, October 31, 2005
(STAR) President Arroyo condemned yesterday the terrorist bombings that killed at least 61 people in the Indian capital of New Delhi last Saturday night.

"We join the world in condemning this attack as we pull together the global, regional and domestic fight against terror — from the interdiction of terrorists to rendering full justice to their victims," the President said in a statement issued by Malacañang.

The Palace asked the people yesterday to remain vigilant during the next few days because of threats of a terror attack on All Saints’ Day tomorrow.

Mrs. Arroyo said she joins the Filipino people "in expressing our profound sympathies to the families of the victims of the latest attacks in New Delhi, which come to pass while Indians were about to observe a major Hindu holiday."

"This (attack) underscores the vulnerability of all nations and peoples, including ourselves, to the heinous work of evil," she said.

"Once more, this should be another strong signal and impetus for Philippines to pass the anti-terrorism bill that will cut the movement of terrorists within our shores and from shore to shore."

Mrs. Arroyo has directed law enforcers to keep a tight watch over the long weekend, particularly during All Saints’ Day tomorrow when people flock to cemeteries nationwide to pay respect to their departed loved ones.

"I direct all law enforcement authorities to keep a tight watch over the holidays as we keep our people, with their full cooperation, out of harm’s way," she said.

"I commend the police for their constant vigilance and sense of duty," the President added.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo is expected to visit tomorrow the grave of her father, President Diosdado Macapagal, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani at Fort Bonifacio in Makati City.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New Delhi, the Philippine National Police has tightened security in vital installations nationwide.

"In connection with the explosions in New Delhi in India, you are directed to tighten your security measures and undertake programs to ensure the safety of the general public," read the order of PNP chief Director General Arturo Lomibao to his men.

Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil, PNP spokesman, said Lomibao has given police regional directors the discretion to upgrade their alert level, depending on the prevailing situation in areas under their command.

Fifty percent of the police force nationwide are on full duty status, while the rest have been on call as of 6 a.m. last Saturday, he added.

Lomibao had ordered the strict security measures even before the New Delhi explosions, after State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco revealed intelligence reports that the Abu Sayyaf plans to wreak havoc in Metro Manila to avenge the death sentence imposed on three convicted terrorists.

A Makati regional trial court judge had meted the death penalty on Indonesian Rohmat Abdulrrohim, who is believed to belong to the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah, and Filipinos Abu Khalil Trinidad and Gammal Baharan for the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombings. — Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Felipe


(For the week ending October 30, 2005) - Some members of the opposition are bellyaching about the security restrictions around the presidential palace. Well, we just have to live with them.. In this day and age, it would be better to err on the side of caution. Even airports, seaports, malls and hotels have restrictions.

After all, Malacanan is the official residence and place of work of the President. It is where she receives other government officials, diplomats and foreign guests. The need to secure the President, other heads of state, not to mention her family, can not be overemphasized.

The fact that Malacanan is and should be a protected area was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Reli German et al v. Gen. Santiago Barangan, et al (135 SCRA n514, GR No. L-68828, decided March 27, 1985.

Related to this, in a resolution dated July 7, 1988, the Supreme Court declared a 200- meter radius ‘no rally area’ around the Supreme Court, any hall of justice and any other building that houses at least one court sala.

If the SC and the courts have a ‘no rally area’ , then by all means, Malacanan, the seat of the executive branch, can and should have a ‘no rally area’ of its own.


Over dinner a few weeks ago, my longtime friend, Andrew ‘Bibot’ Gotianun, Jr. described the concept of Asenso Village of Filinvest. The project was formally launched last Friday at Wack Wack, with no less than President Gloria as guest of honor.

Josephine ‘Joji’ Gotianun-Yap, husband Joseph Yap, and Bibot welcomed other guests who included Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Labor Secretary Pat Sto. Tomas, Tesda Chief Boboy Syjuco and Congresswoman Judy Syjuco.

Bibot said that in the late 50’s, when their family transferred to Manila from Cebu, they occupied a two- storey apartment along P. Casals Street. .

The second floor served as residence to their family of five at that time, consisting his father, Andrew Sr., mom Mercedes, sister Joji, brother Atan, and himself. The ground floor served as the office and stock room for their first business venture: an aircon distributorship. Later on, the family went into financing of second-hand cars.

His mom, Mercedes, although a pharmacy graduate from UP, was plain housewife at the time. But one day, their accountant resigned and Mercedes had to take a more active role in the business.

Under this set up, it was easy for his parents, Taipan Andrew, Sr. and Mercedes, to work practically 20 hours a day. There was no need to commute. There were no long lunch hours or merienda breaks wasted. Work was all in the family.

The rest is history. Many Filipino Chinese business fortunes, Bibot believes, started in similar two-floor apartments. This set-up is what Asenso Village seeks to duplicate.

Asenso Village is where entrepreneurs could have their business and residence, as well as the facilities they need, in one place. And this is ideal for micro-, small and medium enterprises, or MSMEs. Intgegration is efficient. Costs can be pared down. The risks are lower and profits can be assured.

As an added feature, Filinvest Land, Asenso’s developers are providing support to the MSMEs in Asenso Villages in the form of training, business development, promotion and marketing.

Cheers to Asenso Village, home of future taipans!


The loyalty of the Presidential Security Group has been unsullied throughout all Presidencies and Governments of the Republic. This canard about an alleged stand down of weapons in the Palace itself is the kind of muck dug up by spies of the power hungry and desperate opposition.

The President’s guards, and the Armed Forces in general, have never been as professional as they are in their duty to uphold the Constitution and insulate the uniform from partisan politics.

We call on the opposition to respect the military and police and give them due credit for keeping our nation—and our democratic way of life—secure. We also appeal to the media for prudence and a sense of public responsibility in treating stories such as these.


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