FEBRUARY 22, 2007 (STAR) President Arroyo asked the administrationís Team Unity to support her 10-point agenda for the nation, which could mean changing at least the Constitutionís economic provisions, the groupís spokesman Ace Durano said yesterday.

Durano said that while Mrs. Arroyo did not specifically discuss Charter change among the administrationís senatorial bets, she was vocal about her desire for them to help with her pro-poor programs and to advocate these in their campaign.

Durano said the Presidentís "Beat The Odds" and "8 in 08" initiatives, which she wants Team Unity candidates to support may require some amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Charter change is one a critical issue among incoming senators, since MalacaŮangís proposal for a shift to unicameral parliamentary system of government will mean the abolition of the Senate, which they are seeking to become part of. The candidates of the administration have different opinions on the matter.

"We need the changes (in the Charter) to accelerate our growth," Durano said in an interview. "So there is room for discussing economic provisions."

"The President has said that she is leaving it up to our democracy and the people to decide on the time and mode by which we can change the Constitution," he added.

Durano said political reforms, particularly Charter change, are part of the Arroyo administrationís policy approach: "We believe that nothing will stop Congress from discussing it again once it convenes, even just the economic provisions."

"We should always be open in discussing (Charter change). But this was not a specific issue between the President and the candidates," he added.

The Presidentís "Beat The Odds" initiative aims to balance the budget, provide education for all, institutionalize automated elections, facilitate transportation and digital infrastructure, terminate hostilities with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and New Peopleís Army (NPA), heal the wounds of EDSA, provide electricity and water for all, ensure opportunities for livelihood and 10 million jobs, decongest of Metro Manila and to develop Subic in Zambales and Clark in Pampanga. Ė Aurea Calica

GMA accepts PSALM presidentís resignation The Philippine Star 02/22/2007

President Arroyo has accepted the resignation of Nieves Osorio as Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) president.

In her announcement yesterday, Mrs. Arroyo said Osorio will be replaced by Jose Ibazeta, International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) director and treasurer.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Osorio intimated to him as early as two to three years ago that she wanted to go back to the private sector.

"She said that in deference to the President, she will accept the job, but on consideration that when she feels like going back to private practice, she wished that she will be permitted by the President," he said.

"Now the time has come and therefore she submitted her resignation and it has been accepted."

Mrs. Arroyo was "definitely satisfied" with the performance of Osorio during her stint as PSALM president, he added.

Ibazeta, who is also Special Envoy to Middle East Countries in charge of coordinating humanitarian and reconstruction efforts related to Iraq, will take over from Osorio on March 1.

Ibazeta is a member of the board of Anscor group of companies, Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. and PET Plans Inc.

During her stint as PSALM president, Osorio managed to successfully sell three major power plants at prices that were "beyond government expectations."

In a statement, Osorio said her resignation is not in anyway connected with the failed TransCo bidding.

"I would like to take this occasion to dispel speculations that I have been forced to tender my resignation because of the outcome of the bidding for the 25-year concession of the TransCo," she said.

"As early as last year, I have made a personal commitment that I will finish this specific transaction. The final result may have not been up to PSALMís and the National Governmentís expectations or my own personal wishes. But this specific transaction has been completed. Ė Marvin Sy, Donnabelle Gatdula

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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