[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 17 February 2009 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Feb 17 16:19:55 PHT 2009

Newsbriefs 17 February 2009 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

Senate resolution: Abolish VFA (Philippine Daily Inquirer)
MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE 3) A senator on Monday formally called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to abolish the Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), even as a senior Cabinet official admitted for the first time that the Philippines made "mistakes" in accepting its custody provision, now the subject of a national controversy.

In Senate Resolution No. 892 filed in a divided chamber, Senator Francisco Pangilinan urged Arroyo to "revisit the provisions of the VFA and accordingly exercise our right to terminate the agreement considering that supervening events have rendered the VFA as unconstitutional."

Pangilinan was referring, among others, to the US refusal to surrender custody of American Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith following a Supreme Court ruling that the convicted rapist be held in a Philippine-controlled facility.

"Philippine sovereignty should be respected by other States and should in no way be put in jeopardy by any treaty or agreements previously entered into by the Philippine government," the resolution said.

Gov't opens talks with US on Smith  (INQUIRER.net)
MANILA, Philippines - The government has begun negotiations with the United States embassy on the Supreme Court ruling to return to Philippine custody convicted rapist Daniel Smith, a senior Cabinet official said.

Two days after the Supreme Court ordered the transfer of Smith, a Marine lance corporal found guilty of raping a Filipina, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo met with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney to discuss the ruling, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said.

While it upheld the constitutionality of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the high tribunal nullified an agreement between Romulo and Kenney for Smith's detention at the US embassy compound in Manila.

"Secretary Romulo had met over lunch with Ambassador Kenney and what he got was that they have to await guidance from the [US] State Department. The talks have started," Ermita told reporters at the Palace.

      World Bank offers to brief government officials, senators (www.philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank is willing to brief government officials, including senators, on its findings regarding anomalies in the awarding of WB-funded road building contracts.

The World Bank offer came after a dressing down - in absentia - from some senators last week who accused the lending institution at a public hearing of not backing up its claims with solid evidence. The WB report implicated First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and some officials as well as three Filipino contractors in bidding irregularities.

Bert Hofman, World Bank country director for the Philippines and East Asia and Pacific Region, relayed the institution's willingness to share more information with officials in a letter to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Arroyo signs new law on cooperatives (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


President Arroyo Tuesday signed into law Republic Act 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008 that strengthens the cooperative system in the country.

The new law amends the 1990 Cooperative Code of the Philippines or RA No. 6938.


The new cooperative code outlines in greater detail the requirements in professionalizing the management and operation of cooperatives, while providing a monitoring and evaluation tool for the cooperatives to conduct self-assessments in terms of its managerial, financial, and social objectives.


Feb 25 not a holiday - Palace (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


President Arroyo is breaking tradition this year by failing to include February 25, the date of the first EDSA People Power Revolution, in the list of public holidays.


According to Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo, the Arroyo administration has a list of activities lined up on February 25 to celebrate the 1986 bloodless revolt that ousted President Ferdinand Marcos and installed Corazon Aquino to power.


She said critics should not impute malice in the nondeclaration. Mrs. Arroyo has had a falling-out with many of the EDSA 1 forces including Aquino after the latter called for Arroyo's resignation.

Voters' registration to end in October (INQUIRER.net)
MANILA, Philippines-The Commission on Elections moved the last day of voters' registration for the May 2010 elections to October 31 instead of December 15, officials said. 

The Comelec has passed Resolution No. 8585 resetting the registration deadline to "harmonize the time line of Comelec for poll automation with the preparation needed for the automation of the 2010 polls," said Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said in an interview.


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