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MANILA STANDARD
26 March 1998
Filed by Ralph Remigio

Comelec softens up on JoeCon’s case

The Comelec has loosened up on its decision to bar Jose Concepcion, businessman and chairman of the NAMFREL, form taking a role as poll watchdog. The Comelec has allowed Concepcion to take part in the May 11 pollwatch activities on one condition - that he take a leave of absence as barangay chairman of Forbes Park, Makati.

Three senators praise Sin for setting poll guidelines

Roco, Santiago, and Enrile believe that he or she was the one referred to by Cardinal Sin when he set the guidelines for electing the candidates during the May 11 polls. Sin says that the candidate should be the one who was present at Edsa in 1986. Roco said he and his family were there until Aquino's proclamation. Santiago said she was physically present, though not as active as she wanted to be, as she was pregnant and actually had a miscarriage a few day after the Revolution. Enrile said he had upheld the democratic principles in the Revolution, being one of the principal characters of the Edsa revolt.

On the Campaign Trail

The Pinoy Overseas Party (POP) filed the nominations of their sectoral representatives in the party list system. POP is a coalition of the Friends of Filipino Migrant Workers Inc. (Kaibigan) established in 1981 and the 20,000-strong United Filipino Seafarers (UFS). Kaibigan is a most vocal advocate of rights and welfare of land-based Filipino workers in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Europe. UFS complements the overseas workers' agenda through non-stop union organizing, collective bargaining and information and lobby work to gain legislative reforms for the maritime sector.

Fred Lim (LP) said the proper dispersal of opportunities, by putting up more factories and industries in the countryside, would have to be implemented to prevent overcongestion in Metro Manila. According to Lim, many people from the provinces want to move to Manila to earn a decent living but, unfortunately, some of them end up living in the streets. Lim added more time is needed in improving agricultural productivity thorough massive public investment in far-to-market roads, irrigation and research, which will give farmers easier access to affordable credit and better education and training.

Miriam Santiago (PRP) answered the questions raised by Cardinal Sin in a recent pastoral letter. On the Edsa revolution, she was physically present, but not as active as she was pregnant during that time. On the martial law regime, "I protected the right of the public to stage demonstration against martial law," she said. On upholding the Constitution, she attended the anti-Charter change rally at Luneta. She is also against abortion because it is "illegal and immoral, a crime under the Penal Code and a sin in Catholic theology because it is tantamount to murder.

The Philippines should undertake a more aggressive promotion of build-operate-transfer (BOT) and joint-venture projects to improve local government infrastructure at no cose to host constituents, De Ocampo (Lakas senatorial bet) said. He added, "Investors just want to see a greater push, a greater display of confidence, and they will start coming back."

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