, December 19, 2005
(Photo at left - Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye poses at the balcony of Paradise Hotel in Busan, South Korea. Secretary Bunye was a member of the official entourage of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the 13th annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in Busan, South Korea on Nov. 17-19, 2005.)

VIEW FROM THE PALACE (For the week ending December 18, 2005)

We have completed the first big step towards reviewing the present constitution. After two and a half months of deliberations and consultations, the 55- member Constitutional Commission or ConCom, led by its Chair, Professor Jose Abueva, submitted to the President last week its recommendations, among others, on the proposed form of government and proposed shift of economic policies.

By no means were the members of the ConCom unamimous in their recommendations. The discussions were lively, and sometimes emotional and heated, but in the end the ConCom came up with a report that was approved by a clear majority of the members.

This is the time for all our political leaders, especially those who do not agree with the recommendations of the ConCom, to come out with alternative proposals for Charter change. We believe the Concom has done a good job in laying down the framework of the Charter debate and we must now bring the discussions to Congress and to the people.

There is much more work ahead to further raise the level of awareness of Charter change among our people and involve them in this process that will change the political landscape and put our country in the ranks of the first world in twenty years.

Let us, therefore, give the Con-com report a chance and subject its recommendations to constructive discussion and debate. It would be unfair at this point to raise harsh judgment and negative speculations over the work of the Commission members, who generously gave of their time, and expertise and whose only wish was to contribute to the brighter future of the country.

We must not lose the momentum of Charter change, for this is the last chance of overhauling our degenerated political system and ensuring our elevation to a first world nation status in twenty years.


The World Economic Forum survey is a clear indication of how much poison has polluted the political arena, and the Filipino people’s weariness over the bickering, muckraking and black propaganda in the air. This is the reason why President Arroyo is pushing for an overhaul of our degenerated political system, which has been a major stumbling block to our full and sustained economic takeoff.

President Arroyo believes that poverty can be licked with more investments and jobs arising from political stability and sound economic management. President Arroyo is acting to fight poverty and hopelessness with a concrete economic plan, and it is never too late to move this country forward if only poisoned politics will not stand in the way.


On the Meralco issue, we can be sure that this government is consistently for the public welfare and the protection of power consumers. The Cabinet is still in the process of reviewing its options on how to deal with the huge indebtedness of Meralco but we are not dishing out speculations until a final decision is made that would be lawful, just and for the best interest of the people.


The final recommendation from the AFP regarding a Christmas truce will serve as a major point of consideration in the final decision of the President and her security team. If the CPP-NPA leadership is not interested in joining a traditional Christmas truce this year, so be it. But this will not set back our determination to give our soldiers as well as the Filipino people the opportunity of celebrating the essence and true spirit of Christmas—peace on earth and goodwill to all men. *** Note: You may email us at totingbunye2000@yahoo.com

PGMA attends dawn mass in San Fernando City; Bishop appeals for end to political bickering

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo heard here this morning the bishop of San Fernando City appeal for a halt to political bickering and mudslinging, especially during the Christmas season.

The occasion was the traditional Catholic "simbang gabi" or dawn mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral here with the President in attendance. In his homily, Bishop Paciano Aniceto called on the country’s politicians to put an end to the political in-fighting that has caused deep divisions and disunity among the people.

"My brothers and sisters in the Lord, we are gathered here in the Cathedral of San Fernando as a community of the faithful, not as adversaries. The waiting for Christ’s coming challenges all of us to put aside our political ambitions and political persecution, to dismantle divisions. Christmas is not a time to launch political attacks; it is a time of peace and joy," Bishop Aniceto said. He said the Filipino faithful longs for peace, harmony and joy, especially at this time of the year. They don’t want to be burdened by political feuds that only create problems for the country’s economy, he added.

Aside from the President, local officials also attended the con-celebrated Mass, including San Fernando City Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, City Tourism chairperson Tess Lauz and Pampanga Chamber of Commerce chairman Levy Lauz.

Simbang gabi is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother that begins on Dec. 16 and culminates on Christmas eve with the celebration of the birth of Christ.

After the one-hour Mass, the President was ushered to the adjacent San Fernando City Hall to take a glimpse of this year’s grand champion in the Giant Lantern Festival hosted by the city government.

The President congratulated MNF Lantern Maker & General Merchandise proprietor Arnel Flores of Barangay Sto. Rosario, maker of the winning lantern, for topping this year’s edition of the annual Giant Lantern making contest in this city. According to Flores, he and nine other lantern makers made the design of the "Big Star." Measuring 18 feet in diameter, and lighted with 5,260 bulbs, it took 21 days to complete the lantern at the cost of P200,000.

A six-year veteran in lantern-making, Flores expressed excitement at the prospect of having his winning craft displayed in Malacanang, or the Rizal Park, and possibly exhibiting it in New York, USA.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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