Congressmen to donate part of their salaries for Batanes quake victims

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2019   •   1140

Photo by Dominic de Sagon Asa

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the House of Representatives are looking to raise some money to help the victims of twin earthquakes that rattled Batanes over the weekend.

In a statement issued on Tuesday (July 30), House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said leaders of the lower chamber have agreed to kick off a fund drive for the relief operations in Batanes, and urged their colleagues to donate a portion of their salary.

Each lawmaker is expected to contribute a minimum of P5,000 from his or her salary. The House, which has 300 members, is expected to raise at least P1.5 million or higher.

Aside from the monetary contribution, Romualdez said some congressmen have also expressed interest in donating relief goods collected from their staff and other House employees.

“It (contribution) has been the practice whenever a district is hard-hit by a calamity, in this case Batanes. This voluntary effort on the part of the congressmen to contribute has been done in the past through salary deduction. This has been initiated for the benefit of the casualties’ loved ones and injured residents of Batanes,” said Romualdez.

During a session on Monday, the House of Representatives adopted Resolution No. 139 expressing its “profound sympathies” and “deepest condolences” to those affected by the twin temblors that jolted Batanes.

The resolution also called on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and other relevant organizations to expedite humanitarian assistance and restore normalcy to the affected areas.

The resolution was authored by Speaker Alan Cayetano, Romualdez, and House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, Jr.

A manifestation was also made before the plenary about the “signature sheet” that shall be circulated for House members so they can write the amount of their voluntary contribution.

Last Saturday, nine people were killed and 63 others were injured when strong earthquakes hit Itbayat town in Batanes. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier promised to give P40 million to help reconstruct its local hospital damaged by earthquakes.

House panel approves P1.5-T fund to create jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.

The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.

The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.

Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020. –AAC

House solon wants charter change proposals shelved ‘indefinitely’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2020

Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday said he will propose the suspension of deliberations on the controversial charter change (Cha-Cha) proposals amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, said he is inclined to recommend to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to “shelve Cha-Cha indefinitely” to focus on discussing measures to address the public health crisis and help the Filipino people prepare for the ‘new normal’.

The lawmaker made the proposal following claims that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other advocates initiated moves to gather up to two million signatures in support of Cha-Cha.

“This is not the time for the DILG and its allies to relaunch their signature drive and renew their push for Cha-cha. They should postpone it until this health crisis is over,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

“So my message to Cha-cha advocates and their DILG patrons is: stop it, it won’t fly while there is a pandemic,” he added.

Rodriguez said pushing for Cha-Cha can wait as Congress will first have to attend to measures that will “save lives and the livelihood of our people.”

The DILG earlier denied it has launched a signature campaign for Cha-Cha, branding these reports as fake news. RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Lawmaker files bill granting new franchise to ABS-CBN

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 6, 2020

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez has filed a bill that would grant ABS-CBN Corporation a new franchise.

On Wednesday (May 6), Rodriguez filed House Bill No. 6694 proposing to grant ABS-CBN a new legislative franchise for 25 years.

“In order to continue to provide uninterrupted and improved delivery of its services to the Filipino people, the franchise should be granted in the soonest possible time,” he said.

The House representative also filed House Joint Resolution (HJR) No. 30 provisional franchise to ABS-CBN until June 2022.

According to Rodriguez, this is while both the Senate and the House of Representatives “need additional time to review, assess, and determine whether or not ABS-CBN shall be granted a new franchise.” AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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