[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 17 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Jan 17 09:54:42 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 17 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Higher EVAT to push through next month (www.philstar.com)
President Arroyo defended yesterday the planned increase in the expanded value-added tax (EVAT) rate next month, saying she would not be dissuaded by the unpopularity of her economic measures and would continue to implement them for the sake of the country and the people. 

The government is set to increase the EVAT rate from 10 to 12 percent on Feb. 1. This tax law is said to be the cornerstone of the President's fiscal reforms. 

"In government, in governance, the correct choice technically is not always the popular one. The chickens might not eat it so you force-feed them. To quote one operations research practitioner, 'Government is not only about the ends but also the means of pursuing them effectively,' " the President said in a speech at the seventh triennial conference of the Asia-Pacific Operational Research Societies. 

Mrs. Arroyo added: "You can only go so far also about the means because there are times when a leader in the public realm must bear with the unpopularity and stick to the right choices." 

She said her fiscal reforms are among the most unpopular decisions she has had to make to improve the country's image and financial situation.


Aquino shuns Palace meet (news.inq7.net)

IN A PUBLIC slap at President Gloria Macapagal-arroyo, former President Corazon Aquino yesterday announced she was boycotting next week's Council of State meeting, warning of prolonged "political turmoil" in the country if Ms Arroyo continued to cling to power.

In a simultaneous move, House Minority Leader Francis Escudero said he was staying away from the scheduled Jan. 24 meeting at Malacañang called to discuss, among other things, the proposed shift to a parliamentary form of government.

Aquino said the political crisis gripping the country could best be resolved if Ms Arroyo voluntarily resigned from the presidency.

"The very legitimacy of the President's mandate remains under a cloud of doubt," Aquino said in a statement. "Rather than resolve the issue in a transparent and forthright manner, the President has opted to muddle it further by insisting that any allusion to the legitimacy issue is part of a grand conspiracy to unseat her." 

'Brat pack' denied but PNP aid sought (The Manila Times)

The President's spokesman and press secretary, Ignacio Bunye, on Monday disputed The Manila Times story that Malacañan had created a "brat pack" group to counter antiadministration critics and disaffected officers who might move to overthrow the government. 

But he also urged the Philippine National Police to remain steadfast in supporting the government and the nation against threats to its "physical security."

Bunye, in a two-sentence statement, branded the information on which The Times based its "brat pack" story a "work of discredited groups."

He said these groups "of questionable character" are "starting the new year with their trademark of poisoned politics."

Received by The Times from security officers of Mrs. Arroyo, the information said the government is designing solid plans to counter disaffected groups set to take antiadministration actions that would set back Philippine economic growth and strengthen moves to topple the administration.

Miriam Santiago to solons: Get real (news.inq7.net)

"WHAT PLANET did they come from?"

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago asked the question yesterday after House leaders insisted that they did not need the Senate to push ahead with plans to amend the Constitution and adopt the parliamentary form of government.

"Under the rule of necessary implication, since Congress is bicameral, voting should necessarily be bicameral, that is, each chamber should vote separately," Santiago said.

"If even ordinary laws require separate voting, with even more reason a Constitution requires a separate voting," she added.

The administration senator said the "dream of a Cha-cha (Charter change) juggernaut" through a people's initiative needed "a reality check."

Santiago noted that the Supreme Court, in a 1997 case she had filed against the Commission on Elections, had ruled that a people's initiative for Charter change was illegal because Congress had not passed an enabling law.

Meralco dunned P85.3b (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has been asked to collect alleged tax deficiencies of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) amounting to P85.3 billion covering the years 2002 and 2003. 

In a two-page complaint filed with BIR, Danilo Lihaylihay said the government should collect from the Lopez-owned power distribution firm P85,369,699 in internal revenue taxes for its contracted purchases of energy from the National Power Corp. totaling 60.09 gigawatt-hours (GWh) at P2.46 per kilowatt-hour, in the aggregate amount of P147.83 billion for the period. 

Meralco officials said they could not comment on the complaint because they have yet to receive a copy of the document. 

"I have to get a copy first," said Meralco president Jesus Francisco. 

In Malacañang, presidential adviser on political affairs Gabriel Claudio said BIR has not been ordered to go after the Lopez family by the Arroyo administration. 



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