Senate approves Php5-T 2022 national budget

Maris Federez   •   December 2, 2021   •   316

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has approved on final reading the proposed Php5-trillion 2022 national budget.

Twenty-two senators voted in favor of House Bill 10153 or the General Appropriations Bill containing the proposed 2022 national budget.

On Wednesday’s session, Senate Finance Committee Chairperson Sonny Angara read out before the plenary some of the amendments made in the budget.

These include the line item for the special risk allowance and benefits of healthcare workers amounting to over Php50-billion.

Adjustments were also made for the COVID-19 human resource for health emergency hiring, operations for national reference laboratories such as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the hiring and training of 25,000 contact tracers.

“Our health sector will continue to receive a significant portion of the national budget with the Department of Health receiving over Php230-billion, much higher than the Php182-billion it was appropriated under the GAB passed by the House,” Angara said.

Meanwhile, part of the budget cuts made under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) funds was restored, giving it a Php10.8-billion budget.

The earlier version of the budget in the Senate Finance Committee report reduced the Php28-billion proposed fund for the NTF-ELCAC to Php4-billion but several senators appealed for the restoration of the budget.

Also included in the social programs are the Social Amelioration Program with Php5-billion fund; social pension for indigent senior citizens with over Php25-billion; assistance to individuals in crisis situations, and the integrated livelihood program of the Labor Department.

Angara added that they included significant funding for free COVID-19 testing for jobseekers, noting that many employers are hesitant to accept new job applicants who are unable to show proof that they are negative for COVID-19.

The Senate and the House of Representatives will now proceed with the Bicameral Conference Committee to reconcile conflicting provisions of both versions of the two chambers.

The Senate contingent will be led by Angara with members, namely: Senators Juan Miguel ‘Migz’ Zubiri, Cynthia Villar, Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Christopher Bong Go, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Imee Marcos, Joel Villanueva, Grace Poe, and Nancy Binay.

The Senate plans to submit the final version of the proposed national budget to President Rodrigo Duterte before December 25. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

DepEd NCR nagdeklara ng health break mula Enero 15 to 22

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Nagdeklara ng academic health break ang regional office ng Department of Education (DepEd) para sa National Capital Region (NCR) sa gitna ng dumaraming bilang ng mga nagkakasakit dahil sa COVID-19.

Sa inilabas na memorandum order, sinabi ng DepEd-NCR na suspindido muna ang klase sa lahat ng antas sa basic education mula Eneroi 15 hanggang 22.

Muling babalik ang klase sa Enero 24 hanggang 29 pero limitado lang muna ito sa distance learning modalities gaya ng online schooling, module at DepEd TV.

Hindi rin required ang pisikal na pagpasok sa paaralan ng mga guro.

Gayunman, dapat gamitin na lang ng mga estudyante at guro ang kanilang midyear break mula Enero 31 hanggang Pebrero 5 para sa makeup clasess upang mabawi ang mga backlog sa aralin.

Nakatakda naman ang second quarter examinations para sa Pebrero 7 at 8.

Una nang binigyan ng kapangyarihan ng DepEd ang regional at school division offices na magdesisyon ukol sa suspensyon ng klase bunsod ng tumataas na kaso ng COVID-19.

“kung ang pagtataya ng ating Local Officials Regional Director Level or Division or even at the School Level ay kailangan magsuspinde ng klase o ng if not the full class ay learning activities then we are authorizing maximum of two weeks at a time subject to reporting at kung mas mahaba pa dun ay kailangang ikonsulta sa amin kung maaring pahintulutan ito,” ani DepEd Undersecretary Noel Nepomuceno.

Samantala, nasa diskresyon naman ng mga pribadong paaralan kung kailan sila magsususpinde ng klase.

Maliban sa NCR, nagdeklara na rin ng class suspension ang DepEd CALABARZON mula Enero 17 hanggang 29.

Ang pamahalaan naman ng Antipolo City sa Rizal ay nagdeklara rin ng health break sa kaparehong petsa.

Nauna nang nagdeklara ng health break ang pamahalaang lungsod ng Maynila simula ngayong Biyernes, Enero 14 hanggang 21.

Layunin ng deklarasyon na mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga guro at mag-aaral na makapagpahinga, lalo na ang mga may karamdaman. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)


IATF updates isolation, quarantine rules for fully vaccinated aviation personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the updated isolation and quarantine protocols for aviation personnel infected with COVID-19 and those exposed to positive cases, Malacañang said Friday.

In a press briefing, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that aviation personnel with a mild case of COVID-19 or are asymptomatic will now be required to isolate for five days, provided that they are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot against COVID-19.

Aviation personnel who were close contacts or exposed to confirmed COVID-19 cases but do not manifest symptoms are not required to undergo quarantine, provided that they are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.

Nograles also said that symptomatic close contacts of those who recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days need not undergo quarantine.

The updated isolation and quarantine protocols for the aviation sector include but not limited to airline personnel, ground handlers, maintenance providers, 3 airport security, air traffic controllers, airport workers and other aviation-related personnel.

“DOTr and its attached agencies shall identify the appropriate accountable group to make decisions for shortening isolation or quarantine based on evidence, similar to Hospital Infection Prevention and Control wherein infectious disease specialists, safety officers, and management deliberate, monitor, and act on all infection-related concerns of the health facility,” Nograles said.

The policy is contained under IATF Resolution No. 157 released by the Palace on Friday.

The resolution also mandates all aircrafts to “ensure appropriate ventilation and all aviation staff should wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.”

“DOTr shall monitor and evaluate the implementation of the aviation industry, and copy furnish reports to the DOH Epidemiology Bureau for assessment of COVID-19 cases, clusters, vaccination status, and the like,” it said.

“IATF retains the authority to revoke/modify the privilege provided to the aviation industry for shortened quarantine and isolation,” it added.

Supreme Court moves Bar exams to February

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday announced that the Bar examinations have been rescheduled to February 4 (Friday) and February 6 (Sunday).

The SC said this is in consideration for those who may not be able to push through with the exams due to the current COVID-19 situation.

The Bar exams were originally scheduled for January 23 to 25, 2022.

In a Bar bulletin, the SC said a total of 8,546 Bar examinees have reported that some of them have tested positive for COVID-19, living with COVID patients, or under quarantine due to direct contact.

The high court also said that 16 of the 31 teams that will be deployed will be “critically understaffed” if the current schedule were maintained.

“Considering these numbers, as well as the projections of the Court’s expert consultants on the progress of this current COVID-19 surge, the Supreme Court En Banc has unanimously decided that the Bar examinations be rescheduled to February 4, 2022, Friday; and February 6, 2022, Sunday,” the SC said.

Bar exams chairperson, SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, has urged Bar examinees to strictly undergo quarantine by January 20.

Bar takers who have concerns that are not within the competence of the SC’s help desks are advised to contact the SC via

“Be patient. Take a few days off to regain your composure and then continue with your preparations. Soon, those who have the determination, tenacity, and resilience to overcome these challenges will become great lawyers who will serve our people well,” he said.

Leonen also expressed gratitude to local government units as well as schools that will host the command center and serve as local testing centers.


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