House Speaker Cayetano assures timely 2020 budget approval

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019   •   588

House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano uses the gavel on stage at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 22 July 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has assured that the proposed national budget for the year 2020 will be approved on time.

Cayetano said there is no reason to delay the passage of the budget bill, adding that its deliberation is the Congress’ top priority when session resumes on November 4.

“Wala tayong excuse, we have all the time to discuss the budget. May isang buwan na during the break, nirereview natin, nagpreprepare sa bicam,” he told reporters during an interview at the New Clark City sports complex on Wednesday.

Cayetano also said there is a continued interaction between the lawmakers and Cabinet secretaries to fine-tune the budget.

The House of Representatives approved the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget on third and final reading on Sept. 20 after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the bill as urgent.

The House speaker also underscored the importance of the country’s economic rating and the need for programs to uplift the lives of poor Filipinos.

He said the Lower Chamber is set to tackle revenue bills before the year ends as well as a proposal to integrate programs of various government agencies that is seen to benefit poor regions in the country.

“The 20 poorest provinces palagi na lang silang poorest so sa 2020 we want to come up with 20 projects for the 20 poorest provinces. We are talking to the different agencies and departments to help,” he said.

Sara Duterte hits ally’s ‘grossly unacceptable’ ouster from key House post

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2020

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who chairs the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) blasted the removal of Davao City Third District Representative Isidro Ungab as head of the House Committee on Appropriations in the lower chamber’s major shake-up on Monday.

In a statement on Tuesday, Duterte-Carpio said the HNP “strongly condemns” Ungab’s removal from the key House post, calling it “grossly unacceptable” and “disadvantageous” to the reform agenda being pushed by the Duterte government.

“For HNP, the ouster of Ungab was grossly unacceptable as it is disadvantageous to the Duterte administration’s reform agenda for the Filipino people and the country,” she said.

Also booted out from post is Oriental Mindoro Representative Paulino Salvador “Doy” Leachon as head of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said Ungab and Leachon were removed from their posts because they were “more interested in funds and intrigues” than working with him.

The shake-up follows Cayetano’s accusations against Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco of attempting to stage a coup to grab the top House post.

Velasco has denied the allegation.

Duterte-Carpio said Ungab is a good soldier of the President who did his job with pride and principle.

She, however, denied any personal knowledge on the alleged coup attempt.

Meanwhile, Leachon claimed that Cayetano’s move was just a smokescreen of his alleged intention of not honoring the term-sharing agreement with Velasco as brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“You’ve been telling that there was a coup in order to, as I said it was a smokescreen para pagtaguan ang tunay na dahilan na gusto mo magtagal sa position para diridiretso ang enjoyment ng kasamahan or ikaw partikular ka sa iyong probinsya to the detriment of other members,” he said.

It can be recalled that in July 2019, Duterte brokered a “15-21” term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco to settle the conflict in the then-House speakership race.

Under the deal, Cayetano will serve the first 15 months while Velasco will serve the remaining 21 months of the three-year term. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Robredo, Sotto, Cayetano get higher satisfaction ratings in Q4 2019 – SWS

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2020

(L-R) Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – The net satisfaction ratings of Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano rose in the last quarter of 2019, based on the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released on Tuesday, March 3.

The survey, conducted from December 13 to 16, 2019, revealed that 59% were satisfied and 23% were dissatisfied with the performance of Robredo.

Robredo’s rating increased by three points for a “good” +36, an improvement from her previous +33 in September 2019.

Meanwhile, Sotto got a “very good” +62 net satisfaction rating after 73% of the respondents said they were satisfied with his performance as Senate President while 10% expressed dissatisfaction.

Sotto’s rating is one-point higher than his previous +61 in September 2019.

Cayetano also got a “very good” +53 rating as 67% of respondents said they were satisfied with his performance while 15% said they were not satisfied.

The House Speaker’s score is up by four points from his previous rating of +49.

The survey also showed that 40% of respondents were satisfied with the work of Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta while 19% said they were dissatisfied.

Peralta’s first net satisfaction rating was a “moderate” +21, the SWS said. He assumed the post in October last year.

The December 2019 survey also revealed that the net satisfaction rating of the Senate stayed “very good” +62 which is up from +56 in September; while the House of Representatives climbed from “good” to “very good” +51 from the previous +43.

The Supreme Court’s net satisfaction rating also remained “good” +49, up from +41 in September while the Cabinet as a whole stayed “good” at +45 rating, a 10-point increase from its previous +35 rating.

The Fourth Quarter 2019 SWS Survey was conducted from December 13-16, 2019 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide.

Please visit the link for additional information about the survey.

House Speaker Cayetano vows impartial hearing on bills seeking ABS-CBN franchise renewal

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has assured that the House of Representatives will conduct impartial hearing on bills seeking to renew the franchise of media network ABS-CBN.

In a statement on Tuesday, Cayetano said the renewal of ABS-CBN franchise are among the issues that the Lower House has been “carefully studying from day one of the 18th Congress” amid calls from his colleagues to set a hearing to tackle the pending bills.

“Congress is committed to conduct a hearing where those who are against or in favor of the renewal may make their case,” he said, adding that the move will be consistent with the Duterte administration’s stand on the protection of the freedom of expression.

There are at least 11 bills seeking for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise pending before a House committee level, just about a month before Congress sessions adjourn on March 11. The network’s franchise is set to expire on March 30.

However, Cayetano stressed that the legislation process cannot be rushed.

“While we understand that there are certain interests who want to rush this process, we stand by the leadership of the 18th Congress and the Committee on Legislative Fanchises on how to prioritize urgent and important legislation,” he said.

“We also commit that the 18th Congress shall study this issue from all aspects in order to protect the interest of the public,” he added.

Cayetano issued the statement after Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto case before the Supreme Court asking for the forfeiture of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

Calida cited in his plea the alleged highly abusive practices and violations of the broadcast network, including foreign ownership and lack of operation permits.

The network has denied the accusations, maintaining that it has no outstanding tax liability and did not violate the law.

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