Makabayan bloc wants probe on death of 14 in Negros Oriental

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 4, 2019   •   1153

Members of the Makabayan bloc files House Resolution 2533 on April 3, 2019 that calls on CHR to probe the killing of 14 farmers during a police operation in Negros Oriental on March 30, 2019

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Makabayan Bloc wants the House of Representatives to probe the killing of 14 farmers during a police operation in Negros Oriental on Saturday (March 30).

READ: PNP Chief relieves Negros Oriental top cops over farmers’ killing

The bloc has filed House Resolution 2533 on Wednesday (April 3) which calls on the House Committee on Human Rights to investigate on the killings.

“The killings in Negros Oriental are crimes against humanity, targeted assassinations of leaders and members of local peasant organizations perpetrated by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the guise of anti-criminality operations,” according to their statement.

Anakpawis party-list Representative Ariel Casilao said that he doesn’t believe that the slain individuals fought back.

“Our initial collation of data and testimonies from the survivors and the family of the victims point that there was a summary execution—a summary execution style,” Casilao said.

Based on the report, the chairperson of Hukom or Hugpong Kusog Mag-uuma sa Canlaon and two barangay chairman in Manjuyod were among the individuals killed.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Grace Casin)

House confident of passing 2020 budget bill on Oct. 4

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives remains confident it will be able to pass the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for the year 2020 on the targeted date of October 4.

The House plenary has been able to follow its schedule and completed deliberations on the proposed budgets of 39 government departments last week.

Among the government agencies with approved budgets were the Department of Finance, National Economic Development Authority and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.

It also approved the 2020 budgets of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Optical Media Board, Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Credit Information Corporation.

Also approved were the proposed budgets for next year of the Judiciary, Ombudsman, Philippine Center for Economic Development, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Civil Service Commission, Department of Trade and Industry, Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan; Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Bases Conversion and Development Authority and the Department of Justice.

The House also terminated deliberations on the appropriations for the Games and Amusements Board, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Racing Commission, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Competition Commission, Commission on Higher Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Department of Foreign Affairs.

The number of agencies with approved budget proposals represents 54 percent of the total 72 government offices under House Bill 4228 or the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) scheduled for plenary debates that is seen to be concluded on Friday, Sept. 20. 

“At the rate we’re going, the House is on track to finish the 2020 budget before the recess on Oct. 4,” Senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader and Cavite Representative Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a statement.

House leaders have earlier said they stick to the original target date to pass the proposed national budget before Congress goes on recess on the first week of October.

This is to avoid the scenario of another reenacted budget like what happened last year.

Apart from budget deliberations, the lower chamber also touted the passing of four priority measures at a record time, including the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA).

Remulla credited this to regular meetings of House members to thresh out concerns and ensure that floor discussions were mainly about the policy and expenditure programs of concerned agencies.

House plenary debates on 2020 budget bill to start on Sept. 10

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is set to begin this week the plenary debates on the proposed 2020 national budget.

House Committee on Appropriations chairman Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab said the sponsorships and floor deliberations for the budget bill are scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 10 and are expected to last until Sept. 20.

Ungab said the lower chamber plans to stick to its original target date to pass the proposed national budget before Congress goes on recess on October 4.

The House appropriations panel earlier reported it has completed in record time the hearings on the 2020 budget proposals of all government agencies.

Previous House schedules showed that the annual budget hearings usually ended on the fourth week of September.

Ungab credited House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for helping the committee ensure the timely passage of the budget bill.

During the submission of the National Expenditure Program for Fiscal Year 2020 to Speaker Cayetano, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Chairman Ungab, and other House leaders, the Speaker assured the House will make adjustments in its plenary schedule to afford more time for the scrutiny and deliberations on the proposed P4.1-trillion proposed national budget for 2020.

“Under the effective guidance and leadership of Speaker Cayetano, everyone moved in accordance to his given task, and supported and coordinated with the leadership of the Committee on Appropriations which resulted in the early completion of the budget committee hearings last Friday, September 6. For that, I thank the Vice-Chairmen and members of the Committee on Appropriations for their hard work and sense of responsibility,” Ungab said in a news release.

He also thanked other lawmakers who helped in the study and review of the budget proposals to determine the necessity of their programs and projects.

Following the termination of the 2020 budget hearings, Ungab said the Committee on Appropriations is set to approve on Monday, September 9, the Committee Report on House Bill 4228 which seeks to appropriate funds for the operation of the government of the Republic of the Philippines from January 1 to December 31, 2020.

Makabayan Bloc slams transfer of 10 high-profile inmates

Maris Federez   •   September 6, 2019

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate

The Makabayan Bloc has blasted the move that transferred 10 high-profile inmates from the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) to a Marine Barracks.

The 10 high profile inmates included several witnesses against Senator Leila de Lima.

Bayan Muna Carlo Zarate said the transfer of the 10 is highly questionable.

“Bakit nandun sila sa marine barracks na ito? Ito ay nakapagtataka if not highly irregular, ano. Dahil these are convicted felons so dapat nandun sila sa Bilibid Prisons or sa custody mismo ng BuCor [Why are they at this marine barracks? This is something dubious, if not highly irregular, right? Because these are convicted felons so they should be inside the Bilibid Prisons or under the custody of BuCor],” said Zarate.

For the Makabayan Bloc, this can be considered a special treatment especially on bigtime drug lord Peter Co.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, denied such thing happening.

 “As long as a court approval is secured I guess that should be okay because the intention is not to provide any special treatment but to secure precisely these people who are to my understanding or recollection will be or are witnesses in an existing case so it’s not for the purpose of giving them special treatment. But because their personal security is under threat,” the DOJ official said. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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