Bane of new laws without funds

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    CONGRESS passes bills with good intentions, then the President signs them into laws. However lofty the purpose or imperative their indispensability, laws are as good only as the way they are implemented. Unfortunately, many legislation cannot see the light of implementation because of lack of funds.

    One grand example is the Universal Health Care Law, which can draw from the P255 billion allotted by the government for its first year of implementation. Implementation in the succeeding years will depend on new taxes.

    For sure, the Duterte administration will find ways to ensure that the Universal Health Care Law is funded, even to the extent of imposing controversial taxes such as those on e-cigarettes and vapes, classifying these as “sin” products such as alcohol and regular cigarettes.

    There are, however, new laws which perhaps are not as important as the Universal Health Care Law but were passed by Congress and signed by President Duterte, and needing the same fund support from the government.

    These are Republic Acts 11194, 11230, 11459, 11293 and 11036. These new laws are about various concerns, and are important, too. The first is about the conservation of the Gabaldon school buildings. The second is the “Tulong Trabaho Act” which mandates Tesda to provide free access to technical vocational education and training particularly for the out-of-school youth and the unemployed.

    The third is the “Judges-at-Large Act” which creates the positions for 50 judges-at-large – 30 in the regional trial courts and 20 in the metropolitan trial courts. The fourth is “Philippine Innovation Act” which pushes technical advancement to enhance the competitiveness of the Philippine economy, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises. The Neda is at the forefront of implementing this law.

    The fifth and last is the “Mental Health Act” which provides, among others, for the establishment of a mental health hotline to prevent a possible crisis on mental health especially among Filipino children and young adults.

    Even a cursory perusal of this list of new laws will show that all these are equally important. The services to be rendered by concerned agencies through these laws are absolutely necessary.

    Our senators and congressmen should then make sure that these laws are funded under the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.