Miyerkules, Hulyo 30, 2014

PNoy cites declining crime incidence in Metro Manila

The Police has posted major gains in fighting crime and ensuring peace and order, particularly in Metro Manila, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Monday.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address, the President said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has carried out several operations to boost security and ensure public safety.

Last June, he said, the PNP implemented Operation Lambat in the National Capital Region (NCR), increasing the number of checkpoints in different areas.

"Matapos nating triplihin ang dami ng checkpoints at magsagawa ng iba't ibang operasyon, ang resulta: 862 sasakyan at 29 firearms ang nakumpiska natin. Nakapag-serve tayo ng 587 warrants of arrest, na nagresulta sa pagkakaaresto ng 410 suspects," the President said in his address.

Before Oplan Lambat was implemented from January to June, an average of 31 murder and homicide cases occurred in the NCR every week, he said.

In five weeks after the operation began, the cases of murder and homicide dropped to 22 per week, he said, adding this is a 29 percent reduction in crimes in the NCR.

And if the government could fix the police pension system, it could hire more personnel and widen the implementation of Oplan Lambat to include other areas in the country, the Chief Executive said.

The ability to procure equipment for the PNP has been affected by the Supreme Court's decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) but the government is trying to find other sources of funds to fill the needs of the police, according to the President.

At the same time, the PNP also reimplemented Oplan Katok to ensure that licensed firearms belong to those who qualify under the law, he said, noting that the PNP has checked 28,714 households in the NCR to verify whether gun owners' licenses remain valid.

The President also vowed to bring to justice the perpetrators of recent high-profile murder cases, saying the police have already arrested the killers of Mayor Ernesto Balolong in Pangasinan and the attackers of Davao City businessman Richard King.

Investigators are also following good leads to capture the killers of race car driver Ferdinand Pastor, he said.

"Huwag po kayong mag-alala: hahabulin natin ang hustisya sa kabuuan, hindi isang bahagi lamang. Kaya bukod sa mga ginawa nating pag-aresto, patuloy tayo sa paglikom ng ebidensiya laban sa iba pang suspects," he said.

The President also called to the Filipino people to remain strong in faith and trust, and to stay united to permanently achieve the positive transformation of the country.

Filled with hope and optimism, the President, said that the Filipino is clearly moving forward, and should continue fighting for reform in a manner that would benefit all.

“Panatag ang kalooban ko na maraming magpapatuloy sa sinimulan ko. . . Abot kamay na ng pamayanan ang tuloy tuloy at sama-samang pag-unlad ng sambayanan. Kayo ang gumawa ng transpormasyon,” Aquino said.

The President recalled how the Philippines was once the “sick man of Asia” and how there was little hope in every Filipino.

He  underscored the fruits of his good governance initiatives, covering social services, infrastructure, disaster response and economy.

Aquno said that his administration has implemented  developmental projects that have propelled the country to greater heights and were recognized by the international community.

He laid down improvements in the educational and skills enhancement programs of the government citing the 146,731 or 66 per cent of the 223,615 TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) Training for Work Scholarship Program graduates who are currently employed, while the 33 per cent remaining are being assisted by the said office to land a job.

He also bared that a total of 1.65 million jobs have been generated from April 2013- 2014.

He added that the country’s poverty incidence decreased to 24.9 per cent in the first half of 2013 as compared to 27.9% in the same period of the previous year. This translates to about 2.5 million Filipinos who have hurdled the poverty line, “and they will no longer go back to their previous state,” he quipped.

He also mentioned the benefits the country is enjoying since the Sin Tax Reform Law which contributed to stronger tax collections, gaining revenues of P1.536 trillion in 2013 from P1.094 trillion in 2010. 

The President also said the government was able to reduce the country’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, allowing the allocation of more funds for social services.

He said that the improvements in the economy led to an upgrade in the country’s credit and investment ratings from international credit ratings groups such as Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s (S&P). This positive news means the country could attract more investments.

He also said that the country was at the center stage when it hosted in May the World Economic Forum on East Asia. In 2015, the country will host the Asia Economic Cooperation Summit  (APEC), and “there is no doubt: the Philippines is indeed more open for business,” the President said.

All these are due to the good governance which has been the battlecry of his administration.

As far as infrastructure is concerned, he said that there has a massive expansion in infrastructure projects with P404.3 billion cost of infrastructures in 2014 versus the P203 billion in 2011. Roads constructed all throughout the country, for example, have reached 12,184 km or an equivalent of four (4) roads connecting Laoag down to Zamboanga.

The President also boasted of the seven (7) Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects amounting to P62.6 billion from Dec. 2011 to June 2014. The various eyed dam and water infrastructure projects are in response to the 2021 forecast water shortage in the country, he added.

Reforms in the Bureau of Customs have also been made as a new set of commissioners were put into office to improve the agency’s system. This led to a 22 per cent increase in collections.

The country’s disaster response and management was also applauded by the President as in the case of Tacloban and other areas in the Visayas which were ravaged by super typhoon Yolanda. In only a month’s time, the country was declared in the rehabilitation stage.  He added that the UN lauded the country for its quick recovery from such a disaster.

Aquino said he's already contented that if the time comes for him to go, there will be those who will continue the reforms he has made since he took power in 2010.

A teary-eyed Aquino said had he ran away from leading the country's transformation, it was as if he did not honor the memory of his parents, martyred former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. and the late President Corazon "Cory" Aquino.

He also gave a new twist to his father's famous line, saying the "Filipino is worth dying for, the Filipino is worth living for, and the Filipino is definitely worth fighting for."

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