[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 19 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Oct 19 11:29:59 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 19 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


Hope, bleak warnings greet Court's decision (The Manila Times)

"Flushes of optimism and warnings of prices rising even higher greeted the decision of the Supreme Court Tuesday to lift its freeze order on the expanded value-added tax law Tuesday.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye stressed the necessity of enforcing the EVAT despite the opposition's charges that it would lead to higher prices. 

"We know this is not a popular decision, but our President made this decision so our countrymen would have a brighter future," Bunye told reporters. "If we did not do this, we would have a bigger problem in three or five years," he warned. 

Mrs. Arroyo has said the implementation of the EVAT is necessary if the government is to balance its budget and avoid going the way of an Argentinean-style debt default. 

Bunye said the Bureau of Internal Revenue had said the rules for implementing the EVAT would be in place by November 1. 

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the government expects financial assistance from international agencies to pour if the EVAT issue is settled. 

"This is what our international financiers have been waiting for," he said."

Palace officials brace for protest rallies vs EVAT implementation (www.philstar.com)

"Malacañang is bracing for protest rallies against the implementation of the expanded value-added tax (EVAT) law but maintained that the controversial economic measure will be fully enforced. 

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, in separate interviews, welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the EVAT law and gave assurances that enough safeguards are in place to prevent unscrupulous businessmen from unduly increasing prices of prime commodities. 

Ermita stressed that authorities are prepared to face expected rallies against the EVAT's implementation. But Bunye said he is not expecting the protest actions to be massive. 

"This is not the first time we have been threatened with big rallies, as what happened last July 25 during the President's State of the Nation Address, last June 12 and this August. It is the job of authorities to prepare for that," Ermita said." 

"The EVAT must be implemented," he emphasized. "There are pros and cons but in the end, we always say that this is a bitter pill that we have to take." 

Ermita pointed out that through the law, the government would be able to raise enough funds to carry through its socio-economic projects and reduce the fiscal deficit. Bunye, for his part, said the additional revenues would be allocated for education, health and infrastructure projects.


OIC takes over Gonzales's duties (The Manila Times)

"Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, to dispel speculations, on Tuesday emphatically denied rumors that on-leave National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales was going to be relieved of his job.

Ermita announced that an officer in charge, Gen. Victor Mayo, will assume Gonzales's post at the National Security Council in an acting capacity for as long as Gonzales is on leave.

Mayo is the brother of the late Gen. Job Mayo. He is a classmate of the Interior Secretary Angelo T. Reyes, who, like Ermita, is himself a former general of the Armed Forces.

"Gonzales continues to enjoy the confidence of the President," Ermita said. "When he is well and ready, he will resume his work as national security adviser."

Ermita said Gonzales is waiting for the second and third medical opinions whether he should have open-heart surgery."

Int'l survey rates RP's corruption severe (inq7.net)

"NOT ONLY was the Philippines ranked among countries with severe corruption problems -- its rating in a new survey even sank lower compared to last year's.

On a scale of one to 10 -- with 10 as the "cleanest" -- the Philippines got a score of 2.5 based on the 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released yesterday by global corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI).

The Philippines was thus among 70 countries -- comprising nearly half of those included in the TI index -- that scored less than 3 on the latest CPI, indicating a "severe" corruption problem.

The country ranked 117th, a sharp fall from its 102nd place in last year's survey.

"Corruption isn't a natural disaster: It is the cold, calculated theft of opportunity from the men, women and children who are least able to protect themselves," said David Nussbaum, TI's chief executive.

"Leaders must go beyond lip service and make good on their promises to provide the commitment and resources to improve governance, transparency and accountability."

Man with gun is Jamby's security (The Manila Times)

"The man shown in a video footage picking up a handgun at the height of the dispersal of a rally near Malacañan Friday is a bodyguard of Sen. Jamby Madrigal.

The footage, shown on television, caught the man retrieving the gun as demonstrators and riot police scuffled in the middle of Claro M. Recto Avenue in Manila.

Police had said they suspected the man was a security officer of the senator because he was staying close to her throughout the melee.

On Tuesday Madrigal confirmed that the man is her bodyguard.

Police had been concerned that carrying a gun during a rally could lead to bloodshed.

The Philippine National Police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil, said Tuesday that he prefers water, not blood, to flow during demonstrations.

"Water has a cooling effect. At least the dousing of water served to allow cooler heads to prevail and for negotiations to continue," Bataoil said."

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