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Lacson to list ‘reservations’ on budget, up to Palace to veto

THE Senate will continue reviewing the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 even after its ratification by both Houses, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said, Thursday.

Australian firms awaiting resolution of CITIRA uncertainty

AUSTRALIAN companies are seeking “clarity” on legislation proposing to reduce the corporate income tax (CIT) and streamline fiscal incentives, now pending before the 18th Congress.

Congress ratifies national budget for next year

THE PROPOSED P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 is now a step away from enactment, having secured Bicameral Conference Committee approval and ratification by both chambers of Congress on Wednesday.

Senate body to endorse extradition treaty with Russia

THE SENATE foreign relations committee is likely to endorse a proposed Philippine extradition treaty with Russia.

Salary increase for gov’t employees endorsed

TWO SENATE panels have approved a measure giving government employees their fifth round of salary increases.

Lawmakers seek more time to harmonize versions of proposed national budget

THE BICAMERAL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE reconciling versions of the P4.1-trillion national budget proposed for 2020 deferred anew the approval of the spending plan from Tuesday, leaders of both chambers said separately on Monday.

Gov’t draft of new water contracts expected to be ready by...

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the government is forming a team to draft revised water concession contracts, which will exclude terms the President considers onerous, adding that the new concession agreement will be ready before the year ends.

SEC, PSE cite issues with SME Exchange bill on listed firms’...

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) said they support bill that will establish a Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Stock Exchange, but noted that there are possible overlaps with existing regulations.

Proposed 2020 budget approved by Tuesday, then ratified

THE PROPOSED P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 will be approved on Tuesday, instead of Monday as initially planned, as senators sought more time to study the version produced by the Bicameral Conference Committee, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara said on Sunday.

DBM drafting simpler bill that forces punctual state spending

THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) is drafting a simpler version of the proposed budget reform bill and plans to submit it to Congress in 2020’s “first quarter.”

DBM confident budget validity extension bill won’t be vetoed

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it supports the proposal to extend the availability of the 2019 budget to December 2020 and believes the bill stretching out the validity of the funds complies with a presidential order, reducing the chances of a veto.

Lacson proposes more UHC, National ID funding

SENATOR Panfilo M. Lacson said he proposed budget amendments providing for additional funding for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) program, Universal Health Care (UHC), and free university tuition.

Senate wants to review water utility contracts

THE Senate may review water concession agreements with utilities deemed onerous in the exercise of its oversight function, a senator said on Wednesday.

Congress targets ratification of 2020 budget next week

THE HOUSE of Representatives and the Senate expect ratification of the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 by next week to enable enactment before the year ends, key legislators said separately on Tuesday, while the Budget department has begun the process of crafting the 2021 spending plan.

Philippines, China have entered ‘Golden Age,’ Chinese envoy says

RELATIONS between the Philippines and China have entered a “Golden Age,” newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said upon his arrival in Manila on Tuesday.

Senate resolution calls for probe on flagship projects, China funding

A RESOLUTION filed in the Senate calls for an inquiry on the implementation of infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program and its reliance on official development assistance (ODA), particularly from China.

House, Senate start reconciling budget versions

LEADERS of the Senate finance and House of Representatives appropriations committees start meeting today to harmonize their versions of the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 in a bid to ensure enactment before the year ends -- and prevent a repeat of the delayed approval that has taken a toll on 2019’s overall economic growth.

Locsin says there’s no need to change US defense treaty

THE COUNTRY’S top diplomat yesterday opposed a proposal to change a treaty that forces the United States to defend the Philippines against external attacks.

Smooth sailing seen for 2020 budget in bicam

THE PROPOSED P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 is seen to smooth-sail in the bicameral conference committee, according to a senator, citing less contention in the House leadership.

China rejects alleged control of Philippine grid

THE Chinese government said it has no control over the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, belying claims made by an opposition Senator.

Senate OK’s proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget on time

THE SENATE on Wednesday approved on second as well as third and final reading its version of the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, putting the spending on track to year-end enactment.

House body sees prompt action on POGO tax

THE HOUSE of Representatives ways and means committee expects the proposal to tax Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) to be approved without much difficulty in the plenary, the panel’s head said on Wednesday.

Senate approves measure extending 2019 budget validity

THE SENATE on Tuesday approved on third and final reading a measure extending the availability of the 2019 national budget until December 2020.

Senate counterpart bills on property valuation reform re-filed

THREE bills proposing to reform the real property tax system have been re-filed in the Senate.

Nationwide round-up

WITH AT least two reported injuries as workers scramble to finish structures that will be used for the ongoing 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) warned employers of possible administrative charges for failure to follow safety standards.

DoLE says flexible work hours must come with overtime

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) backed measures to facilitate the adoption of alternative work arrangements on a voluntary basis, on the condition that companies continue to pay overtime and night differentials.

Vaping tax bill seen passing Senate on 2nd reading in early...

THE measure imposing higher excise taxes on alcohol products, electronic cigarettes and other vapor products is expected to pass the Senate on second reading by Dec. 4, Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said.

Rights group says Robredo fired on ludicrous grounds

A HUMAN RIGHTS group yesterday criticized President Rodrigo R. Duterte for firing Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo as its drug czar “on ludicrous grounds.”

Cambodia asked to resolve arrest of Filipino workers

THE Philippine government asked Cambodia to resolve a “misunderstanding” involving the arrest of Filipino workers there whose job agency had lost its license.

Senate bill to require LGUs to use 10% of IRA on...

A MEASURE has been filed in the Senate which will require local governments to set aside 10% of their internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government on agriculture and fisheries programs.

Duterte disappointed with pace of major projects

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday expressed disappointment with the perceived slow progress of big-ticket infrastructure projects after economic officials said earlier that a little more than half of the expanded list would be completed 2022 when he ends his six-year term.

Philippine eyes arms deal with South Korea

THE Philippine government might continue discussions on the procurement of military ships and weapons during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s second visit to South Korea next week, Foreign Affairs department said on Friday.

House now eyes even higher tax for vapers

THE HOUSE of Representatives Ways and Means committee is looking at imposing even higher excise tax rates on vapor and heated tobacco products in response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s order last Tuesday to ban their importation and use in public.

Lacson signals budget realignments to fund UHC, national ID, free college

SENATOR Panfilo M. Lacson is planning to propose realignments to the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DoTr), and the Department of Education (DepEd) to increase funding for three landmark laws.

Palace reminds Robredo: ‘Trust is earned’

THE presidential palace yesterday hit back at Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo and her ally, former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, who had criticized President Rodrigo R. Duterte for putting her in charge of his deadly war on drugs even if he did not trust her.

TRO-exempt Build, Build, Build projects raise constitutional doubts

A BILL that would insulate flagship infrastructure projects from temporary restraining orders (TROs) issued by most courts has raised questions about the emergency powers that will trigger the proposed TRO exemption, legal experts and opposition politicians said.

Senate sees tough going for ‘ambitious’ FIA amendment

THE Senate will discuss a “more ambitious” amendment to the Foreign Investment Act (FIA) after the budget is approved, Economic Affairs committee chair and Senator Ma. Imelda Josefa R. Marcos said.

VP meets with US officials on drug war

VICE-PRESIDENT Maria Leonor G. Robredo yesterday met with United States Embassy officials to talk about how the US could help the country’s anti-illegal drug campaign, she said in a statement.

2020 budget on track in the Senate

THE PROPOSED P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 is on track to enactment next month as the Senate on Monday began plenary deliberation on the spending plan, even as realignments flagged by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson pose some risk of prolonged discussions.

Nationwide round-up

A JOINT Senate panel agreed on Monday to create the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR), but an Office of Civil Defense (OCD) official said such an agency might could be “overwhelming” considering the many aspects of disaster management.

Senate rules out delay in 2020 budget approval

THE Senate finance committee is set to sponsor on Monday the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, in time for its target enactment in mid-December.

Senate measure seeks 5th round of salary hike

A BILL that desires to give government employees their fifth round of salary increases -- a key proposal of the Duterte administration -- has been filed at the Senate.

VP vows to enforce anti-drug drive within the law

VICE President Ma. Leonor G. Robredo on Friday vowed to enforce the state’s anti-illegal drug campaign “within the bounds of the rule of law.”

Maguindanao massacre ruling out by December 20

THE Supreme Court has extended the deadline for a ruling on a decade-old case where more than 50 people were massacred in Maguindanao province, Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said on Friday.

DoF says health education best way to curb salt consumption

DEPARTMENT OF Finance (DoF) officials expressed skepticism about the government’s ability to curb salt consumption via taxation, and said the problem might be better addressed via health education.