Category: Videos

#PINGterview: ‘Uniform’ Appropriations for Several Districts Spotted in DPWH’s 2021 Budget

In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* P1-M ‘uniform’ appropriations for at least 42 congressional districts in DPWH’s 2021 budget
* need to prioritize vaccines, R&D in 2021 budget

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: Updates on the 2021 Budget, Anti-Terror Law IRR

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ‘violations’ by the House in passing the P4.5-trillion 2021 budget bill
* possible institutional amendments for R&D, COVID vaccines
* implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

QUOTES and NOTES:
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Mangled Beyond Recognition! Sen. Lacson’s Interpellation of the DPWH’s 2021 Budget

In his interpellation of the proposed 2021 budget of the DPWH, Sen. Lacson noted a “mangling” of the entire appropriations of the agency – totaling P666,474,289,000 – beyond recognition. “Hindi na natin makilala!

QUOTES and NOTES:
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Speech at the Philippine Army Multi-Sector Advisory Board Summit 2020

My distinguished colleague and chairperson of the Philippine Army MSAB Governance Committee, Sen. Manny Pacquiao; Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen Cirilito Sobejana; Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Alexander Macario; Davao de Oro Governor Tyron Uy; Vice Commander of the Philippine Army Reynaldo Aquino; members of the Philippine Army Multi-Sector Advisory Board; men and women of the Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas, a pleasant morning to all.

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On the President’s ‘Option’ to Take a Direct Hand in Resolving the Budget Impasse

It is the President’s option to do whatever is necessary, even taking a “direct” hand in resolving the Speakership issue, with the timely passage of the 2021 national budget as his only consideration. After all, anything that has to do with national interest should involve the President.

This is one credit I would give to the President. As the leader of the coalition of political parties in the House of Representatives, I don’t think there is impropriety if he steps in to resolve the impasse between conflicting groups that are both his allies anyway. A few calls to the leaders of those coalitions can simplify matters.

Having said that, how can the Senate accept a printed copy of an unapproved House version of the budget bill, as proposed by Speaker Cayetano? We can only file a committee report once the General Appropriations Bill is transmitted to us after it has been approved on third and final reading. Why do they have to wait for Nov. 16 to approve the budget on third and final reading? I can’t understand any of this.

Our priority in the Senate remains the same – to pass on time a national budget that will allow us to deal with the effects of the pandemic. This includes scrutinizing the budget bill to make sure huge sums are not lost to incompetence or greed.

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#PINGterview: Likely Delay in Passage of 2021 Budget; Sec. Duque’s WHO Post

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* likely delay in passage of 2021 budget
* Sec. Duque’s new post at the World Health Organization

QUOTES and NOTES:
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Senate Hearing on Establishing a Mechanism for the Pensions of MUPs

Sen. Lacson’s Opening Statement at the Hearing:

The Chair welcomes everyone present in the joint public hearing of the Joint Committee to discuss several proposed measures that seek to rationalize and establish reforms in order to create a fair, sustainable and clear mechanism for the pensions of MUP and other related matters.

Distinguished colleagues who are present this morning, and guests convened today physically and virtually to find the need to address critical concerns which if not managed immediately would mean dire consequences in the financial welfare of our country. I speak of the ballooning pension requirements of our MUP which we fear may no longer be sustained by our scarce government resources in the coming years.

Certainly, it is high time we created a standalone special fund so that we may deter the inevitable fiscal disaster of draining the public coffers attributed to the bloating pension requirements of our uniformed retirees which up to this very moment completely rely on the national budget.

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Sen. Lacson Chairs the Hearing for the 2021 Budgets of OPAPP, SPDA, MinDA

Sen. Lacson chaired the hearing for the 2021 budgets of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, Mindanao Development Authority, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process.

At the start of the hearing, Sen. Lacson noted all three agencies were recipients of congressional initiatives initiated by his subcommittee and eventually included in the 2020 GAA. “Unfortunately as we all know, medyo tinamaan tayo ng COVID, so ang iba nabawasan, ang iba di na-release at all.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Lacson stressed the importance of ensuring regular funding for the OPAPP’s normalization program, as part of government’s long-term commitment to the peace process. The OPAPP aims to decommission 40,000 combatants by 2022, according to OPAPP Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. “Since this is a program, dapat recurring budget ito under OPAPP because this is a long-term commitment… We cannot renege on this commitment. Otherwise sayang lang lahat na effort sa peace process natin especially with the passage of the BARMM organic act. Medyo kailangan pangatawanan natin ito,” Sen. Lacson said.

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Sponsorship Speech for 13 DFA Officers at the Commission on Appointments

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Commission on Appointments, our common idol, Mr. Senate President – the fightingest secretary of the DFA, this Representation as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, presided over a public hearing this morning to deliberate on the nominations of six (6) Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The Committee likewise deliberated on the ad interim appointments of one (1) Senior Officer to the rank of Chief of Mission, Class I, and six (6) Senior Officials promoted to the rank of Foreign Service Officer, Class II.

Your Committee, after deliberating on their qualifications and fitness during the said public hearing, determined that all of the six (6) nominees and seven (7) appointees are fit and qualified to the post and position to which they are respectively promoted or nominated, and ruled to recommend to the plenary their respective nominations and appointments for the consent and confirmation of this august body.

Mr. Chairman, it is therefore my honor and privilege to recommend that the Commission give its consent to the nomination of the following Department of Foreign Affairs’ Senior Officers, namely:

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‘Emergency or No Emergency’: Stressing the Fiscal Autonomy of Constitutional Bodies

At the hearing on the 2021 budgets of the Commission on Audit and Office of the Ombudsman, Sen. Lacson stressed the DBM has no authority under the Constitution to issue a discontinuance against a constitutional body such as the COA – after noting that the DBM issued a budget circular providing for the discontinuance of Programs, Activities and Projects (PAPs) of COA amounting to a total of P173M under the 2020 budget as they were categorized as congressional initiative and as “For Later Release.”

“My point is, Mr. Chairman, under the Constitution – particularly Sec. 5, Art 9-A, it provides for the automatic and regular release of the annual appropriations of constitutional commissions. And COA very clearly is one of three constitutional commissions, Comelec and CSC being the others. Of course even the judiciary,” Sen. Lacson said as he also cited jurisprudence (Bengzon vs Drilon, GR 103524), where fiscal autonomy allows the constitutional bodies and the judiciary full flexibility to allocate and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs require. “So pag sinabi nating fiscal autonomy, walang pakialam ang DBM.”

COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo said that while they are okay with the DBM’s decision “considering the difficulties the govt was having with funding in view of the pandemic,” he would agree that “it’s a violation of fiscal autonomy under the Constitution.”

I’d like to manifest this very clearly, let this not serve as a precedent for future issuances by DBM; huwag lang gawing precedent setting ito. If I may add, emergency or no emergency, hindi pwedeng precedent ito,” Sen. Lacson said.

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