BANGKOK, 20 May 2015 - The Ministry of Public Health has entered into a collaboration with the International Organization for Migration in improving the healthcare system for migrants.

Dr. Surachet Satitramai, acting permanent secretary of the public health ministry, and Jeffrey Labovitz, Chief of Mission of the International Office of Migration (IOM) in Thailand have signed a collaboration agreement on the improvement of healthcare for aliens in provinces close to the border. The collaboration will see to the development of a healthcare system for aliens in 31 provinces with large numbers of migrants, such as Tak, Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchathani, Sa Kaeo and Ranong.

Provincial public health offices and public hospitals have been tasked with providing basic healthcare service for migrants. The service is to cover minor illnesses as well as serious cases, as well as to promote the prevention of contagious diseases. The IOM will, throughout all three years of the collaboration, provide funding to participating hospitals and health offices.

BANGKOK, 20 May 2015 - The Ministry of Commerce is collaborating with grocery and merchandise retailer giant Tesco Lotus in preventing low fruit prices, by having the latter buy fruit directly from farmers' cooperatives for its stores.

Ministry of Commerce deputy permanent secretary Vuthichai Duangratana presided over the opening of the event 'Tesco Lotus returns fresh, sweet happiness via delicious Thai fruit', which was a project under the ministry's scheme to promote the consumption of Thai fruit and OTOP products. The project facilitates linkages between seasonal fruit producers and the market, by having Tesco Lotus buy rambutan, mangosteen, longan, salak and langsat from select cooperatives. Some 10 million kilograms of the fruit will be purchased from the cooperatives to be sold at roughly 1,800 stores operated by Tesco Lotus in Thailand.

Mr. Wutthichai said that this year, the ministries of commerce and agriculture have been implementing a system-wide management of produce since the beginning of the fruiting season, in order for the produce to be released in provinces that do not grow the fruit as well as in neighboring countries.

BANGKOK, 20 May 2015 – Sixty days should be enough time for awareness of the draft charter to be raised in preparing the public for a referendum on the draft, according to National Legislative Assembly (NLA) vice president Surachai Liengboonlertchai.

Mr. Surachai on Tuesday expressed his belief that 60 days of campaigning to create public awareness of the draft would prove sufficient, if a referendum on the charter draft is to be called. He noted, however, that a longer time frame may also be allocated, if the Constitution Drafting Committee deemed it as appropriate for covering the vast amount of details in the draft.

Mr. Surachai also spoke of the deliberation session for the fiscal year 2016 budget bill, which will take place on Thursday (May 21), during which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will report the details of the budget bill to the National Legislative Assembly. The session will be televised live through the Parliament TV channel and NBT Channel.

BANGKOK, 20 May 2015 - The National Reform Council and the Secretariat of the House of Representatives have presented their donations to help victims of the Nepal quake.

NRC’s 2nd Vice President Tassana Boontong together with her fellow council members presented 1.5 million baht in donations for the Nepal quake victims to Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office M.L.Panadda Diskul, who accepted the sum on behalf of the government.

The Thai government has created the “Hua Jai Thai - Song Pai Nepal “ or “Thai Hearts for Nepal” project to collect donations for the quake-ravaged country.

According to Mrs. Tassana, the NRC has recognised the plights of the people of Nepal and collected donations from all members as well as holding an auction of a painting by Emeritus Prof. Preecha Thaothong, who is also a member of the committee on the reforms of social values, arts, culture, ethics and religion.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the House of Representatives Charae Panpruang also presented donations collected from officers, employees and workers of the Secretariat of the House of Representatives, totaling 94,200 baht, to M.L. Panadda.

M.L. Panadda thanked all who had made donations and said that all donated money would be sent to Nepal through the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

BANGKOK, 19 May 2015 - The Cabinet has decided to resort to Section 44 of the interim constitution to rectify safety deficiencies in Thai aviation in the wake of concerns expressed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). 

BANGKOK, 19 May 2015 - The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has expressed its readiness to consider a constitutional amendment to stipulate a public referendum on the new constitution, if proposed by the current administration.

NLA First Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai said that if the Cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) agree that the country should hold a referendum, it must submit an amendment proposal to the NLA in accordance with Section 46 of the 2014 interim constitution.

The NLA must vote on the proposal within 15 days of receiving it, and cannot make revisions to the amendment without the government and the NCPO’s approval.

Mr Surachai revealed that the 15-day timeframe would require a streamlined process involving the establishment of a committee to review all three phases of deliberation along with full attendance from the assembly. NLA members must be given ample time to thoroughly study the amendment.

Mr Surachai also revealed that a public referendum would require various public forums to hear public opinion and inform people of the new constitution. These hearings may require the NCPO to consider relaxing its restrictions on political gatherings.


BANGKOK, 19 May 2015 (NNT) 303 Rohingya refugees caught by Thai Police in the Southern part of Thailand are now being held in the Protection Center for Human Trafficking Victims , the Protection and Career Development Center in the South of Thailand and the Child and Family Shelter Center .

According to Wichian Chaowalit, Permanent Secretary for Social Development and Human Security, the Rohingya migrants are normally separated into two groups, namely Human Trafficking victims and illegal immigrants.

There are 190 Human Trafficking victims and 113 illegal migrants who were identified recently

The Ministry and its local units are in charge of treating the Human Trafficking victims, while illegal immigrants are the Immigration's Department's responsibility.

However, some of the undocumented immigrants can be placed under the care of the Centers before being sent to Immigration, he adds.

BANGKOK, 19 May 2015 - The Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade of Thailand has revealed that the country's economy has shown signs of recovery and has retained this year's growth rate forecast at 3.5 percent.

The Thailand Chamber of Commerce (TCC) Chairman Isara Vongkusolkij has revealed the chamber's overview of the Thai economy during the first quarter of 2015. He said Thailand is maintaining its position in sequence with last year's figures.

According to the TCC Chairman, exports in all categories have decreased, except for exports to the CLMV countries. These increased by 10 percent along with an increase to the United States market. The nation's unemployment rate was as low as 1 percent after the Bank of Thailand was successful in controlling a negative inflation value.

He said it is unlikely the Thai economy will face deflation at this point, as the economy has shown potential for recovery. In addition, tourism is expanding, with 15 percent more tourists from all regions, resulting in an income increase of 18 percent.

The investment sector has also exhibited positive signals, due to a larger investment budget from the government and the growth of real estate investment.

Policies enacted by the government and the government's 1.4 trillion baht budget have helped stabilize the nation's economy, while the TCC Chairman added that the recovery of the global economy will contribute to more investment in Thailand. The private sector is also positive that the 2015 GDP rate will remain at 3.5 percent.

BANGKOK, 19 May 2015  An environmental group has urged the National Reform Council (NRC) to revise the community forest draft.

The Assembly of NGO’s for the Protection and Conservation of Environment and Natural Resources has delivered its petition to NRC member Prasarn Marukpitak, calling for the community forest draft act to be revised. The group argued that the current bill lacks key elements that would make it an impacting law, and that the bill’s provisions do not allow for public participation in the implementation of the law.

The group has, therefore, requested that a committee be established comprising experts from various backgrounds in order to redraft the community forest bill. The bill must be approved of by all sides, allowing communities to participate in the management of natural resources at the community level.

BANGKOK, 19 May 2015 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is opting to address the problem of flooded paddies in Phitsanulok by discharging water from reservoirs one month ahead of the regular discharge time.

According to Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, the minister of agriculture and cooperatives, farmers on the plains of the Yom and Nan rivers frequently have to endure the problem of flooded paddies toward the end of the harvesting period. In order to address this problem, water discharge will be made one month sooner so that farmers can work on their paddies one month in advance. Consequently, harvest will likely take place in September.

The Royal Irrigation Department has been discharging water to farmers in Phitsanulok since April. 1.94 million cubic meters of water is expected to be discharged from Naresuan Dam during the rainy season. It is expected to benefit approximately 95,750 rai of farmlands.

Irrigation Department officials indicated that, with the earlier discharge of water, farmers should be able to harvest their crops before the flood season arrives in September.