2013 Proposed Budget, Pasado na sa Second Reading ng Kamara

admin   •   September 21, 2012   •   2574

FILE PHOTO: The House of Representative Plenary Hall (UNTV News)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Inaprubahan na sa ikalawang pagbasa ng mababang kapulungan ng Kongreso ang mahigit sa dalawang trilyong pisong budget ng pamahalaan para sa susunod na taon.

Sa ilalim ng panukalang pondo, ang Department of Education (DepED) ang may pinakamalaking pondo na nagkakahala ng P292.7 billion kung saan malaking bahagi nito ay ilalaan para punan ang kakulangan sa mga classroom, guro, upuan at textbooks.

Ngayong araw naman ang simula ng session break ng kamara upang bigyang panahon sa paghahain ng certificate of candidacy ang mga re-electionist.

Sa Oktubre 8, araw ng Lunes muling magbubukas ang sesyon sa kamara upang ipagpatuloy ang budget deliberation para sa mga amendment na nais gawin ng ilang kongresista.

Target naman ng kamara na tuluyang maipasa sa 3rd and final reading ang panukalang pondo sa sa darating na Oktubre 15.

Oras na maipasa sa kamara ang proposed budget ay agad na itong dadalhin sa Senado.

“Now, ano ang mangyayari pagdating sa senado? nagkakaroon na rin sila ng mga hearings pero yun ay official din pero walang bisa yun hanggang sa matanggap nila yung aming na-approve dito on 3rd reading,” pahayag ni House Speaker Sonny Belmonte.

Ayon naman kay House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Joseph Emilio Abaya, possible pang magkaroon ng amendments sa pondo ng hudikatura.

Ito ay upang maipatupad ng bagong Chief Justice ang mga reporma na nais niyang gawin.

“She’s a lot of programs in mind much needed judicial reforms and a lot of time to implement all of these.”

Samantala, hindi na makakasama pa si Abaya sa budget deliberation ng Bicameral Conference Committee dahil lilipat na ito sa DOTC, papalit sa kanya si House Committee on Appropriations Senior Vice Chairman Jocelyn Limkaichong. (Rico Rivadenera/Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

Velasco files bills granting president power to suspend PhilHealth, SSS rate hikes

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday said he has filed two separate bills seeking to grant the president the power to suspend the scheduled increases in the contribution rates of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS) in times of national emergencies.

In a statement, Velasco said his twin measures propose to amend Republic Act (RA) 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, and RA 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, which provide for gradual increases in monthly premium contributions in PhilHealth and SSS, respectively.

The bills authorize the president to suspend the implementation of the scheduled increases in premium rates in times of national emergencies “when public interest so requires.”

But this should be in consultation with the secretaries of health and finance departments as chairpersons of PhilHealth and SSS, respectively.

The measures were filed after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the suspension of the premium rate increase.

Velasco said RA 11223 was enacted in 2018 to ensure that all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health care goods and services, and protected against financial risk.

He said the intent of the law is clear and cannot be overemphasized—Filipinos need and deserve a comprehensive set of health services that are cost-effective, of high quality, and responsive.

The House speaker, however, stressed that the current situation is extraordinary and that Congress must respond accordingly as he called for the swift approval of the bills aimed at alleviating the financial burden faced by many Filipino workers amid the crisis.

“While we recognize that the [PhilHealth] only aims to implement the provisions of RA 11223, imposing a higher premium rate to our kababayans under our current conditions will definitely enforce a new round of financial burden to its members,” Velasco said in the explanatory note of House Bill 8316.

“Suspending the imposition of the new PhilHealth premium rates will provide a much-needed relief from the negative effects of the pandemic and will assure Filipinos that the government is sensitive to their sentiments,” he said.

In filing HB 8317, Velasco said the temporary suspension of the hike in SSS contributions will help the workforce achieve faster recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

“We are witnesses to the negative impact of this COVID-19 outbreak. Under this pretext, the sovereign government must be given the prerogative to bend the rules of the social security law in favor of the greater good,” Velasco said.

He likewise said that increasing the rate of contributions of SSS members will “strikingly undermine the recovery effort of everyone suffering from job losses, wage reduction, business closures, and health-related issues.”

Bicam approves proposed 2021 national budget

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The bicameral conference committee on Wednesday approved the final version of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021, which is seen to drive the country’s pandemic and calamity response and recovery efforts.

The spending bill includes a P72.5 billion allocation for the purchase of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

Of this allotment, P2.5 billion is allocated for the vaccines under the programmed funds of the Department of Health (DOH) while the P70 billion is placed under the unprogrammed appropriations, dependent on the availability of actual government funds.

Senator Sonny Angara, chairperson of Senate committee on finance and head of the upper chamber’s contingent in the bicameral conference, said that although much of the vaccines for budget was unprogrammed, the Department of Finance gave assurance it will be funded depending on the availability of government revenues.

“Ang akala kasi ng iba, ‘pag unprogrammed, hindi siya mapo-pondohan. It’s not true. But the probability of it being funded is large. We’re assured by the DOF na mapopondohan talaga ‘yun,” he said.

Aside from the allotment of P72.5 billion in the spending bill, Angara said the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) also provides P10 billion for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Bayanihan 2 is set to lapse on December 19 so lawmakers are moving to extend its validity until March or June 2021.

Both chambers of Congress are also planning to extend the validity of the 2020 General Appropriations Act until June or December 2021 for the implementation of programs and projects funded under the measure that was delayed due to the pandemic.

The budget bill also set aside funds for infrastructure projects for projects ravaged by recent typhoons.

The approved version of the budget also retained the P19-billion funding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Lawmakers are eyeing to submit the 2021 budget bill to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing before December 25.

The bicam version of the budget bill has to be ratified first by both the Senate and the House before it can be submitted to the Office of President. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte administers oath to Velasco as House speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   November 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte administered the oath of office to Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Malacañang said.

The oathtaking was held in a private ceremony on Monday at the Malacañan Palace.

The event was also attended by Velasco’s wife Rowena, his father Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr., and mother Torrijos Mayor Lorna Velasco.

Velasco took his oath of office about a month after he was elected to the highest position at the House of Representatives.

Velasco was installed as the new House Speaker after he was elected by a total of 186 lawmakers in a remote session in Quezon City in October.

His election was ratified the next day in a session held at the House Plenary Hall.

At the same time, Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano stepped down from the speakership post.

The two lawmakers earlier agreed to a term-sharing deal brokered by Duterte where Cayetano will lead the lower chamber for the first 15 months to be followed by Velasco in the remaining 21 months of the term. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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