[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 4 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Nov 4 11:15:57 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 4 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


5 US Marines held for rape of Filipina (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"FIVE US Marines are being held in the country after they were accused of raping a Filipina on Nov. 1 in Subic. 

The unnamed suspects, part of the 4,500 American sailors who were in Subic for joint military exercises, are in the custody of the US embassy in Manila. 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo summoned US chargé d' affaires Paul Jones yesterday to express his concern about the reported rape and said he would support all efforts to investigate, prosecute and try the case. 

"The perpetrators of this heinous crime shall be brought to justice," Romulo said. 

After an hour-long meeting, Jones said there hasn't been a formal request yet for discussions with the arrested sailors, but said he expects formal charges "will be forthcoming." 

"They are innocent until proven guilty, but if they are found guilty, we find this an outrageous crime," Jones said. 

Earlier, the US embassy said that both sides would work together to "determine the facts of the case," adding that the US government would "fully cooperate with the Philippine authorities in the investigation of this incident." 

The alleged rape of the 22-year-old Filipina took place on Nov. 1 following joint military exercises in Subic." 

ABS-CBN to palace, ISAFP: Apologize (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

"ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. Thursday demanded public apology from Malacañan and the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) for "maligning the reputation of its broadcaster Julius Babao."

A statement from the company read: "ABS-CBN demands a public apology from Malacañan and ISAFP for maligning the reputation of anchor-reporter Julius Babao by insisting he paid bail for suspected terrorist Dawud Santos."

The network added: "The facts show Babao did not pay bail, and ISAFP admits it has no concrete evidence against him." 

The issue stemmed from the revelation of President Arroyo to Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo that Babao posted bail for Santos. 

Tulfo said Wednesday the President asked him to publish the story in his column. "She said, I'm concerned about this report. I hope it comes out," Tulfo said quoting President Arroyo.

Babao has denied the claim and said he was only doing his job as a journalist to cover the story of Santos. 

"It is appalling that two of the most powerful institutions in the land can hurl unjust and unfounded accusations against a working journalist," ABS-CBN added.

ABS-CBN has continued its investigation into the ethical questions surrounding the issue. 

The company said it will shortly release its findings to the public."

Employers grumble over new pay increase (The Manila Times) 

"The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Employers' Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), echoing the concerns of the business community, said they are against any new legislated wage increase because salary raises had been granted in June and July.

Donald Dee, the PCCI president, said his group's monitoring of commodity prices indicates that prices have not risen to a point that merits discussion for a new wage hike. 

Dee added that employers cannot afford a new round of wage increases now because the salary raises by the regional wage boards in June and July have not yet been fully implemented. 

ECOP president Rene Soriano said further wage hikes should be based not only on oil price hikes but on economic conditions. 

He added that a new round of wage increases would be difficult for the Filipinos and would be inflationary."

World Bank to RP: Sustain reforms (www.philstar.com)
"The Philippines can dust off its economic laggard image if it sustains its economic and fiscal reforms, the World Bank said yesterday. 

In a report released yesterday, the World Bank said sustained implementation of economic and fiscal reforms can ease the government's finances and help the Philippines catch up with its neighbors. 

"The reforms also include improvements in the efficiency and transparency of public expenditures, so that more Filipinos, especially the poor, would benefit from the increase in revenues," World Bank acting country director Chris Hoban stated in the international lending institution's twice-yearly economic survey or East Asia Update. 

Meanwhile, President Arroyo said she expects the country's sovereign credit rating to be upgraded as her administration started collecting the expanded value- added tax (EVAT) this week. 

Mrs. Arroyo said the country was "already reaping the gains of fiscal stability," citing the peso's rise to 54.630 to $1 - a new five-month high - this week and a surge in Philippine share prices to a three-month high. 

"Further down the road, we expect our credit rating to improve as the world looks towards a new vibrance in our economy." 

The World Bank added that political uncertainties in the country, coupled with rising world market prices of crude oil and lower agricultural output due to the El Niño weather disturbance, contributed to the slowdown of the country's economy, which grew by a mere 4.7 percent during the first semester as opposed to six percent during the same period a year ago. 

Earlier, the International Monetary Fund warned that the bickering between the Arroyo administration and the political opposition posed the biggest risk to the country's fragile economy. 

Despite the slowdown, the economy exhibited considerable resiliency, aided by a surge in remittances from Filipinos working overseas, and a strong rebound of five-percent growth in agriculture in the third quarter. 

Foreign direct and portfolio investments increased significantly relative to 2003-04, and gross reserves rose to record highs in recent months." 

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