House pushes for Electronic Health bills

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 2, 2019   •   163

A medical staff member (C) reviews records of patients treated for leptospirosis at a government hospital in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 03 July 2018.  EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

The House of Representatives is pushing for the creation of an electronic health system to strengthen the primary health care system in the country.

House Committee on Health on Monday (September 30) created a technical working group (TWG) that will consolidate several measures seeking to create the country’s electronic health system and services.

According to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, there is a need to address the lack of information and medical record keeping.

“For Filipinos in general, it is not a usual practice to keep such documentation—whether of previous check-ups, diagnostic test results, medication, treatments, and procedures done, among others,” he said.

One of the bills pushed is House Bill 8 which seeks to establish the National Health Passport System and strengthen the primary health care system.

“As stated in HB 8, all Filipino citizens shall be entitled to a Health Passport to be used when a patient avails of medical and dental check-ups or treatment provided in government or private medical institutions,” according to House statement—AAC

House approves bill postponing 2020 Barangay, SK polls

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to defer the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to 2022.

A total of 194 lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 4933, while six voted negative. There were no abstentions from the vote.

The approved bill proposes to reschedule the local polls to December 5, 2022.

Its original version sought to defer the barangay and SK elections to May 2023.

Under the bill, village elections will be held in 2022 to allow more time for incumbent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials to implement and complete their respective projects.

After the 2022 elections, subsequent barangay and SK elections will be held on the first Monday of December 2025, and every three years thereafter.

The amended version of the House bill is similar to the one that Senate passed in September.

President Rodrigo Duterte during his fourth State of the Nation Address in July urged Congress to postpone the village elections.

Congress to tackle budget measures as session resumes Monday

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate and House of Representatives are set to tackle the passage of the proposed 2020 national budget when the first regular session of the 18th Congress resumes on Monday, Nov. 4.

The 18th Congress went on a break last Oct. 5.

Before its adjournment, the Senate passed Senate Resolution No. 154 authorizing all committees to conduct hearings, meetings, and consultations during the recess to have continuity in the process of passing pending proposed legislations.

According to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the discussion on the 2020 budget bill will be at the topmost of the chamber’s priority measures.

“The Senate Finance Committee will definitely be busy conducting marathon hearings on the proposed P4.1 trillion National Government budget for next year. Congress is set to resume session after a one-month recess to tackle the 2020 Budget and other priority measures,” he said in a statement.

Zubiri stressed the importance of the timely passage of the proposed General Appropriations Bill to avoid the scenario of another reenacted budget like what happened last year.

It can be recalled that the passage of the 2019 national budget got stalled due to alleged illegal fund insertions.

“We had experienced difficulties when we failed to pass the 2019 Budget on time. We had a re-enacted budget for the first Semester of this year forcing National Government agencies to compress their timelines. Consequently, many important programs and projects for the benefit of our people were delayed,” Zubiri said.

Aside from next year’s budget, the Senate is also expected to finish Plenary debates on eight measures which have been approved at the Committee level and are pending Second Reading:

  • Grant of Night Shift Differential Pay for Government Employees including Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations
  • Separate Facility for Prisoners Convicted of Heinous Crimes
  • Increasing Excise Taxes on Alcohol Products
  • Heated Tobacco and Vapor Products
  • Creation of a National Transportation Safety Board
  • Amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act
  • Creation of the Philippine High School for Sports in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac
  • Grant of Teaching Supplies Allowance for Public School Teachers

The House of Representatives, for its part, said it is due to approve on the final reading the resolution seeking to extend the availability of P3.662-trillion budget for 2019 until Dec. 31, 2020.

“We aim to hit the ground running on the first day of work. Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time on vital legislative measures,” House Majority Leader Ferdinand Romualdez said in a statement Sunday.

The lower chamber is also set to approve the bill postponing the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to allow more time for incumbent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials who assumed office in May 2018 to implement their respective projects.

Romualdez said the House is also scheduled to continue deliberation of other economic measures, particularly the remaining packages of the comprehensive tax reform program.

Cayetano seeks review of National Building Code

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2019

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

House of Representatives (HOR) Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is pushing for a review of the National Building Code after the 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday in parts of Mindanao (October 29).

“I think it’s about time that we take three drastic steps. Number one, to review the National Building Code,” he said.

House Bill 4008 or the Building Code of 2019 aims to repeal the Presidential Decree 1046 or the National Building Code of the country.

Under the proposed bill, there will be new building standards to reduce the risk of severe damage during calamities like earthquakes. Non-compliance with the said standards can also lead to criminal liability.

In a statement, House Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero said it is high time to change Presidential Decree 1046 because it was passed into law in 1977.

He also said there is poor compliance to the National Building Code.

“It is abundantly clear that poor compliance with the National Building Code is part of the systemic reason for the deaths, injuries, and widespread damage in Mindanao because of today’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake and the magnitude 6.3 earthquake last October 16,” he said.

The House Bill 4008 will be one of the priority bills to be discussed in the House of Representatives once session resumes on November 4.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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