The President’s Day: July 14, 2003

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14 JULY 2003

  • Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye
  • Statement of the President: Prime Minister Howard Visit
  • Statement of the President: Iraq Issue
  • Statement of the President: Ceasefire Talks
  • Statement of the President: Provincial Visit
  • Statement of the President: Visa Rules on RP Sailors
  • Statement of the President: Drug War
  • GMA credits community vigilance for successful raid on suspected shabu factory in Las Piñas
  • Australian Prime Minister gets red carpet welcome
  • GMA lauds Australia for assistance to RP in fight against poverty, terrorism
  • GMA opens Strong Republic Transit System
  • RP, Australia sign M.O.U. on cooperation in combating transnational crime
  • GMA turns over P300-M for resettlement project
  • Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: Al-Ghozi Escape
  • GMA urges stronger anti-drug drive nationwide

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye

This is a milestone for justice and due process that must not be tainted by undertones of petty partisan politics.

We must set aside self-interest and welcome the fact that the wheels of justice turn blindly and inexorably to make our democracy strong and our Republic endure.

This should not portend destructive factionalism.

It is an opportunity to unite behind the inherent excellence of our political institutions and our capacity to build a strong Philippine Republic.

Statement of the President Prime Minister Howard Visit

We have a strong partnership with Australia in defense and development. We benefit from training assistance for our Armed Forces and in terms of official development assistance predominantly targeted on Mindanao. We hold agreements to fight terrorism and transnational crime. All these benefits and agreements are important in our common fight against terrorism and poverty. We have also shared a common approach to the liberation of Iraq and the solution to the problem in the Korean peninsula. All these commonalities make our ties with Australia vital and urgent, in terms of the interests of our region and the world.

Statement of the President: Iraq Issue

The safety and security of more than a million Filipinos in the Middle East have been well served by our decision to support the liberation of Iraq. This has also cut the links between the former Iraqi regime and terrorist networks in our country. I have no regrets over my decision. It was the right things to do and I leave history to judge me on that.

Statement of the President: Ceasefire Talks

Third party monitoring is important for the success of a prospective ceasefire once the talks start. It will help build confidence and stabilize the situation on the ground, which is one of our primary objectives aside from the return of the evacuees to their homes and ensuring the success of the peace negotiation itself. We welcome Malaysia’s role in facilitating the ceasefire process just as we welcome the role of the US in facilitating rehabilitation and development in conflict-affected areas. We are confident this tripartite approach will help seal the peace in Mindanao.

Statement of the President: Provincial Visit

This is part of good governance. My visit to the depressed areas in the Visayas and Southern Luzon will be an on-the-spot assessment of ongoing security and development initiatives. I am not satisfied with merely reading reviews, assessments or reports on the delivery of projects. I want to see how these are being carried out, I want to know the most pressing issues and problems in the minds of our people and whether or not we are effectively responding to these.

Statement of the President: Visa Rules on RP Sailors

We hope this thing could be ironed out the soonest time. Our seamen make up more than 20 percent of those employed by global commercial shipping. Their freedom to travel is important not only to themselves or their employers, but to our economy as well.

Statement of the President: Drug War

Drug courts are an important component of the overall campaign. We must beef up all components of the criminal justice system, from the police to the prosecution to the rehabilitation centers. This must be a comprehensive effort that targets the big fish, reduces supply and demand and strengthens the social fabric.

GMA credits community vigilance for successful raid on suspected shabu factory in Las Piñas

President Gloria Macapagal credited community vigilance through the Barangay Information Network last night for the successful raid and exposure of a suspected shabu laboratory at 277 Impex Compound, Pamplona 3, Las Piñas City.

The next step is to ensure that the case against the people behind the operation of the drugs factory is not bungled, the President said after she inspected the laboratory masquerading as an industrial warehouse. Found inside the warehouse, which was being rented by a certain Benito Sy, were boxes containing chemicals believed used in the manufacture of shabu, glass funnels and other laboratory equipment.

Stressing that the criminal justice system must prevail, the President said this case should not end with the raid itself.

Charges should be filed within 72 hours and the case should be pursued to its end with the prosecution and conviction of the people who own and run the factory, she added.

The President said that after the filing of the proper charges, she expects the factory to be re-inspected by the court and the materials and precursors – substances used in the manufacture of drugs – found therein subsequently destroyed.

Wearing a medical mask as protection from the chemicals stocked in the warehouse, the President conducted an on-the-spot check of the suspected shabu factory Sunday night shortly after the police swooped on the area.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate the team responsible for the discovery of another big shabu factory,” the President said. The raiders were composed of members of the Las Piñas Police Station 4 led by Sr. Superintendent Armando I. Pineda.

The President also praised the Barangay Information Network for gathering evidence and information that led to the successful raid.

She also instructed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, led by Undersecretary Edgardo Avenido, to keep a watch list of crooked personalities and expose and proceed against them as the evidence warrants.

“We need the total participation of the community and civil society in this effort to clean up the system,” the President said.

Among those who accompanied the President during her inspection of the suspected shabu factory were Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina, Jr., who is also chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board; Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr., PNP Anti-Drugs Task Force chief Deputy Director General Edgar Aglipay, CALABARZON police Director Jaime Caringal, and Cavite PNP chief Sr. Superintendent Roberto Rosales.

Australian Prime Minister gets red carpet welcome

Prime Minister John Howard of Australia received a red carpet welcome in Malacañang today at the start of his two-day official visit to the Philippines.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo welcomed the Prime Minister and First Lady Janette Howard at the Malacañang Gardens where full military honors, including a 19-gun salute, were accorded the visiting Australian leader.

The President and First Gentleman then walked with the Prime Minister and First Lady to Malacañang Palace, where the visiting leader signed the Guest Book before proceeding to the Music Room for a brief meeting with the Chief Executive.

After the meeting, the President accompanied the Prime Minister to the State Dining Room for their expanded bilateral talks.

During their bilateral meeting, the President and the Prime Minister agreed to further strengthen the bilateral ties between the Philippines and Australia, specifically their partnership in investment development and defense strategy.

Prime Minister Howard assured the President that Australia is willing to open up the Australian market to Philippine products, especially agricultural products from Mindanao.

The two leaders also agreed to help each other in the fight against terrorism and transnational crimes.

The President and Prime Minister Howard later held a joint press conference at the main lobby driveway of the Malacañang Palace where they announced to the media the fruitful discussions they had during their expanded bilateral meeting.

During the press conference, the President announced in her opening statement that the two-pronged approach of Australian assistance to the Philippines amplifies the integrated thrust of fighting poverty and fighting terrorism that has fused the relationship of the two countries.

GMA lauds Australia for assistance to RP in fight against poverty, terrorism

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today lauded the Australian government for its valuable assistance to the two major goals of her administration, in eradicating poverty and in wiping out local terrorism.

In her opening statement at a joint press conference held in Malacañang immediately following her bilateral talks with visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard, the President said the two-pronged approach adopted by the Australian government in assisting the Philippines amplifies the integrated thrust of fighting both poverty and terrorism that has infused the two countries’ relationship.

The President said that fighting poverty includes the strengthening of the two countries’ economic relations.

“I am grateful to Prime Minister Howard for his very positive response to our proposals to further open up the Australian market for our products, especially the agricultural products coming from Mindanao,” the President said.

On the collaboration in the fight against terrorism, the President thanked the Australian leader for its additional grant of Australian $5 million (about P175 million) worth of anti-terrorism and police assistance.

“We have a strong partnership with Australia in development and defense,” the President said.

Since 1995, Australia has provided training for some 100 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the President said.

According to the President, a lot of assistance to the Philippines, currently some 65 million Australian dollars and mostly in grants rather than loans, goes to Mindanao.

Before the joint press conference, the President and Prime Minister Howard witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Australia and the Philippines on cooperation in combating transnational crimes.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina, Jr., who is also the chairman of the National Police Commission, signed the MOU for the Philippines while the Australian Police Commissioner Michael Joseph Keelty signed for Australia.

The President also said that in line with the administration’s program of diversifying its sources of energy, the National Power Corporation has agreed to purchase coal from Australia with an assured quota of 975,000 metric tons for 2003 and 2004.

“This will revive a trade that has been dying down over the years between Australia and the Philippines,” the President said.

The President said that all the cooperation in official development assistance, in economic and security matters, make the two countries’ relationship vital and urgent “in terms of the interest of our region and the world.”

GMA opens Strong Republic Transit System

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today launched the Strong Republic Transit System (SRTS), as she embarked on a program to color-name Metro Manila’s rail lines to make people more aware of the railways integration.

The President performed a ceremonial walk from the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) 3 station along Taft Ave., Pasay City through interconnection facilities to the Taft Ave. station of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1.

From the LRT 1, she took a trip aboard one of the LRT 1 modern air-conditioned rail carriages from Taft Ave., to Monumento, Caloocan City.

During the trip, she received a briefing on the SRTS from Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza and Secretary for Priority Programs and Official Development Assistance (ODA) Projects Marita Jimenez.

She lauded officials for initiating the SRTS that would usher in a reliable, integrated mass transit system that would be on a par with international standards.

The SRTS, officials said, included the rehabilitation of old lines like the LRT 1 and that operated by the Philippine National Railways (PNR); the completion of the MRT 3 North Ave., Quezon City to Monumento run; and the construction of at least seven interconnection facilities, to include walkways with escalators and elevators, to physically integrate existing lines.

The links are those in Pasay City and Caloocan City (MRT 3 and LRT 1); Cubao, Quezon City (LRT 3 and LRT 2 or the Megatren); C.M. Recto, Manila (LRT 1 and LRT 2); Blumentritt, Manila (LRT 1 and PNR); Sta. Mesa, Manila (LRT 2 and PNR) and Magallanes Ave., Makati City (MRT 3 and PNR).

The rails have been renamed into colored lines: LRT 1 – Yellow Line; MRT 3 – Blue Line; LRT 2 – Purple Line; PNR Northrail – Green Line; and PNR Southrail – Green Line.

Earlier, the President ordered transport and other concerned officials to implement SRTS projects at the least cost but with appropriate quality.

She said these projects should be fast tracked within the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Teodoro Cruz Jr. reported that since the agency took over the maintenance of LRT 1 last May 16, it had generated savings of some P20 million.

Cruz said that from a monthly expense of P28 million for maintenance in the last three years, the LRTA has spent only P8.3 million from May 15 to June 15, 2003.

He said daily ridership has risen to 8.1 million in June from 7.6 million in May, this year.

He also reported decreases in power interruption, as the agency continued its alertness over saboteurs who police said were responsible for power glitches.

Cruz added that the line is running 61 rail vehicles, an increase from the 56 operating carriages before the LRTA takeover.

RP, Australia sign M.O.U. on cooperation in combating transnational crime

The Philippines and Australia today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would strengthen cooperation between the two countries in combating various transnational crimes and serious threats to the national security and interests of both states.

The MOU was signed this morning at Malacañang’s State Dining Room by Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose D. Lina, Jr., who is also chairman of the National Police Commission, and Michael Joseph Keelty, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police

Under the MOU, the two countries recognized the rapid globalization that paved the way for the increase in incidence and magnitude of transnational crimes, and the need to have concerted, synchronized, and focused efforts between their respective law enforcement agencies to address these problems.

The two countries, under the MOU, will cooperate in the prevention and investigation of transnational crimes that include terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, other financial and economic crimes, trafficking in persons, and human smuggling.

Other crimes covered by the MOU are fraud, counterfeiting of currency and negotiable instruments, piracy in the high seas, illegal trafficking in weapons, ammunition and explosives, illegal acquisition of cultural and historical treasures, violation of intellectual property rights, cyber crimes as well as other transitional crimes to be mutually determined by the authorities of the two countries.

The MOU also provides that there will be relevant cooperation between the two countries in law enforcement technology, equipment and personnel training, and other capacity-building measures.

The MOU, however, will not change the two countries’ previous arrangements on formal mutual legal assistance under the treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1993 or the extradition treaty signed in 1990 by the Philippines and Australia.

Both countries agreed that the MOU will not prevent the two states from developing other mutually-acceptable forms of cooperation and will not affect cooperation involving other law enforcement agencies.

In implementing the MOU, the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime will serve as communication and liaison center for the Philippine government and the Australian Federal Police for the Australian government.

As contact points, they will coordinate, collaborate and facilitate the exchange of information between the two states and their respective national law enforcement institutions.

Disputes concerning the implementation or interpretation of this MOU will be resolved through diplomatic consultations between the two countries.

The MOU will remain in effect until either of the two states notifies the other country in writing, through diplomatic channels, of its intention to terminate the same and the notice of termination will become effective six months after the date thereof.

GMA turns over P300-M for resettlement project

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today turned over a P300-million check to the National Housing Authority (NHA) to spin off the resettlement of more than 70,000 families of informal settlers affected by the North and South Railways development projects.

The P300 million represents the first tranche of the P500-million loan committed by the Pag-IBIG Fund to the NHA.

The President visited Barangay Poblacion 2 in Malinta, Valenzuela City and turned over the check amid the cheers of members of the 2,500-strong Kapisanan ng mga Samahan sa Riles Valenzuela (KASARIVAL) and the 1,500-member Home Along Da Riles Valenzuela (HARV).

Accompanying the President were Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Secretary Marita Jimenez of the Priority Programs and Official Development Assistance Projects, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chairman Michael Defensor, NHA General Manager Edgar Pamintuan, Pag-IBIG Fund CEO Federico Quimbo, Philippine National Railways General Manager Jose Maria Sarasola II, Clark Development Corporation president Rufo Colayco, Northrail General Manager Jose Cortes Jr., and Valenzula Mayor Emmanuel Carlos.

Defensor said the President approved the fund last week for the housing loans of an initial 2,800 families in Valenzuela and 3,500 families in Malabon.

The President said she found out that the authorities have been negotiating with the owners of the relocation site since 1994.

Defensor added the President lowered the P500 monthly amortization to a mere P300 per month.

For his part, Pamintuan said they would come up with the master list of the qualified beneficiaries by next week for relocation to the 7.4-hectare resettlement area in Barangay Bignay, Valenzuela City.

During the affair, the representatives of 11 people’s organizations thanked the President and pledged their support to the railways project by voluntarily relocating themselves to Barangay Bignay.

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: Al-Ghozi Escape

The President has ordered that the custodians of Al-Ghozi and the other escapees be sacked immediately without prejudice to the filing of criminal and administrative charges for gross negligence, dereliction of duty and infidelity in the custody of detainees.

She likewise order a general alarm for the immediate recapture of the fugitives.

The President has ordered the secretaries of the DFA, DILG, DND, DOJ and the heads of NICA and Bureau of Immigration to contact their Indonesian counterparts for the purpose of coordinating efforts to recapture Al-Ghozi and the other escapees.

GMA urges stronger anti-drug drive nationwide

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today said cases have been filed today against several suspects arrested during the recent drug raid in Silang, Cavite and Las Piñas.

“We must beef up all the components of the criminal justice system, from the police to the prosecution to the rehabilitation centers. This must be a comprehensive effort that targets the big fish, reduces supply and demand and strengthens the social fabric,” the President said.

Based on leads gathered by police authorities, the suspects belonged to at least three of the 13 active and identified transnational drug syndicates operating in the country.

The President made the announcement when she and other top officials presented to the media several used equipment and bottles of liquid used in the making of metamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as shabu, recovered during a raid this afternoon in a subdivision in Parañaque City.

The President personally went to the rented house in New York St., Merville Park Subdivision after she was informed by authorities of the latest haul in the government’s intensified crackdown on illegal drugs.

A certain Benito Sy rented the house in Merville October last year. Since then, the neighbors have been complaining of the foul odor emanating from the residence.

Sy is believed to be the same person who also rented the warehouse in Pamplona 3, Las Piñas that was raided Sunday night. The warehouse was found to be a shabu laboratory masquerading as an industrial warehouse.

As it turned out, the police today recovered several used bottles of the chemical Ethanol, one of the chemicals used in making shabu, and laboratory equipment.

Supt. Nelson Yabut of the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) under the Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force headed by Chief Supt. Edgardo Aglipay, said that during the two raids, they did not find any ephedrine, the white substance that is the precursor of shabu. The big rotor and flask used in the laboratory were also missing.

He said this is the object of their massive follow up operations.

With the President were Interior and Local Government Secretary Jose Lina Jr., Mayor Joey Marquez, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Anselmo Avenido, Anti-Drug Task Force Chief Supt. Edgardo Aglipay and other police officers.

Source: Office of the Press Secretary

Office of the Press Secretary. (2003). [The President’s Day: July 14, 2003]. Retrieved from