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National newsbits for May 3, 2014

P30-B controversy

There should be no sacred cows in the ongoing congressional investigation into the highly questionable P30-billion 2010 pre-election infrastructure spending allegedly cornered by 10 favored contractors, including one that single-handedly financed the successful election campaign of a party-list organization. Members of the House Committee on Good Government aired this appeal as the House panel chaired by Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez resumes its probe into the controversy brought before it by Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone. Aside from the contractors, officials of DPWH and the Department of Budget and Management will be summoned to shed light into the issue. Rodriguez said contractors linked to the highly questionable awarding of infrastructure contracts between 2008 to 2011 will also be invited to the hearings that would start next week.  (Ben Rosario)


Fabrication lab

Local entrepreneurs can now turn their creative ideas into product prototypes in the country’s first state-of-the-art workshop located in Bohol. Launched by President Aquino on Friday, the Bohol Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) can help bring to life almost any product design with the help of advanced tools. The fabrication facility, located at Bohol Island State University (BISU), is a joint project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology and BISU. It aims to boost Bohol’s creative industry and promote its competitive edge. “Today, we see the fruit of our goal ‘build back better’ in your community. We don’t just bring back to normal your lives, we also expand the opportunities for growth for the people of Bohol. An example is the launch of the Bohol Fabrication Laboratory Shared Service Facility project that will certainly open opportunities for progress in Bohol and nearby provinces,” the President said in Filipino during the inauguration of the facility. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)


President’s message

President Aquino cited a new era of stability and prosperity dawning in Mindanao in his message to mark the 40th National Qur’an Reading Competition (NQRC) set for today. The NQRC was organized by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), which is mandated “to preserve and develop the culture, tradition, institutions, and well-being of Muslim Filipinos” as stipulated in Republic Act 9997. “A new era of stability and prosperity dawns in the Southern Philippines,” the President said, apparently referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed on March 27 by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The President noted that those who fought against each other in the Mindanao conflict are now together in battling “greater adversaries.” Aquino said these enemies are “poverty, corruption, and those who stand to gain from maintaining an oppressive and untenable status quo.” (Edd K. Usman)


Binay’s ‘Cha-cha’

More investments translate to more employment. Stressing this point, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, who is in Washington D.C., said yesterday he is supportive of “revisiting the Constitution of the Philippines” particularly on the economic provision limiting foreign ownership of local companies. The Vice President, during the Banyan Tree Leadership Forum of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said amending Article XII Section 10 of the 1987 Constitution, the economic provision that limits foreign ownership of local companies to 40 percent, will attract more foreign investors in the country. “Personally, I’m in favor of revisiting the Constitution of the Philippines particularly that 60-40 requirement of investors in the Philippines,” he said. In his speech, Binay said the Philippines must further liberalize its economy to improve the country’s competitiveness and allow it to attract local and foreign investments in manufacturing and other sectors. (JC Bello Ruiz)