President Rodrigo Duterte has requested House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to include in the 2019 national budget funds for housing projects that would benefit members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, among others.
This happened during a meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday.
Arroyo’s office also said Duterte requested that the funding for the water system of the housing project for victims of super typhoon Yolanda be included in the General Appropriations Bill.
The lower chamber approved the proposed 2019 budget on second reading on October 3 and is now undergoing amendments before a small committee.
It was learned that Arroyo committed to the President a Joint Resolution of the House and the Senate to “extend the validity of the P19.6B National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund for rehabilitation of Marawi City until the end of next year.”
The two leaders also discussed several legislative measures pending at the lower chamber, including the conduct of a bicameral conference on the coco levy fund bill.
Also in that Malacañang meeting were Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., Bohol 3rd District Rep. Arthur Yap, and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez yesterday admitted that the proposed shift to a federal form of government may not prosper this 17th Congress.
Suarez pointed out that rewriting the 1987 Constitution “will take a gargantuan effort” for both congressmen and senators.
“Frankly, I think amending the Constitution now will take a gargantuan effort for Congress,” Suarez told reporters during a regular press conference.
“With this limited time of [the] 17th Congress, I do not think Charter change in the 17th Congress will prosper.
This may take off in the 18th Congress,” Suarez added.
Suarez made the statement after the House, in plenary session Monday, opened its plenary debates on the proposed federal Constitution being pushed by the Duterte administration.
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso and Davao Oriental Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon, the chairman and vice chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, respectively, delivered their respective sponsorship speeches to the draft Constitution, as contained in resolution of both Houses of Congress No. 15 under Committee Report No. 88.
Under the House’ draft Constitution, the president and vice president will be elected with each other to serve four-year terms, subject to one reelection. Congressmen, who should be holders of college degrees, will also serve four-year terms.
The draft federal Charter also provides that the first election under the proposed Constitution will be held on the second Monday of May 2022.
The House’s draft federal proposal, which calls for a presidential-bicameral-federal system, is different from the draft submitted by the Consultative Commission (Con-Com).
But being the administration’s advocacy, Suarez said he believes President Duterte will still certify the proposed federal Charter as urgent.
“If there will be an appeal from the leadership to fast track it, then the minority will support it,” he said.
With Ryan Ponce Pacpaco