[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 4 Septermber Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Sep 4 11:45:22 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 4 September Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Cha-cha battle in SC (The Manila Times)


Spurned by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the advocates of Charter change go before the Supreme Court Monday to keep their campaign for a people's initiative alive.


Raul Lambino of Sigaw ng Bayan and Erico Aumentado of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) said on Sunday that they will file a "certiorari mandamus petition" asking the court to set aside the COMELEC resolution that junked the petition for an initiative to amend the Constitution.


Lambino and Aumentado will also ask the court to order the COMELEC to set the date for the referendum on the proposed amendments.


They petitioners will submit the more than 6.3 million signatures to support their petition.


The COMELEC, they said, committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing their petition, while at the same time recognizing the 6.3 million signatures.


In denying the people's initiative petition on Friday, the COMELEC noted that "even if the signatures in the instant petition appear to meet the required minimum per centum of the total number of registered voters. still the petition cannot be given due course since the Supreme Court categorically declared Republic Act 6735 as inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution."


The Initiative Referendum Act (RA 6735) was struck down by the Supreme Court for being "incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned."


House seeks con-ass dialogue with Senate (www.philstar.com)


The House of Representatives will seek a dialogue with the Senate this week on the bigger chamber's proposal that lawmakers convene themselves as a constituent assembly (con-ass) to propose Charter changes (Cha-cha). 

House leaders are taking the initiative after the Commission on Elections rejected a parallel Cha-cha effort - the people's initiative petition filed by Sigaw ng Bayan and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. Petitioners are set to challenge the Comelec decision before the Supreme Court today. 

Majority Leader Prospero Nograles said yesterday he would lead a House delegation that would meet with senators to discuss Cha-cha through con-ass. 

He said the mood in the Senate might have already changed since Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. took over the leadership of the chamber from Sen. Franklin Drilon last July 24, when the 13th Congress started its third and last regular session. 

"There's really no disagreement between the two chambers on the need to amend the Constitution. We want to find out if senators will now agree to doing Cha-cha through con-ass," he added.

Opposition out to stop Cha-cha even after losing impeachment (www.gmanews.tv)
Minority members of the House of Representatives might have failed to get the 78 votes needed to impeach President Arroyo, but they continue to hope to muster the 50 signatures needed to block the move of pro-administration lawmakers to alter the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly. 

House Minority Leader Francis "Chiz" Escudero said Sunday the opposition is still pushing for a resolution that needs 50 signatures to counter the resolution of pro-Charter change (Cha-cha) lawmakers that would convene both Houses of Congress into a Constituent Assembly. 

Escudero declined to give details on how the minority hopes to get the needed number of signatories.


Gov't-MILF peace talks to resume 'in a few days' (Inquirer) 

THE PEACE TALKS between the government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are set to resume in the "next few days" in Kuala Lumpur.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said yesterday the resumption of the GRP-MILF peace talks was disclosed to him by Silvestre Afable, who heads the government panel in the peace negotiations with the MILF.

"The government has made a proposal to resolve the impasse on territory and this will be discussed," Bunye said in reference to the contentious issue of "ancestral domain."

Afable was confident the talks "will continue to move forward to an early agreement," according to Bunye.

MILF chief negotiator Mohager Iqbal confirmed the resumption of the peace talks.

Marine rehab, recovery may take 10-25 yrs, say UP experts (Inquirer)

GUIMARAS ISLAND -- Even as residents of this island grapple with the loss of their livelihood and suffer from illnesses due to exposure to the black sludge along their shores, they may feel the oil spill's impact on the environment and rich marine life for a long time.

Scientists at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) said the rehabilitation and recovery of marine life contaminated by the oil slick could take 10 to 20 years.

"Ten years is too short for recovery and it will not be to the pre-oil spill status," said Dr. Resurreccion Sadaba, head of the UPV task force that is assessing the extent of the damage to the environment and community.

The research team is composed mostly of scientists who conducted a similar study on Semirara Island in Antique province after a power barge of the National Power Corp. ran aground off the island in December last year, spilling more than 300,000 liters of oil.

The UPV task force is also part of the group formed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to conduct a safety assessment of the air, soil and water in the oil-spill affected areas of Guimaras.

Proposed law gets tough on spills (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will certify as urgent a bill that would give more teeth to maritime regulations after an oil spill on Guimaras showed them to be flawed, an official said yesterday. 

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo had ordered the transport department, the Coast Guard and other agencies to submit a comprehensive assessment of pending bills on tougher maritime rules. 

He said Mrs. Arroyo had also ordered the Coast Guard to identify sea lanes for vessels carrying oil, chemicals and other dangerous materials, and then to submit its recommendations on Sept. 6. 

"The President wants to ensure that the Solar I oil spill will be the last of its kind," Bunye said. 

CBCP seeks help for oil spill victims (www.philstar.com)
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on the faithful yesterday to extend all possible help to communities in Western Visayas affected by the oil spill caused by the sinking of a fuel tanker off Guimaras island on Aug. 11. 

CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said it would be a Christian act for people, especially those who are not liable for the environmental catastrophe, to help the oil spill victims. 

"We may not be responsible but we can reach out immediately to affected families of affected barangays in terms of material help because they have lost their livelihood," said Lagdameo, who heads the archdiocese of Jaro in the province of Iloilo, where some coastal towns have already been affected by the spill. 

Lagdameo said his archdiocese has already initiated efforts to help affected families through its Diocesan Social Action Center (JASAC) and the Jaro Archdiocesan Pastoral Secretariat (JAPS). 

"Let us be in solidarity with them through whatever organized help we can extend to them," appealed the CBCP head. "As one 'Body of Christ,' the tragedy suffered by one part is felt too by the entire body."
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