[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 13 September Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Sep 13 11:40:04 PHT 2006
Newsbriefs 13 September Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
WB lauds RP fiscal reforms (www.philstar.com)
A senior World Bank official yesterday lauded the Philippines for its fiscal reforms but said it needs to do more to strengthen its fight against corruption.
Juan Jose Daboub, one of the bank's managing directors, said corruption remains a major hindrance to foreign investment and the government needs to be more transparent in the use of public funds.
"Now that the Philippines is implementing several reforms for macroeconomic and fiscal stability, there is the breathing space for addressing some of the difficult structural issues of governance, including more effective and transparent collection of taxes and better quality of public spending," Daboub said.
The government's move to expand the base of its value-added tax and increase the rate to 12 percent from 10 percent has boosted public revenue and put the country on target to achieve a balanced budget by 2008.
But a recent WB report ranked the Philippines 126th out of 175 countries in terms of investor-friendliness. Vietnam, for instance, which 15 years ago was a relatively closed society with an underdeveloped economy, was 104th.
Melo panel calls Esperon, Palparan (www.philstar.com)
Top military officials have been summoned to appear before the six-member commission tasked by President Arroyo to investigate the rash of extra-judicial killings of political activists and journalists in the country.
Among the officials expected to appear before the commission are Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and retired Army general Jovito Palparan, said retired Supreme Court justice Jose Melo, chairman of the commission.
Melo said the initial hearings will be held Thursday in closed-door proceedings at the offices of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Ortigas, Pasig City.
Melo said the AFP has assured the commission that Esperon and Palparan would appear before them.
He pointed out the two officials cannot invoke Executive Order 464 as an excuse if they deliberately snub the hearings.
Melo referred to the controversial gag order which prohibits Cabinet members as well as government officials and those from the military and police from appearing before a congressional inquiry without permission from the President.
"They have to appear. If they invoke Executive Order 464, they should be answerable to the President because the commission was formed by the Chief Executive," Melo said prior to the proceedings.
Asia-Europe leaders warn of climate change (www.manilastandardtoday.com)
Thirty-nine Asian and European leaders, including President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, issued Monday a declaration on climate change to cap the two-day 6th Asia-Europe Meeting in Helsinki, Finland.
Asem expressed its commitment "to act with resolve and urgency to meet interrelated multiple goals of addressing climate change, reducing air pollution and improving the global environment while contributing to sustainable development and synergies with energy policy goals."
The grouping noted that the adverse effects of climate change pose a "serious threat to sustainable development to the future of the planet."
The declaration reinforces Asem's commitment to fully support the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change and the Kyoto protocol to which the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and 25 nations of the European Union are signatories.
It states that the Asem members are "determined to respond to climate change through international cooperation, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities with a view to achieving the ultimate objective of the Convention."
Charges vs civilian coup plotters readied (abs-cbNEWS.com)
The government is readying rebellion charges against civilian supporters of the botched coup attempt against President Arroyo last February, ABS-CBN's Bandila reported Tuesday.
The task force investigating the failed coup attempt is set to meet for the last time on Wednesday to tackle the cases to be filed against individuals linked to the destabilization plot.
Included in the list of alleged civilian supporters are retired Infanta bishop Julio Labayen and lawyers Christopher Belmonte and Roel Pulido.
COA uncovers 'wasted' DOH funds (abs-cbnNEWS.com)
Most of the funds appropriated for the construction of buildings for government hospitals and laboratories went to waste as most of the infrastructures were left unused, ABS-CBN's Bandila reported late Tuesday.
The Commission on Audit (COA) said the buildings were mostly appropriated for the Department of Health (DOH).
The report cited at least four government buildings that were either left unfinished by contractors or unused because they lack the necessary equipment for operation.
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