PRRD asks members of Congress to set aside politics, pass 2021 budget – Palace

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. reiterated on Monday President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s stand on the issue of speakership in the House of Representatives and the importance of passing the 2021 national budget in the Lower House.

“The President does not want to be involved in politics. ‘Natagam na ako.’ Natagam is the Visayan word for ‘nadala na ako.’ Yan po ang verbatim na sinabi ng Presidente nung sya’y nanawagan sa mga Kongresista natin na isantabi po ang pulitika,” said Secretary Roque during a press briefing in Malacañan on October 12.

The Palace official stressed that what’s important for the Chief Executive now is to have the proposed 2021 national budget passed in Congress, and that he does not want to get involved with what the members of the House of Representatives want to do after the budget is passed.

On October 9, President Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1027 calling for a special session in the Congress from October 13 to 16.

“Inaasahan ho ng Presidente na sang-ayon sa proklamasyon na ito, magtitipon-tipon po ang lahat ng miyembro ng Kongreso bukas para talakayin ang budget at hindi po ang pulitika,” remarked Secretary Roque.

The Palace spokesman also underscored that as stated in the Constitution, the selection of leadership in the Lower House is purely an internal matter and that it has been the stance of the President.

“So talagang ang issue po ng leadership, tanging mga miyembro lang ng Kamara ang makakapag-desisyon kaya nga po, bilang tumatayong pinuno ng super majority dyan sa Kamara, ang pakiusap niya at mukhang hindi po ata pinakikinggan ang Presidente, isantabi muna ang politika, ipasa ang budget,” Roque underscored.

Secretary Roque further said that President Duterte does not want the issue of speakership to delay the passage of the 2021 budget and calls the President’s supporters to heed the Chief Executive’s directives to pass the budget first before engaging in politics.

“Sana po talaga isantabi na po ang politika. Marami pong umaasa sa vaccine. Marami pong umaasa sa mga additional hospital beds, isolation facilities at posibleng gamot sa COVID-19 na nanganganib po dahil sa kagustuhan ng ilan sa mga mababang kapulungan na magkaroon po ng kapangyarihan,” said Roque.

Meanwhile, Roque reported that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has approved the health and safety protocols for the conduct of the plebiscite in the first quarter of 2021 that will ratify the proposed dividing of Palawan into three separate provinces.

The approved safety protocols state that the election will be done in two days, there should be minimum health protocols and triage facilities, the voter’s list must be disseminated ahead of time, voting will be manual, and that five voters in a room is allowed.

The IATF also approved the conduct of face-to-face trainings and assessments by Technical Vocational Institutions and TESDA Technology Institutions in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) or lower quarantine classification.

Roque also announced that dive establishments are now allowed to open and diving activities will now be permitted in areas under GCQ and modified general community quarantine or MGCQ.

The Department of Tourism is set to release guidelines on recreational diving. The IATF sub-Technical Working Groups on Data Analytics and Anticipatory and Forward Planning were likewise asked to convene with health and economic experts to formulate recommendations for guidelines that will be implemented in areas that will be placed under the New Normal. (OPS-PCOO)