March 18, 2008 / 12:39 AM / 12 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Philippine newspapers - March 18

MANILA, March 18 (Reuters) - These are the leading stories in Manila newspapers on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified these stories.

- An Archbishop in Bicol province has barred all priests in his archdiocese from saying mass for Rodolfo Lozada, who has testified in the Senate about alleged kickbacks in a government deal, and warned them against parties that would use them for political purposes. (MANILA STANDARD TODAY, PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER, MALAYA)

- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed Labor Secretary Arturo Brion as associate justice of the Supreme Court. (ALL PAPERS)

- Senate President Manuel Villar blamed the presidential palace for a supposedly looming food crisis, which he said could have been averted had the government used a 720 million pesos ($17 million) fertilizer fund properly in 2004. (THE MANILA TIMES)

BUSINESS

- Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said the government is reconsidering its plan to balance the budget this year in response to mounting pressures for higher public spending. (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER, MANILA STANDARD TODAY, THE PHILIPPINE STAR, THE MANILA TIMES)

- The Asian Development Bank plans to lend $500 million to the Philippines to provide budgetary support for projects intended to boost the economy and improve delivery of services. (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER, MANILA STANDARD TODAY, MALAYA, THE MANILA TIMES)

- Petron Corp (PCOR.PS) said its $1.5 billion expansion plans would push through, as it sees a more diversified company when the sale of Saudi Aramco shares in Petron is completed. (THE PHILIPPINE STAR, MALAYA)

($1=41.72 pesos)

Reporting by Karen Lema

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