No need to amend the Constitution—Drilon


The proposed Bayanihan 3, which the House of Representatives has approved to allocate ₱401 for pandemic recovery will just not make it before Congress adjourns.
In a television interview, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, says they are unlikely to approve the measure.
“There is a lot on our plate.”
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, in cognizance says there is no need to amend the Constitution as there are already several proposed measures on liberalizing the investment climate.

MANILA — Senate President Vicente Sotto III cites unused budgets in Bayanihan 2, derailing any glimmer of hope for the Bayanihan 3 to see the light of day, at least until Congress adjourns.

Sotto points out the poor absorptive capacity of some Government agencies has rendered most unused Bayanihan 2 funds. It is almost tantamount to asking what guarantee is there that Bayanihan 3 would not suffer the same fate?

“Without good absorptive capacity, many funds are not used,” Sotto says in an interview over the dwIZ radio station.

In a “mini” Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last week, the Bayanihan 3 was not even mentioned says Sotto. (BG/Headline PH)


Bayanihan 3 in a nutshell

Bayanihan 3 is divided into three phases (including budget breakdown): Phase 1 (₱165.9 billion); Phase 2 (₱186 billion); and Phase 3 (₱48.6 billion)

Two rounds of financial aid worth ₱1,000 shall be granted to each Filipino. The cash subsidy program shall have a total funding of ₱216 billion.

Pandemic-affected households shall receive a one-time cash subsidy worth ₱5,000 to ₱10,000 to be implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The bill also offers wage subsidies with funding of ₱20 billion; assistance to displaced workers at ₱25 billion; assistance to the agri-fishery sector and cooperatives at ₱30 billion; medical assistance to indigents at ₱9 billion; and local government support fund at ₱3 billion.

Other assistance in the measure are for national nutrition, cooperatives, basic education, and pension and gratuity fund.

It states that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas may make additional advances, with or without interest, to the National Government of up to 10 percent of the average income of the Government for fiscal years 2018 to 2020 to finance expenditures authorized by law to address the pandemic.

Mandatory dividend remittances by Government-owned and controlled corporations will also be increased from 50 percent to 75 percent, while the President will have the power to withdraw capital from overcapitalized GOCCs. (/PNA)


Futher, a measure introducing amendments to the prohibitive economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution is not in the Senate’s list of priorities and is not inclined to support it.

“I don’t think we have enough time, as it is, to take a quick look into the proposal. Anyway, the bills certified by the Palace as urgent have passed or are in advanced stages in the Senate. We have until June 4 before the sine die adjournment,” says Sotto.

According to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, there are several proposed major measures to liberalize the investment climate in the country without the need of amending the Constitution.

“The proposed Public Service Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Foreign Investments Act are already major bills designed to liberalize our investment climate without amending the Constitution. CREATE is now a law,” says Drilon, referring to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act which was enacted on 26 March. (BG/Headline PH)


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