[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 3 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Aug 3 17:07:36 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 3 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



House committee okays P46.4-B supplemental budget (INQ7.net)

A PROPOSED 46.4 billion-peso supplemental budget for 2006 was approved unanimously at the committee level at the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The appropriations committee, headed by Albay Representative Joey Salceda, slashed the budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) by one billion pesos, or from 4.5 billion pesos to 3.5 billion pesos, and realigned this to the Education Department, raising its appropriation to 9.5 billion pesos from 8.5 billion pesos.

Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte, a member of the 
committee, said it was the Alliance of Volunteer Educators Representative Eulogio Magsaysay who proposed the DepEd increase for repair and improvement of existing school buildings and for the construction of new ones.

The allocation for Local Government Units (LGUs) amounting to 14.8 
billion pesos remains the biggest beneficiary of the supplemental budget, followed by the DepEd, and the proposed miscellaneous and personnel benefits fund, amounting to 4. 9 billion pesos.

At least 4. 8 billion pesos was allocated for the pension and gratuity fund of military retirees and war veterans; 3.5 billion pesos for DAR; 3.2 billion pesos for the Department of Transportation and Communications; 1.5 billion pesos for the modernization of the Commission on Elections; 1.4 billion pesos for the Department of Interior and Local Government; and 539 million pesos for the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Palace, Senate headed for another standoff -- Senator Arroyo (Inquirer)

THE ARROYO administration's refusal to participate in a Senate inquiry into preparations for the evacuation of Filipinos in Lebanon might trigger another constitutional standoff between Malacañang and the legislative body, a senator has warned

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita has indicated that despite a threat of a Senate subpoena, department heads would again skip the labor committee's hearing on Monday because they were preoccupied with the evacuation from Lebanon.

"What happens if the executive officials refuse to attend? Will the Senate cite them for contempt?" Senator Joker Arroyo said. "The Executive and the Senate are headed for another Executive-Senate standoff."

"It's unfortunate, and the Senate leadership must be able to assert its prerogative to inquire into this in aid of legislation. Otherwise we can't work anymore," he said.

Arroyo said Ermita's attitude was "uncalled for" since the Supreme Court had thrown out the gag rule, referring to Executive Order No. 464, and had decided that Congress could require the presence of officials in hearings in aid of legislation under the constitutional principle of checks and balances.

Congressional panel wants Masinloc plant reauctioned (abs-cbnNEWS.com )

The Joint Congressional Power Commission ordered Thursday the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. to discontinue the planned sale of the 600-megawatt Masinloc plant to YNN Pacific Consortium Inc. if the company fails to remit a down payment by August 6. 

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said the termination of the asset purchase agreement would mean an automatic rebidding of the project. 

She said the consortium failed to remit 40 percent of the $227 million bid price despite two deadline extensions after the original March 21 deadline lapsed. 

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla earlier said the Masinloc plant will likely be auctioned off again if YNN misses its last chance to make a down payment.

On Thursday Santiago grilled ex-president Fidel Ramos in the congressional hearing on the Masinloc power plant deal. 


Hundreds flee Sulu villages as fighting intensifies (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

Hundreds of families fled their homes as the military continued its offensive against Abu Sayyaf and Jema'ah Islamiyah leaders in Indanan, Sulu, Thursday. 

An ABS-CBN Regional Network Group report said some 300 to 500 families have already fled two villages in Indanan town. It said local officials are coordinating with government agencies to evacuate residents.

The Armed Forces' Southern Command on Wednesday said five suspected Abu Sayyaf members were killed in ongoing pursuit operations.

Col. Antonio Supnet, chief of staff of the military's Southern Command, said five soldiers were also wounded in the battle, which started after dozens of bandits fled air strikes on their camp on Jolo island Tuesday. He did not name the wounded.

A civilian guide was also killed, he added.

The military believes Jema'ah Islamiyah's Dulmatin and Umar Patek, suspects in the 2002 Bali bombings, are in Indanan with Abu Sayyaf chief Khaddafy Janjalani.

Arroyo pushes skills training for domestic helpers (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

President Arroyo on Thursday said that some 300 Filipino domestic helpers who were evacuated from Lebanon recently will undergo skills training so that they can be redeployed to Saudi Arabia.

In a statement from Malacañan, Mrs. Arroyo said she is pushing for the skills training of domestic helpers displaced by the war between the Hezbollah movement and Israel.

The President said she wants these workers to be transformed into "super maids" skilled in hotel-standard, first aid and evacuation procedures, among others.

She said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will train the maids. 

Mrs. Arroyo said that once the workers finish their training, they can command a salary of not lower than $400 a month (about P20,600) compared to half of the amount given by their employers.

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