WHILE PLANNING TO BE IN LAS Vegas by Nov. 14 to watch Manny Pacquiao?s latest fight with ringside seats no less, Speaker Prospero Nograles said the House of Representatives is sure to pass the 2010 budget on third and final reading when the session resumes this week.
The House is also expected to pass on second reading the contentious right of reply bill and the reproductive health bill.
Nograles said Saturday the House would do its part in preventing a reenacted budget and ensuring the passage of the P1.54-trillion national budget for 2010, which is not only an election year but one where the country expects to rebuild after the massive beating it got from natural calamities.
?We cannot afford a reenacted budget. We need to be guided by a national recovery budget that is focused, among others, on education, health and human resource mobilization, information technology, infrastructure and investment development, industries and jobs promotion, and environment protection,? he said in a statement.
Congress only has a few session weeks left before it adjourns in February and the campaign period starts for the 2010 elections. Many bills, however, are still pending approval.
Mustering a quorum had been a problem in the House, especially in the last few months as many lawmakers were reportedly in their districts working on their reelection plans.
The problem could be compounded by Pacquiao?s latest fight with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto. According to reports, about 20 lawmakers would be watching the fight in Las Vegas?ringside.
Nograles himself is expected to be at the match.
Earlier, the Speaker said he had never missed a Pacquiao fight, being an ardent supporter of the boxing icon as they are both from Mindanao.
On top of the House agenda when the session resumes are the passage on third reading of the Magna Carta of the Poor and the law on the exchange of information on tax matters.
Also on the list are: A bill to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, a measure to give compensation to human rights victims, a proposal to enhance the use of English as a medium of instruction, and a bill to strengthen the antimoney laundering law.
The reproductive health bill, which seeks to promote both natural and artificial birth control methods through government programs, has been the subject of plenary deliberations for many months and remains as contentious as ever.
The Catholic Church is staunchly opposed to the measure since it believes that contraceptives would induce abortion, an argument denied by the bill?s proponents.
The right of reply bill, on the other hand, is being opposed by media groups that see it as an intrusion into press freedom.