ASEAN makes progress on trade, not on sea disputes Created on April 25, 2013, 2:36 pm Posted by nup

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei  — Southeast Asian leaders have made progress on an ambitious plan to weld their region into a European Union-style community as a counterweight to Asian powerhouse China. There's less optimism about a nonaggression pact for the South China Sea.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders had hoped China would agree soon to talk about the disputed waters. But China has given no clear indication when it would agree to negotiate. The summit ends later Thursday.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III told reporters, "Everybody is interested in having a peaceful resolution."

Diplomats said ASEAN was on track to meet its deadline on becoming an economic bloc of more than 600 million people by the end of 2015. A confidential draft document says work is about 77 percent done.

Teachers to get P4,000 poll pay Created on April 24, 2013, 6:31 am Posted by nup

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – Teachers tasked to serve in the May 13 elections will each receive P4,000 poll duty pay and be covered by the P30-million accident or life insurance provided by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The poll duty pay consists of P3,000 honorarium, P500 transportation allowance, and another P500 for testing and sealing the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

This year’s poll duty pay is P300 less than what was given to teachers in the 2010 elections.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio told The STAR yesterday that “while the teachers received P4,300 each in the 2010 polls, they are to receive a total of only P4,000 for their services in the May polls because of the removal of the sealing of book of voters as part of their duty.”

But their transportation allowance was increased from P300 to P500, for a total of P4,000.

Tinio said that teachers earlier asked the Comelec to increase their honorarium from P3,000 to P5,000, but it was not granted in the memorandum of agreement signed recently by the poll body and the Department of Education.

‘Reject NPA poll demands’ Created on April 24, 2013, 5:26 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines - Candidates in the coming elections should not give in to the demands of the New People’s Army (NPA) and pay for “permit to campaign” in areas where communist guerillas operate, Malacañang said yesterday.

“We have consistently asked local candidates to not succumb to these demands and to report any of these requests for payment to the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) so the proper response can be made in those particular areas,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

While the government cannot guarantee absolute protection for candidates, the public may help by reporting to authorities suspicious goings-on, particularly in areas where rebels are known to operate, Valte said.

Her advice came in the wake of an attack on the convoy of Gingoog Mayor Ruth Guingona in a remote village in Misamis Oriental late Saturday at a checkpoint set up by guerillas.

Killed in the ambush were two of her bodyguards. Guingona was wounded in the ambush along with two other aides.

With numbers in its favor, opposition calls Quezon bailiwick Created on April 22, 2013, 2:02 am Posted by nup

LUCENA CITY—By sheer number, Quezon remains to be the bailiwick of the political opposition.

According to records at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), at least 21 re-electionist mayors belong to the opposition National Unity Party (NUP) and one each from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

The administration Liberal Party (LP), also according to Comelec records, is fielding nine re-electionist mayors.

Of 21 NUP re-electionist mayors, three are running unopposed—Remedios Uri-Rivera (Buenavista), Sergio Emprese (San Andres) and Eleanor Uy (San Francisco). In San Andres, only eight LP candidates are running.

In Gumaca, hometown of the Tanada clan, there is no LP ticket to speak of. Only two candidates for councilor are carrying the LP name.

Nine towns are considered “free zones,” as no incumbent mayor is seeking re-election.

In November last year, former Quezon Gov. Eduardo Rodriguez resigned from the LP over what he said was the weak LP leadership in the province. He, however, returned to the party two months later.

The elections will be a showdown between dynasties in the province—Alcala, headed by Proceso; Suarez, headed by House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez; Talaga, led by ex-Lucena Mayor Ramon Talaga Jr.; and the Tanadas.

Rep. Irvin Alcala, (LP, 2nd district), son of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, will challenge incumbent Gov. David Suarez (NUP), son of Representative Suarez.

Irvin’s running mate is Sam Nantes, a political neophyte and son of the late Gov. Rafael Nantes and current Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office director Betty Nantes.

The relationship of political personalities in the province is a classic example of politics based on shaky alliances.

 

Brillantes still contemplating on resignation Created on April 18, 2013, 5:56 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Thursday that he is still contemplating if he will step down from his post and disclosed that his planned meeting with President Benigno Aquino III for a consultation will push through.

Brillantes said in a radio interview that he will consult Aquino regarding his replacement if ever he vacates his position in the poll body.
 
"Hindi ako magre-resign sa kanya (Aquino). I am an independent constitutional chairman... The only purpose why I would like to see him is because kung aalis ako, I would also like to know kung sino naman ang naiisip niyang pumalit, so there will be some sort of continuity... It's just a matter of consultation," Brillantes said.
 
The poll chief added that he also wants to know Aquino's insights on his work in the Comelec.
 
"Nasabi ko na, gusto ko makausap ang Presidente baka kako masyado na akong matanda, ako ang problema sa Comelec... Baka gusto ko na magpahinga muna... Tutulong na lang ako," Brillantes said.
 
Brillantes earlier expressed his planned resignation following the Supreme Court's decision lifting airtime limits on political advertisements.
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