PALACE: COUNTRY TO SUFFER IF CALL FOR POLITICAL TRUCE NOT HEEDED

MANILA, August 28, 2005
(STAR) Unite or suffer.

This was the warning issued by Malacañang Saturday in the wake of President Gloria Arroyo's appeal for a truce with her political opponents to secure the country’s "economic survival" as world oil prices continued to soar.

Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye issued a statement saying, "The President has called for a truce in politicking in the name of the suffering people. The entire nation stands to suffer if we do not act as one to confront the challenge."

"Brother Mike Velarde and Cardinal (Jose) Vidal have devoted worthy efforts to the cause of national unity, for which we are grateful," Bunye pointed out.

However, he added that, "The looming energy crisis that threatens the economy, already weighed down by heavy financial obligations, must be our singular point of focus."

The presidential spokesperson noted that the "whole national team" must get its act together--Congress to fast- track the passage of the national budget for 2006, pass the anti-terror bill, and act on charter amendments to fix up our political system permanently.

The public is called upon to contribute their share in energy conservation and efficiency, Bunye said.

Likewise, the local government units are expected to fully muster the tools of local autonomy in sustaining countryside development, preserving peace and order, and providing basic needs, he said.

Officials have warned that surging oil prices would cut economic growth, raise inflation and deplete the country of its international reserves.

Economic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos said soaring oil prices may force the country to revise its economic growth target this year.

GMA not concerned with impeachment troubles, to let her team handle it 08/27 2:43:01 PM

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not concerned with the impeachment process but is letting her team handle it, said Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye Saturday.

"The President is deeply preoccupied with the business of the people and is quite satisfied with the job of her impeachment team, which consists of the legal, political and media components," Bunye said.

He added that, "The team works autonomously outside of the Palace circuit and has carried on the fight for the cause of the President."

"This arrangement has enabled her to get on with her work relatively unperturbed by the day-to-day partisan controversies," he said.

The presidential spokesperson noted that the President is focused on the people’s welfare and well-being and not so much on the politics of impeachment.

Congress has devoted much of its time and energy since resuming sessions late last month to debating three impeachment complaints against Pres. Arroyo, who stands accused of rigging last year’s presidential election.

A one-third vote of the 236-member House of Representatives would compel the body to send the case to trial in the 23-member Senate.

Pres. Arroyo has been under fire for months since an audiotape was leaked in which a woman sounding like her apparently tells an election official to fix the outcome of last year’s presidential elections.

Pres. Arroyo has denied any wrongdoing.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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