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Bayan bago sarili: Hontiveros appeals to lawmakers not to support ‘no-el’

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Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday appealed to fellow legislators to put the welfare of the people above their personal interests, such as term extension.

She made the remark amid the proposal being floated by House Speaker Bebot Alvarez to cancel the mid-term elections in 2019 to allow lawmakers focus on charter change (Chacha) deliberations.

“P’wede bang mamamayan muna bago ambisyon? We, legislators, should set our priorities straight,” Hontiveros said.

“What needs to be cancelled is not the midterm elections but the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act,” she said.

She said that the proposal to postpone the 2019 midterm elections supposedly to give lawmakers enough time to tackle and pass a law to shift to federalism and to tackle pending major bills like the 2019 national budget “is farcical.”

Instead of advancing “narrow political interests such as prolonging terms of public office through an unnecessary postponement of elections, what Congress needs to do is protect the people’s economic rights and welfare,” she said.

“Also, postponing the elections to give way to deliberations on federalism is a great disservice to the proposed new system of governance,” Hontiveros said.

“Was that what the President’s federalism was all about all along? Prolong the term limits of his political allies?” the opposition senator said.

She challenged fellow lawmakers to join her in pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1671, or the “Bawas VAT” bill, to provide relief “for the lower economic deciles of the population affected by the TRAIN law by lowering the existing VAT (value added tax) rate to 10% from the current 12%.”