The Daily Roundup: 1 February 2011

Phl economy gallops  by 7.3% in 2010” by Iris C. Gonzales

The Philippine economy galloped to its highest annual growth after the Marcos administration, surging by 7.3 percent in 2010 on the back of a global economic recovery.

Analysts said the growth is a boost for President Aquino’s new government as it seeks to attract more foreign investment and enable the long underperforming economy to catch up with its fast-developing Asian neighbors.

Read more at The Philippine Star

Do farmers have to be poor? by Cielito Habito

STATISTICS SAY that 70 percent of the poor in our country are in the rural areas, where agriculture and fisheries are the main sources of livelihood. But this is not because crops, livestock and fisheries are products that are inherently unprofitable. The rich in the countryside also mostly derive their immense wealth from these same products, but they are mainly the “middlemen,” composed of traders and processors. Indeed, one observes this inequity in farming areas throughout the country, where the most expensive houses belong to these people, often in stark contrast to the farmers’ and fishers’ humble abodes dotting the countryside. The situation suggests that the primary producers of farm and fishery products are not getting their due share of the final value of their products paid by consumers. Instead, it is the middlemen who manage to obtain a disproportionately larger slice of the value for themselves.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Davos leaders cautiously optimistic on growth

Cautiously optimistic about the rebounding global economy, top business and government leaders have wrapped up their annual meeting with calls for economic growth to help the world’s poor and jobless who have taken to the streets in protest.

The five-day World Economic Forum met as Tunisia and Egypt were roiled by protests fueled by a lack of jobs and political inclusion, putting the issue of poverty and the implications of increasing insecurity high on the agenda.

“It is just imperative for all of us as companies and as countries to focus on saying that ‘I’m making our growth more inclusive,’” Chanda Kochhar, chief executive of ICICI Bank Ltd., the largest private bank in India, said on Sunday.

Read more at Business Mirror

Bishops call for mass action against RH billl” by Jocelyn R. Uy, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.

Saying that the dialogue with Malacañang on the reproductive health (RH) bill only revealed the huge disconnect between the two parties on the issue, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Monday exhorted the faithful to consider mass action amid efforts in Congress to fast-track a family planning measure.

In a strongly worded pastoral letter, the bishops reiterated their call for the rejection of the reproductive health bill, saying: “We echo the challenge we prophetically uttered 25 years ago at Edsa I and call upon all people of good will who share our conviction: Let us pray together, reason together, decide together, act together, always to the end that the truth prevail” over the many threats to human life and to our shared human and cultural values.”

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Palace dismisses prelate’s warning on ‘destabilizers’” by Amita O. Legaspi

Malacañang on Monday dismissed reports that two groups are planning to replace President Benigno Aquino III, only eight months after elections, due to alleged incompetence.

It was retired Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz who mentioned the supposed plan in a television interview earlier in the day.

Cruz claimed one of the groups has money and wants to return to power while the other group is composed of ideologues. At least one of the groups has a military component, he added.

Read more at GMA News

Reyes sues Rebusa, Estrada” by Peter Tabingo

FORMER Defense Secretary Angelo T. Reyes yesterday filed criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and former Lt. Col. George Rabusa for allegedly destroying his reputation through false testimony before the Senate that he pocketed millions in public funds when he was AFP chief.

In his nine-page complaint-affidavit, Reyes sought indictments against Estrada and Rabusa for graft, for causing him and his family undue injury, and violations of Articles 183 and 184 of the Revised Penal Code for giving false testimony.

Read more at Malaya

Singson admits to drug possession” by Wendell Vigilia

Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of drug trafficking before the Wan Chai District Court in Hong Kong, but insisted he was a user, not a trafficker as the prosecution made it out to be.

This was reported by Marikina City Rep. Federico Romero “Miro” Quimbo, who was tasked by the House leadership to monitor the developments in Singson’s case.

“I can only confirm that he pleaded to the charges and that he possessed the same for his personal use. He has admitted to all the allegations but he is arguing that it was for personal consumption only and not trafficking,” Quimbo said.

Read more at Malaya