[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 13 February 2009 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Feb 13 17:32:24 PHT 2009

Newsbriefs 13 February 2009 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


At Senate hearing, World Bank on trial (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines-The Senate on Thursday decided to summon the representative of the World Bank in the Philippines to show proof of purported bid rigging in road projects, in effect shifting the burden from those implicated in the corruption controversy, including President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's absent husband.


Speaking with reporters after the hearing on the "collusive practices" of three Filipino contractors that bid for the National Roads Improvement and Management Program 1 (NRIMP 1), Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that "so far, there is no evidence against" First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo.

But Sen. Panfilo Lacson said there seemed to be something fishy about the hearing, the second conducted on the controversy by the Senate committee on economic affairs along with the committees on public works and on finance.

"It seems orchestrated, if you look at the events of the day," Lacson told reporters, adding that it was like "shooting the messenger"-in this case the World Bank, which had exposed the purported corruption in the bidding for NRIMP 1.

Solons review poll automation law (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines - A review of Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law is underway as the filing of a separate bill that will include amendments is being considered at the House of Representatives in anticipation of the computerization of the 2010 elections.

Makati Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr., chairman of the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, told INQUIRER.net that they would "revisit" RA 9369 to determine which provisions should be amended to conform to the poll automation plans of the Commission on Elections.

Locsin cited Section 31of RA 9369 providing for "manual counting simultaneous with the automated counting of voting results."

This means that the chairman of the board of election officers in a precinct would ""take out from the ballot box and read the filled-up ballots publicly" in the presence of poll watchers and interested public after the voting results stored in the precinct voting machine would have been electronically transmitted to the Comelec main office in Manila, Locsin said.

      RP in no hurry to get custody of Smith (www.philstar.com)


MANILA, Philippines - The government is in no rush to get custody of a US Marine convicted of raping a Filipina two years ago, despite a Supreme Court order that he be moved from the US Embassy to a Philippine prison.

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said Lance Corporal Daniel Smith is detained at the US Embassy under an agreement between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney in 2006.

"We have to wait for the outcome of any renegotiation of the executive agreement before we can implement any change in the current custodial arrangement," Puno said. "Pending the review of the agreement, we will observe the status quo insofar as Smith's place of detention is concerned."

Govt spending P7B to hire 'temps' (abs-cbnNEWS.com)
On the eve of a massive rally outside Malacañang by state workers protesting a foreign-imposed rationalization scheme that is seen to lay off thousands from their ranks, President Arroyo ordered government agencies to set aside 1.5 percent of their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOEs), estimated at P7 billion, to hire 180,000 employees for six months.

Palace officials were unfazed, though, by observations that the different approaches of the government-rationalization through Executive Order 366 and the hiring of "temps"-sent conflicting signals. See related story on Friday rally by state workers.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the President signed the still-unnumbered EO ordering the directive on Tuesday, a day after she hosted a multisectoral jobs summit in Malacañang.

"This EO has something to do with ordering all government agencies to set aside 1.5 percent of their maintenance and other operating expenses so that the amount together. . . . shall be the source of employing, under contractual basis, some 180,000 employees for six months. So that will be good up to July," Ermita said.

Lights out to ward off climate change (Philippine Daily Inquirer )

MANILA, Philippines-Taking the first step to address climate change is as easy as turning off a light switch.

At exactly 8:30 p.m. on March 28, Filipinos are again being asked to switch off their lights for Earth Hour, a global campaign for a self-imposed 60-minute blackout to spread the message of the threat posed by climate change.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has collaborated with the Department of Energy (DoE) and the Green Army Philippines Network to spread public awareness of the Earth Hour message to cities and communities all over the country.

Japan bestows grant to RP for its medium-term economic goals (www.gmanews.tv)

MANILA, Philippines - Japan extended a special grant to the Philippines, allowing Manila to meet its medium-term economic goals. 

Worth Y700 million or P361.544 million, the said grant was the eighth such batch in Japan's non-project grant aid (NPGA), the Japanese embassy's Philippine website said. 

All eight grants have now reached a total of Y15.1 billion or P7.803 billion.

Besides allowing the Philippines to procure commodities such as fertilizers, the grant also supports various projects including the distribution of personal computers for public secondary schools around the country.
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