomplished census forms to their respective barangay chairmen. This was announced during a recent meeting of the committee at the Office for Civil Relations Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

March 9—

THE PRESIDENT paid tribute to the late Dr. Jose P. Laurel Sr., as the very gospel and incarnation of truth who loved his people. In his brief remarks in Pilipino on the commemoration of the 85th birthday of the late President of the Republic at the Laurel, tomb in Tanauan, Batangas, the President said that Dr. Laurel’s place in history is secure Si order to perpetuate the memory of the late Dr. Laurel, the President named the 150-kilometer highway from Sto. Tomas to Nasugbu, via Batangas City, as “President Jose P. Laurel National Highway.”

Source: National Library of the Philippines

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1976). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 72(24), cccxxxvii-cccxl.