[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 21 September 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Sep 21 11:42:01 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 21 September 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



All-party caucus on ChaCha slated (www.manilastandardtoday.com) 

"THE House of Representatives will hold an all-party caucus next week to reconcile two resolutions seeking to transform Congress into a constituent assembly that will propose changes in the 1987 Charter. 

House leaders are confident that a unified version of the proposals would be approved in the first week of October, thereby hastening the move to reform the "defective" Constitution. 

Another proposal to change the Charter through people's initiative has been elevated to the Supreme Court, after it was rejected by the Commission of Elections. 

House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles said the caucus would tackle House Resolution 1285 which was approved and submitted by the House Committee on constitutional amendments chaired by Rep. Constantino Jaraula. 

"We may be able to discuss the Jaraula resolution in the plenary starting Wednesday next week," Nograles said. "

No reason to celebrate martial law - Palace (www.philstar.com)

"Malacañang believes there is no reason to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the declaration by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos of martial law, which it hopes will never happen again. 

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, faced with a barrage of inquiries sarcastic or otherwise, said yesterday it was funny to hear people asking about whether Sept. 21 would be declared a holiday. 

He surmised that it could be the lack of knowledge, especially of the young people, about martial law and the events that led to it. During the Marcos regime, the date was a holiday celebrated as National Thanksgiving Day. 

But human rights groups are set to mark the day with mass actions in Metro Manila to protest the spate of political killings and harassment under the Arroyo administration. 

"I do not know what it is to celebrate on the occasion of what, the 34th anniversary of martial law in September 1972. Many of you were not yet born yet at that time. I was there already, I was a lieutenant colonel," Ermita, a retired military general, said. "

Palace says PCGG won't be abolished (www.philstar.com)
"Malacañang rejected yesterday calls for the abolition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), citing the agency's relevance in recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family and their alleged cronies. 

"The PCGG will continue its existence and I'm very sure that this problem we are having with the Senate can be resolved somehow in the near future," Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said. 

"We continue to have faith that the PCGG is able and would be able to accomplish the objectives that have been set for them under EO (Executive Order) No. 1," he said. 

President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 1 creating the PCGG shortly after being catapulted to power by the EDSA I people power revolt in February 1986. 

Ermita stressed the Palace would not support proposed measures to dissolve the PCGG at this time despite criticisms that it had lost its significance. 

"There's no reason for it to be dismantled because we continue to receive reports from the PCGG about what they are doing to accomplish their mission," he said."

Palace not keen on expanded Melo commission membership 

'Give commission chance to work first' (INQ7.net)

"A SUGGESTION from Amnesty International (AI) for the possible expansion of the Melo commission's membership to include "other independent and impartial persons from human rights or other groups" got a lukewarm response from Malacañang.

"The Melo commission is just starting its work and it is only fair that we give its members a chance," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a statement Tuesday in reaction to the international human rights group's proposal.

The AI suggestion was contained in a September 14 memorandum the group gave to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during a meeting in London.

The detailed memorandum is intended to ensure the commission gains "wide public credibility and acceptance as independent, impartial and effective."

It also suggested that the commission consider information from "non government organizations, United Nations human rights monitoring bodies and mechanisms, families of victims and lawyers."

The five-person commission, headed by retired Associate Supreme Court justice Jose Melo, is moving ahead "methodically and judiciously in fulfilling its mandate" to investigate political killings and recommend policies to end the bloodshed, according to Bunye."

DBM chief seeks P1 B for anti-graft drive next year (www.philstar.com)
"Malacañang is seeking a budget of almost P1 billion for the Office of the Ombudsman next year, P324-million more than the amount allocated for the agency last year. 

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said the Office of the Ombudsman's P974-million proposed budget will show that the government is working to curb graft and corruption. 

Last year, the Office of the Ombudsman had a budget of P650 million, which was slated to be increased to P935 million this year had Congress passed the proposed national budget. 

In next year's proposed budget, the agency would be given P87 million to prosecute cases, P60 million to investigate complaints, P95 million for research and to build up cases, P18 million for "public assistance and corruption prevention" and P129 million for "area and sectoral" operations to include "fact-finding and intelligence activities." 

The Office of the Ombudsman will also receive P88 million to create 235 positions for prosecutors. 

In her budget message for 2007, Mrs. Arroyo said she intends to beef up the anti-graft agency's ranks. 

"We will provide the Ombudsman with more investigators who will run after those who will run away with the people's money," she said."


PAGASA: RP in for hot Christmas (The Manila Times)


"The country is in for a hot Christmas, with El Niño coming before the end of the year.


Dr. Flaviana Hilario, chief climatologist of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), on Wednesday said the occurrence of a mild to moderate El Niño is likely in October. She added the indications pointed to a repeat of the 1968 and 1969 climate.


"Sea surface temperature shows positive anomaly exceeding 0.5 degrees along the equator, some greater than 1.0 degree in the last four weeks," she said.


Hilario pointed out that the country has been experiencing less rainfall in the past three months. In fact, she noted, there had been a decrease of much as 60 percent in the past 17 days, compared the same period last year. 


"El Niño is expected to affect western part of northern and Central Luzon, and western Mindanao during the last quarter of the year," she said.


Dr. Prisco Nilo, officer-in-charge of PAGASA, said they are issuing an advisory this early to provide a warning to both the water sector and the agriculture sector.


"The criteria for a global declaration of El Niño have not yet been attained. But we are seeing a warming in the Pacific," he said. "We are issuing this warning so that the Philippines can make the necessary preparation," he said."


House OKs bill mandating use of English as medium of instruction (www.philstar.com)
"Voting 132-7, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill mandating English as the medium of instruction in all schools across the country. 

House Bill 4701 or An Act to Strengthen and Enhance the Use of English as the Medium of Instruction in Philippine Schools was approved in plenary Tuesday night. 

It will be transmitted to the Senate for approval. 

House Deputy Speaker for Visayas Raul del Mar, who represents the first district of Cebu City, said several measures had been filed in the past seeking to reinstate English as the medium of instruction in Philippine schools but this was the first time that such bill was approved on the floor. 

The English bill provides that English, Filipino or the local dialect may be used in all subjects from pre-school up to Grade II. However, from Grade III onwards, English and Filipino should be taught as separate subjects. 

In high school, English will be the medium of instruction in all levels and in all academic subjects. The current language policy as prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will be maintained at the tertiary level. 

"In addition to formal instruction, the use of English shall be encouraged as a language of interaction in school," the bill stated. "Corollary to this, the organization of English shall be encouraged. In school publications, the use of English shall be given priority as far as practicable."
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