IN PHOTOS: Lawmakers go local with dresses for Duterte’s SONA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2019   •   1798

Lawmakers wore simple and locally designed dresses during President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday (July 22).

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Senator Grace Poe wore a simple white terno. Poe has also worn simple white dresses in previous SONAs.

Senator Risa Hontiveros walks in the red carpet wearing a knee-length barong dress.

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Senator Imee Marcos wore a yellow and red gradient dress made by Mark Tumang who also designed gowns for 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray. The choice of colors is intended to symbolize the end of the red-yellow color coding in PH politics: “Para matigil na ang isyu ng pula at dilaw,” Marcos said.

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Senator Pia Cayetano waves at photographers at the red carpet wearing a dress with a traditional ethnic designs.

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Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy also graced the red carpet in a red-magenta terno.

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Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado arrives in the red carpet with Senator Bong Revilla and son Jolo Revilla. She was wearing a floral terno.

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Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate, meanwhile, wore a white barong with a hand-painted image of a standoff between Filipino and Chinese fishermen.

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Wearing a white and red Filipiniana, Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas and company unfurled their fans bearing statements calling for salary increase.

Vice President Leni Robredo and her daughters also wore Filipiniana dresses. The dresses are woven fabrics by members of Angat Buhay communities in Marawi and Basilian.

Nancy Binay and her family also attended SONA in simple Filipiniana.—AAC

Sotto says Cayetano apologized, vowed to submit budget bill on Nov. 5

Marje Pelayo   •   October 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Vicente Sotto III confirmed on Thursday (October 8) that House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has called to apologize for his remarks that implied the Senate is to blame if the 2021 national budget is delayed.

In a live broadcast on Facebook on Wednesday (October 7), Cayetano said if ever the budget is delayed, it will be on the part of the Senate.

“[If there’ll be delays or a] re-enactment it is because of the Senate, not because of the House. We waited for a month but still, we made up in time,” Cayetano said.

Sotto called out Cayetano for such a misleading remark. 

The Senate President reiterated that it is the Lower House that has delayed the budget for already a month now.

“Do not be misled. The HOR has delayed the budget for a whole month. No one can ever blame the Senate for this delay. Never!” he said.

“The nerve! Passing the blame, it’s unacceptable!” he stressed.

Sotto argued that the HOR should have passed the bill on third reading and submitted it to the Senate before the originally agreed date of the break October 17 which is the legislative calendar agreed by both Houses.

“October 17 is a month away from November 17,” the Senate President said.

Sotto said he accepted Cayetano’s apologies as the latter vowed to submit the bill by November 5.

“Yes, he called. He promised to submit by November 5 their proposed copies of the different budget books, therefore the GAB, which they will approve on third reading. I said that will help us, especially our Finance Chairman,” he said.

“Accepted and I said we will do our best to work on the time we have as the Senate always does,” he added. 

The Lower House failed to pass their version of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB)l on final reading after Cayetano moved to terminate the period of interpellation for it thus suspending session to November 16.

But this, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, should not be a reason for the delay in its passage.

“Hindi naman po requirement na dapat matapos ng House bago makagalaw ang Senado, [It is not a requirement that the House must finish first before the Senate can move],” he said.

“Ang requirement lang ng Saligang Batas, it must originate from the House and dahil naipasa na nga po sa second reading, iyan po ay pruweba na nag-originate na po yan sa House. Puwede po ang full-blown deliberation maski po naka-break ang Kongreso, [What the law requires is, it must originate from the House. Because it passed on second reading, that proves that it originated from the House. A full-blown deliberation is possible even if Congress is on break],” Roque, a former member of the Congress, said. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado / Rosalie Coz)

House passes Bayanihan 2 on 3rd and final reading

Marje Pelayo   •   August 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s lawmakers in the present Congress will soon convene to harmonize their versions of the Bayanihan 2 Law.

This, after the House of Representatives, on Monday (August 10), approved the Bayanihan 2 bill on its third and final reading.

Among the representatives present, 242 voted affirmative on House Bill 6953 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. Six, on the other hand, voted on the negative.

The bill appropriated P27.5 billion for PhilHealth coverage for COVID-19; additional health workers and their benefits; acquisition of personal protective equipment; and establishing isolation and quarantine facilities.

Other appropriations include:

  • P71 billion for cash-for-work programs and additional capital for government financial institutions to fund loan programs;
  • P40.1 billion for agriculture, transportation and tourism programs;
  • P8.9 billion for education including programs for digital education;
  • P13.5 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the local government units;
  • P1 billion for programs of the Department of Foreign Affairs and assistance for athletes.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said they will set a bicameral conference with the Senate for the ratification of the final version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. –MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

OFW groups satisfied with President’s SONA

Maris Federez   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Several groups of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have expressed their gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte on his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Around 300 Filipinos representing several groups of OFWs from different countries met online and simultaneously watched the President’s SONA.

They said the chief executive did not let them down as he urged Congress “to pass a law establishing the Department of Overseas Filipino solely on addressing the concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families.”

Last March, the lower House passed the creation of the Department of Filipino Overseas and Foreign Deployment. The Senate, on the other hand, is still hearing the bill.

In his SONA, the President reiterated his commitment of support to OFWs.

He called on the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other agencies to allocate trainings and programs for OFWs.

With this, the United Filipino Global International thanked the president for his concern over them.

“The SONA speech of the president, I think we are very happy kasi alam naman po namin ang kaniyang intention. Ang kaniyang speech ay para talaga tumulong nang totoo na walang halong pamumulitiko,” said Gemma Sotto, chairperson of United Filipino Global International. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

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