A priority program

February 01, 2020

LIKE the highly-ambitious “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program, preventing the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the country is a priority of the leadership of the House of Representatives.

Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said the House leadership is prepared to support the logistical requirement that the Department of Health (DoH) may need to combat the disease.

Romualdez, chairman of the powerful House committee on rules, said the Lower Chamber of Congress would just wait on possible funding request by DoH Secretary Francisco Duque III of Pangasinan.

The Leyte lawmaker said the leadership of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano would give the highest priority on funding that the health department may need to effectively address the problem.

Cayetano, a former member of the Senate, himself said that the House of Representatives is ready to augment the government funds intended for preventing the spread of the deadly virus.

He told the DoH and other concerned offices to already use funds available to them because the House can augment them, adding there is also the contingency fund, which President Duterte can use.

Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo “Ranie” Abu and Ako Bisaya party-list Rep. Sonny Lagon backed the House leadership’s show of “malasakit” (compassion) to the suffering Filipino people.

They include the hundreds of thousands of people adversely affected by the explosive eruption of Taal Volcano, notably those still languishing in evacuation centers in Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.

As the legislative arm, the two-chamber Congress - the House of Representatives and the Senate - is the first rampart of democracy that makes sure the Filipino people’s health and other needs are met.

And with well-meaning leaders, such as Speaker Cayetano and Majority Leader Romualdez in Congress, “makakaasa ang taumbayan na hindi sila pababayaan ng mga otoridad sa oras ng pangangailangan.”