House okays supplemental fund for calamity victims-A A +A
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
THE House of Representatives on Tuesday night passed the P14.6-billion supplemental budget for calamity victims by a vote of 213 to 6.
The bill's approval was stalled last Monday after Abakada party-list Representative Jonathan de la Cruz challenged the quorum. The second roll call at 8:30 p.m. showed that attendance dwindled to 129. Earlier in the day, 211 out of the 289 House members responded to the roll call.
President Benigno Aquino III earlier certified the bill as urgent.
The amount of P14.6 billion will be sourced from the unused 2013 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers after the pork barrel system was recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
It will be used for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by recent disasters and calamities. These include typhoons Labuyo, Odette, Pablo, Sendong, Santi and Vinta; the siege in Zamboanga; the magnitude-7.2 earthquake in Bohol; and the recent onslaught of typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas.
Before the approval, De la Cruz had a heated exchange with House committee on appropriations chairman and Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab.
De la Cruz wanted a breakdown of the funds issued for the past disasters like typhoons Labuyo and Odette but Ungab could not give an answer and instead insisted on the speedy approval of the budget.
"I don't understand why some representatives say they want to help yet they keep on delaying the passage of the supplemental budget. If we want to help, why don't we help now?" a seemingly irritated Ungab told De la Cruz.
De la Cruz said he "resented" the attitude of Ungab as he was merely avoiding for the supplemental budget to be declared as unconstitutional by the SC.
"That is not the way we should conduct ourselves...He's lecturing us on what kind of sympathy we have. I deserve an answer," he said. (Sunnex)