Poor attendance record at Congress Opening Session

admin   •   May 5, 2015   •   2590

House Speaker Feliciano ‘Sonny’ Belmonte Jr. (UNTV News)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Only a few congressmen were present at the Congress Opening Session which officially commenced  at 4pm on Monday.

With the very small number of attendees, the house was only able to do some referral of bills.

It used to be that in times when Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has a scheduled fight abroad, some congressmen would file a leave of absence and watch said fight.

Meanwhile, speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. took the opportunity to congratulate Congressman Pacquiao for the sportsmanship he had shown in the match.

The house will give recognition to Pacquiao upon his return.

Belmonte also appealed to the public to accept the result of the fight.

Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said, “Let’s face the reality na pagka-naglalaban kayo ng ganyan kailangan maka K.O. ka o ma-knock down kung hindi, yung nakaupo sya pa rin.”

(Let’s face the reality that in boxing matches like that, you need a K.O. or to knock-down, otherwise, the current champ remains the same)

(UNTV News)

Pacquiao seeks 1-year freeze on Philhealth premium rate hike for health workers

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manny Pacquiao on Friday said he has filed a resolution calling for a one-year suspension of the increase in Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) premium contributions for healthcare workers amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In Senate Resolution 429, Pacquiao urged the Senate to call for the suspension of the increase in Philhealth premium rate for healthcare professionals for the year 2020 “as a token of gratitude” to their sacrifices amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The senator filed the resolution as Philhealth is poised to implement an increase in premium payments from 2.75% to 3% of its members’ monthly salary.

The increase is provided in the Universal Health Care Act, which provides for the automatic enrolment of all Filipino citizens in the government’s National Health Insurance Program. The law also mandates an annual increase in premium rate until it reaches 5% by 2024.

“The first year of the implementation of the increased rate of premium contributions, coincided with the advent and continuation of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines,” the resolution read.

“This has constrained most, if not all, health care professionals and other health care workers in the country sacrificing and risking their well-being and even their lives, to help cure the afflicted and stem the surge of transmission of the disease caused by the Covid-19 virus,” it added.

Pacquiao also pointed out that the pandemic has resulted in the “disruption of the professional practice of the health care professionals concomitantly leading to the marked decrease in the income of health care professionals and related health care workers, and to some, even to the closure of their clinics.”

“Such a suspension may help these frontliners in a small way, but the recognition and expression of gratitude will go a little farther to support them moving forward,” he said.

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) earlier called on the government to suspend the premium payment increase for medical workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pacquiao urges public to support Filipino athletes, set aside SEA Games woes

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2019

Filipino Boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday called on Filipinos to show their support for Filipino athletes competing in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and set aside issues on the reported shortcomings of the games’ organizing committee.

“Ang panawagan ko po sa ating mga kababayan, magkaisa po tayo, suportahan natin ang mga atleta natin kasi ito ang mukha natin, ito ang karangalan nating lahat,” Pacquiao said in a media interview at the Senate.

“Kung ano ‘yung problema saka natin pag-usapan, after ng SEA Games,” he added.

Pacquiao said bickering over supposed problems in logistics and accommodation, and other mishaps in the country’s hosting of the games will not help Filipino athletes to focus on the competition.

“Kapag lagi nating pinag-uusapan may mga problema tapos baka malaman ng mga atleta natin e hindi makadagdag, hindi makatulong sa kanila, iba kasi yung naka-focus yung mga atleta natin, marinig nila na nagkaproblema tayo dito, sa tingin ko makaka-distract sa kanila,” he said.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, advised Filipino athletes to trust in God and do everything they can to succeed in their fight.

He also urged SEA Games organizers to immediately address whatever problems being encountered by athletes and other delegates participating in the event.

“May pagkakataon pa para makabawi kung may pagkukulang man. Makabawi at maipakita sa ating mga bisita na tayong mga Pilipino ay magaling pagdating sa pag-estima ng mga bisita,” he said.

Pacquiao will be lighting the SEA Games cauldron in the opening ceremony which will be held at the Philippine Arena on Saturday, Nov. 30.

The said cauldron, which costs P50-million, has been among the issues plaguing the country’s hosting of the SEA Games. Photos of yet to be completed venues of sporting events also made rounds on social media.

Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairman Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the delay in the approval of the 2019 national budget led to the mishaps encountered by the country.

Cayetano shared the view of Deputy Speaker Mikee Arroyo who blamed the Senate for the stalled budget passage.

But Senate President Vicente Sotto III refuted Cayetano, saying all problems in the budget stemmed from the House of Representatives.

Sotto cited the sudden shift in House leadership which also triggered changes in committee chairmanships.

House members in July 2018 voted to oust then-Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to put Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to the chamber’s highest post.

Sotto said the House normally submits the budget bill to the Senate before October 1 but the upper chamber only received the House-approved budget on Nov. 24, leaving the senators just a couple of weeks to go through its provisions before the Congress went on a holiday break.

He also noted that it was Senate Minority Leader Franklin’s recommendation that paved the way for the resolution of the budget impasse.

“Together and other members or leadership of the Senate at that time we’re ready for a reenacted budget because I will not affix my signature on something unconstitutional,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Pacquiao advises Faeldon to take leave as BuCor chief

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2019

Senator Manny Pacquiao (left) and BuCor Chief Nicanor Faeldon (right)

Senator Manny Pacquiao has advised Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Nicanor Faeldon to take a leave-of-absence while facing investigation.

In a statement, Pacquiao said he believes in the integrity and honesty of Faeldon but the investigation on the alleged abuse of the Republic Act 10592 or the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law needs Faeldon’s “full and undivided attention.”

“I know that Undersecretary Faeldon is a good man and has served his country well but I really think that he can spare the president and this administration from embarrassment by taking a leave-of-absence,” he said.

READ: Faeldon admits signing ‘memorandum’ not release order for Antonio Sanchez

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee will continue the investigation on Thursday (September 5) on the said issue.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said Faeldon’s fate lies in President Rodrigo Duterte’s hands.

“That’s for the president to decide. I talked with him yesterday, and that’s what he told me: ‘There is an ongoing investigation and I’ll wait for the investigation,’” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Faeldon had previously said he will not resign as BuCor chief amid the controversy.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

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