Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a co-sponsor of the RH bill, disclosed on Friday that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who opposes the measure, had ordered his staff to return the Christmas gifts she and Senator Pia Cayetano sent to him.
Senator Santiago said that she expected Enrile to lose the Senate presidency either in January or February because of his opposition to the RH bill. She said that she had sources among her colleagues, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
II. CONNECTICUT MASSACRE
President Aquino yesterday joined world leaders in expressed shock and horror after a gunman massacred 20 small children and six teachers on Friday in the US state of Connecticut, in one of the worst school shootings in history.
III. NPC ON ESPINO’s JUETENG ALLEGATIONS
Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) provincial chair Mark Cojuangco yesterday accused the Aquino administration of harassing a party member, Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino, in anticipation with next year’s elections.
“It was timed after a survey that says their (Liberal Party) candidate will not win against Gov. Espino,” Cojuangco said.
IV. AFP-NPA TRUCE
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday that an 18- day Christmas and New Year truce between government troops and New People’s Army rebels begins today.
V CERTIFICATION OF RH BILL AS URGENT
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said yesterday that President Aquino’s certification of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill as urgent will ensure its passage in both chambers of Congress.
VI. MINDANAO REHABILITATION FROM TYPHOON PABLO
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that his department had requested the release of some P2.1 billion in state funds for farm interventions and relief operations to areas in Mindanao devastated by Typhoon “Pablo”.
VII. DOST WIND TUNNEL
Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo yesterday unveiled plans to build a tunnel that would test the resiliency of structures to varying wind speeds, saying that it would help prevent a repeat of the destruction wrought by Typhoon “Pablo”.
VIII. LIVE COVERAGE OF MAGUINDANAO TRIAL
The government, through the office of the Solicitor General, asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling barring the live broadcast of the Maguindanao massacre trial.
IX. FOI BILL
Sen. Loren Legarda called on her colleagues in Congress to approve the freedom of information (FOI) bill to restore the trust of the people in the government.
X. REAPPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN NAGUIAT AND PAGCOR DIRECTORS
President Aquino has reappointed Cristino Naguiat Jr. as Chairperson of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) and renewed the appointments of its entire board of directors to serve a term of office to end on June 30, 2013.
XI. EU AIR SAFETY BAN
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario has assured the European Union (EU) that the Philippines is committed to resolve the air safety ban it imposed on Philippine carriers and the country’s compliance with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) involving Filipino seafarers.
Senatorial candidate Samson Alcantara of the Social Justice System asked the Supreme Court (SC) the other day to stop re-electionist Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito, Rep. Juan Ponce Enrile Jr., and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn from allegedly making early campaigns through television commercials.
XIII. GUNNED DOWN AMAN INVESTOR
Police director Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo said that a police officer believed to have invested in the Aman Futures Group Phil. Inc. was gunned down by three men inside a village in Zamboanga City last Friday night.
De Ocampo said that they were looking at the investment scam as one of the possible angles in the killing of the police officer.
Authorities said that a Malaysian, believed to be a member of the regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), was shot dead as he threatened to detonate a bomb when cornered by police in Davao City late Friday.
(ECONOMY) I. LOW INTEREST RATES
British banking giant HSBC and Singapore-based DBS Group said that historic low interest rates could persist until next year, but the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is not likely to trim them anew.
The two investment banks, in separate research notes, said that policy rates could stay at 3.5 percent for overnight borrowing and 5.5 percent for overnight lending until next year.
II. RENEWABLE ENERGY SAFETY REGULATIONS
The Department of Energy (DOE) has released the renewable energy (RE) Safety, Health and Environment Rules and Regulations that assigns the oversight body and lays the guidelines for private firms.
III. PALECO-DMCI POWER SUPPLY DEAL
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has approved a temporary power supply agreement between Palawan Electric Cooperative Inc. (PALECO) and DMCI Power Corp.
IV. BORROWING GUIDELINES FOR NEWLY MERGED BANKS
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued Circular 776, dated Dec. 7, extending a “temporary line” at its rediscounting facility for merged and consolidated lenders in the process of finalizing documentary requirements with the BSP.
V. SYSTEM LOSS SAVINGS
Power distributors like Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO) are seeking a share in the savings generated from the reduction of system losses.
The Energy Regulatory Commission, through a public notice, has sought comments regarding the “Rules to Govern the Implementation of a Benefit-Sharing Scheme to Lower the System Losses of Electric Distribution Utilities,” a scheme that gives incentives to power providers for maintaining system loss below cap.
VI. NEED FOR MORE TOURISM PRODUCTS
C9 Hotelworks Co. Ltd. Managing Director Bill Barnett said that as the Philippine government is actively promoting the country as a tourist destination, it also needs to look at ways to attract tourists from big markets like China, India, and Russia.
PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGIC PLANNING OFFICE (PCDSPO)