[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 8 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Aug 8 10:24:55 PHT 2005


*Newsbriefs **8 August** Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan*

*In this issue:*

   1. PNP, AFP on alert for ARMM polls
   2. Roco takes last flight home today
   3. Indon suicide teams in RP
   4. Lacson strikes back at President's allies
   5. Palace prefers Miriam to Frank
   6. Govt backs out of infra projects

*PNP, AFP on alert for ARMM polls** *(Reuters)*
*

COTABATO CITY - About 12,000 troops and police were deployed in the 
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) ahead of Monday's elections, 
the center of allegations of vote-rigging against President Arroyo in 
May 2004.

Security was heavy in areas leading to voting centers in ARMM, where 1.2 
million voters are due to pick a new governor, a vice-governor and 24 
members of a legislative assembly.

"We will make sure that we will not only have a violence-free election, 
but an honest and credible process," Ricardo de Leon, the deputy 
national police chief, told reporters on Sunday.

"The whole world is watching us. The security forces will not take sides 
in these political contests, and we will not allow anything to disrupt 
the conduct of an honest, orderly and peaceful election."

Police said they had identified about 120 election "hot-spots" in 101 
municipalities.

These communities were classified as "areas of concern" due to a long 
history of violence, especially in elections since the late 1980s, 
intense rivalry among local politicians and the presence of armed groups 
including Muslim separatist rebels, kidnappers and Islamic militants.

"This is not just an ordinary exercise," said Brigadier-General Ben 
Dolorfino, head of the military task force guarding the elections.

"This electoral exercise has implications to what is happening now in 
the country," the general said. "I am referring to the national 
political storm that has been affecting our nation so much. It has 
caused divisiveness in our society."

*Roco takes last flight home today* (www.inq7.net)

AT HIGH noon today, former Senator Raul Roco's remains will be flown to 
Naga City.

Roco will finally come home to his 89-year-old mother, Rosario "Nena" 
Sagarbarria-Roco, who to this day lives in the two-story Roco ancestral 
home on Barlin corner Sta. Cruz Streets, according to Roco's nephew 
Ninoy, who is in charge of preparations for the Bicol trip. Ninoy was 
also with Roco when he died in the arms of his sister Rosario, a 
Catholic nun, and his son Rex.

*Indon suicide teams in RP* (Manila Times)

Ten suicide attackers from Indonesia are suspected of entering the 
Philippines and could be trying to acquire explosives for attacks in the 
country, the national security adviser and a news report said Sunday.

Information on the threat was passed to the Philippine government by 
Indonesian security officials who accompanied President Susilo Bambang 
Yudhoyono on a visit to Manila in June, National Security Adviser 
Norberto Gonzales said. At least one other Asian country has issued the 
same warning, he added, without identifying which one.

"We were informed that up to 10 Indonesians may have crossed the border 
and are now in the country," said Gonzales. "There is an effort to 
acquire materials and position personnel."

Philippine authorities have identified some of the possible attackers, 
Gonzales told The Associated Press. A government task force was created 
to thwart possible attacks and capture the foreign militants, he said.

The Philippines has been hit by major terror strikes, including the 
bombing of a ferry that killed more than 100 people two years ago.

*Lacson strikes back at President's allies* (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

Opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Sunday took on President Arroyo's 
allies in the House of Representatives who had accused him of coaching 
Richard Garcia in testifying at the Senate jueteng inquiry.

The House majority leader, Prospero Nograles, Reps. Antonio Cuenco of 
Cebu City and Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur said Saturday Lacson may 
have been guilty of inciting sedition when he prompted Garcia. They also 
asked the Senate to include Lacson in its investigation into jueteng 
payoffs.

An emotional Garcia told reporters last week that Lacson told him to 
implicate the President's family in his testimony before the Senate. 
Garcia, who was presented as a witness by Archbishop Oscar Cruz, 
apologized to the President for implicating her and her relatives.

Lacson said that the pro-administration congressmen should not to look 
for dirt in his face because they will not find any.

He said the call for him to be investigated doesn't make sense to him 
because he does not receive kickbacks from jueteng.

"They should investigate instead their colleagues who are in the payroll 
of jueteng operators," Lacson said.

*Palace prefers Miriam to Frank** *(Manila Times)**

Malacañan will celebrate if Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago becomes the 
Senate president. **

"Definitely we will be happy if indeed she [Santiago] takes it," 
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita answered when asked if Malacañan 
prefers Santiago as Senate president.

Ermita said he sees no reason why they would not be comfortable with 
Santiago replacing Senate President Franklin Drilon because she has 
proved to be a loyal ally of the President and is qualified to be Senate 
president.

Ermita, however, pointed out that Malacañan will not interfere in 
Senate's internal affairs.

*Govt backs out of infra projects *(Manila Times)

The Arroyo administration will back out of a number of infrastructure 
projects funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), 
an official of the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The first, a $50-million Metro Manila Interchange project, involves the 
construction of four major road interchanges, the EDSA/North Avenue-West 
Avenue Interchange; EDSA/Roosevelt Avenue Interchange; C-5/Kalayaan 
Avenue Interchange; and the C-5/Lanuza Street-Julia Vargas Street 
Interchange.

Earlier, Mayumi Endoh, JBIC spokeswoman, said the project has been 
delayed for two years because of the Metro Manila Development 
Authority's lack of support. The delay is seen to have raised the cost 
of the project by 10 percent to 20 percent.

For its part, the government cited its lack of interest in the projects.

Rolando G. Tungpalan, NEDA assistant director general, told reporters 
that the Philippine government and JBIC have agreed to scrap low 
priority and very expensive projects. "The JBIC particularly the 
government of Japan wanted the Philippine government to have a joint 
portfolio clean up to [discuss] projects that [are] needed," the NEDA 
official said.

Tungpalan failed to disclose the other project up for cancellation.

The government may also consider scrapping two JBIC-funded projects 
because of the delay caused by legal impediments and budget constraints.

The two projects, which fall under the 26th yen loan package, are the 
Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project and the Agno River 
Flood Control Project, which costs $120 million.

Endoh earlier said the bank has yet to make fresh commitments to the 
Philippine government because of budget constraints and project delays.

The Philippines' outstanding loans from the JBIC stood at P499 billion 
as of last year.

The JBIC is the Philippines' biggest donor, accounting for 61 percent of 
total official loan commitments.

 

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