[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 27 March 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Mar 27 16:40:37 PHT 2008

Newsbriefs 27 March 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


Senators warn of dangerous precedent; bishops hail SC ruling (www.philstar.com) 

Senators yesterday warned that the Supreme Court decision upholding Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Romulo Neri's petition will set a dangerous precedent, even as Catholic bishops rallied behind the ruling, saying the rule of law should prevail.  

The senators emphasized that the High Tribunal's decision to sustain Neri's invocation of executive privilege will clip the Senate's powers to investigate alleged anomalies in government.

They said future investigations and cases, especially involving executive agreements and foreign-funded projects, would be affected as resource persons from the executive branch could just invoke executive privilege to stonewall investigations and a "never-ending" legal battle on whether certain questions could be asked during hearings would ensue.

But the senators vowed not to give up the fight even if it would spark a constitutional crisis in the future due to the differing interpretations on the issues surrounding the national broadband network (NBN) investigation. They said they could not allow the SC to curtail the Senate in the exercise of its investigative powers by putting "handcuffs" on their "hands and feet" and putting "cover on their mouths and eyes" with its "confusing" and lopsided decision.

Arroyo seeks standardized ODA requirements (www.philstar.com)

President Arroyo urged foreign creditors Wednesday to come up with standards on official development assistance (ODA) requirements for the Philippines in the wake of controversies involving some major foreign- funded projects in the country.

"We ask our creditor community to work with us on standardizing ODA loan conditionalities," Mrs. Arroyo said in her speech at the Philippine Development Forum at the Fontana Convention Center in Clark Freeport, Pampanga.

At the same time, Mrs. Arroyo also assured international financial institutions that ODA-funded projects will be focused on education, environment and the economy or what she called the "three E's."

"Our use of official development assistance will necessarily be guided by the three E's of our priority thrusts, as well as our need to adjust foreign exchange flows to avoid excessive upward pressure on the peso," she said


Incoming AFP chief sees 'no reason' to release Mayuga report (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- A military fact-finding board's report into the alleged involvement of senior officers in supposed poll fraud in 2004 will remain under wraps, the incoming military chief said.

Lieutenant General Alexander Yano, Army chief, said he saw "no reason" to make public the Mayuga report in full, and allegations that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated to win a fresh six-year term was mere "perception."

Yano will replace incumbent Hermogenes Esperon Jr. when he retires on May 9.

Harsher penalties sought as Price Act review pushed in House (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- A review of the Price Act to introduce possible harsher penalties for hoarding and profiteering has been proposed by Speaker Prospero Nograles.

Nograles' proposal came Thursday amid the continuing rise in the prices of oil and rice in country.

"It's time we revisit Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act to determine how to further discourage, if not totally end, illegal acts of manipulating the prices of any basic commodity, especially during such time that government is dealing with the continuing rise in the prices of fuel and rice," he said in a statement.

Bill seeking to private rice imports filed at House (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- A bill that seeks to privatize the rice importation in the country has been filed at the House of Representatives.

At present, the National Food Authority (NFA), under Presidential Decree 1770, has the power to import or cause the importation of food products or commodities, or raw materials, equipment and facilities needed for the manufacture and processing of food commodities.

But Nueva Ecija Representative Nonato Joson, in filing House Bill 794 known as "The Rice Importation Privatization Act," wants this transferred to the private sector in view of rising rice prices in the country.

"While the NFA, by itself, has undertaken rice importation, it has also allowed farmers, cooperatives and other players in the grain industry to import rice," Joson said in his explanatory note of the bill.

RP set to become a medical tourist place (www.philstar.com)
The Department of Tourism (DOT) said that the Philippines is seen in the next four years to outdo the United States as the worldâ?Ts leading destination for tourists seeking medical treatment. 

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said the country is predicted to be one of the worldâ?Ts leading provider of medical tourism by 2012. 

The prediction was made by Ian Youngman, a specialist writer and author of Medical Tourism 2008: The World-wide Business Guide , a 600-page book that looks into the current trends and most possible future of the global industry for medical and health tourism. 

In the latest issue of the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ), Youngman said the countryis now one of those countries which organize themselves properly and builds a lasting legacy for medical travel. 

The author also listed 15 countries that are expected to become top medical tourism provider in 2012. In Youngmanâ?Ts list, the Philippines ranked seventh, a notch higher to United States.-


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