[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 28 November 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Nov 28 15:19:12 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 28 November 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Pro-Arroyo solons give Palace simplified Charter change plan (INQ7.net)

(UPDATE) PRO-ADMINISTRATION lawmakers have presented to Malacañang a simplified amendment to the 1987 Constitution, which contains the shift from the presidential-bicameral to parliamentary-unicameral form of government, a top Palace official said.

In a caucus in Malacañang Monday night, they also agreed to a formal motion to push ahead with the plebiscite on Charter change before the deadline of the filing of the certificate of candidacy for senatorial candidates by Feb. 12, 2007, Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio told INQ7.net in a phone interview.

Monday's caucus, attended by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and more than 70 House members, was the second of a series of meetings among Charter change proponents to fast track the amendment of the Constitution.

Congress has about four more weeks of sessions before going on a Christmas break.

Arroyo, who checked out of St. Luke's Hospital early in the day after an executive check-up, had dinner with the congressmen, Claudio said.

Cha-cha now House's only concern (The Manila Times)


Charter change will be the only concern of the House leadership from now on throughout the remaining 13 session days until the members go on Christmas break on December 22.


"Charter reform is the only unfinished priority program the Palace has asked Congress to approve," House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles of Davao City said to explain why no other matter will be on the priority agenda.


Against their critics' complaints that "the House leadership is sacrificing good lawmaking for their Cha-cha goals," Nograles said the House is almost done in approving "several urgent measures." 


For the record, he said, "the House in the Thirteenth Congress has already approved 1,003 bills on third reading, both of local and national application and had them transmitted to the Senate for action and approval by the upper chamber."


"Twenty-nine of those bills have been signed into law but most of them-a whopping 974-are awaiting approval by the Senate with just a few months left before the Thirteenth Congress adjourns," he added.


Senators willing to abolish pork barrel (Inquirer)

SENATORS are amenable to the abolition of their pork barrel if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is willing to forego the multibillion-peso fund at her disposal, Senate President Manuel Villar said yesterday.

"In fact, we prefer if there is no more pork barrel for everyone but this should include the President," Villar said in an RMN radio interview.

But for the meantime, the Senate has cut out the P9.1 billion addition to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), more popularly known as the pork barrel, which the House of Representatives inserted in the proposed P1.126-trillion national budget for 2007.

The pork barrel finances the pet projects of legislators. Though the money is not directly released to senators and members of the House, the pork barrel is believed to be a source of kickbacks for lawmakers. The kickbacks come from contractors who bag the projects.

The P9.1 billion in the PDAF approved by the House was an increase over the P6.2 billion set aside for the fund by Malacañang when it submitted its proposed budget to the House.

DoJ chief warned on barring foreign militants at ASEAN meet (INQ7.net)

BARRING foreign activists from attending the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu City is an invitation to diplomatic protests, according to an official of two militant groups.

Danilo Ramos, secretary general of both the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Movement of Peasant Farmers, KMP) and the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), said the Philippines was "in for a big headache" if Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez's order to monitor, profile, and bar from entering the country activists from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India would be carried out.

"We have already informed other officers of the APC and our allied organizations to talk with their governments and have diplomatic protests and sanctions ready if anything untoward happens to them. The Macapagal-Arroyo regime does not only trample upon the rights of its own people but that of other nationalities as well," he said in a statement.

Ramos claims that the APC has 14 million members.

Ramos warned the government against showing how intolerant it was of dissent before the international stage as various media outfits from all over the world were going to cover the summit.

"If this happens again then the whole world will be watching live of the brutality of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her ilk," he said.

PNP to exercise maximum tolerance during Asean summit (www.philstar.com)
The police will exert their best effort to implement the policy of maximum tolerance against militant groups and foreign nationals who will stage protest rallies during the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cebu City on Dec. 10 to 14. 

Malacañang, the summit organizers and the Central Visayas police, however, said that a "no permit, no rally" policy will be strictly enforced during the event. 

Mass actions would be allowed only in areas designated by the Cebu City government or at the Freedom Park. Streets near the venue of meetings of the ASEAN heads of state will be strictly off-limits to protesters. 

"Our policies under the law are: no permit, no rally and maximum tolerance. That's basically how we are going to handle the protest rallies," Chief Superintendent Silverio Alarcio Jr., Central Visayas police director and chairman of the ASEAN committee on security preparations, said.

Cruz wants civilian successor at DND (www.philstar.com)
If the administration wants to sustain military reforms, a civilian - someone who is not a retired military or police officer - should be appointed as the next secretary of national defense. 

This is according to outgoing Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, who in his two-year stint as defense secretary set in motion crucial military reforms, most of which are among the recommendations of a special commission formed after the Oakwood mutiny on July 27, 2003. 

He, however, emphasized that the selection of the defense chief is a presidential prerogative and he had not recommended anyone as his replacement. 

He tendered his irrevocable resignation a few weeks ago amid rumors that three Cabinet members want him out of Malacañang due to his opposition to the people's initiative to amend the Constitution, which is a priority policy of the administration. 

After tendering his irrevocable resignation effective Nov. 30, Cruz broke his silence yesterday at the 67th anniversary celebration of the Department of National Defense at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. 

In his first press conference since tendering his resignation, Cruz expressed hope that the administration would follow the recommendation of both the Feliciano and Davide commissions to appoint civilians -meaning those who are not retired military or police officers -to head the defense department. 

"The military matters, the chief of staff and the officers are well versed in these, so you need the fresh perspective of a civilian (at the DND)," Cruz said.


Water shortage worsens (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

ALMOST half of the 1.34 million residents in Metro Manila who suffered a dry weekend will continue to experience water service interruptions this week, the Maynilad Water Services said yesterday. 

The company, which serves the western parts of Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Parañaque, and Las Piñas, pinned the blame for the service interruptions on the low level of water-39 cubic meters per second instead of 41-released by the National Power Corp. from the Angat Dam. 

The dam, which supplies 97 percent of the water in Metro Manila, is also used to generate electricity, but the power company yesterday denied using the water for that purpose. 

"The hydro plant is not running this month," a power company official said, adding that drinking water and irrigation had priority over electricity, especially when water levels were down. 

The power company maintained that it stuck to the 39 cu m allocation set by the National Water Resources Board. 

Unannounced water service interruptions hit some 180,160 households, or 1.34 million residents, over the weekend. 

Tropical storm Reming enters RP (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Tropical storm Reming (international codename Durian) has entered the country's area of responsibility and is threatening to reach Metro Manila by Friday, weather bureau PAGASA said Tuesday. 

As of 10 a.m., Durian was spotted 870 kilometers east of Samar with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the eye and gusts of up to 120 kph. PAGASA said the storm is moving west northwest at 26 kph. 


The storm is expected to reach 350 km east northeast of Samar by Wednesday morning and the vicinity of Catanduanes by Thursday morning. It is expected to reach the vicinity of Metro Manila by Friday morning. 

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