18th Congress - updates

Rappler's latest stories on 18th Congress

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Rappler Talk: Rufus Rodriguez on amending the GCTA law

Sep 15, 2019 - 11:43 AM

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez discusses how to improve the GCTA law he had co-written

House passes Citira bill on 3rd reading

Sep 13, 2019 - 3:22 PM

A total of 170 members of the House of Representatives vote in favor of the Duterte administration's 2nd tax reform package

'Record attendance' in House? But Atienza says lawmakers leave after roll call

Sep 12, 2019 - 5:00 PM

House rules, however, allow legislators who are physically absent during the plenary session to still be recorded as present, under certain conditions

A LOT OF EMPTY SEATS. As the hours tick by during House plenary sessions, seats of lawmakers become empty one by one. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Legality of PAO forensic laboratory questioned once again

Sep 11, 2019 - 8:56 PM

Ex-DOH chief turned Iloilo 1st District Representative Janette Garin, who has an axe to grind against the Public Attorney's Office, says it does not have the mandate to have a forensic laboratory

HOT SEAT. The forensic laboratory of the Public Attorney's Office headed by Persida Acosta is once again under fire. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

LP lawmakers seek P13.19-billion cash aid for rice farmers

Sep 11, 2019 - 3:45 PM

Liberal Party stalwart and Occidental Mindoro congresswoman Josephine Ramirez Sato says direct cash assistance, not the government's zero-interest loans, would help rice farmers

AID FOR FARMERS. Liberal Party lawmakers Jose Christopher Belmonte, Josephine Ramirez Sato, Stella Quimbo, and Gabriel Bordado file House Resolution No. 15 on September 11, 2019. Photo from Liberal Party Media

Ombudsman’s GCTA probe covers ex-BuCor chiefs Faeldon, Dela Rosa

Sep 11, 2019 - 2:52 PM

Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate extracts the confirmation from the Office of the Ombudsman as it defended its proposed 2020 budget in the House plenary

PRISONS CHIEFS. Two former BuCor chiefs, now Senator Ronald dela Rosa (R) and the controversial Nicanor Faeldon (L) before the resumption of the inquiry into the release of convicts through GCTA oN September 5, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

House kicks off plenary debates on 2020 budget

Sep 10, 2019 - 7:25 PM

The House plenary deliberations are expected to run until September 20

BUDGET DEBATES. The proposed 2020 budget has reached the House plenary on September 10, 2019. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

Cayetano: House unlikely to reinstate billions of district funds in 2020 budget

Sep 10, 2019 - 5:40 PM

'We just have to be honest with the congressmen that it might not be solveable in this budget,' says Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on legislators' bid to regain their vetoed infrastructure funds

BUDGET WOES. Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano says it would be difficult to accommodate all lamwakers to request to bring back the multi-billion infrastructure funds that was previously vetoed in the national budget. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

House passes bill simplifying passive income, financial taxes

Sep 09, 2019 - 7:50 PM

But Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas says the Pifita bill 'grossly favors the rich who make fortunes out of thin air in the financial sector'

House OKs bill easing restrictions on foreign professionals in PH

Sep 09, 2019 - 7:40 PM

ACT Teachers Representative France Castro slams the bill as a 'worse form of liberalization among professionals' in the Philippines

2nd tax reform package renamed Citira, hurdles 2nd reading in House

Sep 09, 2019 - 7:32 PM

The House of Representatives approves the Corporate Income Tax and Incentive Rationalization Act (Citira) on 2nd reading

Lawmakers want to reinstate in 2020 budget P90-B district allocations

Sep 09, 2019 - 6:14 PM

House appropriations chair Isidro Ungab says the congressmen want to 'reallocate' the billions of infra funds for their respective districts. These are the same funds which caused this year's budget crisis.

BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS. House committee on appropriations chair Isidro Ungab speaks to reporters on September 9, 2019. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

House pushes bill allowing foreigners to own public utilities in PH

Sep 05, 2019 - 11:52 AM

House committee on economic affairs chair and the bill's sponsor, Sharon Garin says foreign direct investment could provide the capital necessary to improve public service

House bill simplifying passive income, financial taxes approved on 2nd reading

Sep 04, 2019 - 10:20 PM

The Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Tax Act (Pifita) bill is the 4th package of the Duterte administration's Comprehensive Tax Reform Program

Budget cuts may hurt DOLE programs for OFWs, displaced workers in 2020

Sep 04, 2019 - 4:55 PM

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III asks the House committee on appropriations for an additional P4 billion or P5 billion for his department next year

BUDGET WOES. The lower budget allocated for DOLE in 2020 may reduce the funds for on-site welfare services for overseas Filipino workers. File photo by Pat Nabong/Rappler

DOLE hit for lack of baseline data on contractual workers

Sep 04, 2019 - 3:42 PM

'In the absence of any data, mahirap masabi na 504,000 [regularized workers] is an accomplishment,' Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite tells the labor department

LACKING DATA. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III faces the House committee on appropriations on September 4, 2019. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Lawmakers want to increase tourism department's budget by P800 million

Sep 04, 2019 - 12:29 PM

The budget department has slashed to P3.8 billion the P4.3 billion originally proposed by the Department of Tourism mostly for its regional projects

MORE FUNDS. DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat's agency is strongly supported by lawmakers during its budget hearing in the House on September 4, 2019. February 2019. File photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Lakas-CMD recruits 2 new lawmakers, allies with 5 party-list groups

Sep 03, 2019 - 2:57 PM

Lakas-CMD will 'continue to strengthen our political influence nationwide,' says party president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez

GETTING STRONGER. Lakas-CMD president Martin Romualdez administers the oath of new members, Representatives Hector Sanchez and Wilter Wee Palma II. Lakas-CMD member Juan Miguel Arroyo witness the oath-taking. Photo courtesy Romualdez's office

All is well? Cayetano berates Ungab over 2020 budget row

Sep 02, 2019 - 10:00 PM

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano unsurprisingly takes the side of his ally and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte instead

SORTED OUT? House committee on appropriations chair Isidro Ungab (2nd from L) stands awkwardly with other House leaders after their meeting on September 2, 2019. Photo courtesy of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's office

House leaders say issues after withdrawal of 2020 budget already ‘sorted out’

Sep 02, 2019 - 8:52 PM

(UPDATED) Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano calls for a meeting among House leaders to resolve the clash between Representatives Isidro Ungab and Luis Raymund Villafuerte

'SORTED OUT.' (From L-R) Senior Deputy Majority Leader Boying Remulla, House appropriations panel chair Isidro Ungab, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, appropriations panel vice chairperson Elenita Ermita Buhain, Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, and Deputy Speaker Neptali Gonzales II. Photo courtesy of Cayetano's office

Ungab to Villafuerte: Bill withdrawal to 'definitely derail' 2020 budget passage

Sep 02, 2019 - 10:50 AM

Two factions of Duterte allies in the House of Representatives are now clashing over the proposed 2020 budget

CLASH OF DUTERTE ALLIES. House committee on appropriations chairperson Isidro Ungab opposes Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte's withdrawal of the 2020 budget bill from the plenary. Photo from Ungab's Facebook page

Smells like pork? ‘Premature’ 2020 budget bill withdrawn in House plenary

Sep 02, 2019 - 9:50 AM

Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate warns the withdrawal 'smells like the greasy patronage pork is being put into the oven'

BUDGET ISSUES. A top official in the House confirms withdrawing the 2020 budget bill from the plenary last week. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

House, Senate bills want President to appoint 'designated survivor'

Aug 29, 2019 - 1:30 PM

Quezon City 2nd District Representative Precious Hipolito Castelo and Senator Panfilo Lacson file versions of the bill in the 18th Congress

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. President Rodrig Duterte delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address at the BAtasang Pambansa on July 22, 2019. Photo by Simeon Celi Jr/Presidential Photo

Eddie Villanueva claims SOGIE bill 'threatens' freedoms of non-LGBTQ+

Aug 28, 2019 - 9:30 PM

'What happens to a Christian like me...if we are to be threatened by punishment every time we share our Bible-based beliefs on matters of transgenders and homosexuals?' asks Brother Eddie Villanueva

ANTI-SOGIE EQUALITY. CIBAC Representative and Brother Eddie Villanueva, founder of the Jesus Is Lord Church, is among the conservative members of the 18th Congress. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Lagman hits 'ballistic' Bong Go: I didn't even name you

Aug 28, 2019 - 2:38 PM

'Paucity of merit and reason cannot be concealed by unparliamentary language and malevolent innuendoes,' says Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman

CLAP BACK. Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman responds to Senator Bong Go's privilege speech against him. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Defending its budget, DPWH says 18 contractors blacklisted

Aug 27, 2019 - 7:35 PM

Despite the controversies hounding the DPWH budget, most of the questions of lawmakers during the budget hearing involved parochial concerns of their districts

'NO PORK.' DPWH Secretary Mark Villar defends his agency's proposed P543-billion budget for 2020 before the House committee on appropriations. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

House panel swiftly approves P673-million OVP budget for 2020

Aug 27, 2019 - 2:40 PM

An administration-allied legislator vows to further increase the budget of Vice President Leni Robredo's office 'in the proper time' to augment her anti-poverty projects

ANGAT BUHAY. Vice President Leni Robredo's flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay receives praises from a lawmaker during the budget hearing on August 27, 2019. File photo by Charlie Villegas/OVP

House probe sought to clarify provisions of GCTA law

Aug 27, 2019 - 10:06 AM

AKO Bicol Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr says the possible early release of rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez may set a precedent that may benefit others convicted of heinous crimes

THE CATALYST. Convicted former mayor of Calauan, Laguna Antonio Sanchez is seen inside the Maximum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on August 22, 2019. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Pernia to Congress: Pass 2020 budget on time to ensure economic growth

Aug 22, 2019 - 12:40 PM

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia also asks lawmakers to consider extending the validity of the 2019 budget

FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH. Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto Pernia urges Congress to pass the 2020 budget on time. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

House OKs bill increasing taxes on alcohol, e-cigarettes starting 2020

Aug 20, 2019 - 6:00 PM

The new sin tax bill is the first measure to have successfully hurdled the House in the 18th Congress

Cayetano will not tolerate 'parked' funds in 2020 budget

Aug 20, 2019 - 2:30 PM

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano notes that 'parking' of funds is 'a form of corruption'

'WALANG TAKIPAN.' Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano says he will fight against corruption in the 18th Congress. File photo by Jeff Digma/Rappler

2020 budget priorities: Infrastructure, social services, peace and security

Aug 20, 2019 - 1:40 PM

Under the proposed 2020 national budget, the Department of Education once again gets the lion's share with P673 billion

2020 BUDGET TURNOVER. (From L-R) House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, DBM Acting Secretary Wendel Avisado, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, House appropriations committee chair Isidro Ungab, House Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

House substitutes bill on alcohol tax hike to also include e-cigarette tax

Aug 14, 2019 - 10:25 PM

Just before it is approved on 2nd reading, the bill increasing taxes on alcoholic drinks is substituted with a new version that expands its coverage

Roman to LGBTQ+: 'Demand from gov't what is due us as human beings'

Aug 14, 2019 - 7:15 PM

Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman and the Makabayan bloc formally file a resolution seeking a probe into the harassment of trans woman Gretchen Custodio Diez

EQUALITY. LGBTQ+ rights advocates and Representatives Arlene Brosas (L) and Geraldine Roman (center) hold a press conference on August 14, 2019. Photo by Franz Lopez/Rappler

House panel OKs Trabaho bill

Aug 14, 2019 - 3:51 PM

House committee on ways and means chair Joey Salceda is expected to sponsor the Trabaho bill for 2nd reading on the same day his panel approves it

BUSINESSES. The Trabaho bill aims to reduce the corporate income tax rate from 30% to 20%. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Mindanao lawmakers file bill to compensate Marawi siege victims

Aug 13, 2019 - 6:10 PM

Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman says if passed into law, the House bill would grant P1,500 worth of compensation per square meter of a place of residence destroyed during the Marawi siege

RUINS. The main battle area of the Marawi siege remains in ruins two years later. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Around 50 lawmakers attend Lakas-CMD dinner at Arroyo's house

Aug 08, 2019 - 1:40 PM

While Lakas-CMD did not actively recruit members during the gathering, two lawmakers took their oath as new members of the party

LAKAS GETTING STRONGER. Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez (3rd from L) administer the oath of their new members Representatives Fredenil Castro (center) and Fidel Nograles (4th from R) on August 7, 2019. Photo from Romualdez's office

Party-list bloc conducts loyalty check in House

Aug 07, 2019 - 10:21 AM

The 54 party-list lawmakers issue a manifesto reaffirming their membership to their bloc after 12 of its members signed a coalition agreement with the National Unity Party

STILL 54-STRONG. Several members of the party-list coalition pose for a group photo after meeting on June 26, 2019 to settle an issue over the heated speakership race. File photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Belmonte defends opposition: Speaking the truth is not sedition

Aug 06, 2019 - 11:20 PM

'Last I checked, ang katotohanan ay katotohanan pa rin, at hindi inciting to sedition,' says Liberal Party secretary-general and House Deputy Minority Leader Kit Belmonte

TRUTH NOT SEDITION. Quezon City 6th District Representative Kit Belmonte defends Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition figures against the sedition complaint filed against them. File photo from Robredo's Facebook page

NUP doubles power in House after backing Cayetano for Speaker

Aug 06, 2019 - 6:11 PM

The National Unity Party is now the second biggest bloc in the House of Representatives

MORE POWERFUL. Members of the National Unity Party pose for a picture during their meeting on August 6, 2019. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

House wants to pass proposed 2020 budget by October

Aug 06, 2019 - 6:05 PM

'Mahirap magsalita nang tapos, but the target is efficiency, quality, yet faster,' says Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on the House's own deadline to pass the 2020 budget

NO MORE BUDGET DEADLOCK? Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano hopes the House will be able to pass the 2020 budget by October. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

House, Senate eye 'zero veto' in 18th Congress

Aug 06, 2019 - 11:01 AM

'Hopefully, we can avoid any possibility of a presidential veto by working closely with Cabinet members and Senate officials,' says House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez

ZERO VETO GOAL. Cabinet officials meet with Congress leaders on the Duterte administration's priority measures.  Credit Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s Facebook page

Despite Duterte veto, Makabayan bloc refiles anti-endo bill in House

Aug 05, 2019 - 5:35 PM

For the progressive lawmakers, President Rodrigo Duterte's veto 'reflected his true bias' and priority of business interests over workers' welfare

ENDING ENDO. (From L-R) Makabayan lawmakers Arlene Brosas, Eufemia Culamat, Ferdinand Gaite, Carlos Zarate, and Sarah Elago re-file the anti-endo bill on August 5, 2019. Photo from Makabayan

With Paolo Duterte in its ranks, NUP emerging as a force in House

Aug 05, 2019 - 3:15 PM

Following the presidential son's lead, more legislators are jumping ship to the National Unity Party, increasing its numbers in the House to 50

RISING FORCE. NUP stalwart and Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno and NUP deputy secretary-general Bryan Yamsuan hold a press conference on August 5, 2019. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

House committee on rules wants lawmakers to use tablets

Aug 01, 2019 - 1:26 PM

Senior Deputy Majority Leader Boying Remulla says the House would only spend P6 million to provide tablets for all 300 lawmakers, compared to the P9 million they spent last year on paper alone

NO MORE PAPER? The House committee on rues is out to reduce the paper consumption of lawmakers when deliberating bills and resolutions. File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Amid dengue outbreaks, Janette Garin wants Dengvaxia back in PH

Jul 31, 2019 - 6:03 PM

The former health secretary says the dengue outbreaks would not have happened had Dengvaxia, whose distribution she approved, not been banned in the country

BRING DENGVAXIA BACK? Iloilo 1st District Representative Janette Garin (center) still maintains the safety of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Paolo Duterte set to join National Unity Party

Jul 31, 2019 - 4:17 PM

(3rd UPDATE) The Davao City congressman is reportedly scheduled to take his oath as an NUP member on August 6

NEW NUP MEMBER? Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte is set to take his oath as NUP member next week. File photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Hontiveros 'too busy' preparing for 18th Congress to plot vs government

Jul 30, 2019 - 9:04 PM

'I really don't wish to dignify further 'yung charge batay dun sa taong iyan na zero credibility talaga,' says Senator Risa Hontiveros on the sedition complaint which was based on Peter Joemel 'Bikoy' Advincula's testimony

'TOO BUSY'. Senator Risa Hontiveros denies involvement in plotting against the government. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Teacher-lawmaker seeks 'substantial' salary hike for public school educators

Jul 30, 2019 - 5:51 PM

'Hindi mumo, hindi barya, kundi substantial, makatuwiran, at nakabubuhay na suweldo,' says ACT Teachers Representative France Castro

SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE. ACT Teachers Representative France Castro wants the entry-level salary for public school teachers be increased to P30,000. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

LIST: Business groups' wishes for 18th Congress

Jul 30, 2019 - 4:00 PM

Business groups submit their wish list to the 18th Congress, which includes reforms mostly on taxes, corporate structure and ownership, and government agencies