Aquino chides US on VFA, terror alert

Manila, Philippines – President Aquino expressed disaproval with the United States yesterday for voicing concern over the impending review of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) but not finding time to officially alert him of alleged terror threats used to justify the issued travel warnings to its citizens.

Despite recent travel warnings, former US President Bill Clinton will be coming to the Philippines for a speaking engagement. President Aquino considers this visit as a vote of confidence for the Philippines. P-Noy also adds that he and the former US President have yet no meetings arranged and that he would be preparing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit this week.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is ready to provide security for Clinton.

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Govt peace panels for MILF, CPP talks in the works

THE government is now forming five-man peace panels for the impending resumption of negotiations with communist and Moro secessionist rebels, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita “Ging” Deles gave President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III Tuesday morning her recommendations for the heads of the panels that will negotiate with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Lacierda refused to give names until the two panels are formed.

Lacierda said the resumption of peace negotiations with the two groups is the Aquino administration’s “internal” solution to the problems in conflict-ridden and poverty-stricken Mindanao.

The NPA, the armed wing of the CPP, operates nationwide while the MILF has its forces mostly in Central Mindanao. (PIA-Bohol)

Aquino gives green light for transition

NOW that he has been proclaimed, President-elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III has given his prospective Cabinet members the green light to start transition work with the outgoing administration.

Incoming Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said she already met Wednesday with officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to be briefed on the job.

Aside from Soliman, Aquino had confirmed as members of his official family Teresita Deles as peace adviser, and Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa as most likely the executive secretary.

In Malacañang, Presidential Management Staff head Elena Bautista-Horn said the transition team she now heads will submit a blueprint to the incoming administration.

She said the blueprint includes a 20-page situationer on the Arroyo administration’s “accomplishments and challenges,” including a world food crisis in 2007 and an economic crisis in 2008. She also said they will give the incoming administration two three-inch-thick books including the functional transitional report and operational transitional report of the bureaucracy. (PIA-Bohol)