[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 26 January 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Jan 26 18:20:15 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 26 January 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



COMELEC delays decision on PPCRV quick count (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The Commission on Elections accredited Friday the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting as its citizens' arm in the May 14 elections but delayed its decision on PPCRV's proposed parallel vote tabulation or "quick count." 


In an en banc resolution promulgated Friday, COMELEC granted PPCRV's petition for accreditation filed last November 21 subject to certain rules imposed by the poll body. 


COMELEC allowed PPCRV to conduct voters' education campaign and poll watching functions during the May elections. 


It added that it will hold in abeyance its decision on PPCRV's request to conduct an official quick count since it does not have a track record in the past elections. 


The Catholic group has been conducting unofficial quick counts of national elections since 1992. 


COMELEC directed PPCRV to submit proof of its capability to conduct a tamper-proof quick count of the national elections.


Group warns vs poll-related text 'spamming' (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Consumer advocacy group TXTPower on Friday urged the Commission on Elections and National Telecommunications Commission to regulate against election-related text spamming. 


TXTPower spokesman Anthony Ian Cruz said political candidates could hire "text brigades" to forward unwanted text campaign ads and flood mobile phone networks. He said the group is set to meet with NTC to present its position on the issue. 


The COMELEC said it is allowing candidates in the mid-term elections to use text messaging as a campaign tool in the May elections subject to COMELEC and NTC guidelines. 


COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos, however, admitted that it would be difficult to identify the sender of a text campaign ad and pinpoint politicians who violate COMELEC and NTC guidelines.


"That will be our handicap --  determining who the sender is," he said.


Palace: 'Automated poll pilot-testing up to Comelec' (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Recognizing that the enactment of the automated election law may be too close to the May elections, Malacañang said it is up to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) whether to pilot-test the system during the polls or not.

Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the law as part of her promise for credible elections.

"However, given the proximity of the bill's passage to the May elections, we will have to rely on the Comelec's judgment on the feasibility of implementing its provisions," he said.

Republic Act 9369, signed January 23, amends the current law, Republic Act 8436, by authorizing the use of an automated election system (AES) in the voting, counting, consolidation, canvassing, and transmission of results and other electoral processes.

It also mandates the pilot-testing of the AES in at least two highly urbanized cities and two provinces each in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao -- or a total of 12 areas -- to be chosen by the Comelec.

However, Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos said that, with only three months until the May 14 elections, the poll body would not be able to pilot-test the system.

Can't rush automated polls, jail me instead - Comelec exec (www.gmanews.tv)

Chairman Benjamin Abalos of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would rather spend time behind bars than to allow a half-baked implementation of the poll automation law.

Abalos told dzBB radio Friday that the Comelec will be unable to computerize the elections, at least for the upcoming exercise on May.

"I'd rather go to jail than be forced to implement a law when we are not ready. It would have been a good legacy for me because this is likely the last election I will oversee. But if we fail because of lack of preparations, people will still talk ill of me long after I'm buried six feet below the ground," Abalos said in Filipino.

Poll automation under Republic Act 9369, which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed earlier this week, is mandated to take effect during the national elections in 2010.

Abalos said that the best scenario for this year would be the law's partial implementation with results electronically transmitted to the Comelec central office in Manila.

Recall of wage bill 'unkindest cut' -- leftist solon (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- A leftist lawmaker called "the unkindest cut" for workers the move to recall an approved House bill for a P125 across-the-board increase in the daily minimum wage and accused Malacañang of plotting to delay or prevent its passage.

"It took six years for members of the Lower House to approve the P125 legislated wage hike bill on third and final reading [but] all that work has been hijacked by Malacañang's proxy veto of the bill, courtesy of [Cavite] Representative [Jesus Crispin] Remulla's suspended motion for reconsideration," Bayan Muna (Nation First) Representative Teodoro Casiño said Friday.

Casiño was referring to Remulla's motion, on Monday, to recall the wage bill, ostensibly to correct the date of effectivity, which the version passed by the House placed in October last year.

The House bill was adopted by the Senate committee on labor and employment, which only changed the date of effectivity to January this year. Senator Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, who chairs the committee and had earlier filed his own bill calling for a P100 wage increase, said they would leave the fate of the measure in the hands of President Gloria-Macapagal-Arroyo who, Malacañang has indicated, is likely to veto it.

The government has taken the side of business on the wage hike issue, saying an increase would likely shake the economy and force firms to close shop.

Casiño said it was a crime for government to deny labor the wage increase while lavishing business with tax holidays and other incentives.

But the wage hike could also prove to be a crucial election issue in May.

Casiño noted as much, saying the bill need not be recalled because the issues raised by Remulla could be resolved during the bicameral conference committee.

"There is no reason for him [Remulla] to delay the bill's passage except, perhaps, to save.Arroyo the embarrassment of having to veto such a progressive piece of social legislation," Casiño said in a statement.

'Pass renewable energy bill before Congress adjourns' (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- The environmental group Greenpeace has urged the Senate to pass the Renewable Energy (RE) bill before Congress adjourned, saying failure to do so can lead to another "long wait -- time [the Philippines] country can ill afford."

In a statement, Jasper Inventor, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, noted that it took 10 years for the House of Representatives to pass its version of the RE bill. He said the passage of the bill would make it the first in Southeast Asia.

"The Senate must realize that the massive uptake of renewable energy is both urgently necessary and technically possible," Inventor said. "All that is missing is urgent policy support."

Inventor noted that the Philippines had "vast wind and solar energy potential. It is just unacceptable that this potential remains mostly untapped, especially given the daunting challenges we face in the areas of energy security and climate change."

The appeal to the Senate was made soon after the launching of "Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable World Energy Outlook," a new report by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace, which details how renewable energy, combined with the "smart use of energy," could deliver half the world's energy needs by 2050, and help stop climate change and its disastrous consequences.

Greenpeace said the Philippines and other developing nations in Southeast Asia have borne the brunt of climate change's effects, citing the three super typhoons that battered the country last year.

It also cited the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) admission this week that agricultural damage from the storms had affected last year's economic growth figures.

"Inaction is not an option. The RE Bill is a measure to protect the people and the economy. For the sake of a sound environment and economic growth, the Senate must immediately ensure the passage of this bill, and in doing so commit to a truly secure and sustainable energy future," Inventor said.

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