[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 15 November 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Nov 15 12:23:10 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 15 November 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



People's initiative advocates regroup, mull running in next year's elections (www.philstar.com)
A multisectoral group that gathered 6.5 million signatures for a people's initiative to amend the Constitution and shift from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government is regrouping in the provinces following its debacle in the Supreme Court. 

Lawyer Raul Lambino, Sigaw ng Bayan spokesman, said the group that advocated the people's initiative might convert itself into a political party and take part in local and national elections next year. 

"Sigaw has no final plans yet. The spirit is high but we are taking our time," he said. 

Lambino said Sigaw ng Bayan is planning its next political move while awaiting the Court's final decision on its petition to have its signature-gathering campaign declared as constitutional. 

"(The) Sigaw ng Bayan spirit will rise above (the people's initiative)," he told The STAR in an interview at his law office in Quezon City. 

"We had left the fate of the people's initiative (in) the hands of the great Supreme Court justices. If they will outright reject our appeal then that's the end of the people's initiative, but the Sigaw ng Bayan spirit remains alive in the hearts and minds of the people in the countryside who are crying for change."


Honasan captured in QC (Reuters/abs-cbnNEWS.com)


A fugitive former colonel and senator accused of masterminding a coup plot against President Arroyo was arrested on Wednesday, authorities said.


Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, implicated in nearly every coup bid hatched in the Philippines in the past 20 years, was caught a couple of hours after midnight in Manila after police spent weeks tracking him through intercepted mobile phone calls.


"We have spent so much time and resources to get him. Now we can proceed with the process," Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said.


Prosecutors want to question Honasan, hailed as a hero of the "people power" uprising that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, over an alleged conspiracy by rogue troops, political foes and communists to oust Arroyo in February.


Honasan has been in hiding since February 23, the eve of planned protests by leftist activists against Arroyo that the government has said were to be used by some soldiers to withdraw support for the president and spark an uprising against her.


'Propaganda campaign highlighting RP killings' (www.philstar.com)
The groups accusing the government of failing to solve the political killings could be part of the continuing campaign to undermine the Arroyo administration, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said yesterday. 

He said the claims of groups denouncing efforts to solve the extra-judicial killings of leftist activists and journalists could be part of the "continuing and insidious propaganda campaign to undermine public trust" in government. 

"We understand the concerns by well-meaning quarters about these developments and the President is equally concerned," Bunye said. 

"We condemn these killings. They are a smear to Philippine democracy and the rule of law. This government is committed to stop the culture of violence, maintain peace and order and protect the democratic and basic human rights of every individual in the country," he said.


ASEAN meet moves venue  (Inquirer)

ORGANIZERS OF THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippines have made a last-minute change of venue due to delays in the construction of a P450-million convention center, an official said yesterday.

The Dec. 11-14 summit will be held at Shangri-La Hotel on Mactan Island instead of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) across the bridge in Mandaue City, said Police Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr.

Razon has been designated head of Task Force ASEAN, which was created by former Director General Arturo C. Lomibao, Philippine National Police chief. Under the unit are seven other task groups that will handle security matters.

"Some of the foreign delegations expressed concern about the date the convention center would be finished, so it was transferred to Shangri-La," Razon was quoted by The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse as telling journalists in Manila.

Razon corrected himself when contacted by the Inquirer later.

"I'd like to correct that report. There will be events that will still be held in the Cebu International Convention Center and some events at Shangri-La," Razon said on the phone.

World Bank raises RP growth forecast (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

THE World Bank yesterday raised its 2006 growth forecast for the Philippines to 5.5 percent from 5.3, citing recovery in the agriculture sector, steady export growth, and strong remittances from Filipinos working abroad. 

In its latest twice-yearly growth outlook on East Asia, the bank also upgraded its 2007 gross domestic product forecast to 5.7 percent from 5.6, and said Manila could withstand a possible slowdown in the US and other major economies such as China and Japan. 

The bank's forecasts are at the lower end of the government's growth target of 5.5 to 6.1 percent for this year and 5.7 to 6.5 percent for 2007. 

The bank said favorable weather helped increase farm output by over 5 percent in the first half of the year, and a rebound in electronics exports pushed overall export growth to 17.5 percent. 

Economic growth also was aided by a rise in consumer spending, strong remittances, lower interest rates and inflation, stronger foreign direct investment, and tax revenue efforts. 

"East Asia has been growing at unprecedented rates and we are happy to note that the Philippines is moving in the same direction," said Loraine Hawkins, the bank's acting country director here. 

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