Bayanihan II extended, military pension for deliberations as House hybrid plenary sessions resume

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES is set to resume plenary sessions in a hybrid configuration on Monday after a two-week suspension due to the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest level of lockdown, in Metro Manila .

Sessions will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with only parliamentary leaders and a limited number of secretariat staff physically present inside the session hall, according to a memorandum issued by Secretary General Mark Llandro L. Mendoza.

Other members will attend the plenary sessions by videoconference in Zoom.

House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco said the lower house will have to “work twice” to pass the pending measures.

Among the possible bills that could be addressed is Bill 9654, a priority measure by President Rodrigo R. Duterte providing for a unified system for the separation, retirement and pension of military personnel and uniformed services.

Other pending measures include Bill 9538, which seeks to extend the validity of stimulus funds under the Bayanihan II Act until December 31, and the Hidilyn Diaz Act which would provide tax relief for earnings local athletes participating in international sports competitions.

“We will be addressing as many bills and resolutions as possible to make up for lost time at the ECQ,” Velasco said in a statement on Sunday.

During the two-week suspension, committee hearings were conducted by videoconference.

ACT-CIS party list representative Eric G. Yap, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a telephone interview on Saturday that hearings and deliberations on the 2022 national budget will also be held in the part of a hybrid setup.

“Those who are in the province and who cannot attend [physically] can join via Zoom then the agencies that can come [to the hearings] will be physically present, ”he said in a mixture of English and Filipino.

Budget hearings are expected to begin on August 26, after Congress receives the 2022 national spending program from the executive department.

Mr Yap also said recent Audit Commission (CoA) audit reports will have no effect on the speed of budget deliberations, adding that they will survey agencies on how their allocated 2022 budget will be. used in light of these findings. .

It comes after the Ministry of Health, among other agencies, came under fire after state auditors reported loopholes worth more than 67 billion pesos in their handling of pandemic funds due to failure to do so. – compliance with government procedures. – Russell Louis C. Ku

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