[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 21 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Jul 21 10:41:29 PHT 2005

*Newsbriefs **21 July **Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan*

*Economist: RP economy remains healthy *(manilastandardonline)**

Despite the lingering political uncertainty, the Philippine economy 
remains healthy and is poised to grow by 4.9 percent year-on-year in 
2005, according to a University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) 
economist. "The Philippine economy is manageable and recovering from the 
previous administration's woes such as low tax collection and high level 
spending," Ramon Quesada, executive director of the UA&P Business 
Economic Club, said in a news briefing.

Quesada cited the country's huge domestic savings of about 25 percent of 
the gross domestic product (GDP), surging balance of payments on the 
back of the double-digit increase in remittances, and record-high gross 
international reserves. Quesada said while the national government 
continues to incur a budget deficit, most provinces, cities and towns 
enjoy a budget surplus. In 2004, 10 provinces led by Rizal posted a 
budget surplus of over P150 million each while 10 cities led by Cebu 
reported a surplus of more than P180 million each.

"Is the Philippines in an economic crisis? No, we are not," he said, 
citing the above figures as his bases.

He said while international credit raters Moody's, Standard & Poor's and 
Fitch have downgraded their outlook for the Philippines, their 
evaluation did not consider the fact that the country's revenue 
collection showed remarkable improvement in the first five months of 
2005, even without the expanded value added tax (EVAT) law.

*'Critical' Sona to be secured by PNP, AFP* (manilastandardonline)

More than 15,000 police and 1,000 soldiers will be deployed near the 
Batasang Pambansa Complex Monday when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo 
delivers what may well be her most crucial State of the Nation Addess. 
Defying mounting calls for her to resign over allegations that she 
conspired to rig the 2004 election results, the President is scheduled 
to address the joint session of Congress at 4 p.m. amid tight security.

The opposition bloc, meanwhile, will hold its own Sona in which it will 
make public evidence in its impeachment complaint against President 
Arroyo. House Minority Leader Francis Escudero said the opposition will 
file the impeachment complaint and deliver its own Sona on Monday ahead 
of the President's speech.

*Reds scrap peace talks *(Inquirer)*

THE COMMUNIST-LED National Democratic Front has closed the door to peace 
talks with the "crumbling" administration of President Gloria 
Macapagal-Arroyo, saying it would rather wait for a new government.

Luis Jalandoni, chief negotiator of the Utrecht-based NDF panel, said 
there was no point in resuming peace talks with the Arroyo 
administration because it was "not going to last very long."

Besides supporting the "ouster" of Ms Arroyo and her constitutional 
successor Vice President Noli de Castro, the NDF is backing the setting 
up of a "transitional governing council" that would call for new 
elections within six months, Jalandoni said.

The NDF has been holding peace talks on and off with the government 
since 1986, starting with the administration of former President Corazon 
Aquino. The talks had been suspended several times by either party.

He said Ms Arroyo's regime "has been mortally wounded since the exposé 
on the 'Hello Garci' tapes," the wiretapped conversations between the 
President and Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano purportedly 
showing that she stole the election. The President "will not last very 
long" because the people no longer trust her, according to Jalandoni. He 
said De Castro was not a good alternative because his legitimacy would 
also be questioned.

"What is emerging now is a transitional governing council composed of 
representatives of a broad sector of patriotic and progressive 
individuals," the NDF negotiator said.

He said the council would have to call a special election within six months.

"In our view, (party-list Representatives) Satur (Ocampo) and Crispin 
Beltran would qualify (as council members)," Jalandoni said.


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