[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 29 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Aug 29 12:27:43 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 29 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Fake signatures mar Cha-cha signature drive (The Manila Times)


Fake signatures including those from long dead residents of San Juan, Manila, were included in the people's initiative's petition to amend the 1987 Constitution, ABS-CBN's Bandila reported Monday. 


The report said of the 8,000 signatures gathered from San Juan, more than 5,000 were fake. 


Barangay (village) captain Apolonia Galindez said fake signatures for all six members of her family were included in signup sheets submitted to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for verification. 


"They faked my signature, even the signatures of my kids and grandchildren. That's a total of six fake signatures," Galindez told ABS-CBN. 


Cha-cha haste divides country's businessmen (The Manila Times )


The Makati Business Club cautions against the haste and haphazard way of amending the Constitution and contradicts the position of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), another major business organization, which favors the administration's Charter-change moves. 


The country's major business groups are divided on the issue.


"Such a fast-track process, without benefit of enlightened public discussion and debate on the merits of a constitutional amendment, may have negative effects on the economy," the MBC has said. 


It noted that even the Consultative Commission did not arrive at a consensus, and some of the provisions in its report, particularly the cancellation of the 2007 elections, were met with public criticism and a strong dissenting opinion within the commission.


The MBC said that although the government originally focused on the economic provisions of the Constitution as a means of promoting economic growth, the current proposal does not touch on the economy and focuses only on the political provisions of shifting from a presidential to parliamentary system, a resetting of elections, and transitory provisions on political matters. 


"Under these conditions, it is difficult to see how the economy and the people will benefit when no economic provisions are even being discussed," it said, adding that any move through people's initiative would face legal obstacles.


Expulsions will diminish House minority bloc (The Manila Times)


If Sorsogon Rep. Francis Escudero heeds his fellow opposition stalwarts in the House of Representatives, their minority bloc will soon become an even smaller body.


They challenged Escudero on Monday to fulfill his promise to expel minority members who did not support the impeachment case against President Arroyo.


Reps. Gilbert Remulla of Cavite, Mujiv Hataman of Anak Mindanao and Joel Villanueva of Citizen's Battle Against Corruption called on Escudero to enforce the expulsions. "That's his promise to us," Remulla said.


RP can tap $310-M UN fund for spill, says Arroyo (Inquirer)

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday moved to assuage fears of an economic and ecological meltdown in the wake of the MT Solar I oil spill.

Ms Arroyo said the Philippines could be eligible for up to $310 million in claims from a United Nations-administered oil spill liability fund and that damage control experts from the United States, Japan, France and Australia had gone to Guimaras Island to help salvage the sunken tanker.

She also ordered the advanced implementation -- from 2015 to 2008 -- of an international convention mandating all oil tankers to have double hulls and double bottoms.

Maximum claim

Ms Arroyo made the announcement in an interview on dzXL-RMN radio before she flew to Guimaras to try and convince people, especially tourists, that the island was safe for visitors.

In earlier moves, Ms Arroyo appealed to Congress to speed up the approval of a higher budget to address the oil spill calamity, and ordered a full-scale probe to ferret out those responsible for the disaster and make them pay.

"The Philippines, being a signatory to the 1992 civil liability and fund conventions, has a right to compensation for any damage caused by oil spills such as the one in Guimaras," she said.

Intl court orders govt to return NAIA-3 to PIATCo (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Arbitration Court in Singapore has ordered the Philippine government to return the ownership of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 3 to the international consortium Philippine International Air Terminals Co., ABS-CBN's Bandila reported Monday.


"[The government is] ordered to cease occupation and give up possession of NAIA Terminal 3 and not to obstruct the claimant in entering into occupation and taking up possession of NAIA Terminal 3," the arbitration tribunal said in its August 23 decision.


After receiving the favorable decision, PIATCo management sent a letter to Solicitor General Eduardo Nachura asking the government to hand over the ownership of NAIA-3.


The letter, signed by PIATCo lawyer Eduardo de los Angeles, said if the government fails to return NAIA-3, PIATCo will forcibly take over the terminal on August 31 at exactly 8 a.m.


Nachura earlier said the government is ready to give PIATCo $400 million as payment for the construction of the terminal. The government expropriated the terminal in 2004. 


Nachura said the government is set to file an appeal to the ICC in Singapore.


Petron: Insurance to pay cleanup bill (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

UNDER fire for its attempt to dodge legal liability for the Guimaras oil spill, Petron Corp. yesterday assured Congress that the ship owner's insurance company would make $300 million or about P1.7 billion available for cleanup and rehabilitation efforts. 

"We have received word. that the ship owners' insurers, the Protection and Indemnity Fund and its partner, the International Oil Pollution Fund, have confirmed their obligation of providing compensation to the victims of the incident," said Jesus Laurel, Petron vice president for legal and external affairs, at a hearing of the joint oversight committee on the Clean Water Act. 

Clemente Cancio, president of Sunshine Maritime, owner of the tanker Solar I that spewed its cargo of bunker fuel into the Panay Gulf after sinking in rough seas off Guimaras on Aug. 11, told the same hearing that its insurance coverage was between $250 million and $300 million. 

But Laurel said the payment for the claim of damages and rehabilitation would be on a reimbursement basis. 

>From the start, Laurel said, Petron's management considered that beyond the legal claims and liabilities, it was their "moral and social duty" to help in the cleanup and rehabilitation of Guimaras. 

Immigration kicks out 797 aliens (www.manilastandardtoday.com) 

More and more foreigners have been refused entry as the immigration bureau stays on alert against human traffickers, terrorists, and other undesirable aliens. 

At least 797 foreigners have been barred from entering the country in the first semester of the year, Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. said yesterday. There were 682 aliens whom Immigration kicked out in the same period last year. 

Of those kicked out, at least 757 tried to gain entry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, records show. 

Fernandez credited the intensified campaign against human smuggling and the enforcement of stringent procedures in the screening of arriving and departing passengers. "We have been very vigilant in screening passengers as this is in line with our ongoing campaign against not only human traffickers, but also international terrorists." 

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