Senator-elect Marcos to prioritize laws on poverty alleviation, agriculture

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2019   •   2583

Imee Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – If Senator-elect Imee Marcos were to be asked, she would choose to chair the Senate Committee on Social Welfare as she wants to focus on crafting bills that would help alleviate poverty.

“Gusto ko sana social welfare,” the incoming senator said during an interview with the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon on Friday (May 31).

“Titingnan natin ang 4Ps kasi dapat i-expand iyong work tapos ibabagsak ang presyo, importante iyon,” she added.

But in consideration of the more senior senators, Marcos said it will depend on the decision of Senator Joel Villanueva who currently chairs the Social Welfare Committee if he would give up the chairmanship.

Nevertheless, the senator-elect said she is still okay with the Senate Committee on Local Government as it also fits her credentials having years of experience in local governance.

Despite the controversies thrown against her and her family, Marcos ranked eight in the 2019 senatorial race with over 15,800,000 votes.

When the 18th Congress begins, Senator-elect Marcos said she would prioritize measures on lowering poverty incidence in the country, land reform, and peace and order or the anti-terror bill among others.

“Land reform agad-agad. Iyong wala nang utang utang (kundi) ibigay na ang lupa. Hahanap tayo ng Sistema dyan,) she noted.

Marcos also wants to amend the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and push for more Cash-for-Work programs instead of the ‘dole-out’ scheme.

She said she supports the establishment of a Department of Water to address the country’s water problem as well as measures for agricultural development and lowering the price of basic commodities.

She also wants to amend the current Solo Parent Law and push for more benefits for single parents.

“Dahil walang masaydong benepisyo ang mga nanay na mag-isa. Mahirap kasi. It’s hard to bring up kids by yourself,” she explained.

Marcos admitted she is against the Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC), a preference contrary to the Duterte administration.

She would support, however, measures that would establish a mandatory citizenship service instead of mandatory military service.

“Citizenship training na hindi pinipilit na maging military dahil hindi po pwedeng pilitin ang tao na maging sundalo,” she explained.

“I can bring another perspective to the issue. Hindi pwedeng pilitin ang bata (na maging sundalo) pero iyong citizenship ng isang Pilipino, iyong pagiging makabayan, iyon kailangan at agree ako na gawing mandatory iyon,” she added.

She wants an increase in tobacco and other sin taxes; reinstate the death penalty for drug-related crimes; extend the term of barangay officials and synchronize elections with the national level; benefits for retiring local officials; reform Sangguniang Kabataan system; and, the establishment of the Department of Overseas Filipino Worker.

When asked if she would revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a known legacy of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the incoming senator said it is not necessary as there are alternative sources of energy similar to the windmills of Ilocos Norte. – (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Senate panel to begin probe on alleged ‘red-tagging’ activities of military officials

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2020

The Senate panel will begin its inquiry next week (November 3) on the alleged ‘red-tagging’ activities of military officials.

Senator Panfilo Lacson filed Senate Resolution No. 559 and will summon Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.

Parlade drew the ire of netizens after he warned actress Liza Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, against associating with the Gabriela Women’s Party-list, which he accused of having links with the New People’s Army.

Lacson said the resolution aims to resolve issues as well as draft guidelines to avoid misunderstandings between the military and the public.

The Senator will be inviting other officials from the Department of National Defense and the AFP.  

He added that the Gabriela Women’s Party-list and other militant groups will also be invited to the inquiry.

“We will also invite Gabriela and other militant groups para maliwanagan natin saan ba nag-uugat iyong misunderstanding at saka iyong conflict pagdating sa red-tagging, red-baiting, (to shed light on the root of the misunderstanding and the conflict when it comes to red-tagging, red-baiting)” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado).

Sotto sees 2021 National Budget ready before the year ends

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III is confident that the 2021 National Budget will be ready for the signing of President Rodrigo Duterte before the end of the year.

Sotto thanked House Speaker Allan Velasco for submitting the proposed budget earlier than the expected of October 28.

This will give the Senate subcommittees time to complete their reports before they submit to the Senate Committee on Finance.

On November 10, Senator Sonny Angara is expected to sponsor the bill to the plenary.

Senators will then bring the budget bill under a period of interpellations from November 11 to 17 followed by the period of amendments on November 24.

Sotto expects that there will be no problems in the bicameral conference and the bicam report will be approved by December 8.

The Senate expects the President to sign the bill on December 25.

“We still have to work overtime,” Sotto said, considering the number of agencies and sub agencies that they have to deliberate on.

“We will probably end up everyday around 12 midnight or 1:00 AM para lang matapos namin ang [just to finish the] period of interpellations by the 17th,” he added.

One agency that they intend to scrutinize well is the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW) particularly the issue on alleged lump sums and and big budget allocations to selected local government projects.

He stressed that deliberations will not be affected even if Senator Cynthia Villar has to face her son DPWH Secretary Mark Villar in the deliberations.

“We will not soft-pedal on DPWH. Knowing Cynthia (Villar), hinahayaan lang naman niya [she just let everything flow]. I’ve seen it in the past. Ang daming interpellations sa DPWH hindi naman siya nang-aawat [Many times DPWH entered into interpellations she never interrupted]. It’s alright,” he said. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

House to transmit 2021 budget to Senate ahead of Oct. 28 deadline – Velasco

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is set to transmit to the Senate its version of the P4.506-trillion proposed 2021 national budget, a day before the promised date of Oct. 28, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Tuesday.

Velasco earlier said he and Senate President Vicente Sotto III agreed on the date as the deadline of transmission.

The House speaker said the record-high budget was designed to further strengthen government response and stimulate economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We increased the allocation for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines by more than three-fold to cover more Filipinos. We also provided extra allocation for the facilities enhancement program of the Department of Health to help improve the country’s health care system,” Velasco said in a statement.

“The House-approved version of the budget also has additional funding for the Department of Labor and Employment to aid workers displaced by COVID-19 and for the Department of Social Welfare and Development for another round of financial assistance to families affected by the pandemic,” he added.

The lower chamber passed the budget bill on third and final reading last Oct. 17 after it was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The bill was approved a few days after Velasco was elected to the House’s top post following the removal of Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as Speaker. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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