The Daily Roundup: 31 January 2011

Growth forecast backed”

ECONOMISTS EXPECT growth in the fourth quarter of last year to have fallen within the 6.2-7.2% range forecast by the government, keeping the full-year result — as expected — above the official 2010 goal of 5-6%.

Analysts polled by BusinessWorld all offered forecasts within the range, contrasting with outlooks released last week that said gross domestic product (GDP) growth could have slipped below 6%.

Fourth-quarter and full-year GDP data will be announced today. Last week, Socioeconomic and Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga, Jr. said 6.2-7.2% October-December growth would help keep the 2010 result at 7-7.4%.

Read more at Business World

People power revolutions in Arab world puzzle Aquino” by Amando Doronila

VIOLENT people power revolutions are engulfing the Arab world as President Benigno Aquino III smugly struggles to halt the erosion of his popularity built on the flimsy legacy of his election as heir to the bloodless 1986 EDSA I led by his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.

Egypt Sunday continued to be rocked by violent clashes that began last week between police and protesters demanding the immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and return of democracy after 30 years of autocratic rule.

The interior ministry reported at least six people were killed and 900 injured in clashes, while protesters torched six police stations in the main cities of Alexandria and Suez in the most violent challenge to Mubarak’s rule and a string of authoritarian rulers in the Arab states of North Africa for nearly three decades.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

AFP ‘pabaon’ system had presidents’ nod: Biazon

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief and now Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon said Sunday that the corruption in the military could not have happened without the go-signal of presidents in power.

He told ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) that it is important to determine when the so-called “pabaon” system started and who among the chiefs of staff benefitted from it.

“There were 4 AFP chiefs of staff under Cory, 3 I think in Ramos’ time, then Erap had 2, then Arroyo had 11, so there are 21 people,” he said.

Read more at ABS-CBN News

“Food, fuel price increases likely boosted inflation” by L.D. Desiderio

INFLATION likely accelerated to 3.5% this month owing to higher food and fuel prices, analysts polled by BusinessWorld said.

The median outlook falls within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 2.7-3.6% estimate. January data is scheduled to be released this Friday.

“Higher food and fuel prices were the main drivers,” University of the Philippines economist Benjamin E. Diokno said in a text message.

Read more at Business World

Latest presidential appointments bared” by M. Gonzalez

MALACAÑANG on Sunday announced the latest appointees of President Aquino, mostly in bodies attached to the Department of Science and Technology.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte also announced that the President has approved the nomination of Catherine Mary R. Biazon—the wife of former Liberal Party (LP) Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon of Mutinlupa—to a board seat at the John Hay Management Corp.

Read more at Business Mirror

PNoy on Lexus: This is the last time I will talk about cars” by Amita O. Legaspi

President Benigno Aquino III has just about had it talking about his cars to inquisitive reporters.

Seen aboard a bullet-proof Toyota Lexus when he visited the victims of the Makati bus bombing Tuesday, Aquino took extra time to explain on Friday that he did not buy the armored vehicle. He said the car, which model belongs to Toyota’s luxury line, was leased by his brother-in-law and lent to him.

“This the last time I will talk about cars unless any of you says it has impact with the national interest,” Aquino said, in obvious reference to earlier media reports about his passion for expensive cars and his efforts to explain his recent purchase of a Porsche 911 Turbo.

Read more at GMA News

Government to bid out 2-3 PPP projects in first half” by Iris C. Gonzales

The Aquino administration is eyeing to bid out two to three infrastructure projects in the first half of the year under its planned public-private partnership (PPP) for infrastructure.

“Our hope is we bid out at least two to three projects in the first half of the year. At this stage, we are not yet at liberty to disclose which one but we can assure you that we are committed to bidding out at least 10 in 2011, and more in 2012 because the need for infrastructure in our country is quite substantial,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said over the weekend.

Read more at The Philippine Star

Limiting population won’t be of help, says CBCP” by Gerard Naval

THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines yesterday slammed what it said was the government’s efforts to limit population, describing it as nothing but a short-sighted solution to poverty.

CBCP president Bishop Nereo Odchimar said the Aquino administration is endangering the future of millions of Filipinos by promoting contraception use for the current generation.

“A government that pursues the short-sighted policy of contracepting the present generation is committing the resources of future government to provide for the social security requirements of this contracepted generation,” said Odchimar during the 102nd CBCP Plenary Assembly in Manila.

Read more at Malaya

Bill preparation delaying Aquino’s 1st LEDAC meeting” by Ana Mae G. Roa with JPDP

MALACAÑANG will likely not be able to fulfill its intention to convene the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) by today, preferring to ensure that complete texts of proposed priority bills will be presented in the first meeting of that body.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III told reporters on Friday that priority measures the executive branch will push via the LEDAC are still being drafted.

“We are in the last steps of drafting the bills… We’re still trying to finish it this month,” Mr. Aquino said when asked if the Palace will be able to convene LEDAC within the month, as he had preferred.

Read more at Business World

DSWD to take over rice subsidy for poor” by Iris C. Gonzales

The National Food Authority (NFA), the state-owned grains agency, will no longer provide subsidized rice to the poor as this role would now be transferred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The move is part of efforts to reform the NFA.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said that the provision of subsidized rice to poor consumers has now been proposed to be transferred to the DSWD through its conditional cash transfer program.

Read more at The Philippine Star

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