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  • Congress to probe water shortage Lawmakers called for a thorough investigation of the water crisis currently affecting residents in Metro Manila and Rizal. Senate President Vicente Sotto III said there is a need to conduct an inquiry into the water shortage that he believes could have been minimized or even prevented had the proper agencies and private concessionaires acted promptly. He said he would instruct the appropriate Senate committee to conduct the investigation. The House of Representatives is conducting its own inquiry into the water supply problem in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo, who chairs the committee on Metro Manila development, last night said his panel and the committee on housing headed by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez would hold a joint hearing. The two panels have sent invitations to Manila Water and Maynilad as well as the National Water Regulatory Board (NWRB).
  • Budget delay to cut growth to 8-yr low Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Ernesto Pernia said that if Congress could not pass the P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget and instead keep on operating with the reenacted appropriations, gross domestic product (GDP) could grow by only 4.2-4.9%. The NEDA’s projected GDP growth range if the reenacted budget would extend until August is 4.9-5.1%. But if the budget impasse ends next month, economic expansion will be 6.1-6.3%, still below the government’s 7-8% target range and possibly match last year’s 6.2%. Sec. Pernia said the reenacted budget was not only delaying ongoing and new infrastructure projects but also the delivery of social services such as the unconditional cash transfer and Pantawid Pasada programs for indigent households and public utility vehicle drivers, respectively, affected by the higher excise taxes slapped under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.

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