[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 18 November Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Nov 18 16:22:01 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 18 November Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


APEC group recognizes RP's leadership in counter terrorism (philstar.com)

"BUSAN - The just concluded Senior Officers Meeting (SOM) here of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum fully recognizes the Philippines' leadership of the APEC Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) and will endorse to the forum's leaders key measures to further consolidate its gains. 

The Philippines currently chairs the CTTF and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will figure prominently when APEC leaders discuss the SOM recommendations during their Nov. 18-19 summit in this South Korean industrial port city. 

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Trade Relations Edsel Custodio, who represented the Philippines in the SOM, said their group fully appreciates Manila's leadership and the work of Ambassador Benjamin Defensor who was named by President Arroyo to head the CTTF technical group. 

In a briefing for media here this afternoon, Custodio said the Philippines has done and accomplished much in helping formulate systems for intelligence information sharing, travel security enhancement, security warnings and handling Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) threats."


New 'Malolos Congress' OKs creation of transitional gov't (inq7.net)

"ANTI-ARROYO groups convened on Friday what they called the second Malolos Congress and empowered a retired general to organize and set up a transitional government that would replace President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through constitutional means. 

The group approved an outline of a program of government where a 15-man council, headed by Fortunato Abat, would be formed.

The meeting at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan was attended by various personalities, including Roy Señeres, former ambassador; Wilson Gamboa, former defense undersecretary; Father Joe Dizon; Salvador Enriquez, former budget secretary; and several retired generals.

Abat said all anti-Arroyo groups were represented in the meeting.

The original Malolos Congress was the body that ratified the Declaration of Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 and drafted and adopted the Malolos Constitution." 

RP budget deficit below ceiling in September (philstar.com)

"MANILA - The Philippine government posted a budget deficit of 7.1 billion pesos (130.4 million dollars) in October, well below the official ceiling of 10.1 billion pesos, the Treasury Bureau said Thursday. 

National Treasurer Omar Cruz credited the better-than-expected performance to higher revenue collections which hit 71.7 billion pesos in October, exceeding the 67.3 billion pesos target.  Expenditure in turn amounted to 78.7 billion pesos, slightly higher than the target of 77.4 billion pesos, he added. 

However the deficit was still higher than the 5.8 billion pesos shortfall reported for October 2004.  The October figure brought the deficit for the first 10 months of 2005 to 115.5 billion pesos, well below the target of 156 billion pesos for the period. 

"Our October performance gives us more leeway in meeting our full-year target" of limiting the budget deficit to 180 billion pesos or about 3.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Cruz said. 

On November 1, the government finally implemented a long-delayed expanded value-added tax (VAT), the key measure in President Gloria Arroyo's program of fiscal reforms aimed at resoling the chronic budget deficit problem."

Solon: No ghost deliveries in Eastern Samar (abs-cbnnews.com)

"Eastern Samar Rep. Marcelo Libanan on Friday blasted allegations that local officials pocketed P6.5 million in fertilizer funds through ghost deliveries prior to the May 2004 elections. 

Libanan said the province received P5 million and not P6.5 million in fertilizer funds, which were used to buy fertilizer for the municipality of Dolores last August 2004. 

He said the fertilizer deliveries were concentrated in Dolores since it was the rice granary of the province. 

He added that he and Dolores Mayor Antonio Rivera will present evidence of the deliveries in a press conference later Friday. 

He said the allegations against local officials in the province may be politically motivated. 

Eastern Samar assistant provincial treasurer Antonio Salas earlier told the Senate that the provincial government did not receive a "single drop of fertilizer" from the 

P6.5 million fund released for the province by the Department of Agriculture."

US embassy studying RP request for custody of 6 US Marines (inq7.net)

"MANILA--The Philippine government has formally requested custody of six US Marines accused of rape after recent counterterrorism exercises, the US Embassy said Friday. 

The Marines have been in US custody in the Philippines since a 22-year-old Filipino woman filed a rape complaint against them on Nov. 1. A prosecutor has subpoenaed the men to answer the allegations next week, after which they could be charged.

"We did receive the request for custody on Nov. 16," embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said.

He said the US government "shall take this request into full account" but could not tell immediately when a decision would be made.

"As of now, they are in US custody," he said.

Under a Visiting Forces Agreement with the Philippines, the US will retain custody of its service members accused of wrongdoing unless the Philippine government requests otherwise. Even then, the US can refuse such a request--a provision that some Philippine lawmakers have criticized as infringing on national sovereignty."

Group wants JBC to reveal backers of Ombudsman nominees (abs-cbnnews.com)

"The Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN) on Friday urged the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to reveal the names of those who nominated the candidates for the next Ombudsman, a post to be vacated by Simeon Marcelo on November 20.

"It is crucial to know who are the backers of these candidates," TAN chairman Vince Lazatin told ANC.

He added that the information would help determine if a certain candidate would be independent if he or she becomes the next Ombudsman.

TAN is a citizens' watchdog that is seeking transparency and accountability of the appointment process of the Ombudsman.

There are currently 15 candidates to the post who either applied for the position or was nominated by a third party.

The JBC had earlier ignored the request of TAN to extend the November 14 deadline for public comment on the candidates for the next Ombudsman. The JBC is now currently conducting the public interview of the candidates."


Shares close higher on better fiscal outlook (XFN-Asia)

"SHARE prices closed higher, snapping a five-day slide, on hopes that the improved fiscal outlook for the government will lead to an upgrade of the Philippines' credit ratings, dealers said. 

The central bank's decision on Thursday to leave its policy interest rates unchanged despite inflation concerns, at least until the next policy meeting set for Dec 15, also boosted market sentiment, they added. 

The composite index closed up 23.85 points or 1.16 percent at 2,079.98, on volume of 692.89 million shares worth 1.27 billion pesos. It moved between 2,056.13 and 2,082.46. 

For the week, the main index was down 0.6 percent. 

The all-shares index rose 13.32 points to 1,262.23. 

Gainers led losers 61 to 22, with 46 stocks unchanged. 

The government announced on Thursday a lower-than-targeted budget deficit for October and reiterated its commitment to increase the value-added tax rate from Feb 1 next year. 

The central bank's overnight interest rates now stand at 7.50 percent for borrowing and 9.75 percent for lending after a total increase of 75 basis points between April and October this year. 

The central bank, however, said it is not ruling out a further rate hike moving forward given prevailing risks to inflation, including the high level of domestic liquidity."

      Peso-Dollar Exchange Rate 
      Official Rate from the Philippine Dealing System 


      PDS Wtd. Avg. 
     Previous Close 
      P54.460 = $1.00 
            Volume (US$)

      As of November 18, 2005 3:10 PM
      Disclaimer: These are based on Philippine Dealing System rates.
      Actual bank rates may vary.







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