[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 31 January 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Jan 31 16:51:50 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 31 January 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Arroyo vows to stop political violence (Reuters/abs-cbnNEWS.com)


President Arroyo said Wednesday the vast majority of the military was not involved in political violence despite an inquiry commission blaming soldiers for killings of left-wing activists. 


In comments to diplomats based in Manila, Mrs. Arroyo said she believed "99.9 percent of our military are good, hardworking and patriotic Filipinos."


"They do heroic things like killing terrorists in battle, putting their lives on the line everyday to protect the nation and make our homeland safer," she said, adding the inquiry had showed communist rebels were also behind the violence.


On Tuesday, a five-member inquiry panel headed by a retired Supreme Court justice said "elements in the military" were behind the fatal shootings of leftist activists, farmers and village organizers.


Mrs. Arroyo said her government would work closely with powerful Roman Catholic bishops, leftist activists, journalists and even European rights advocates to solve hundreds of disappearances and murders since she took power in 2001.


She also appealed to witnesses and families and relatives of victims of political violence to come forward and show evidence to bring to justice those behind the killings, including soldiers and police officers.


"We will do everything in our power to crack down on political violence leading up to this May elections," Mrs. Arroyo told the diplomats during a traditional New Year's toast at Malacañang.


Arroyo vows no election 'overspending' (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Allaying fears the May elections would drain government coffers, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday vowed to stick to the budget and preserve the economic gains achieved under her administration.

Speaking at the traditional vin d' honneur in Malacañang, Arroyo told the diplomatic community that the administration now has more money for education, health, infrastructure, and other basic services.

"And let anyone falsely declare that we will spend beyond our means before the upcoming elections," Arroyo said.

"I've something to say: No way," she added.

"We have [a] budget in place and [the] political will to stick to it," she said.

Comelec to ask DBM to provide P300 allowance for teachers (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will push for a P300 additional compensation for transportation for teachers serving in the May elections, its chairman said Wednesday.

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the teachers presented their demands, which included a P2,000 instead of the original P1,000 allowance for each day of poll duty, plus P500 for transportation; hazard pay for teachers assigned to "hot spots;" and P500,000 insurance coverage.

Antonio Tinio, chairman of the ACT, said the Comelec has agreed to some of their demands. But due to lack of provisions in the budget, the poll body can only push for the additional P300.

Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos said there is currently no budget for teachers' hazard pay, so the poll body has no choice but to stick with the original P3,000 compensation for three days' service.

"But I will be pushing for the grant of transportation allowance," the Comelec official said during a briefing, adding that he has called the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to air the concerns of the teachers.

Tinio said the Comelec needs to produce about P230 million to cover the additional transportation allowances of the teachers. There are about 470,000 public school teachers, he said.

UNO names eight senatorial bets (abs-cbnNEWS.com) 


The United Opposition announced Wednesday the first eight of its 12-man senatorial slate.


The UNO slate includes former senator Loren Legarda, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, House Minority Leader Francis Escudero, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Allan Peter Cayetano, Tarlac Rep. Benigno Aquino III, San Juan Mayor Joseph Victor Ejercito, former senator John Osmeña and lawyer Aquilino Pimentel III. 


UNO officials said the remaining four will come from the opposition coalition partners. 


Former senator Francisco Tatad earlier scored UNO for promoting "dynastyism" after including relatives of incumbent senators in the opposition lineup. 


Cayetano is a brother of incumbent Sen. Pia Cayetano; Ejercito, half-brother of Sen. Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada; and Pimentel, son of Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr.


Tatad said that if these three insist on running for senator they could give Malacañang ammunition against the opposition. He cited the issue of  the Anti-Dynasty Bill, which was sponsored by the elder Pimentel.

'Internet voting is legal' -- Comelec chairman (INQUIRER.net)

INTERNET voting is legal, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman said Wednesday.

Reacting to previous statements made by lawmakers, Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos said the plan to pilot-test Internet voting in Singapore is covered by the provisions of the overseas and absentee voting (OAV) law.

Senator Richard Gordon and Akbayan party list Representative Etta Rosales on Tuesday said there is no law that allows for this mode of voting.

"I am not against our OFWs participating in our elections, but there is no law that allows for Internet voting," Gordon said.

Abalos, however, insisted that Internet voting is "in the absentee voting law."

"We also have been given an exemption [by the Solicitor General]," Abalos added, referring to a recent decision to forego public bidding for the project.


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