Velasco to back Duterte admin’s legislative agenda if elected speaker
MANILA, Philippines – Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday said he would support and push for the Duterte administration’s legislative agenda in the lower chamber of he is elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“Whatever the president would want to prioritize on,” Velasco said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel when asked about his agenda should he be the next Speaker.
“When I become speaker, I have a couple of agendas also on top of the legislative agenda of the President,” he added.
Priorities: Traffic, coco levy, federalism…
Under his leadership, he said the House will focus on the proposed Traffic Crisis Act, aimed at extending emergency powers to the executive department to fix traffic problems in the country.
Velasco said he would also look at the coco levy fund bill, which was earlier vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Next, I’m looking at the coco levy fund because it was vetoed. It is a fund worth around P100 billion. I have my own take on how to use that P100 billion,” the lawmaker said.
If President Duterte also wants to push for federalism in his last three years in office, Velasco said he will push for it in the House as Speaker.
“If indeed he still wants to push for federalism, let’s push for it. I really want the House to really study it whether it’s really good for the country or not,” the lawmaker said.
“If it is, then, I always vote for what’s good for the country,” he added.
Velasco, along with former Foreign Affairs Secretary and incoming Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, incoming Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, are among the contenders for House speaker.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpo earlier introduced Velasco as the “next speaker” during the campaign period.
No “zero budget”
If elected as speaker, Velasco vowed that none of his colleagues will have “zero budget.”
“My first promise to my colleagues: nobody will get a zero budget…I will not slash any budget that’s allotted to their districts,” he said.
He said he will protect the budget for the district of each congressman.
“I’m a district congressman, I know how important it is to have a budget for my district because each district has its own needs so definitely I have to protect the budget for each district of each congressman,” Velasco added.
Velasco said the term limits of for congressmen and other public officials are among the things he wants changed in the Constitution.
“Honestly, I want to change the term limits of congressmen and the public officials,” he said when asked which parts of the Constitution he wants changed.
At present, a congressman is allowed to run for three consecutive three-year terms.
But Velasco wants to extend the three-year term to four to five years, with only one re-election.
“We have to discuss a lot to do it but definitely I want to increase the number of years that a certain public official sits in office,” Velasco said.
No to term sharing
Meanwhile, he said “term sharing” for the Speakership will not be “good” for the House of Representatives.
“Honestly, if I were given a choice, I don’t think it’s good for Congress to have a term sharing,” Velasco said.
“You’re talking about the speakership, which has three years and then you’re gonna cut it in one year and a half and then you’re gonna change. I think that’s going to affect Congress a lot,” the lawmaker added.
“With the term sharing, in the middle of the term you have to change the composition of all the committees based on what the new Speaker wants so true enough, there’s never going to be stability in the Congress,” he pointed out. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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