Ex-solon says another supplemental budget bill can be passed if needed

Published March 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

Former Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon commented on Tuesday that the Palace-crafted emergency COVID-19 response bill was significantly revised in the Senate.

The Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao commences in the Plenary of the Batasang Pambansa on December 13, 2017. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

He said the revision imposed program priorities and specific limitations on President Duterte’s powers.

Ridon, now the convenor of the think tank Infrawatch PH, said the Senate version has been adopted in full by the House of Representatives.

He added that the flagship crisis relief fund will be lodged under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“Although we have reservations on whether the two programs are of the same purpose and coverage, a subsequent supplemental budget can nonetheless be passed if a cloud of doubt continues to afflict the matter,” Ridon said.

He noted that a new provision was also introduced to provide a grace-period for the payment of mortgages and rents, among others.

“While this is a good first step, a more robust foreclosure and eviction relief program should be undertaken for working families soon,” the Infrawatch PH convenor argued.

“The final emergency bill is the result of concrete political action by both lawmakers and the public to ensure that immediate crisis action is undertaken while protecting our rights. With this level of active citizenship, certainly there are many more battles to be won in the future,” Ridon said.