[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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