NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON WAR

Manila, Feb. 6, 2003- President Gloria Arroyo has called the National Security Council to a meeting tomorrow to discuss the Iraq crisis and its implications for the Philippines, which has prepared contingency plans for the safety of 1.5 million Filipinos working in the Middle East.

The NSC would also tackle new information to be submitted by the US to the UN Security Council, which will supposedly show Iraq is keeping weapons of mass destruction; Santiago's proposal to send a peace keeping force in Iraq; results of surveys which show the Filipinos' preference to remain neutral.

The NSC would be attended by members of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council, the minority and majority leaders of Congress, committee chairmen, former presidents, representatives of some private groups like the Makati Business Club, and top security officials.

Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said he was not aware if Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. is attending.

Bunye defended Arroyo's call for Saddam to do what is right.

"We are directing this appeal to Saddam Hussein, we don't have any quarrel with Iraq people because just like many of us, the Iraqi people also want peace," he said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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