Speaker Cayetano defends additional P1.6B in HOR proposed budget

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2019   •   504

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – Critics have been questioning the P1.6B budget additional budget for the House of Representatives (HOR) on top of the proposed P14B in the 2020 National Budget.

According to reports, the said additional amount will be added to the budget of all eight deputy speakers of the HOR.

But House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano clarified that such reports were fake.

“They want to remove changes from the fact that we had a very good budget process,” Cayetano said.

The House Speaker added that the big chunk of the additional P1.6B budget will be used for various projects and only a little portion will be added to the deputy speaker’s fund.

“It’s for enhancing our capability (in) research including the congressional budget and planning office,” Cayetano explained.

“It’s also to meet the requirements pag pinasa natin yung bagong (once we pass the) salary standardization law,” he added.

In addition, Cayetano said they are planning to create new congressional committees to which part of the additional amount will be utilized.

Likewise, they are planning to make enhancements in the facilities of HOR to highlight the features of the regions each HOR member represents.

Meanwhile, about P10B budget is expected to be added in the proposed 2020 National Budget.

The said amount will be used to procure palay which will amount to P3B; additional fund in the Department of Education’s (DepEd) implementation of the K12 program; additional budget for sports in relation to the upcoming Paragames and Tokyo Olympics; and to fund programs for protected areas in the Philippines.

The additional budget will be sourced from the aborted Barangay Elections and the Right of Way Funds. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

House urged to probe govt’s alleged delayed warning on Taal eruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 16, 2020

A lawmaker has urged the House of Representatives to investigate the government’s alleged delayed warning on the Taal eruption.

Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said there were “no news bulletins or SMS alerts” from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and other government agencies about the heightened activity in Taal Volcano.

“Due to lack of information, in the afternoon of the same day, while Taal Volcano is already manifesting increased volcanic activity, people still traveled towards it, while those who were already near Taal Volcano were shocked to see the smoke spewing from it and had to immediately flee under the dangers of ashfall,” he said.

Barzaga filed House Resolution (HR) No. 643 on Monday (January 13) and was released to the media on Tuesday (January 14).

However, Phivolcs reiterated there was no delay in the warning on the Taal eruption

During a press conference, Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief, Mariton Bornas said, “Those on the island were already relaying to us their observations.”

“They were given advice in case they needed to evacuate,” she added.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said “there are 6,000 people on the island. Nobody was injured, no one died.”

“It’s amazing. We should thank God nothing happened,” he said.

Malacañang said it is within the powers of Congress if they will approve the resolution or not.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte previously said he is pleased with the performance of government agencies including the performance of Phivolcs Officer-in-Charge and Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum.

“I am really very pleased, very happy that all agencies are here on hand and trying their best to help the community,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

House adopts resolution granting additional incentives to SEA Games medalists

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 5, 2019

The House of Representatives (HOR) has adopted a resolution that will push for additional incentives for Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medalists.

On Wednesday (December 4), The House adopted House Resolution No. 568 which grants SEA Games medalists additional incentives from the leaders and members of the House in the 18th Congress.

“As a concrete manifestation of the commonality of the goal to bring honor and pride to the country, the leaders and members of the House of Representatives deem it proper to deduct individual pledges from their salaries from January 2020, as additional incentives to Filipino gold medal winners in the 30th SEA Games,” the resolution states.

The resolution also states that the “House stands in solidarity with Team Philippines throughout the competition in their quest to capture the gold medals in their respective sports, and to bring honor and pride to the Filipino people.”

President Rodrigo Duterte had previously said he is willing to provide additional incentives to Filipino athletes who will bag medals in the SEA Games.

As of December 5, at 9:30 a.m., the Philippines has collected a total of 119 medals with 56 gold, 41 silver, and 22 bronze. The SEA Games will continue until December 11.—AAC

Drilon: No member of the Senate slashed the budget of the SEA Games

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 28, 2019

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has denied the allegation that the Senate slashed the budget for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

This was in response to the claims of Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron Salo that it was Drilon who slashed the budget for the SEA Games.

“The journal of the Senate dated December 6, 2018 would clearly reveal that no member of the Senate slashed the budget of the SEA Games,” Drilon said in a statement.

“It was the bicam, which members of the House of Representatives were part of, that slashed this to P5 billion. For the record, it was not I who proposed to slash it to P5 billion during the bicam,” he added.

READ: Solon blames 2019 budget delay for SEA Games mishaps

The current budget for the SEA Games reached P6 billion, the additional P1 billion came from the contingency fund.—AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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