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  • Pres. Aquino’s silence on FoI explained                     Malacañang defended the non-inclusion of the Freedom of Information (FoI) bill in President Benigno Aquino III’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday. Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Pres. Aquino had already committed to pass the long-sought legislation before an audience of business leaders -- including World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim -- on July 15. Mr. Lacierda said, “This is his SONA. He believes what is going to be put in it. He had said it [FoI bill] in the Daylight Dialogue... He said he is going to push for it before the end of his term.” For his part, Vice-President Jejomar Binay said he had also expected the President to take up the FoI bill -- an issue that he singled out in his press statement on the SONA.
  • DTI to craft IRR for Lemon Law                                       The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to draw up implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the recently passed Lemon Law. The DTI said in a statement: “With the approval of the Lemon Law… the DTI is now tasked to formulate the necessary IRR within the 90-day period from the effectivity of the act through a Technical Working Group composed of representatives from government and private sectors.” Republic Act No. 10642: An Act Strengthening Consumer Protection in the Purchase of Brand New Motor Vehicles, which is also known as the Philippine Lemon Law, was approved by President Aquino on July 15. The law will take effect on Aug. 7. The Lemon Law seeks to protect consumers in the event that a brand new, recently purchased vehicle does not meet the standards set by the manufacturers.
  • 3 lawmakers endorse impeach raps against Pres. Aquino   Three party-list representatives endorsed the impeachment complaint filed yesterday by 28 militant groups and individuals against President Aquino with the House of Representatives. Their endorsement of the complaint made it the 1st valid impeachment case against the President. Reacting to the filing of the impeachment complaint, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said it is up to the President’s allies in Congress to do what they believe is appropriate. In separate resolutions of endorsement, Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna and Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis said they have read the complaint and found it to be “sufficient in form and substance.” The 3, who belong to the Makabayan bloc, along with Makabayan chairman former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, accompanied the complainants led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) to the House to file their complaint.
  • Power crisis looms in 2015                                            Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petillla will ask President Aquino to declare a state of emergency or crisis in the power sector to allow the government to tap additional power capacity next year. He said there is a projected deficit of 200 megawatts (MW) for some days of April and May 2015, and the emergency powers would allow the government through the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) to contract additional power. Sec. Petilla said he is recommending additional capacity of up to 500 MW, instead of just 200 MW to provide a buffer in case the projected deficit becomes bigger. The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 prohibits the government from constructing power plants. However, Section 71 of the law states that the President, upon determination of an imminent shortage of supply of electricity, may ask Congress for authority through a joint resolution, to establish additional generating capacity.
  • Forex reserves down to $79.8Bn                                   The country’s gross international reserves went down to $79.803 billion in March from $80.540 billion in February due to debt payments made by the government, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (central bank) reported yesterday. “The decline in reserves was due mainly to outflows arising from payments by the national government of its maturing foreign exchange obligations, foreign exchange operations of the BSP, and revaluation adjustments on the BSP’s gold holdings and foreign currency denominated reserves,” the central bank said. The March GIR level is enough to cover 11.1 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income. It was also equivalent to 7.1 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 5.2 times based on residual maturity.

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