[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 3 November Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Nov 3 16:26:23 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 3 November Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


Filipino Muslims begin three-day feast of Eid al-Fitr (inq7.net)

"COTABATO -- (UPDATE) Filipino Muslims thronged to mosques Thursday at the start of a three-day feast ending the fasting month of Ramadan, amid calls for sobriety in the festive season that usually involves firing guns in the air. 

At dawn Thursday, nearly 5,000 Muslim faithful gathered at two open-air fields in Cotabato city, about 880 kilometers (550 miles) southeast of Manila, for congregational prayers.

A leading local cleric, Darul Ifta Jaafar Ali, urged Muslims not to fire guns in the air to greet Eid al-Fitr. Such outbursts have become tradition in a region awash with weapons, though Jaafar Ali warned that "it is not in accordance with Islam."

As early as 4 a.m. hundreds of gun holders, both legal and illegal, fired their guns to celebrate the end of month-long fasting. Revelers also used firecrackers to celebrate the holy religious activities."

Arroyo clutching at straws on tenure, says opposition leader (philstar.com)

"Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Wednesday said the reported decision of President Gloria Arroyo to agree on a parliamentary election in 2007 while allowing herself to stay in office until 2010 showed that she is out of touch with reality. 

Likewise, Pimentel said that Pres. Arroyo's decision shows how insensitive she is to the overwhelming public clamor for her resignation or ouster. 

"President Arroyo is clutching at the straws. Hoping to escape public opprobrium for palpable misdeeds," Pimentel said in reaction reports of the President's "secret" meeting with Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. and former President Fidel Ramos, 

The minority leader said the insistence of Mrs. Arroyo to stay in power until 2010, despite having lost her credibility and moral right to govern, also exposes her continuing deception of the people in the light of her previously recanted statements on vital issues of the day. 

"Such harebrained scheme won't pass the legislative scrutiny," Pimentel said. 

He advised the President to heed the popular call for her immediate resignation, together with Vice President Noli de Castro, so that a snap presidential election can be held."


Enact wage hike law, Arroyo tells Congress (inq7.net)

"PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has asked Congress to legislate a wage hike law to cushion the impact of increased taxes with the implementation of the Value-Added Tax Reform Law. 

"I ask Congress to enact a reasonable, reasonable minimum wage law on top of the legislative agenda to ease the pressure on our workers, even as we continue to cut waste in government, push the austerity drive, and broaden services to the most needy," Arroyo said Thursday.

The VAT law imposes 10 percent tax on previously exempt goods and services such as fuel, electricity, airline fares, and medical and legal services.

Two bills are pending in Congress seeking a 125-peso daily across-the-board increase for workers in the private sector.

The wage increase granted by the regional wage boards in May was aimed at cushioning the impact of VAT, Arroyo said in a speech at the symbolic inauguration of power lines substation and bridges in San Juan town, in Batangas province."

PNP on alert for terrorist retaliatory attacks (abs-cbnnews.com)

"The Philippine National Police on Thursday placed its antiterrorism operatives on heightened alert following a report that the jihadist Rajah Solaiman Movement would launch attacks in Metro Manila in reprisal for the arrest of RSM founder Hilarion del Rosario, alias Ahmad Santos.

Director Vidal Querol, Metro Manila police chief, said he has ordered the antiterror task force, led by Senior Supt. Federico Laciste, to remain vigilant against possible terrorist attacks.

"That's why every now and then I ask for community involvement. We have to develop the national culture of vigilance," Querol told DZMM. 

Military intelligence officials earlier revealed that they had lost track of suspected Islamic extremist Tyrone Dawud Santos who was released on bail last April. 

Santos, brother of RSM founder Ahmad Santos, was arrested in Cubao, Quezon City, in March on a charge of gun possession and was implicated in a plot to bomb a club in Malate, Manila, during Holy Week. He was freed on bail a month later."

ERC: Power rate hike inevitable, legitimate (abs-cbnnews.com)

"The Energy Regulator Commission (ERC) on Thursday said that an increase in electricity rates would be inevitable with the implementation of the expanded value-added tax (EVAT) but costs would be paid on a legitimate basis.

"Power rate hike due to the EVAT is inevitable but we see to it that only the legitimate cost will be paid by the end-users," ERC Chairman Rodolfo B. Albano, Jr. said. 

On October 18, the Supreme Court lifted the temporary restraining order on the implementation of Republic Act No. 9337 or the EVAT law. 

The new tax measure took effect on Tuesday and will be implemented based on gross receipts on sales and services of electricity by the generation, transmission and distribution companies. 

Excluded from the gross receipts are the universal charge, benefits to host communities, and other taxes imposed under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA)."

Senate poised to approve Juvenile Justice Bill (abs-cbnnews.com)

"Senate President Franklin Drilon on Thursday said the chamber is set to approve on third and final reading the Juvenile Justice Bill, which seeks to address the problem of Filipino minors languishing in jail with adult criminals.

Drilon, also Liberal Party president, said floor debates on the measure will continue when Congress resumes session on November 7, adding that he expected the bill to be approved by the Senate by the second week of November.

If enacted into law, the measure would address the problems of slow handling of criminal cases of youth offenders and minors who are locked up in adult jails along with hardened criminals. 

Drilon said the Juvenile Justice Bill proposes to increase the age of criminal liability from nine to 12, as well as provide for a system of diversion from the point of arrest to spare children from the "horrors, stigma, and trauma of incarceration and contact with the criminal justice system.""

Stocks at 3-mo high on eVAT; peso stays firm (XFN-Asia)

"(UPDATE) BULLS raged at the financial markets on Thursday as both stock prices and the peso gained on aggressive buying 

The main index settled at a fresh three-month high as aggressive buying continued on hopes that the Arroyo government would finally put an end to its chronic fiscal deficit now that the long-awaited expanded value-added tax (VAT) law is in place, dealers said. 

They said investors also bought stocks of companies that are likely to report strong third-quarter earnings results, while a much stronger peso provided additional support to sentiment. 

The composite index closed at the day's high of 2,031.70 points, up 24.58 points or 1.22 percent. It was the index's best finish since August 12 when it ended at 2,038.10. 

It hit a low of 2,007.12 earlier in the session. 

Volume turnover was 579.8 million shares worth 1.29 billion pesos. 

The broader all-shares index advanced 10.86 points to 1,229.63. 

Gainers outnumbered losers 50 to 27, while 39 stocks ended unchanged. 

At the end of the morning session, the peso was hovering at its best level in five months, also boosted by the new expanded VAT. Dealers said the peso might slightly strengthen further before any technical correction sets in. 

The local unit touched a high of 54.585 to the US dollar, compared with Wednesday's close of 54.72, its highest close since June 8, when it ended at 54.67. It has so far averaged 54.69 to the US unit at the end of the morning trade. 

Dealers said the peso was also being supported by the ongoing flow of remittances from Filipino workers overseas." 



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