Thursday, February 21, 2008

Latest update on ZTE scandal

Malacanang will stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from pursuing its investigation of the cancelled national broadband network (NBN)-ZTE project since the Office of the Ombudsman is already conducting a probe of the matter.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita made this announcement during a press conference.

According to Ermita, the Ombudsman as an independent body, should be the proper forum to investigate the case.

Before the President's directive to the DOJ, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said that "if there is any clear evidence of wrongdoing, the appropriate forum would be the courts, particularly the Sandiganbayan or the Ombudsman."
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was reported to have created a panel to investigate several cases filed with her office concerning the NBN-ZTE deal.

Gutierrez was quoted to have said that the panel she created will begin holding public hearings on the ZTE contract next week.

World-class Web Hosting: Free Webdesign Software at

Philippine governors stay loyal with Arroyo

Amidst renewed moves to destabilize the government, the League of Provinces/Governors of the Philippines expressed their full support for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In a Manifesto of Support for the Chief Executive, the provincial chief executives also called for an end to the agitations by her detractors to unseat the President through unconstitutional means and to stop political bickerings for the sake of the country.

The manifesto was issued at the end of the 2nd General Assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) held at the Villa Del Rey Convention Center in Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur.

LPP President and Misamis Occidental Governor Loreto Leo Ocampos said the manifesto expressed the governors' unwavering and wholehearted support to the Arroyo administration.

Thanking them for their support, the President said that together, the national and local governments are "making real progress in alleviating poverty."

With a better economy, "the rate of poverty is down, employment is up and education and healthcare services to the poor are vastly improved. These are the keys in lifting up the poor."

The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), which has 80 members, aims to ventilate, articulate and crystallize issues affecting provincial and metropolitan government administration. It likewise serves to secure, through proper and legal means, solutions to problems confronting the localities.
World-class Web Hosting: Free Webdesign Software at

Mindanao Business Council wants federalism in the Philippines

Mindanao Business Council is pushing for federalism as soon as possible.

Said Council Chairman Vicente Lao in a press conference attended by different federalism advocates and leaders of the business group.
According to Lao, the present form of government has been very disadvantageous to the people in Mindanao as the money generated from Mindanao goes to other parts of the country and very less of such generated income goes back to Mindanao.

He also observed that a centralized government follows a patronage system of disbursing funds which makes Mindanao cities and provinces to lag behind in absorbing national projects and programs.

The council wants federalism as soon as possible as it can also be the tool to end insurgency that has been threatening the business sector.

Peace and order problems can hardly be understood and solved by the people in central Manila as these are more localized, thus, can only be effectively addressed locally, they stressed.

Meanwhile, Albay leaders and representatives from the private sector agreed, in a public forum , that federalism is a vehicle for change.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda led the group of panelists at the PIA Kapihan sa Legazpi City attended by representatives from the media, academe, business and local government unit executives.

World-class Web Hosting: Free Webdesign Software at

Electronic Learning Program for agriculture and fisheries

The Departments of Agriculture (DA) and of Science and Technology (DOST) are teaming up with various groups to better educate farmers and fisherfolk on the new farm-related technologies via the Internet.

These two departments have launched with a group of state universities and colleges (SUCs) and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) the electronic-Learning Program for Agriculture and Fisheries.

It is aimed to modernize agricultural extension works by harnessing the digital revolution to bring new information and technologies closer to rural communities.

According to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, the program is one of the components of the Comprehensive Agriculture and Fisheries Integrated Management System (CAFIAMS), a program to allow small farmers, fisherfolk and agribusiness entrepreneurs through a DA-run electronic database system for information on new technologies to help them boost yields, optimize profits and eventually engage in online trading or marketing of their produce.

He explained that the e-Extension Program aims to institutionalize the e-Extension system of the agriculture and fisheries sector; integrate and harmonize agriculture and fisheries e-Extension initiatives of various institutions; and empower the stakeholders in agriculture and fisheries on the value of e-Extension services.

World-class Web Hosting: Free Webdesign Software at

Anti-smuggling Campaign in the Philippines

In the quest of plugging all revenue leaks and blocking all avenues for smuggling, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and the United Harbor Pilots' Association of the Philippines (UHPAP) for information sharing regarding domestic movement of imported goods and vessels in all ports that will boost the former's anti-smuggling campaign.

The MOA stipulates that the PPA and UHPAP immediately report to the BOC any information on smuggling that they may encounter in any port, especially private ports.

The PPA will require all vessels to submit cargo manifest and other documents prior to berthing. These documents will be used as reference for counter-checking by the BOC to check whether loaded cargo are smuggled, misdeclared or undervalued.

The UHPAP, which provide mandatory pilotage services to docking vessels, will also provide the BOC with a regular list of vessels that are maneuvered in ports. The BOC will be able to track the movement of all vessels and filter out the legitimate from the dubious vessels that claim to come from another domestic port but in fact come from foreign shores carrying smuggled goods.
World-class Web Hosting: Free Webdesign Software at

Information Technology Scholarship for Filipinos

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently unveiled a P350-million information technology scholarship program to train 40,000-50,000 people for employment in the Philippine Cyber Corridor.

The President announced the putting up of the scholarship program when she graced the 8th e-Services Global Sourcing Conference and Exhibition.

The two-day conference is organized annually by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The 50,000 prospective trainees will join the more than 100,000 IT professionals in the Philippines.

The President pointed out that this year's IT trainees would be easily absorb by the job market as her administration is intent on generating 10 million jobs "all over the economy," seven million jobs of which have already been created during the past seven years.

World-class Web Hosting: Free Webdesign Software at

Increase salary of Philippine state workers

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently urged Congress to pass a law that will provide an additional 10 percent increase in the salaries of state workers via a new Salary Standardization Law.

According to the President, the proposed creation of a new Salary Standardization Law will grant a series of pay increases to the 1.2 million government employees who "work tirelessly to serve the country."

The President said this proposed increase in pay will also benefit public school teachers whom she called the "backbone of our educational system."

State workers received a 10 percent pay increase in 2007, when the government was able to garner record revenue surpluses brought about by the implementation of the Expanded Value Added Tax (E-VAT) Law.

World-class Web Hosting: Free Webdesign Software at