NEWSFLASH

MILITANT GROUPS WELCOME IN COUNCIL OF STATE, REASSURES PALACE

MANILA, January 10, 2003 (STAR)  NEWSFLASH  01/10 12:49:47 PM

Malacaņang reassured militant groups that they will be included in the proposed "government of national unity".

According to a media report, presidential adviser of media and ecclesiastical affairs Dodie Limcaoco confirmed that militant groups will have a place in the Council of State.

Limcaoco added that any sector of society can join the government in the Council of State just as long as they believe in the Constitution and respect the government's programs.

The presidential adviser made this response in reaction to Bayan Muna Representative Crispin Beltran's statement that the Arroyo administration was planning to keep out the militant groups from the said Council.

This Council of State will reportedly run the "government of national unity" -- as proposed by House Speaker Jose de Venecia-- in President Gloria Arroyo's bid to erase political divisiveness and spur economic growth in the country.

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Arroyo signs gov't procurement reform law to fight graft, promote transparency 01/10 2:45:20 PM

President Gloria Arroyo Friday signed into law Republic Act (RA) 9184 which provides for the modernization, standardization and regulation of the procurement activities of the government.

"It will fight graft and corruption, improve operational efficiency, bolster transparency in bidding procedures and encourage competition," said Pres. Arroyo in signing the bill, also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.

During a speech held at the Philippine Stock Exchange this morning, Pres. Arroyo said RA 9184 will help government procurement officers stick to the straight and narrow path.

As a bonus, the Chief Executive pointed out, the money that can be saved by making procurement more effective, efficient and less prone to corrupt practices, will reduce the budget deficit.

The President commended both houses of Congress for their careful crafting and passage of the Government Procurement Reform Act and the Special Purpose Vehicle Act of 2002 which she also signed this morning.


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