NEWSFLASH

ITíS OFFICIAL: GMA FORMS COUNCIL OF STATE

Manila, Jan. 17, 2003 (Tribune) - President Arroyo today issued Executive Order 168 which reconstituted and revitalized the formation of a "Council of State," a consultative body tasked to advise the former on issues of national interest.

Prominent members of the council will be the Chief Executive and former presidents of the country.

Mrs. Arroyo, in her two-page executive order, said the Council of State is important since it will be the "advisory council" of the government.

"There is a need to reconstitute and revitalize the Council of State as the highest advisory body of the government concerning critical and important national policies," she said in the document.

According to the President, forming the Council of State would enable them to give "reliable information" and "competent advise" on vital issues and problems of the country.

But the Palace, through presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye, could not give a direct response to the mediamen's inquiry whether deposed President Joseph Estrada would be included as an adviser of the consultative body.

"This is self-explanatory (the executive order), it is a matter of interpretation," Bunye said.

The concept of forming the consultative body was tackled and decided upon during the President's meeting with officials and members of the Lakas-NUCD where former President Fidel Ramos, being an ex-officio of the ruling party, was also in attendance.

Bunye said the Council of State was derived from the idea of a government of national unity as proposed by Speaker Jose De Venecia.

MalacaŮang said the direct participation of every sector, including the private sectors, would help build a "government of national cooperation."


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