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Archive for July, 2006

10 more Pinoy evacuees home from Lebanon

Posted by Michille on 31st July 2006

10 more Pinoy evacuees home from Lebanon – ABS-CBN News!

Ten more Filipinos from Lebanon arrived in Manila Monday afternoon, DZMM reported.

The Filipinos arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 aboard Thai Airways flight TG 620 at 3:25 p.m. Some 152 Filipino workers are also expected to arrive in separate flights later in the day.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, 11 Filipinos will arrive at 5:15 p.m.; three at 6 p.m.; three at 6:05 p.m.; 19 at 6:30 p.m.; 74 at 7:30 p.m.; seven at 8 p.m.; 11 at 10 p.m.; 13 at 11 p.m. and 11 more at 11:35 p.m.

The first batch of arrivals for the day came at 4:30 a.m. aboard a Qatar Airways flight QR 644 from Doha, Qatar at NAIA Terminal 1.

The arrivals will bring the total number of evacuees from Lebanon to 1,357 since the mass repatriation began more than a week ago.

On Sunday night a total of 137 Filipino workers arrived on different flights.

The first batch of 61 evacuees arrived at 6:30 p.m. at NAIA aboard Cathay Pacific flight CX 903 from Hong Kong. The next batch of 22 Filipinos arrived at 7:30 p.m. on board Philippine Airlines PR 337 from Hong Kong.

Past 9 p.m., the fourth group of 35 Filipinos arrived at NAIA Terminal 2 on Philippine Airlines flight PR 307 from Hong Kong.

The last to arrive was the batch of 15 workers on Philippine Airlines flight PR 866, also from Hong Kong. The flight arrived past 10 p.m.

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Fear of summary executions rise

Posted by Michille on 31st July 2006

Fear of summary executions rise – Sun. Star Cagayan de Oro!

AMID the first political killing of a militant leader in Northern Mindanao under the Arroyo Administration, local militant groups voiced fears that the rate of these summary executions and other harassments in the region will escalate.

Karapatan lawyer Beverly Musni, Bayan Muna-Northern Mindanao Region’s spokesperson Henry Trugillo and deputy secretary Kristine Lim said the death of Misamis Oriental Farmers’ Association peasant leader Ernesto Ladica is the first local political killing under Arroyo’s administration.

“But he (Ladica) is the 714th victim from 2001 to 2006 and the 114th member of the Bayan Muna who was gunned down under the same modus operandi,” Musni said.

She added that there were already 353 frustrated murders involving militant leaders and members all over the country and 714 who were slain since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath as President in 2001.

According to Musni, the spate of killings is a component of the Oplan Bantay Laya designed to crush the 37-year-old insurgency launched by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army.

Musni said the summary killing of a mere peasant farmer in Misamis Oriental who was only expressing his sentiments against Arroyo’s anti-people policies “gave face” the “pattern” of political killings in other parts of the country.

She said the profiles of almost all other assassins in the other parts in the country compared to that of Ladica’s killers are the same.

“I just hope that this is the first and last in Misamis Oriental, in our region and in the entire country,” she said.

Musni added, “Already, the political killings involved not only militant group members but also journalists, priests and lawyers among others.”

Trugillo said Ladica was an active member of their Bayan-Muna group in hitting Arroyo for her anti-people policies, and thus, he has to be taken out.

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Baguio council studies flowerfest audit report on Monday

Posted by Michille on 31st July 2006

Baguio council studies flowerfest audit report on Monday – Sun.Star Baguio!

THE Baguio City Council is scheduled to examine the audited Baguio Flower Festival 2006 financial report submitted by the Panagbenga Ad Hoc Management Committee (PAHMC) together with the final evaluation report on its trade fair activities during their regular session Monday.

The audited financial report was submitted last May to Mayor Braulio Yaranon through PAHMC 2006 finance committee head Victorino Agcaoili. In it, Agcaoili reported a net income of P2,097,697.38 with collectibles amounting to P535,000.

The report was audited by Federico Paragas, a certified public accountant, who formed part of the PAHMC. The audited report, in turn, was audited by State Auditor Julius Fagayan upon the request of Councilor Perlita Chan-Rondez.

Rondez said although the financial record is “private in nature,” she requested its further audit by Fagayan because public interest was also at stake. Rondez formed part of a counterpart City Council Ad Hoc Committee along with Councilors Elmer Datuin and Daniel Farinas.

Fagayan, in a letter regarding the financial report, commented that business was conducted in spaces along Session Road and other public places during the Panagbenga festival and as such, funds from rentals “should have accrued to the coffers of the city government and therefore should have been collected” by the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) and not by the PAHMC 2006.

Fagayan added that “the practice was, indeed, wrong and should be corrected,” and informed the CTO that, “the collection of such public funds is the sole and exclusive function of the City Treasurer?s Office.”

The auditor also said the trade fair activities done along public places means that taxes and licenses were collected and paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. “The practice encroaches on the functions of the government to assess and collect taxes and license fees,” Fagayan explained.

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Cafgu shoots civilian at benefit dance

Posted by Michille on 31st July 2006

Cafgu shoots civilian at benefit dance – Sun.Star Bacolod!

A MEMBER of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) killed a “drunk” man at a benefit dance in Sitio Catultulan, Barangay San Antonio in Himamaylan City last Saturday night.

Killed was Juanito Demerin, a resident of Barangay 3 also of the city.

According to Staff Sgt. Norberto Fullona, Cafgu Detachment commander under the 12th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, they were providing security assistance during the benefit dance at the area when five unidentified drunk men forcibly pushed their way inside the dance hall.

This prompted Fullona and his men to conduct a search for the five men and to frisk them.

Demerin, however, got irked and reportedly grabbed Fullona’s Armalite M-16 rifle.

Fullona, reportedly fired two warning shots, but the victim assaulted him.

This prompted the suspect Ronie Bajedo, a para-military, to shoot Demerin at the chest. Demerin died immediately.

Fullona later surrendered Bajedo at the Himamaylan City Police Office. Bajedo is a member of the Civilian Active Auxillary (CAA) unit.

Meanwhile, the victim’s body was later brought to his family in Barangay 3 in Himamaylan town while Bajedo was directed to undergo a paraffin test.

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Fund source for grand projects still a riddle

Posted by Michille on 31st July 2006

Fund source for grand projects still a riddle – The Manila Times!

By Karl Wilson, Agence France-Presse

WHEN Philippine President Gloria Arroyo unveiled her infrastructure blueprint for the country last week, one question analysts asked was: where is the money going to come from?

Despite the government’s optimistic outlook, no one has yet produced a detailed breakdown and cost analysis.

The economic planning secretary, Romulo Neri, was quoted as saying the government “has still to finalize the list of projects,” outlined in Mrs. Arroyo’s State of the Nation address on Monday.

While Finance Secretary Margarito Teves admitted that the question of funding was “still pending.”

Among the projects outlined by Mrs. Arroyo include roads, bridges, railways, airports, seaports and irrigation canals as well as the creation of “super-regions.”

Depending which of the President’s spin doctors you listen to, the projects could cost anywhere between P207 billion and P1.021 trillion.

Cong. Joey Salceda, one of the President’s economic advisers, told a press briefing that funding would come from the budget, government-owned and -controlled corporations, local governments and the private sector.

Just how much the government could manage from its budget is questionable considering it failed to get the budget for 2006 passed and has been forced to revert to its P900-billion ($45.9-billion) spending plan for 2005.

It is also saddled with a foreign debt burden of around 55 billion dollars where interest alone eats up around 40 percent of the national budget.

Even with money collected from the expanded VAT, or value-added tax, (10 percent to 12 percent) the most the government can expect is an additional 80 billion pesos. But the full impact of the extra VAT will be diminished with the cut in petroleum tariffs.

Benjamin Diokno, a former budget secretary, told AFP that if all things were equal in the Philippines “this would be seen as a positive move but all things are not equal.”

“She [Mrs. Arroyo] is playing to her supporters. Next year is an election year for Congress, the Senate and local government, so she needs to put something on the table. Whether any of them will come off is another question.

“All she is doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

“What [Mrs.] Arroyo has failed to address, time and time again, are the issues that block this country’s growth: corruption, violence, political stability, rule of law and population growth.”

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UP lawyer flies to US to block Bolante’s request for asylum

Posted by Michille on 31st July 2006

UP lawyer flies to US to block Bolante’s request for asylum –!

By Michael Lim Ubac
Last updated 05:24am (Mla time) 07/31/2006

Published on page A22 of the July 31, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

LAWYERS FROM the University of the Philippines Law Center are determined to block the application of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante for political asylum in the United States.

Lawyer Harry Roque flew to Los Angeles on Saturday night to attend the court hearing set for July 31 on Bolante’s application for political asylum, according to House Deputy Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.

Well-rounded perspective

Cayetano said Roque and his group from the UP Law Center would try to give the US judge a well-rounded perspective of what was happening in the Philippines.

“They don’t know at this point how they can formally intervene in the asylum proceedings. But initially, they can make themselves available as resource persons,” Cayetano said.

Roque, one of the private lawyers who crafted the latest impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, will try to find out if the court would like them to formally testify as resource persons in an open hearing.

The irony of it

“They will tell the judge that Bolante is fleeing prosecution (by the Ombudsman’s Office) for corruption and from a legitimate congressional inquiry,” said Cayetano. “What Harry will point out is how ironic it is that the US has given us a P1-billion fund to fight corruption, and then a very big fish involved in a multimillion-peso scam [ran] to the US to hide from criminal prosecution.”

In short, they would show that Bolante’s plea for asylum was a “sham,” said Cayetano.

The lawyers, however, could drop their objection if Bolante would be willing to tell all regarding his role in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

“I’m sure that the Senate or the House would be willing to ask him questions anywhere that he’s safe. Even in the US” through a deposition, said Cayetano. “Then we will know if using the NPA threat was an excuse, or he really refuses to answer for the fertilizer scam.”

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