Roque to Congress: Consult Palace on increasing budget for vaccines

Any congressional move to raise the proposed 2021 budget for the coronavirus vaccine should at least be done in consultation with the Executive branch, according to a Palace official.  Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said while they respect Congress’ wisdom to hike the vaccine budget for the next year, the issue on its funding source must also be addressed. “The power of purse is vested in Congress. We will bow to the wisdom of Congress should they deem it fit to increase the budget for the vaccine, and of course, may pagkukuhanan po iyan (there will be a funding source for that),” he said during a Palace press briefing Thursday. “So we hope that Congress will at least confer with the Executive kung saan nila kukunin iyong pondo para itaas ang budget for the vaccine (on where the funds will be obtained to raise the budget for the vaccine),” he added. Nonetheless, Roque affirmed the administration’s resolve to ensure the country has adequate funds for the vaccine procurement once the life-saving drug becomes available.“We join Congress in our desire that we should have sufficient funds to pay for the vaccine, which according po to (Philippine) Ambassador (to China) Chito (Sta. Romana) is really forthcoming in the near future,” he said.The House of Representatives has reportedly introduced several amendments to its approved 2021 national budget, including a higher budget for the purchase of COVID vaccines to P8 billion.  In the original Palace-backed P4.5 trillion national budget proposal, at least P2.5 billion has been allocated for the COVID-19 vaccination program under the Department of Health’s budget. House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, who leads a small group in charge of amendments to the budget bill, said the additional P5.5 billion to augment the vaccine budget aims to ensure safe and effective vaccine will be available to Filipinos. “This is to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s program to strengthen the country’s health care system. We believe that vaccines play a very crucial role in keeping the population safe and healthy from the pandemic,” the Leyte lawmaker said.  On the part of the Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson disclosed plans to increase funding for the coronavirus vaccine under the proposed 2021 national budget. Last week, the President said the government has the funds to buy the coronavirus vaccine once it is available but would need more money to vaccinate all Filipinos. Duterte earlier vowed to give priority to the poor, the police and military personnel in the distribution of free vaccines.  He said the country will buy the most affordable vaccine to be sold in the market given the government’s limited resources. .....»»

Category: newsSource: 22nd, 2020

Palace: Cash aid for GCQ areas possible if Congress OKs more funding

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the existing budget for the SAP will not be enough to cover all areas that are under quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 17th, 2020

No conditions in China’s move to prioritize PH as vaccine recipient — Sta. Romana

China has not imposed any condition when it included the Philippines as among the priority nations to gain access to its potential coronavirus vaccine, according to a Filipino diplomat. Amb. Jose Santiago Sta. Romana Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said China instead reminded the country to prepare its cold storage facilities amid the highly anticipated breakthrough in vaccine development. China will hopefully announce its mass production of the coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year or early next year, Sta. Romana said during an online Palace press briefing. “Hopefully, mass production and distribution will happen in the near future, as early as November and December in terms of production. And it will depend on our capability to receive the vaccines in terms of our facilities, in terms of distribution,” he said.  “The prospects are bright in terms of a breakthrough in vaccine,” he added. Sta. Romana made clear that the cold storage facilities for the potential COVID-19 vaccines are not conditions set by China but simply a reminder to ensure effective distribution of the vaccine.  “It’s just a reminder that if you get the vaccine and you don’t have cold chain storage, then it’s useless so you have to prepare,” he said, citing information from Chinese drug companies.  He said even if the Philippines is in the “priority list,” the distribution of the vaccine will be a challenge. He said the vaccines must be stored in “freezing conditions” to keep its efficacy.  “If exposed to tropical weather or to normal weather conditions, the vaccine could lose its effectiveness,” he said.So far, Sta. Romana said the vaccines being developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firms have entered phase 3 of the clinical trials. One of the potential vaccines have been approved for emergency use for health workers and other government frontliners. “The Chinese will make an announcement in the near future and then they’ll start their mass production. And once there is the mass production, then I think there will be distribution. Hopefully, before the end of the year; but surely by the first quarter of next year,” he said.  Asked if China has imposed any condition on the Philippines in exchange for the vaccine supply, Sta. Romana said: “No, not at all. Actually, we’re the ones, our condition is that it should pass our local requirements.” When asked if Beijing has pledged the amount of vaccines and if these will be given to Manila for free, Sta. Romana said the matter would entail more discussion. “I cannot give you a definitive answer right now but definitely in terms of number, you know, how they will do it kasi it depends on the—they’re talking of hundreds of millions in terms of production dito sa China. So, the question is iyong distribution and deployment,” he said. “They’re preparing their manufacturing facilities for the mass production of vaccines the moment approval is announced,” he added. Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado has assured that the government has funds that will be needed for the establishment of the cold storage facilities for the coronavirus vaccines. “Surely, as the sun rises in the east, there will be funds for that because the President will never allow that we will run short of the requirements to make sure that we have the storage facilities for all of these vaccines,” he said in the same online press conference. Last week, President Duterte expressed confidence about the safety of the vaccines being developed by China, citing the Asian neighbor is a modern country. He said the government has funds for the vaccine purchase, adding he was just waiting for China or Russia to contact him. “I’d be glad to open up my sleeves because I am confident with their vaccine,” he added......»»

Category: newsSource: NewsOct 22nd, 2020

Lacson frowns at ‘pork hunter’ tag

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, a staunch anti-pork barrel advocate, does not like the name ‘’pork hunter’’ ascribed to him. Senator Panfilo M. Lacson (SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) ‘’I don’t like it. I’m just doing my job,’’ Lacson said as he disagreed with Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III who had presumed ‘’regularity’’ on the “institutional amendments’’ by the House of Representatives (HoR) on the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB or national budget) after the House recently passed the measure on third and final reading. Lacson and Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon had cited some P326 billion ‘’lump sum’’ appropriations tucked in the proposed P666-billion budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Both cited a Supreme Court decision that lump sum appropriations are unconstitutional. Lump sum appropriations are suspected as ‘’pork barrel’’ appropriations. Lacson has been on the prowl every budget season, picking out suspected pork barrel appropriations in the GAB. The Senate is expected to receive from the House a soft copy of the budget on Oct. 28. Asked during an ANC interview if he believes a statement of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco that there is no pork in the GAB, only institutional amendments, Lacson replied: ‘’We have yet to see the transmitted copy of the GAB as approved on third and final reading, as transmitted to the Senate.’’ ‘’Until we see that, we cannot really tell or say if there’s pork or not in the House of Representatives version of the budget.’’ On a query whether amending budget after third and final reading is unconstitutional, Lacson said: ‘’That is clearly unconstitutional.’’ ‘’It’s very clear, there’s no other interpretation in that provision under the Constitution that after the third and final reading of any bill, including the GAB, no amendment shall be allowed thereto,’’ he said. ‘’I don’t see any other interpretation of that particular provision. So since they already passed on third reading the HoR version of the GAB, I see no reason why they will allow a small committee to introduce further amendments. Based on what I heard from Rep. Eric Yap, the Appropriations committee chairman, he said the amendments will not be coming from the congressmen but from the agencies,’’ he stated. ‘’Again, that’s another violation. We have a four-phase budget process. Budget preparation, authorization, execution, and accountability. We are now in the authorization phase. And only the Congress of the Philippines is allowed to participate in the authorization phase. Tapos na ang sa (the) Executive department (has completed its job in the) preparation phase. Ang execution, after napirmahan ng Presidente ang enrolled bill and when DBM starts disbursing allocations, doon mag-start ang execution. So agencies under the Executive branch cannot be allowed to participate in the authorization phase of the budget process. Sotto had said that he would presume regularity after the House made institutional amendments worth P20 billion, including P5.5 billion, for COVID-19 vaccines. Lacson stressed that amendments to the budget by the House small committee is unconstitutional. ‘’To say there’s presumption of regularity, I think it’s misplaced. If that is the output of the small committee and they will include these amendments in the USB drive they will transmit to us on Oct. 28, then we cannot presume regularity, with all due respect to my Senate President…because if it is based on an unconstitutional act, I cannot presume regularity,’’ he added......»»

Category: newsSource: NewsOct 22nd, 2020

Palace expects approval of national budget this week

  BY GENALYN KABILING     Malacañang is confident about the passage of the proposed 2021national budget this week given the presence of the “super majority” in the House of Representatives after weeks of bickering. According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the Palace has no qualms with the House decision to recall the second-reading approval […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsOct 14th, 2020

Duterte calls Congress to special session next week for budget deliberations

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte called the Congress to hold a special session on October 13-16, “to avoid any further delays on its prompt passage.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

Rody calls Congress to special session

President Rodrigo Duterte called on the House of Representatives on Friday to special session next week to resume the congressional deliberations on the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 which he also certified as urgent. Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said the Chief Executive urged lawmakers to tackle on 13 to 16 October the government’s spending […] The post Rody calls Congress to special session appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

We have everything we need : Palace says no need to rush Bayanihan 2

"It seems that Bayanihan II can be discussed during the regular congress because after all, (the) State of the Nation (Address) is just around the corner in July," Roque said......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 30th, 2020

No Corruption in Release of 2nd SAP Aid: Palace

The public can expect that the PHP100-billion budget earmarked for the implementation of the second phase of the social amelioration program (SAP) will be disbursed to the rightful beneficiaries and will not be pocketed by corrupt local officials, Malacañang said on Wednesday. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the assurance as he appealed anew to the […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2020

Palace: SAP for GCQ areas if supplemental budget passed

Households in areas where quarantine measures have been relaxed will receive aid if Congress passes a supplemental budget to fund the government’s Social Amelioration Program.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 17th, 2020

Palace Leaves NTC’s Fate to Congress

Malacañang said on Saturday the proposed abolition of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be up to Congress. During the Laging Handa program aired on government-owned PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace would leave the NTC’s fate to Congress. “Iiwan po natin iyan sa lehislatura. Alam niyo naman po iyan, independiente at co-equal […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsMay 11th, 2020

Palace mulls supplemental budget to fund COVID plan

Malacañang is “very careful” about asking Congress for a supplemental budget to fund its coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 response efforts due to a lack of additional revenues, according to the Department of Finance......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 6th, 2020

Emergency bill approved

Congress approved late Monday night a Palace-backed measure declaring a national emergency that will enable President Rodrigo Duterte to realign funds under this year’s national budget to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 24th, 2020

Senate minority seeks law on supplemental budget

Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the Senate Minority on Sunday called for a special session of Congress to pass a supplemental budget......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 15th, 2020

Palace urges Congress to pass 2020 budget on time to avoid economic slowdown

Under the Constitution, the government has to operate on a reenacted budget if Congress fails to pass a new spending bill......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 19th, 2019

Not today : Palace to submit proposed 2020 budget maybe in two weeks

The executive department is expected to submit its proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for next year to Congress within the next two weeks, Malacañang said Monday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2019

Angara: Bicam budget meeting will go smoothly

Senate finance committee chair Sen. Sonny Angara on Wednesday expressed hopes the bicameral conference meeting to finalize the 2021 national budget will go smoothly, as members of both chambers of the House were focused on pandemic responses, COVID-19 vaccines, and other health programs of the Duterte government......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated News4 hr. 47 min. ago

Budget final version out before Dec. 19

The bicameral conference committee on the proposed P4.506-trillion 2021 national budget got off to a good start Tuesday as members from the House of Representatives and the Senate agreed to come up with a reconciled final version of the spending plan before Congress adjourns on Dec. 19, a House official said on Tuesday......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 1st, 2020

Palace says local governments to issue ordinances on allowing minors to go out

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Metro Manila mayors are expected to come up with a policy that would ease the age-based restriction on movement......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 1st, 2020

Biyahe ng mga miyembro ng Gabinete walang dagdag gastos–Roque

Ipinagtanggol ng Palasyo ang biyahe ng mga miyembro ng Gabinete sa Davao City para dumalo sa pagpupulong na pinangunahan ni Pangulong Duterte matapos naman itong batikusin ng mga netizen. Nitong Lunes, nag-post si Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque habang nasa loob ng eroplano kasama sina Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, at vaccine […] The post Biyahe ng mga miyembro ng Gabinete walang dagdag gastos–Roque appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 24th, 2020

COVID-19 vaccination not mandatory – Palace

While the government wants everyone to have access to COVID-19 vaccines, immunization won’t be mandatory as only half of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, Malacañang said yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2020