[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 24 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Jul 24 11:12:26 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 24 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



CBCP joins info drive vs 'initiative' (The Philippine Star) 

"Catholic bishops have joined the group "One Voice" in convincing the public to reject moves to amend the Constitution through a people's initiative that is being pursued by the Arroyo administration. 

Archbishop of Jaro Angel Lagdameo, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said the bishops remain firm that the Constitution should be amended after the 2010 presidential elections through a constitutional convention with delegates elected by the people. 

"The stand of the CBCP is clear," he said during a Cha-cha (Charter change) information campaign last Saturday. 

"We the bishops are against the people's initiative, which we believe is aimed solely at extending the terms of incumbent officials. As we said in our pastoral letter, the manner through which Charter change is being pushed is highly questionable." 

Lagdameo said the Catholic bishops do not want "incumbent leaders" to convert themselves into a constituent assembly to proposed amendments to the Constitution. 

"There are many good, capable and qualified people who should be in a constitutional convention," he said."


Arroyo in triumphal mood, President confident she's over the hump (Inquirer)

"WITH HER WORST political crisis behind her, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will outline in her sixth State of the Nation Address today the achievements of her administration and a roadmap to lift Filipinos from poverty and bring the nation to prosperity.

The nationally televised speech at the opening of the third regular session of the 13th Congress will reflect the President's "triumphal mood," Albay Representative Joey Salceda said over the weekend. She will assume the role of a "CEO reporting to a board of directors."

The President will focus on "bread and butter issues" -- the things that she "cares about most," said Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye. "It will be about what the people want: A clear economic direction for the nation and a plan detailing how we are going to get there."

"Her vision is to bring the Philippines to First World status, something like Malaysia," said one Palace source, who reported that Ms Arroyo herself was working on her address on her laptop computer.

The President's chief of staff, Michael Defensor, and jobs czar Arthur Yap were standing by her as she prepared her address. It was not expected to be finalized until shortly before delivery, the source said."

16,000 troops fielded for SONA (The Philippine Star) 

"Some 16,000 policemen and battle-hardened troops from the Armed Forces have been deployed to guard the Batasan complex in Quezon City when President Arroyo delivers her State of the Nation Address (SONA) this afternoon. 

Police went on alert yesterday with thousands of officers and soldiers deployed to guard the Batasan and surrounding areas for the President's annual address, weeks after authorities reportedly uncovered a fresh plot against her. 

The tight ring of security was implemented following repeated announcements of militant groups and critics to gather up to 20,000 protesters for today's SONA. 

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Vidal Querol said checkpoints have been set up in strategic locations to intercept the possible flow of guns and explosives to disturb the event. 

"The (inclement) weather could also play a critical role on the tactical level of our security operations," Querol said."


Fill empty Batasan seats, Arroyo backers told (Inquirer)

"FEARING THE prospect of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo addressing an empty hall when she delivers her State of the Nation Address today, congressional leaders are mobilizing their allies to fill up the seats at the Batasang Pambansa plenary hall and rally behind her.

"Our attendance will be a show of support to the President's call for help to push her agenda," said House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Gerry Salapuddin.

Some senators and minority members of the House of Representatives had declared they would boycott the President's SONA.

"It's truly disappointing that every year, some opposition members do not attend the SONA yet they are quick to criticize the President after her speech. They have become part of the problem. This only shows their self-centeredness." said Salapuddin."

Palace sees better work relationship with Villar (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"MALACAÑANG is looking forward to a more productive relationship with the Senate when Senator Manny Villar is expected to assume the Senate presidency today replacing Senator Franklin Drilon, who has been accused of subverting the national leadership because of his personal ambitions. 

"The institutional cooperation between the Senate and the Palace will be vastly improved," presidential adviser on political affairs Gabriel Claudio said. 

"Gone will be the political awkwardness of the Senate presidency being used to humiliate, weaken or subvert the national leadership." 

Claudio made the remark on the eve of the opening of Congress' third and final session, which will be highlighted by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's State-of-the-Nation Address. 

Villar vowed to hasten the passage of priority legislation by improving relations with the Palace and the House of Representatives." 

Pulse: Arroyo approval, trust ratings down (abs-cbnNEWS.com) 

"Pulse Asia's latest survey released Sunday showed many Filipinos distrust President Arroyo and remain dissatisfied with her performance.

The agency conducted this month its Ulat ng Bayan (Report of the Nation) survey, which said "44 percent or about 21 million Filipino adults express disapproval for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's performance while 47 percent or nearly 22.5 million Filipino adults distrust her."

The survey results were "practically the same as the March 2006 figures (50% disapproval and 50% distrust)."

"No president before her has experienced as extended a period of low public esteem," Pulse Asia said. 

"Whereas public disenchantment in terms of low approval and trust ratings generally improve for Philippine presidents within two to three quarters, President Arroyo's deflated approval and trust ratings have proven less tractable," the agency said. "Outright improvements in public assessments of her performance and trustworthiness have been slow in coming," it added."

Filipinos continue to flee Lebanon (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

"Some 150 overseas Filipino workers from the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Beirut, Lebanon have crossed into Syria before dawn Monday.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis told DZMM that they entered Syrian territory shortly before 2 a.m. (7 a.m. in Manila time). The evacuees are now staying at Saint Elias Maronite Cathedral in the city of Aleppo, he said.

As of posting time, Seguis said that another batch of Filipinos from the Beirut are on their way to Syria. He said this batch is expected to arrive in Syria on Tuesday afternoon.

He added that based on plans, Filipinos temporarily staying in Syria will be flown to Manila aboard the same chartered plane used to send the first batch of evacuees home.

Seguis also reported that no Filipinos were reported injured or killed in the continuous bombings in Beirut. He said the Philippine government will not stop evacuation efforts as long as there are Filipinos who want to get out of Lebanon.

"We will evacuate [Filipino workers] who want to go home, without questions, documented or undocumented, as long as they have passports. [If not], we will give them travel documents," he said."

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