[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 14 November 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Nov 14 11:49:52 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 14 November 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Foreign businesses to Arroyo: Stop killings (Inquirer)

SAYING VIOLENCE has no place in a democracy, foreign chambers of commerce and multinational companies yesterday made an unprecedented call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration to put an end to political killings or risk losing aid and investments.

The statement was issued by the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFC) in the Philippines, comprising business groups from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Japan and Korea, and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters.

A similar plea was made in a letter sent to Ms Arroyo on Thursday that was signed by local officials of the US-based apparel companies Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, Wal-Mart, Liz Claiborne, American Eagle Outfitters, Jones Apparel Group and Phillips Van Heusen.

The business groups' appeals came amid unabated attacks on media people and leftist and religious groups, Ms Arroyo's vow to end before her term expires in four years the 37-year-old insurgency waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines, and a legal offensive against leftist members of Congress facing rebellion charges.

In the latest incident, two motorcycle-riding gunmen shot and killed Joey Javier, 42, a director of a farmer's cooperative, in Baggao town, Cagayan province, on Saturday. He was the 71st victim of political killing this year, according to an Inquirer count. Its tally last year was 79.

The human rights group Karapatan lists 765 victims of political violence since Ms Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001. The Inquirer puts the figure at 256.

"Such violence has no place in a modern democratic state," said a joint statement issued by the six foreign chambers of commerce and the group of multinational companies with regional headquarters in the Philippines.

"For the sake of justice and to deter continued killings, these murders should be investigated thoroughly and those found responsible punished under the law," the chambers said.

Defensor group roots for ConCon (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

A Cabinet faction led by presidential chief of staff Michael Defensor is espousing constitutional convention as an alternative mode for amending the Constitution, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita confirmed yesterday. 

Ermita said Defensor has been outspoken in his view that it would be better to follow the constitutional convention approach to hurdle the constitutionality issue that derailed Charter Change via constituent assembly or people's initiative. 

"Mike (Defensor) has been telling us perhaps ConCon is a more acceptable approach," Ermita told newsmen. 

Defensor himself claimed there are at least eight Cabinet members who favor the constitutional convention idea. 

Although Defensor has a different idea of how Charter Change should be pursued, Ermita stressed that it does not mean that Cabinet members are feuding over the issue. 

"Mike has his own thoughts about it, but he goes along with the President's vision of Charter Change. That is something very sure," he said. 

Lacson: It's God's will that I run for mayor (Inquirer) 

NOW IT IS Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson who has received a sign from God.

After going through what he said were "restless days and sleepless nights," Lacson --Malacañang's longtime nemesis -- yesterday announced he would gun for the post of mayor of Manila in next year's local elections.

Forsaking possibly another six-year term in the Senate, the Caviteño known for his tough image as a former national police chief has even come up with a campaign battle cry.

And that is to bring HOPE (Health, Order, Progress and Education) to the country's premier city and its roughly 2 million people.

Lacson also promised to bust corruption and change the dole-out culture that has ruined local politics.

Some advisers said that if Lacson proved his worth as Manila mayor, this would be his ticket to an eventual shot at the presidency.

LP leaders insist on polls to resolve leadership row (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

Members of the Liberal Party's National Executive Council yesterday passed a resolution expressing support for Mayor Lito Atienza as party president until an election supervised by the Commission on Elections is held. 

Party stalwarts from Antique, Batangas, Batanes, Pampanga, Cavite, Rizal, Quezon and Manila said they were determined to push through with the election to resolve the leadership row between the groups of Atienza and Senator Franklin Drilon. 

They endorsed Atienza to run as LP president. "Atienza's presidency of the LP is non-negotiable for us. It is time that Drilon's misrepresentation of LP ended, and we elect someone who genuinely cares for the welfare of the party and its members, and not for his own political ambition," Rep. Harlin Cast Abayon of Northern Samar said. 

Deputy Speaker Eric Singson said there are other important matters LP has to attend to, instead of fighting one another. "We have bigger issues and concerns to tackle, like the governance of this country and next year's elections," he said. 

Biofuels bill passed before holiday break (www.philstar.com)
The biofuels bill in the House of Representatives and the Senate is expected to pass before the bicameral conference committee before Congress takes its Christmas break on Dec. 20, a House official said yesterday. 

Deputy Speaker for the Visayas Raul del Mar told reporters that both legislative chambers may reconcile House Bill 4629 and Senate Bill 2226, which both seek to establish a "national biofuels program" requiring the use of biofuels or ethanol in automobiles. 

"We are well within the time frame," Del Mar said. "This (bill) has been practically supported by most congressmen. Hopefully, we can approve this before our Christmas break." 

"This will be very good for our farmers and the motoring public," he added.

Nov. 30 holiday moved to Dec. 1 (www.philstar.com)
President Arroyo has declared Dec. 1 a non-working holiday nationwide instead of Nov. 30, Bonifacio Day, to give the public a chance to enjoy a long weekend. 

Dec. 26 will also be a special non-working day throughout the country in celebration of Christmas Day on Dec. 25, which is a regular holiday. In some western countries Dec. 26 is a holiday known as Boxing Day. 

According to law, Bonifacio Day is observed as a regular holiday on Nov. 30 of each year. This year, however, it falls on a Thursday. 

Under Proclamation No. 1169, Mrs. Arroyo said all activities and celebrations for Bonifacio Day should still be observed on Nov. 30 even if the non-working holiday is on Dec. 1.
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