The President’s Day: August 19, 2002

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19 AUGUST 2002

  • Gov’t remains open to peace talks with CPP-NDF – Golez
  • GMA accepts Bañez’ resignation with a ‘sad heart’
  • GMA cites military, civilian anti-NPA moves in Quezon
  • Quezon Power Plant free from mercury emissions
  • GMA’s cites, Quezon’s legacy, says it is relevant to building of strong republic
  • GMA cites Pagbilao barangay chief in failed NPA raid
  • Gov’t to continue back-channeling efforts with NDF, says Palace
  • GMA says she has adopted Quezon’s management style
  • GMA presents’ Medalya ng Karangalan’ to 8 individuals from Quezon
  • GMA presents to media Central Luzon’s most-wanted, suspected kidnaper

Gov’t remains open to peace talks with CPP-NDF – Golez

The alleged threat of the National Democratic Front (NDF) to pull out of the peace talks with government has yet to be confirmed.

National Security Adviser Roilo Golez today said many statements have been lately attributed to the NDF, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), but they later denied having said such.

Golez said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Eduardo Ermita and the government peace panel headed by Silvestre Bello III were looking into the matter.

He said the government’s position was very clear – that it remained open to formal negotiations or back channel arrangements.

“We have persons prepared for formal or back channel talks,” he said in the vernacular during a radio interview this morning.

Ang hinihingi lang namin sa kanila ay matigil iyong pagpaslang ng mga inosenteng civilian at matigil iyong sinasabi nating acts of terrorism na talagang nakakasira sa kapayapaan at nakakasira sa imahen ng ating bansa (We have been asking them to stop killing innocent civilians and perpetrating acts of terrorism that destroy the peace and the country’s image),” he added.

There was also an earlier appeal to the communist group not to launch attacks on vital utilities and facilities as these would affect the people.

Sana ay huwag nilang isali ang mga non-combatants (I hope they would not include non-combatants),” he said.

Golez stressed that the issue on the reported retirement of CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, who had acquired Dutch citizenship, was “internal” to the communist group.

The security adviser also pointed out that the all-out war against the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed component, was a state policy as it was a government’s duty to protect the people, particularly those in the countrysides, and preserve their way of life.

He noted strides in the campaign against the NPA, citing military victories either in preventing NPA guerillas from spreading their influence in or in expelling NPA units from some far-flung villages.

GMA accepts Bañez’ resignation with a ‘sad heart’

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today accepted with a “sad heart” the resignation of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Rene Bañez, citing the latter as a “staunch ally in my own advocacy of good and effective governance.”

In a statement released to the media by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye in his press briefing this afternoon, the President said Bañez has managed to plant the “seeds of significant reforms” in his short stay in office.

The President said Bañez’ desire to restructure the BIR comes with very good intentions to expand the revenue base of the country.

She thanked Bañez for the “very courageous efforts” he undertook and for the milestones he was able to muster under extreme pressure from the many stakeholders of the country.

Below is the full text of the President’s statement:

“I accept the resignation of BIR Commissioner Rene Bañez with a sad heart. He is a strong advocate of instituting reforms at the BIR, and a staunch ally in my own advocacy of good and effective governance.

“Commissioner Bañez’ desire to restructure the BIR comes with very good intentions to expand the revenue base of the country. He also worked toward freeing the system from political pressures to ensure the long-term sustainability of our collection efforts.

“In his short stay in office, he managed to plant the seeds of significant reforms. In fact, I just signed Executive Order No. 114, which authorizes the restructuring of the BIR by January 2003 into a taxpayer-focused organization. He also made possible the completion and filing by House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. of House Bill No. 5054. Finally, he was able to institute important administrative measures that are directed toward enhancing revenue collections. These are the VAT Relief System, VAT Audit, Internal Audit, and E-filing and payment system.

The administrative measures have been responsible for the discovery of the tax diversion case involving some Land Bank employees, and the under-declaration of value-added taxes by 312 corporate and individual taxpayers to which cases are currently being filed.

Let me, therefore, thank Commissioner Bañez for the very courageous efforts he undertook during his term at the BIR. Secretary Camacho and I congratulate him for the milestones he was able to muster in so short a time and under extreme pressure from the many stakeholders of the country.”

GMA cites military, civilian anti-NPA moves in Quezon

MAUBAN, Quezon – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today lauded the military’s pro-active anti-terrorist stance that prevented a band of communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas from attacking the Pagbilao Power Plant in Pagbilao, Quezon two days ago.

The President also gave credit to civilians who gave vital information to the military about the movements of the NPA.

“We have a growing number of voluntary informers who are telling us where the enemies lie,” she said in a message during a visit here, after she inspected the set-up and security facilities of the Quezon Power Plant.

“I know people here abhor terrorism as much as we do. The people hate the disruption of transport, communication and power facilities that also disrupts the conduct of business and livelihood,” she said.

“I commend the management (of the Quezon Power Plant), our armed forces and law enforcers and the communities for their sustained vigilance,” she added.

The President said Southern Luzon Command chief Major General Roy Kyamco informed her that government troops encountered, repelled and were pursuing an NPA band that tried to attack the Pagbilao power plant.

The rebels, who sustained a fatality and left some guns behind, were said to have fled to the Quezon reservation, a forest park in the mountains of Pagbilao.

“I am glad to know that our security plans are not static and are aimed to actively seek out terrorists across a wider swath of operations,” she said.

The President noted that Mauban itself was under NPA threat. “That is why, after the Pagbilao attack, (Defense) Secretary (Angelo) Reyes and I decided to come here to make sure that this is secured,” she said.

She echoed the military and the police forces’ preparedness “to protect public safety and security at all times.”

Further, she called on the people to “get together with the uniformed services, to work together in the effective and responsive security plan that will preclude acts of terrorism.”

“The CPP-NPA has engaged in terrorist acts against civilian targets,” she added, noting that the rebel group had engaged in extortion and arson; the destruction of public utilities; the disruption of public transport; and assassination of political leaders and ordinary citizens.

“The communists are once more showing their true color,” with fresh threats from the NPA to attack power facilities, she pointed out. The NPAs are considered enemies of the state.

The President clarified however, that there are communist groups that did not have armed elements. “We recognize them, we debate with them, but we don’t run after them,” she said.

Quezon Power Plant free from mercury emissions

MAUBAN, Quezon – International environment consultant URS has found the Quezon Power Plant (QPP) in Barangay Cagsiay I here as safe and negative of mercury emissions.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today visited the plant to check on its set-up and security facilities, following reports of a failed attempt by communist New People’s Army rebels to attack the Pagbilao power plant, also in Quezon province, two days ago.

After briefing the President on the plant, QPP officials told media that the URS did not detect any mercury emission after studying water and sediment samples from the plant’s clarifier basins, fishponds and on-site wells and from tissues of fish in the freshwater fishponds.

The officials said the URS has certified that there was no threat of mercury contamination to local residents, marine and animal life in and around the plant site.

The protection of the environment is a primary concern of the QPP, having equipped its power generation facility with complete anti-pollution control equipment such as flue gas desulfurizer that removes the sulfur dioxide from the emission.

The plant also has an electrostatic precipitator that controls particulate emissions before these are released from the 150-meter high stack.

The plant uses low sulfur Indonesian coal, unloaded in enclosed containers to prevent fugitive dust. Further, it has a central wastewater treatment installation.

Officials said Quezon Power (Philippines), Limited Co., the company operating the plant, has facilitated the reforestation of the plant site with over 100,000 indigenous trees and plants.

The company has also carried out social programs such as those on supplementary feeding, scholarships, health and sanitation, skills development and livelihood for the residents of Mauban and its environs.

GMA’s cites, Quezon’s legacy, says it is relevant to building of strong republic

LUCENA CITY—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today cited the legacy of Manuel L. Quezon, president of the Philippines during the Commonwealth period, saying that this legacy is relevant to the building of a strong Republic that she outlined in her second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

In her speech at the awarding of the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan at the Quezon Convention and Training Center here, the President said that Quezon’s leadership style and program of government are still appropriate to this day.

The awarding ceremonies were part of the nationwide celebration of Quezon’s 124th birth anniversary.

The President explained one of Quezon’s more famous dictums that “he who governs with his heart and not with his mind, is liable to live in injustice and to make mistakes.”

She said that Quezon’s dictum should be observed by all officials if they want to contribute to the building of a strong Republic.

Dahil kung minsan ang mga tungkulin natin nakakasira ng puso, kaya kung puso ang gagamitin natin, talagang hindi uubra, kailangan ang utak natin (Because sometimes our duties could influence our hearts, and that is why if we only use our hearts, we are bound to fail; we need our brains),” the President said.

But the President also said that Quezon has cautioned that when one uses his mental prowess alone without developing “the moral qualities of his soul,” he will only be using his knowledge to harm his fellow citizens.

The President said that even in the 1930s, Quezon already laid the foundations of what is now known as the agrarian reform program and shelter security for tenant farmers.

She said that Quezon signed the Philippine Rice Shared Tenancy Act on February 1933 assuring tenant farmers of their rights, including the right to own the land where their houses are built.

Nakita ni Quezon ang importansiya sa lipunan ng problema ng reporma sa lupang inumpisahan ng kanyang programa ng panlipunang katarungan (Quezon saw the importance to society of land reform, which was the basis for his program for social justice),” the President said.

GMA cites Pagbilao barangay chief in failed NPA raid

LUCENA CITY, Quezon – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today gave her special congratulations to the barangay captain and residents of the village where the Pagbilao power plant, target of a failed terrorist attack Saturday, stood.

The President was hoping she would meet the unnamed village chief, saying “gusto ko siyang bigyan ng espesyal na congratulations dahil naagapan ang raid ng New People’s Army sa Pagbilao power plant (I want to give him my special congratulations for helping prevent an NPA raid on the plant).”

In a speech during the opening of the Quezon Convention and Training Center here, the President cited the residents of Kanlurang Mabolo in Pagbilao for informing the military about the movements of the NPA terrorists.

Reports said elements of the Army’s 76th Infantry Battalion on patrol engaged the NPA rebels in a firefight. The military said the rebels suffered many casualties.

The failed attack on the Pagbilao power plant was just one of the many acts of terrorism perpetrated by the NPA, the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which recently was included in the United States’ list of 34 foreign terrorist organizations.

Nauunawaan ko ang ginawa ng Estados Unidos na pagsama sa CPP at NPA sa kanilang listahan ng terorista (I would understand why the US included the CPP-NPA in its list of world terrorists),” she said.

It was because the CPP-NPA aimed to overthrow the government and the Filipino people’s democratic way of life through force, she explained.

The President also clarified that communism, the ideology, was not against the law, which was why not all communist groups in the world were considered terrorists.

She said the government would continue to talk with communist groups who used peaceful means to gain what they were fighting for.

But communist groups like the NPA who engaged in arson, extortion, assassination of political leaders and ordinary citizens, destruction of utilities and facilities would be the target of the government’s campaign against terrorism, she added.

She noted that the fisherfolk of Mauban have been decrying NPA extortion activities.

Gov’t to continue back-channeling efforts with NDF, says Palace

Malacañang today said that the government would continue its back-channeling efforts to forge peace with the local communists despite the reported announcement of the National Democratic Front (NDF) that it was withdrawing from the peace negotiations.

In his press briefing, Press Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said that formal talks with the NDF have been suspended last year by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the communist rebels assassinated two legislators.

“As we have earlier described the situation, we are still on a back-channeling mode,” Bunye said.

Bunye said that the President has designated two additional negotiators—Presidential Management Staff head Silvestre Afable, Jr. and Presidential Adviser on Special Concerns Norberto Gonzales—precisely to undertake these back-channeling efforts.

He also said that the government has not yet received a formal communication on the reported pullout from the talks with the government as announced by NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni.

Earlier, in a radio interview, National Security Adviser Roilo Golez also said the government remains open either to formal talks or back-channel arrangements with the NDF.

“We have persons prepared for formal or back-channel talks with the NDF,” Golez said.

GMA says she has adopted Quezon’s management style

LUCENA CITY, Quezon—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today said that she has adopted the management style of the late President Manuel L. Quezon which was also the management style of his late father, President Diosdado Macapagal.

In her speech here at the awarding of the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan, the President said that her late father had worked as a young lawyer in what is now known as the Presidential Management Staff during the Commonwealth period, with Quezon as president.

The awarding ceremonies were part of the nationwide celebration of Quezon’s 124th birth anniversary.

One of the best traits that her father had emulated from President Quezon was the latter’s policy of delegating powers to his officials, the President said.

Ito rin ang aking estilo, hindi lamang sa mga kasapi nga mga Gabinete kundi na rin sa mga local government executives (This is also my style, delegating powers not only to members of my Cabinet but also to local government executives),” the President said.

The President said this is only proper because local government officials are the ones who implement government programs and projects in the local level.

She said that in the future, she will hold less Cabinet meetings but would concentrate on meetings with the governors in the different development areas in the country.

GMA presents ‘Medalya ng Karangalan’ to 8 individuals from Quezon

LUCENA CITY — On the occasion of Quezon Day, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today awarded the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan (Medal of Honor) to eight individuals from Quezon province who possess the distinguished characteristics of an ideal Filipino according to the standards of the late President Manuel L. Quezon.

The President also inaugurated here the Quezon Convention Center, a modern convention center constructed with the savings of the provincial government.

The Quezon Medal of Honor awardees were Archbishop Angel Lagdameo (Spiritual Leadership), Dennis Abcede (Construction Management), Benito Brizuela (Printing Industry), retired Judge Proceso de Gala (Government Service), Salvii Casino (Broadcast Management), Richard Kristoffer Manapat (Physics Research), Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit (Public Health Management) and (posthumous) Venancio “Tata Insik” Adornado (Environmental Protection).

In her keynote speech, the President enumerated several sayings on the kind of leadership of President Quezon, which still rings true to this day.

Among these is “he who governs with his heart and not with his mind, is liable to live in injustice and mistakes.” But she also noted that Quezon also said that “he who has received mental training, but has not developed the moral qualities of the soul will only use his knowledge to harm his fellow citizens.”

Ito rin ang mabuting paalaala para sa ating lahat na opisyales ng pamahalaan na dapat gamitin natin ang ating kakayahan hindi para manira kung hindi para magtayo ng matatag na republikang Pilipinas (This is a good reminder for government officials like us to use all our abilities, not to destroy one another but build a strong Philippine republic),” she said.

Citing Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina, Jr. as good examples of those who render effective public service, the President said if the two lived during the Quezon presidency, the late President would have probably got them for his Cabinet. Dayrit couldn’t make it at the awarding ceremonies because of a mission in Surigao province and, instead, sent Mrs. Dayrit to receive the citation.

The President noted that she chose her Cabinet based on the same principles used by Quezon, who said their qualifications are based “purely on the strength of their proven ability and experience, particularly in the field of their respective departments and with due regard to their demonstrated loyalty to the public service.”

The President also noted Quezon’s policy of free enterprise, a similar feature of her administration.

The President acknowledged that Quezon said, “private business constitutes the pillars of the social structure” and that “to a large degree, the people draw their sustenance from it and the government lives on it. No statesman can fail to recognize this fact.”

She said that under the policy of free enterprise, the fight against poverty could be achieved in any part of the world.

In stressing the fact that the government is concerned with the welfare of farmers, the President reported that coconut farmers would have the privilege of maximized life insurance, which would be funded by the coconut levy fund.

She said she is working on an Executive Order that would arrange for the national government, instead of the Government Service Insurance System, to give out life insurance benefits and accident disability benefits to barangay officials and farmers.

The President also revealed that she is not taking away the so-called pork barrel funds from lawmakers as Quezon has said, “the pork barrel has become an inviolate tradition among representatives.”

She said that instead of scrapping the pork barrel, she would just allow the release of it bit by bit so that this would not wreck the cash flow of government funds.

The President also noted the importance of the attainment of justice in Philippine government and society, saying that if Filipinos feel that they cannot attain justice from the laws, they could obtain it through unlawful means.

“That’s why I must remind you all again that Quezon said ‘justice alone can maintain the stability of any country. Force cannot do it,” she said.

GMA presents to media Central Luzon’s most-wanted, suspected kidnaper

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today urged the people to continue to cooperate more closely with law enforcers even as she presented to the media Central Luzon’s most-wanted person with a P350,000 price tag on his head and a suspected member of a kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) gang.

The President motored to Camp Crame in Quezon City at around 5:30 this afternoon to announce the arrest of Randy Raquino, the No. 1 most-wanted person in Region 3, and Nicomedes Gerilla, a member of the notorious Villaver KFR Gang.

“We need your cooperation to make the criminal cases stronger,” the President said, addressing the people in general. “With your help, the campaign against crime becomes most effective,” she said.

In her statement, the President congratulated the Philippine National Police (PNP), particularly Senior Supt. Mario San Diego of the Tarlac Police Provincial Office, and other law-enforcement units for the arrest of the two suspects.

Raquino, according to the President, is wanted for various crimes, including robbery-holdup with double homicide, the killing of a Filipino-Chinese, hijacking in Santiago, Isabela and a rape case in May 1996. There are eight warrants for his arrest. No bail was recommended in five of the cases filed against him.

Gerilla has been linked to several kidnap-for-ransom cases and was tagged as the primary negotiator of the Villaver Gang, a sub-group operating under the Fajardo Group.

President Macapagal-Arroyo said Gerilla was the primary negotiator in six kidnapping cases in 2001.

“His arrest is solid proof that manhunt operations will not stop with the arrest of one or two members of a kidnap-for-ransom gang. We will not stop until all kidnappers are behind bars,” the President said.

The President recalled that in her State of the Nation Address (SONA), she mentioned that two of the most notorious kidnapping groups are the Bocala and Fajardo groups.

Source: Office of the Press Secretary

Office of the Press Secretary. (2002). [The President’s Day: August 19, 2002]. Retrieved from