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Solons deny Sen. Lacson’s allegation of ‘pork barrel’ in 2019 Nat’l budget

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 6 December 2018 04:21 PM

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Panfilo Lacson

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The House Committee on Appropriations strongly denied that there had been billions of pesos worth of insertions for two congressmen’s pet projects in the proposed 2019 National Budget as accused by Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Specifically, Lacson mentioned a more than P2-billion additional fund intended for the second district of Pampanga.

Though Lacson did not name the involved lawmaker, he was clearly pointing at House Speaker Gloria Arroyo’s district in Pampanga.

But Acting Committee Chair Maria Carmen Zamora stressed that they only provided P1.9-billion, not P2.2-billion, to Arroyo.

“I don’t see any Congress person na may ganoon kalaking increase. I don’t agree na nabuhusan ng proyekto ang distrito ng Pampanga,” Zamora said.

But according to Makabayan bloc, budget insertions are common among lawmakers which they divide among their local officials. In fact, according to ACT Teachers Party list Rep. Antonio Tinio, insertions as such are more massive among the senators.

“Hindi lang sa Kongreso o House of Representatives nangyayari iyan. Sa Senate din ang mas malaki pa nga na mga insertions,” he alleged.

But Zamora maintained that the budget allocations to each of the congressmen all depends on the needs of their respective districts.

“We make sure the reason is equitable distribution based on the needs ng ating mga distrito,” she said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Senate approves 2019 national budget on third and final reading

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 21 January 2019 07:25 PM

FILE PHOTO: A Senate committee hearing

PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Senate on Monday (January 21) approved on third and final reading the proposed P3.757 trillion 2019 National Budget.

Fourteen (14) senators voted to pass the budget with zero negative votes and abstention.

The approval comes two months after the House of Representatives passed its version of the measure last November 2018.

The two chambers of Congress are set to convene in a bicameral conference committee to reconcile their versions of the budget before it will be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature – UNTV News and Rescue


Malacañang confident Congress will pass 2019 national budget

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 18 January 2019 02:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang believes there is no need to pressure Congress to pass the proposed 2019 national budget.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the lawmakers themselves know very well how important the passage of the measure is for the overall state of the country.

“I am sure they will be passing that naman. They are all concerned with the services, the infrastructures that will be affected,” Panelo said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III previously said the Senate targets to pass the measure on the second and third reading before the end of January.

House Minority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. already filed a petition for mandamus in the Supreme Court (SC) to compel Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to release the fund for the salary increase of government personnel.

Diokno argued, however, that such a request has no legal basis unless the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act is passed.

Once enacted, the fourth tranche of wage hike for government workers will be enforced specifically for teachers, soldiers and police.

“If the budget is approved, then the petition becomes moot and academic,” Panelo said.

When asked if Malacañang feels confident that the national budget will be approved, Panelo said, ” “I think so. I was with the Speaker Arroyo. She mentioned that most likely it will pass,” — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Diokno: No salary hike for Gov’t workers until passage of 2019 budget

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 9 January 2019 02:34 PM

FILE PHOTO: Department of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno countered the statements of House majority leader Rolando Andaya Jr. that it is still possible to implement the scheduled salary increase of government workers such as teachers, soldiers and policemen despite the pending approval of the 2019 national budget.

The Secretary referred to the Executive Order No. 201 series of 2016 which states that the fourth tranche of the salary standardization can only be implemented through the fund set by Congress.

“So, pending the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill, government employees will continue to receive salaries based or indexed with the third tranche of the compensation adjustment,” Diokno said.

He added that once the 2019 General Appropriations Bill is passed, “The implementation of the 4th tranche of the compensation will be applied retroactively from January 1, 2019.”

Diokno clarified that despite the issuance of Congress Resolution No. 03 series of 2018 which extended the validity of the 2018 national budget, it only covers the capital outlay, maintenance and other operating services, but not the personal services or salaries of state workers.

He also refuted Andaya’s claims that members of the military have received their salary increase in 2018 even without the funding source from the 2018 GAA (General Appropriations Act).

Diokno explained that the fund was taken from a reserved miscellaneous personnel benefits fund under the personnel services of the 2018 national budget. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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