[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 29 January 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Jan 29 12:21:06 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 29 January 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Bishops go all out to ensure fair polls (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- Saying the country cannot afford another election tainted by allegations of fraud and violence, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines is mobilizing its resources to ensure that the synchronized national and local elections in May are credible and orderly.

The CBCP refused to lay to rest the "Hello Garci" election scandal that marred the 2004 presidential election, saying the problems it caused continue to be felt.

"These coming elections in May 2007 are especially important. Many of our current political problems, which have hindered fuller economic development and social justice, especially for the poor, can be traced to unresolved questions concerning the conduct of past elections," CBCP president Angel Lagdameo said in the pastoral letter.

"As a nation, we cannot afford yet another controversial electoral exercise that further aggravates social distrust and hopelessness," Lagdameo said.

Who's admin, who's opposition? So confusing (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The battle lines for the senatorial race are getting more blurred with each passing day.

At the rate the administration is trying to pirate opposition candidates and the speed by which some opposition members appear to be succumbing to it, Filipino voters -- come May 14 -- may no longer be able to distinguish who is fighting whom, in what could be the country's most confusing elections.

Opposition Senator Edgardo Angara and House Minority Leader Francis Escudero are the latest targets of administration blandishments.


Not to Speaker Jose de Venecia, who told the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday that administration efforts to build a "powerful alliance" with opposition parties were already "in the advanced stage."

"While the opposition is disintegrating, the Lakas-CMD (Christian Muslim Democrats) party and its allies are gaining strength, and swelling in numbers," boasted De Venecia, national president of the ruling party Lakas.

De Venecia was tongue-tied when asked specifically about Escudero, the leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives who twice led an unsuccessful effort to impeach President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"No comment," he said.

But a ranking official of Lakas in the chamber confirmed that Escudero had a "sure slot" in the administration coalition.

"He could be the new face of the reinvigorated administration slate. Imagine what he will bring into the slate," said the official, who asked not to be named, saying he did not want to preempt Escudero's decision.

There was no immediate reaction from Escudero's camp.

Cast a wide net

A top Malacañang official all but confirmed that the Palace was casting its net wide.

Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio urged allies and coalition partners to be open to the possibility of the inclusion of oppositionists in the administration's so-called Team Unity.

Claudio made the appeal following concerns raised by Palace allies on the possible entry of former senators Vicente Sotto III and Tessie Aquino-Oreta in the administration lineup.

"The situation is still fluid but we should have some degree of flexibility in putting up the lineup ... We should not preempt the possibility of these scenarios," Claudio said in a phone interview.

Arroyo hopes economic growth will stop exodus (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines--From a tourism push to power reform, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo plans to keep pumping up the economy enough that Filipinos will stay at home rather than have to leave for abroad to work.

In an interview with Reuters on Saturday in Davos, Switzerland, Ms Arroyo said she expected the Philippine economy to grow about 6 percent this year, up from an expected rate of 5.5 percent in 2006 and 5.0 percent in 2005.

"This is the longest period of consistent growth that we've had for a long time in the Philippines. There's no boom and bust cycle," she said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

"I hope the economy will grow and we'll have enough jobs at home so that our great Filipino workers will not have to go abroad to find a job. A job abroad should be a career option, not the only choice for a hard-working Filipino," she said.

ILO backs government vs legislated wage hike (www.philstar.com)

 The International Labor Organization (ILO) supports the Philippine government's position against a legislated wage increase. 

Determining the appropriate salary can best be resolved through tripartite wages and productivity boards or negotiations between workers and employers, said Linda Wirth, director of the ILO subregional office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. 

"The ILO is for negotiated wage because it enables concerned parties to find a balance between the workers' need to be compensated and the employers' capability to pay," Wirth explained. 

She said a tripartite dialogue increases productivity of workers and economic growth unlike a legislated wage hike.


NAIA placed on high alert vs bird flu (Inquirer)

THE Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) yesterday placed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) terminals on heightened alert for possible bird flu cases following the resurgence of the deadly avian virus in Asia.

All passengers arriving at the Naia terminals will have to undergo thermal screening before they are allowed to enter the country, the Miaa said.

The Miaa, in coordination with the health department's Bureau of Quarantine, only used to screen passengers who came from countries with recorded cases of bird flu.

Three thermal cameras are now installed at the Naia 1 while the Naia Centennial Terminal has two for temperature screening.

In a statement, the Miaa said that its medical personnel on duty would make sure that all arriving passengers, including airline crew members, pass through the thermal camera scanner.

"Anyone who will reflect an unusually high body temperature as indicated by the thermal scanner will be checked by the medical staff-on-duty," the Miaa said.

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