[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 27 November 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Nov 27 13:47:59 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 27 November 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



34 regional seats proposed under parliamentary system (www.philstar.com)
Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. is offering seats to senators in the unicameral parliament that he and other Charter change (Cha-cha) proponents envision as replacement for the existing bicameral Congress. 

De Venecia made the offer yesterday apparently to entice senators into supporting the proposal of the House of Representatives for Congress to convene as a constituent assembly (con-ass) to propose constitutional amendments that would pave the way for a parliamentary system of government. 

At Malacañang, President Arroyo expressed hopes that the Senate and the House of Representatives would find a middle ground to hasten Charter change. 

"President Arroyo has always been hopeful that our institutions of government, particularly the House and the Senate, will come together and find a middle ground to move Charter change forward," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said. 

The planned amendments involve replacing Congress, now composed of the Senate and the House, with a one-chamber parliament. This, in effect, will abolish the Senate which has been a big headache for Mrs. Arroyo since July 8, 2005, when then Senate President Franklin Drilon joined calls for her resignation. 

The parliament that De Venecia and other Cha-cha proponents envision will be composed of at least one representative from each congressional district, much like the representation in the House. 

But the Speaker said he and his allies were willing to have additional membership of two from each of the nation's 17 regions, or a total of 34 seats, to accommodate the senators. 

He said the proposal has been presented to some senators. He did not say what their reaction was. 

De Venecia has named at least five pro-Cha-cha senators: Miriam Defensor Santiago, Edgardo Angara, Juan Ponce Enrile, Lito Lapid, and Ramon Revilla Jr. 

The Speaker and most congressmen, with the blessing of Mrs. Arroyo, are making a final push for Cha-cha. 

They plan to convene as a con-ass with or without the Senate, and approve their version of the revised Constitution before Congress goes on Christmas recess on Dec. 22.


Survey: 67% of Filipinos buck Charter change (Inquirer)

A MAJORITY of Filipinos -- 67 percent -- would vote "No" if a plebiscite on a new Constitution were held today, results of a Social Weather Stations third quarter survey released yesterday showed.

The percentage is the same as that recorded in a previous SWS survey released in June, the polling agency said.

It said the Sept. 24 to Oct. 2 nationwide survey found "stronger opposition" to amendments that would allow President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to become head of government even after 2010; create a unicameral legislature; extend the term limits of officials from 2007 to 2010, and lessen restrictions on foreign participation in the economy.

Seven out of 10 rejected the idea of allowing Ms Arroyo to become head of government even after 2010, up from 44 percent recorded in March.

Half (51 percent) opposed the idea of having only one chamber of parliament elected in each district and from party-list groups, up from 38 percent in March. This implies that most Filipinos would rather continue having a Senate, SWS said.

GMA to lead meeting of final ChaCha push (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will preside over the second extraordinary caucus of the major political parties in the House of Representatives for a "final push" for Charter Change, the President's allies said yesterday. 

The caucus will be held even as the Social Weather Stations released the results of a survey showing most Filipinos opposed the idea of an indirectly elected head of government, lifting restrictions on foreign participation in the economy, and the postponement of the elections to 2010. 

Nevertheless, former Senator Heherson Alvarez, executive vice president of the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats party, said the dinner-caucus to be held in Malacañang tonight would be aimed at firming up efforts to convene both houses of Congress into a constituent assembly before the traditional Christmas break. 

"This is still in keeping with our final push for Charter Change, for constituent assembly. First and foremost, the machinery of this administration is still backing constituent assembly," Alvarez said in a telephone interview. 

Budget chief debunks speculations on pork barrel usage (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya on Monday dismissed speculations that Malacañan is using the Priority Development Assistance fund (PDAF) or "pork barrel" to lure senators into its fold.


Andaya made the statement after senators Juan Flavier and Panfilo Lacson criticized the Executive Branch over the manner by which it disburses the fund.


Lacson claimed that only senators friendly towards the Arroyo administration received their share of the funds while Flavier lamented that lawmakers should first befriend Malacañan before they receive their share.


Lacson also called for the removal of pork barrel from the General Appropriations Act because it is being "used" by Malacañan to gain the loyalty of lawmakers.


Andaya said that senators need not be friendly towards the Arroyo administration to receive funds for their projects.


He also said that he will report to the Senate within the week on how the fund was used.


"We are willing to give a report. I will go to Senate within this week and we have to give a report, where the fund went, [and] which departments benefited from the fund," Andaya told ABS-CBN's Magandang Umaga Pilipinas.


'No to Filipino nurses' (The Manila Times)


The Japanese Nursing Association (JNA), which is against the entry of Filipino nurses in Japan, said the working conditions of Japanese nurses must be improved first before Filipinos are taken in.


In a recent interview, Kyoko Nagaike, a JNA board member, told The Manila Times that the salaries of Japanese nurses should at least be doubled before Filipino nurses could work in Japanese hospitals.


Under the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), Filipino nurses and caregivers can work in Japan as long as they undergo training and pass the licensure examination, which is written in Japanese.


The exams are the same tests given to Japanese nurses and caregivers. 


Japanese nurses get a basic starting salary of 193,924 yen or about P85,000.


Nagaike said the JNA believes there are enough nurses in Japan to look after the growing number of senior citizens.


Nagaike said the JNA would only be willing to support the entry of Filipino nurses if the Japanese government could ensure that they would be given the same treatment and salaries that Japanese nurses were receiving.


"If we allow Filipino nurses to come in and they would be given lower salaries and lower benefits than the Japanese nurses are receiving, it could spell worse times for us because as it is now, the working conditions of Japanese nurses need much improvement and if cheap labor would come in, these working conditions, we're afraid, would remain," she said through an interpreter.

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