[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 21 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Nov 21 10:48:29 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 21 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


RP won't force custody rights over 6 Marines (www.manilastandardtoday.com) 


"BUSAN (via PLDT) - Malacañang will not insist on getting custody of the six American servicemen accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina in Subic even if a note verbale demanding just that has already been sent to the US embassy in Manila. 

In an interview, Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said the government is content with having primary criminal jurisdiction over the Marines in light of the lack of a provision under the Visiting Forces Agreement that compels the US embassy to turn over custody of the accused. 


"In practical terms, it's insisting on criminal jurisdiction that is important. What is important is they would be tried by our Philippine courts," Bunye said. 


The US embassy in Manila received the note verbale from the Department of Foreign Affairs Wednesday last week but American officials have yet to give a formal response to the document, which seeks custody of the Marines. 


Under Article V, Section 3.a of the VFA, the Philippine government has "primary right to exercise jurisdiction over all offenses committed by US personnel." 


The only exemptions provided in the article are when the crime committed is not punishable under Philippine laws, and when the offense arises out of any act or omission done in performance of official duty." 


Pinoy's coconet tops BBC World Challenge (news.inq7.net) 


"LEGAZPI CITY, Albay -- Agricultural engineer Justino Arboleda of the Philippines won the first prize in the First World Challenge contest sponsored by BBC World television in London on Nov. 17 for his soil erosion control net or coconet.


Coconet, made from waste coconut husk, was adjudged the best environmental grassroots project in the world. It was among 456 entries from 90 countries.


Malta, which introduced a biodiesel product, took the second prize, while Vanuatu was in third place for its rechargeable battery.


>From 12 finalists, the field was cut down to three.


Fifty percent of one's score was given by the judges and the other 50 percent by votes cast on the Internet, according to Arboleda's wife Julie. She, however, could not give the exact number of the Internet votes her husband received.


Arboleda, who is still in London, told the Inquirer in a text message that he received the award at 7 p.m. (London time) on Nov. 17, [2 a.m. on Nov. 18 in the Philippines]. He also received a cash prize of $20,000.


The winners will be featured by the BBC in a special program on Dec. 3 and 4 and by Newsweek magazine in its Dec. 3 issue, according to the agricultural engineer."


P152-M fertilizer money diverted to foundations (www.philstar.com) 

"At least P152.2 million in fertilizer and farm input funds Malacañang released three months before last year's presidential election to 110 members of the House of Representatives ended up with the favorite foundations of many of these lawmakers. 

The foundations and other non-government organizations (NGOs) were tasked to buy farm inputs. Most of them bought liquid fertilizer, which, in the case of six congressional districts in the Bicol Region that were allocated farm input funds, was overpriced by 800 percent to 1,300 percent. 

Government auditors estimate that of the P60.7 million given to these districts, nearly P49 million was skimmed through overpricing. They discovered that liquid fertilizer was bought at P800 per 300ml bottle, when it was available on the market for only P58.50 to P90.54. 

Asked to comment yesterday on the use of foundations, Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., chairman of the House appropriations committee, told The STAR that as far as he knows, regulations on the handling of funds appropriated for members of Congress prohibit such practice. Andaya did not avail himself of farm input money." 

Massive rainforest replanting plan up (www.philstar.com) 

"Various pro-environment and non-government organizations have launched a national movement to restore at least one million hectares of the country's rainforest by 2020. 

They raised the alarm over the continuing rapid rate of destruction of the country's forests, which they predicted may dwindle to a mere 320,000 hectares of primary forest, or a measly six percent of the country's total land area, by 2010. 

"The forest is our social security system. We owe it protection for the free forest benefits and ecosystem services it provides," said Prof. Blas Tabaranza, director of Haribon Foundation, which recently turned over to legislators, local government units, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at least one million signatures against logging and mining especially in natural forests. 

The Haribon Foundation and Rainforest Restoration Initiative (RFRI) would serve as the core group of the social movement, dubbed as ROAD 2020, which would be supported by the Netherlands. 

"The national movement for rainforestation is not just about planting individual trees," said Dr. Edwino Fernando of RFRI. "It is (also) about bringing back the rainforest." 

"In this way, the amazing diversity of forest life survives, there is clean water and abundant food, soil erosion is minimized, among many other ecological services. It is guided by the reality of the need to protect the natural forest and to ensure there is also a production component for the livelihood of communities," he added. 

According to Tabaranza, the target of one million hectares of restored forests would support viable populations of native tree species and other plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects throughout their natural range. 

The ROAD 2020 would only use native tree species." 

High oil prices to boost job opportunities in Mideast (www.abs-cbnnews.com)


"CEBU CITY - Filipinos are reeling from soaring consumer energy prices due to the spike crude oil prices. But if its any consolation, the lofty price of "black gold" is also giving oil-producing countries in the Middle East a big economic boost, thus spurring the demand for more Filipino workers in that region, according to a senior member of Congress.


"We foresee a dramatic increase in the demand for both skilled and unskilled foreign workers in the Middle East, which is being buoyed by high oil prices," Rep. Eduardo Gullas of Cebu said."


9 soldiers killed in Iloilo ambush (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"Nine soldiers were killed and 20 others were wounded in an ambush by communist rebels in Iloilo Saturday night.


Lyndo Sollesta, the Army's 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, on Sunday said that the soldiers were on their way to the headquarters of the 47th Infantry Battalion in Calinog town to replenish supplies when they were waylaid.


Sollesta said the ambush happened about 50 meters from the Army headquarters.


The soldiers were in an M-35 truck and an Elf truck that hit mine insurgents from the New People's Army had planted. The explosion instantly killed the nine soldiers.


After the blast, about 40 rebels opened fire at the convoy and even attempted to board the vehicles. They retreated after the wounded soldiers fired back and called for reinforcements."

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