[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 10 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Nov 10 11:18:48 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 10 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


US wants 6 marines sent to Japan (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"THE United States has asked local authorities to allow the transfer of six US marines accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina in Subic to a military base in Okinawa, Japan for trial. 

In a TV interview, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Deputy Administrator Jose Calimlim said the US embassy had asked that the trial be moved from Subic to Okinawa over the weekend. 

US embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop would neither confirm nor deny the report. 

The accused all come from the 31st US Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan and were in Subic last month for two weeks of joint military exercises with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

The Visiting Forces Agreement, which covers such cases, has no specific provision that would allow the transfer of American servicemen being tried in the Philippines to a neighboring US base. 

Paragraph 10 of Article V, however, says the US personnel may be confined "in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippine and US authorities." 

Wage hike inflationary (The Manila Times)

"Inflation is expected to hit double digits next year if the proposed P125 increase in the daily minimum wage is approved by Congress, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Wednesday.

Diwa C. Gunigundo, Bangko Sentral deputy governor, said the BSP assumed only a P16 salary increase next year, which is 5 percent of the P325 minimum in Metro Manila.

The P16 was taken into account in forecasting an inflation rate of from 8 percent to 8.5 percent next year, which also considered the implementation of the expanded value-added tax. 

President Arroyo had supported the wage measure but changed her mind, endorsing instead noncash benefits and more financial safety nets for workers.

The P16 will reduce the proposed pay hike to P109.

A P109 rise will add 1.675 percentage points to the inflation rate. The rate would then climb to 10.175 percent, breaching the BSP's original forecast for next year. 

Guinigundo said every 1-percent increase in minimum wage translates to a .04-percent to 0.6-percent rise in inflation.

He said any wage hike based on legislation and not through productivity would always be inflationary."

CCTA leaders may face sedition charges (www.philstar.com)

"Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. and other leaders of the so-called Citizens' Congress for Truth and Accountability (CCTA) could be prosecuted for sedition for staging a mock trial of President Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita warned yesterday. 

Staunch Arroyo supporter Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said the CCTA, which Guingona heads, also risks incurring the ire of the Supreme Court, which issued a ruling on the poll fraud accusations in September. 

The National Bureau of Investigation is closely monitoring the mock trial, which is meant to air poll fraud charges dismissed last September by the House of Representatives, according to a source in the NBI. 

The Department of Justice had also said it would be monitoring the proceedings for seditious statements. 

Arroyo aides have called the mock trial - which carries no legal weight - a "kangaroo court" and urged its organizers to disband it immediately." 
Malacañang taps McCann-Erickson for bird flu drive (inq7.net)

"MALACAÑANG is tapping one of the biggest multinational ad agencies to make its information drive on the bird flu pandemic more credible.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita justified the move of Government Mass Media Group head Cerge Remonde to take in McCann-Erickson in "conceptualizing, designing, and managing a multi-media campaign on the bird flu."

Ermita did not have any idea how much McCann-Erickson would be paid for the deal or whether a bid was conducted, just like in other public contracts. But in a text message, Remonde claimed that McCann-Erickson, one of the world's most expensive advertising agencies, had offered its services for free.

In a briefing, Ermita said: "Having been in government for some time, I have the impression that every time you write what government says or what government is trying to disseminate, some people think it is just propaganda because it is good for government. But when you handle the same situation through private media, somehow there is a tendency for it to be believed as though government is an agency that should not be believed."

Ermita does not see anything remiss about hiring McCann-Erickson. "I think that is one way of utilizing as many measures as you can to achieve an objective. Nothing can prevent government from tapping other agencies to boost the effectiveness of our reach," Ermita said."

'87 Charter amendments to strengthen party system (The Manila Times)

"The amendments to the 1987 Constitution specifically on the form of government will strengthen the country's party system, the chairman of the Consultative Commission said.

At a forum with editors and reporters of The Manila Times Tuesday, Dr. Jose Abueva, the commission's chairman, said the panel will propose an additional 100 seats for political parties in the parliament that will replace the present Congress.

"In addition to the members of parliament [who will be elected by the people], they will also vote for political parties. This will be the same in the regional level [autonomous regions]," he said. Leaders of party-list or political parties who will be represented in the parliament will be chosen by their members.

Allocating seats for political parties "is part of transforming our political parties. If the parties are good and credible, they will be elected by the people and this is a big inducement for the parties," Abueva said.

Strengthening the political system would make parties more accountable to the people. "We really lack party accountability and this will be addressed if we have a parliamentary system," he said."

Con-com: Visayas, Mindanao favor parliamentary system (www.philstar.com)


A majority of people from the Visayas and Mindanao are in favor of amending the 1987 Constitution as a way to gain more political autonomy from "Imperial Manila," officials of the presidential consultative commission (con-com) on Charter amendments revealed yesterday. 

"People in the South feel more and more that the regions and localities where they live deserve to have more political power, authority and resources for their own autonomous development, without continuing to depend on the national government and politicians," con-com chairman Jose Abueva said. 

Con-com deputy secretary general Romela Bengzon also told a news conference at Malacañang that their consultations in the Visayas and Mindanao so far indicated the people are not that concerned over the effect of Charter change on President Arroyo's term of office. 

"The mood is really to shift from the present presidential (system) to the parliamentary," Bengzon said. 

She said there is no consensus yet on what powers the President and new prime minister would have under the new government. 

Abueva likewise said people in the far-flung provinces of both regions want virtual independence from the national government in Manila, which they described as "the center of national political power and severe partisan strife." 

The consultations so far revealed the people in the Visayas and Mindanao regions are worried and frustrated over the nation's worsening economy and the political problems affecting their lives. 


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