[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 13 April 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Apr 13 12:28:50 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 13 April 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Overseas absentee voters top 500,000-mark (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


More than half a million Filipinos abroad will be allowed to cast their ballots as registered overseas absentee voters.  Voting period for overseas absentee voting will start on Saturday, April 14, until precincts close on election day on May 14, abs-cbnNEWS.com learned. 


The Commission on Elections' Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COMELEC-COAV) said that under the Overseas Absentee Voting Law, these registrants will only be allowed to participate in elections for senators and party-list groups.


Majority of the 504,122 overseas absentee voters were prior registrants.  Those who signed up in 2003 (for the first overseas absentee voting exercise in 2004) numbered 361,457 (77%) while the registrants for 2006 (for this May's elections) equaled 142,665 (28%).


The poll body said a total of 504,110 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in over 150 countries have registered to vote in the May polls. At least 158,000 will be voting personally while the rest will vote by mail.


COMELEC Commissioner Florentino Tuason Jr., commissioner in charge of overseas absentee voting, said 34.2 percent of the registrants will be voting via postal mail.  He said COMELEC has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Postal Corporation for the handling of all outgoing and incoming ballots for overseas absentee voters in the May midterm polls.


"Voting by mail would not have been possible without the assistance of Philpost personnel and infrastructure," Tuason said.


Survey: More Pinoys say clean polls to take place (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


More Filipinos believe that the coming May 14 elections will be clean and orderly in their respective polling stations, a Social Weather Stations pre-election survey result said Thursday. 


But one in every two respondents in the same survey, however, said that cheating might take place during the counting of votes at certain levels of the tally.


The SWS pre-poll survey was conducted March 15-18 said that 65 percent of those polled said that voting in their precincts would be orderly. Only 12 percent disagreed.


The numbers slightly increased from the SWS poll for the first quarter done from February 24-27. In that survey, 60 percent of the respondents agreed to that there would be an orderly conduct of elections while only 14 percent said otherwise.


The SWS analysis for the March survey added that the number of voters who expect the May midterm elections to be clean and orderly at the precinct level is lower than those polled prior to the 2004 national polls.


Teachers assured of pay for poll duties (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

THE more than half-a-million public school teachers can vote in their place of assignment and will be paid for serving as board of election inspectors in the May 14 elections, the Commission on Elections said yesterday. 

"Teachers won't be disenfranchised. They will no longer be deprived of their right to vote even if they will be assigned in areas where they are not registered as voters," said Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Franklin Sunga. 

Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos has asked the Department of Education for a memorandum assuring teachers of protection for their voting right. 

"In order to preclude fears of massive disenfranchisement among our public school teachers, we respectfully request that the DepEd issue a memorandum to all education supervisors and principals all over the country directing them to allow teachers to apply, in batches, for transfer of registration to areas where they will be assigned to serve election duties in the May 14, 2007 national and local elections.'' 

Sunga said he would issue a memorandum to inform all teachers about the development. 

"Those teachers who served in the last two electoral exercises whose registrations have been deactivated shall now be reactivated,'' Sunga said in an interview. 

Official slams indifference of overseas voters (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

APATHY and dislike of local politics have resulted in a dismal showing of absentee voters in the United States, with only 158 out of a million Filipinos in Hawaii registering for the May 14 mid-term polls, an official said yesterday. 

Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. said he was disappointed with the registration turnout after a 10-day official trip overseas to promote absentee voting there. 

"Most of our citizens in the US are apathetic already. They told me, 'Why should we vote when you have actors running and even boxers can become politicians?' But I told them they had no right to complain if they didn't do anything about it," Abalos said. 

"I told them that they were being treated like gods here because of the remittances they give, so they could actually influence their relatives and their friends into voting for the right candidates, but they were not doing it." 

Hawaii aside, Abalos said only 600 out of almost a million potential voters had registered in Los Angeles. 

He said Filipinos in the US also seemed to have adopted the culture of their American counterparts, since only 60 percent of registered American voters actually voted during elections. 

Comelec restricts broadcast of Pacquiao fight in home province (www.philstar.com)
The Commission on Election (Comelec) has allowed the full broadcast of the title fight of Manny Pacquiao this weekend. 

But the Comelec decided to impose a partial restriction on the broadcast of the fight in South Cotabato where Pacquiao is running for congressman of the province's first district. 

According to Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, Pacquiao has already gained enough media exposure and only the boxer's pre-fight sparring sessions and the actual bout itself are allowed to be aired in South Cotabato. 

For the rest of the country, Filipinos can watch the full pre-fight session and documentaries before the actual match. 

"We cannot impose a total ban because Pacquiao is of national interest," Sarmiento said.


Lapus: Computer deal didn't pass my office (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Education (DepEd) head office in Pasig City has nothing to do with the plan of the DepEd office in Bicol to procure P150 million worth of desktop computers and educational compact discs for public school students.

The so-called "multimedia package" for Bicol elementary and high school students "did not pass my office," Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said Thursday.

"But you must also consider that Bicol was one of the areas devastated by typhoons last year. So it's deserving to get such funding," Lapus told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.

Lapus said the opening of the bids for the "multimedia package," originally scheduled for Thursday morning at the DepEd's regional office in Legazpi City, was postponed.

Sources at the DepEd, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said the P150-million fund for Bicol was released by Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. in February under Special Allotment Release Order B07-0277.

The postponement came on the day the Inquirer reported that DepEd sources had expressed alarm at the "overpriced" procurement of 600 desktop computers and CDs at P250,000 per set.

The sources said the procurement was similar to the "fertilizer scam" -- the diversion of P728 million in agricultural funds to allegedly bankroll the election campaign of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies in the 2004 elections.

The DepEd-Bicol project set the purchase price for unbranded desktop computers at P217,500 each. An unbranded computer costs about P25,000.

Back to zero

DepEd Regional Director Celedonio Layon Jr. told the Inquirer that he canceled the opening of the bid envelopes to allay fears that the multimedia package would be overpriced and the funds channeled to the campaign chests of administration candidates, like the fertilizer scam.

Layon said he decided against opening the envelopes after learning about the Inquirer report that exposed the questionable bidding process.

"I ordered the BAC (bid and awards committee) to cancel the opening of the bids and repeat the bidding process back to zero," he said.

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