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Archive for December 2008

9 of 10 Filipinos hopeful for new year

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:24:00 12/29/2008

Filed Under: Opinion surveys

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the dim economic prospects, nine out of 10 Filipinos are entering the new year with hope, rather than with fear, according to results of an independent survey released Monday.

A total of 1,500 respondents nationwide were asked how they were welcoming 2009, 92 percent said they would usher in the new year “with hope,” while only eight percent said “with fear,” the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said.

This year’s results were similar to 2006 and 2007, wherein 91 percent said they were welcoming the coming year with hope, the SWS said.

“We have much to be hopeful about and grateful for, we have triumphed over the difficulties of this year, from which we take away many valuable lessons that strengthen and make us more prepared for the challenges that lie ahead,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said in a statement.

“We are a country of strong, hardworking and kind people and hope springs eternal in the Filipino heart,” she said.

The study was conducted from November 28 to December 1. It had a margin of error of 2.5 percent.

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MonUTC2008-12-29T15:22:34+00:00UTC12bUTCMon, 29 Dec 2008 15:22:34 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm12

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Intelligence beefed up vs MILF renegades

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:25:00 12/29/2008

Filed Under: Security (general), Armed conflict

MANILA, Philippines — Security forces will intensify intelligence gathering as part of efforts to halt a fresh wave of attacks by renegade Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Central Mindanao, a top adviser of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Monday.

At the same time, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the government was checking whether the mainstream MILF, which is negotiating peace with government, was involved in the attacks.

On Christmas Eve, MILF rogues attacked civilian communities in Senator Ninoy Aquino town, Sultan Kudarat province, killing at least seven people. The attacks continued until Sunday, with the rebels targeting villages in Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato, according to reports.

“To stop these attacks, we will increase police and military activity. We will intensify our intelligence operation,” Gonzales told radio station Radyo ng Bayan.

On reports that the mainstream MILF was involved in the fresh attacks, Gonzales said in Filipino: “We are studying that. MILF officials said they were not behind it… but it seems their members did it, that’s why we’re studying it carefully.”

In August, MILF commanders Umbra Kato, Abdurahman Macapaar alias Bravo and Aleem Pangalian burned houses, killed civilians, and seized farm lands in the provinces of North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte, grounding formal peace negotiations to a halt.

The renegade commanders were protesting a Supreme Court ruling that the declared the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) unconstitutional.

The MoA-AD would have paved the way for the expansion of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) into the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

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MonUTC2008-12-29T15:21:37+00:00UTC12bUTCMon, 29 Dec 2008 15:21:37 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm12

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Palace monitoring Gaza situation

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:01:00 12/29/2008

Filed Under: Unrest and Conflicts and War, Armed conflict, Overseas Employment

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is closely monitoring the situation in the Gaza strip, which has been gripped by fresh violence between Israeli and Palestinian forces, and will “act when necessary,” a spokesman for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Monday.

On Sunday, the Palace reported that there have been no reported
casualties among the estimated 100 Filipinos in the Palestine area, and the 31,000 others in Israel.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs is closely monitoring the situation and is ready to act when necessary,” Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said in a statement.

Over the weekend, Israeli warplanes dropped bombs on the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip, killing hundreds, according to reports.

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MonUTC2008-12-29T06:29:46+00:00UTC12bUTCMon, 29 Dec 2008 06:29:46 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Palace orders probe of golf brawl

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:53:00 12/29/2008

Filed Under: Conflicts (general), Sport, Golf

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday to investigate the brawl at a golf club in Antipolo City that allegedly involved Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman and businessman Delfin de la Paz.

“The Department of Justice has been directed to investigate the golf course incident and file proper charges against those responsible for any violation of law,” Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said in a statement.

“The families of Pangandaman and Dela Paz will equally have their day in court based on the facts and the law,” he said.

According to reports, Pangandaman and his son, Nasser Jr., were
playing at the Valley Golf and Country Club in Antipolo City when the young Pangandaman allegedly beat up De la Paz and his 14-year-old son.

Pangandaman allegedly did not stop his son from attacking the Dela Pazes but has denied any wrongdoing.

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MonUTC2008-12-29T06:28:22+00:00UTC12bUTCMon, 29 Dec 2008 06:28:22 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Arroyo condemns Iligan blasts

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Vows capture of suspects

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 18:19:00 12/18/2008

Filed Under: Acts of terror

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condemned the twin bombings in Iligan City on Thursday as she ordered security forces to run after the culprits, her spokesman said.

“The President condemns the ruthless and violent acts of terrorism against our communities. The PNP [Philippine National Police] and AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] will be relentless in their pursuit against the perpetrators,” deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said.

“We condole with the families of those killed in this tragedy and the different government of agencies will support those who have survived,” he said in a statement.

Two explosions hit as many shopping centers in the Mindanao city, leaving at least two people killed and over a dozen others wounded.

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ThuUTC2008-12-18T16:14:21+00:00UTC12bUTCThu, 18 Dec 2008 16:14:21 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm12

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Arroyo shuns election talk

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:32:00 12/18/2008

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Government

MANILA, Philippines — As the political scene starts to heat up ahead of the 2010 general elections, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo once more stressed that she would focus on work, not politics.

“I will not engage in any [political] debate because our focus is [on] our programs that are pro-poor and our economic programs,” Arroyo said in an interview aired on state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Asked about Task Force 2010, a voter education drive spearheaded by the Roman Catholic church and civic groups, Arroyo said in the Cebuano dialect: “We support efforts to move our democracy and anything that contributes to fair and clean elections.”

Earlier this week, business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. said the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) party, which he founded, would field either Senator Loren Legarda or Senator Francis Escudero in the 2010 presidential race.

A few months back, Senator Manuel Villar and Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando also declared their intention to run for president in 2010.

Other reported presidential aspirants are Vice President Noli de Castro and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manuel Roxas II.

Arroyo won a six-year term in May 2004 under a cloud of doubt amid allegations she used the military to defeat popular movie actor Fernando Poe Jr., who died of a stroke in December of the same year.

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ThuUTC2008-12-18T16:13:13+00:00UTC12bUTCThu, 18 Dec 2008 16:13:13 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm12

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CARP resolution ‘adequate, realistic’

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:18:00 12/18/2008

Filed Under: Agrarian Reform, Congress, Legislation, Laws

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Malacañang welcomed as an “adequate and realistic” compromise, the passage of a joint congressional resolution that would extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for six months, or until June 2009.

Farmers groups and even some lawmakers have assailed the resolution as watered down, since it made the sale of land voluntary, not compulsory.

“We believe it is an adequate and realistic compromise solution for the time being, given the proximity of the CARP term’s expiration. We thank and congratulate the House and the Senate for their effort,” Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said in a text message.

“The six-month extension will give Congress, in consultation with the farming sector and other stakeholders, time to come up with a final CARP extension law that hopefully embodies a consensus that will do justice to the purpose and spirit of agrarian reform for our country,” he said.

The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the resolution on Wednesday evening, before going on recess for the Christmas holidays.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he was not aware of a reported meeting between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who joined farmers who went on hunger strike to press for the CARP extension.

“I’m not in a position to confirm or deny that,” he told a news conference at the Palace.

But Bello assured the farmers that government was “always prepared to address or respond” to their concerns.

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ThuUTC2008-12-18T04:52:40+00:00UTC12bUTCThu, 18 Dec 2008 04:52:40 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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