HOR to conduct graduation rites for last-termer congressmen

admin   •   June 2, 2016   •   2928

House of Representatives

House of Representatives

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Seventy members of the Lower House will end their term as congressmen this 16th Congress.

They have served as lawmakers for nine long years. And this is why Congress will be holding a graduation rite for them.

The graduating members include the following:

1. House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II
2. Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares
3. Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan
4. Yakap party-list Rep. Carol Lopez
5. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez
6. Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo
7. Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez
8. Marikina Rep. Teodoro Marcelino
9. Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.
10. Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab

Before Congress goes on sine die adjournment on June 6, it will acknowledge the contributions of the last termers and present the proposed bills under its term.

“We have the so-called ceremonial activity that is made the secretariat for graduating. So, Monday will be put last day both the ceremonial and to give way for the secretariat for the graduating members of the house,” Neptali Gonzales II said.

Cong. Neri Colmenares is delighted that his term as congressman is finally ending.

11 of 178 bills he filed were enacted into law.

Some of these are:
1. R.A. 9745 – Anti-torture Act
2. R.A. 10366- accessible polling places for persons with disabilities and senior citizens
3. R.A. 10368 – Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act
4. R.A. 10380 – Local Absentee Voting for Media
5. R.A. 10639 – Free Mobile Disaster Act
6. R.A. 10653- increased ceiling for tax exempt benefits

“It made me feel that I learned a lot of things here. So, no regrets. I enjoyed my congressional esteem,” said Cong. Colmenares.

The majority leader of the house,Neptali Gonzales II, is likewise happy to leave Congress.

He filed 44 bills under 16th Congress.

“From Feb. 3, 2016, we’ve been talking about national bills. The president signed already about 20 national bills and as to date there are 3 national bills that are awaiting the signature of the president,” Gonzales stated.

The sine die adjournment of Congress is set on June 6 while the 17th Congress will convene on the day of State of the Nation Address on July 25.


House resumes session, to discuss proposed Bayanihan 3, other COVID-related bills

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is set to discuss the proposed Bayanihan Law 3 and other pandemic-related measures as it resumes session on Monday.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the legislative chamber will make the most out of the remaining three weeks of the second regular session of the 18th Congress to pass a third round of COVID-19 relief package and other related bills.

“We need to make sure that we have economic stimulus laws to help our country bounce back better from this pandemic,” Velasco said in a statement.

“The House is ready to sit down with the Senate to make sure that these measures become laws before we adjourn,” he added.

The House Committees on Economic Affairs, on Social Services and on Ways and Means have earlier approved a P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3, which includes two rounds of cash aid worth P2,000 to be given to every Filipino regardless of social status.

There were substitute bills to several Bayanihan 3 measures, including House Bill 8628 or the proposed “Bayanihan to Arise As One Act,” which Speaker Velasco and Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo had filed.

The substitute bill only needs the approval of the House Committee on Appropriations before it can be reported to the plenary for approval on second and third readings.

The 18th Congress will adjourn its second regular session on June 5. It is scheduled to begin its third and final regular session on July 26 when President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his final State of the Nation Address.

Velasco said the House is committed to ensure timely enactment of “what’s left of the priority measures under the Duterte Administration.”

“Most of these priority measures have already been approved on third reading by the House,” he said.

“Maybe for the next three weeks, we will await Senate action on the bills certified urgent by the President,” he added.

The House speaker said these measures include Senate Bill (SB) 2094 which seeks to amend the Public Service Act; SB 1156 or the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act of 1991; and SB 1840 which aims to amend the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000 by lowering the required paid-up capital for foreign retail enterprises.

Velasco also urged the Senate to fast-track its deliberation on the proposed Medical Reserve Corps Act, “which we can easily mobilize during a public health crisis.”

Velasco is also pushing for the immediate approval of the bill creating the Philippine Virology Institute and the medical stockpiling bills as part of the government’s pandemic response.

Velasco said the House will also continue the plenary deliberations on the Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which seeks to give the next Congress the flexibility to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

“We are looking at lifting the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution as an intervention to allow substantially more foreign investments for the country’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” Velasco said.

The House speaker said the changes to the 34-year-old Charter shall be introduced during the 19th Congress once the people approved of the proposed economic amendment during a plebiscite possibly coinciding with the May 2022 polls.

Velasco maintained that the proposed changes are “purely economic,” and “no political amendments will be entertained.”

The lower chamber also seeks to approve in plenary the House resolutions concurring with Duterte’s proclamations granting amnesty to Muslim and communist rebels who agreed to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law.

“The amnesty program is a huge step toward achieving just and lasting peace in the country and giving former rebels a path back into civilian life,” Velasco said.

House Speaker Velasco renews push for Bayanihan Law 3 amid COVID-19 surge

Robie de Guzman   •   March 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has renewed his call for the passage of Bayanihan to Arise as One Act, also known as Bayanihan 3, that will provide direct aid to Filipinos struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Velasco revived his proposal as more areas are placed under localized lockdowns and some businesses were again forced to shut down due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“There are a lot of Filipinos who are suffering financially and are in dire need of help now. A third economic stimulus package will provide a much-needed lifeline to individuals, families, and businesses severely affected by the pandemic,” Velasco said in a statement.

The lawmaker was referring to his own version of the Bayanihan 3 bill that proposes a P420-billion fund to stimulate the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

House Bill 8628 or the proposed Bayanihan 3 seeks to allocate the following funds:

  • P108 billion for additional social amelioration to impacted households
  • P100 billion for capacity-building for impacted sectors
  • P52 billion for wage subsidies
  • P70 billion for capacity-building for agricultural producers
  • P30 billion for internet allowances to students and teachers
  • P30 billion for assistance to displaced workers
  • P25 billion for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines
  • P5 billion for the rehabilitation of areas impacted by recent floods and typhoons

Velasco filed the measure in February after the passage of the bill extending the validity of Bayanihan 2, and upon seeing further need to allocate additional funds to help the nation cope with the pandemic.

To date, 224 members from the supermajority, minority, and independent blocs in the House of Representatives have signed either as principal authors or co-authors of the measure.

Lawmakers said reports that the Philippine economy contracted 9.5 percent in 2020—the worst performance in the country’s post-war history—underscore the importance and urgency of passing Bayanihan 3.

The country’s economic managers had reportedly said they were not sure if the third stimulus package would still be necessary if quarantine restrictions were eased further and the economy moves faster.

However, Velasco said that during a recent virtual meeting, he got an assurance from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that efforts are being made to identify funding sources for the Bayanihan 3.

“It’s a matter of finding revenues to be able to fund those programs. Secretary Dominguez did not actually shoot down Bayanihan 3,” Velasco said.

“Definitely, he (Dominguez) really wants to help the Filipino people. Ang sinabi lang niya e give him time to look for the funding,” he added.

The measure also seeks to provide each household member P1,000 regardless of their economic status. On top of this, a P1,000 allowance will be provided to each student and teacher and P8,000 for every displaced worker.

House OKs bill on housing rental subsidy for informal settlers

Robie de Guzman   •   March 25, 2021


MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Thursday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking the creation of a housing rental subsidy program for informal settler families (ISF).

Voting 189-6-0, the lower house passed House Bill 8736 which seeks to promote a just, equitable, and inclusive urban development through programs providing adequate social services, broader housing options, livelihood, employment, as well as an improved quality of life for Filipinos.

The measure proposes to enable ISFs to access the formal housing market and facilitate the temporary relocation of families who were displaced due to natural and man-made disasters.

The bill stipulates that eligible ISFs in Metro Manila would receive a flat rental subsidy rate of P3,500.

Meanwhile, the rates for those living in other regions would be determined by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) and by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), taking into consideration the prevailing minimum wage and rental rates per region, but not exceeding P3,500.

The bill mandates that the rental subsidy shall not exceed the actual rent, provided that such subsidy may be reviewed or revised by the DHSUD and NEDA not more than once every two years to conform to prevailing economic conditions.

The rental subsidy shall be granted to eligible beneficiaries until the date of completion of or upon their actual transfer to the permanent housing project intended for them.

Program applicants shall be required to vacate the informal settlement area they are currently occupying and relocate to a safer area in order to receive the rental subsidy.

Beneficiaries shall be prohibited from moving back to the area where they were originally living unless permitted by proper government authorities and obliges them to pay that portion of the rent in excess of the subsidy.



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