Government nurses’ hope for a much-needed wage increase is one step closer to reality, after the Senate adopted one of Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson’s proposed amendments to the P4.1-trillion national budget bill.
The Senate version of the national budget bill now includes a special provision proposed by Lacson – one of the vice chairpersons of the Senate contingent to the bicameral conference committee tackling the budget bill – to increase the salary grade of government nurses.
Under the new special provision, “Increasing the Salary Grade of Government Nurses,” the base pay of government nurses shall be Salary Grade 15 (P30,531 a month), in compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision (G.R. 215746).
Sa halip na itago, dapat isapubliko ng mga mambabatas ang kanilang isinusulong na amendments sa pambansang badyet para sa susunod na taon, sa pamamagitan ng pag-post nito sa kani-kanilang website.
Ito ang naging hamon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa mga kasamahan sa lehislatura upang siguraduhing walang pork ang mga pondong nakapaloob sa 2020 national budget.
“We should make everything public. That includes all amendments we submit, whether institutional or individual. We have our own websites, we should use them for this purpose, as I did for the 2019 budget,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
Instead of whispering proposed “amendments” to the 2020 national budget or scrawl them on napkins, why not post them online?
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson issued this challenge to fellow lawmakers Tuesday, adding no less than such a show of transparency would dispel suspicions that the amendments are stained with pork.
“We should make everything public. That includes all amendments we submit, whether institutional or individual. We have our own websites, we should use them for this purpose, as I did for the 2019 budget,” Lacson, an avowed enemy of the pork barrel system, said in an interview on DZBB radio.
The President couldn’t have chosen a better qualified Chief Justice. Chief Justice Peralta is backed by a wealth of judicial experience, having started his career as a prosecutor, then as RTC judge, Sandiganbayan presiding justice and a Senior Associate Justice of the Court for more than a decade.
He is known for his integrity and competence, and one who enjoys the respect of his peers and others inside and outside the legal circle. I have known him all the way back when he was QC RTC judge who convicted almost if not all the KFR (kidnapping-for-ransom) suspects I apprehended when I was still in the law-enforcement service.
Many of the legal opinions that I – being a non-lawyer – have expressed during our committee hearings and plenary debates are in consultation with Justice Peralta. That is why I feel extremely confident when I manifest such opinions.
Makakatulog na nang mahimbing sa gabi si Senador Panfilo Lacson kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang pagbabantay niya sa kaban ng bayan laban sa mga wala sa lugar na paggastos at paghahangad ng mga kasamahan na kumupit sa pondong ito.
Nararamdaman na kasi ng mambabatas na nagiging epektibo na ang naumpisahang krusada laban sa pag-abuso ng mga kasamahan sa pambansang gastusin ng pamahalaan dahil sa katakawan sa pork barrel.
Ayon kay Lacson, bilang isang mambabatas ay kabilang sa kanyang sinumpaang obligasyon sa publiko ay ang mahigpit na bantayan laban sa pang-aabuso ang taunang gastusin ng pamahalaan.
“If by exposing all attempts by some lawmakers to go around the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional, thus stymieing the selfish interests of those elected to perform their legislative duty, I’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ve done my share in guarding against unnecessary wastage of public funds that has prevented our country from taking off and become competitive,” pahayag ni Lacson.
“If by exposing all attempts by some lawmakers to go around the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional, thus stymieing the selfish interests of those elected to perform their legislative duty, I’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ve done my share in guarding against unnecessary wastage of public funds that has prevented our country from taking off and become competitive,” he said.
“My critics would claim I am just making a lot of noise but I do not let such negative comments affect, much less stop me. This is my biggest advocacy because the budget is the lifeblood of the nation. If this blood is taken away, the nation may suffer from anemia, or even a stroke,” he added.
As early as 2013, the Supreme Court already ruled that ‘pork’ includes not just post-legislation acts but also “all informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– ‘pork’ in the P3.7-trillion proposed budget for 2019
– need to adhere to the budgeting process
– accusations against DBM Sec. Diokno
– the House’s draft federal constitution