Lray claims credit too for BMC bill approval

NAGA CITY --- Congressman Gabby Bordado should give credit where it is due. He cannot claim that he is the sole author of the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) Modernization Act and the one who pushed for it’s passage, Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. Lray Villafuerte said in his Facebook (FB) post on Saturday, Mar. 14.

Villafuerte’s beef against Bordado was about the latter’s FB post on Mar. 10 where he announced that the Senate has finally approved the BMC Modernization Bill.

“Thank God! Thank you, INA! Yesterday afternoon, while I was delivering my privilege speech on the ASF and COVID-19 at the House plenary, the Senate approved, on third and final reading, its counterpart of my bill (filed by Sen. Kiko Pangilinan before the Senate Health Committee led by Sen. Bong Go) increasing the bed capacity of the BMC from 500 beds to 1000 beds, upgrading its service facilities and professional health care services, authorizing the increase in its work force complement, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 8053, and appropriating funds therefor,” Bordado’s said in his FB post.

For his part, Villafuerte, in his FB post, said he is “happy, proud and honored to announce that the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) Modernization Act (is) already approved in the Senate and will soon be signed into Law.”

“Just to set the record straight, I’m one of the principal author of this measure. Hinde lang po si Cong Gabby Bordado ang author nito. What is more important asin para sa kaaraman kan gabos, ako po ang nag tulak para mapasa ito. Ako po ang nag move for immediate approval sa commitee level, ako rin po ang nag tulak and follow up ki Sen. Bong Go na chairman ng Health commitee at kaibigan ko para ma fast track and ma approve ASAP sa Senado,” he said.

Villafuerte said Bordado “cannot claim he was the prime mover of this bill because he is a member of the minority with only 26 members. Hinde ka makakapasa ng panukala with only 26 members. I’m the deputy speaker of over 260 members of the majority kaya napasa yan, you need a majority vote and support to pass a bill.”

He said that as deputy speaker of Finance, he will make sure that funds are allocated to implement the modernization of the BMC.

“I’m committed to do this. Modesty aside, Cong Gabby Bordado is not in a position to do this being a member of the minority, hinde sya kakampi ng administration. And marami na din batas napasa na hangggang ngayon wala pa rin pondo. Pwede araw araw mag announce si Cong Bordado sya ang author ng BMC modernization but tanungin nyo sya kung meron na pondo at appropriation ito and kung kaya nya mapondohan ito,” Villafuerte said.

He further said that “Bordado should acknowledge all my efforts starting from the approval of the bill on the committee which I sponsored , which is on record. Nag pasalamat sya sa akin then but he should acknowledge me publicly instead of claiming solo credit .

When asked for his reactions to Villafuerte’s statements, Bordado said that in the past weeks, he just focused on his version of HB No. 831, resulting into what he claimed to be a paucity in communication. “I do consider Deputy Speaker Villafuerte also as a principal author of the consolidated version of HB No. 831, as spelled out in House Committee Report No. 100. I thank him for his help to ensure the passage of the bill. I am willing to work with the deputy speaker to make certain that funds will be appropriated for the BMC once President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs it into a law.”

Bordado explained that on Sept. 21, 2018 during the 17th Congress, he filed HB No. 8276, the same version of HB 831, which was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives.

“Unfortunately, it reached the Senate a couple of days before the congressional break, making it virtually impossible to be tackled there. So it is not true that nothing happened to HB No. 8276,” he said.

And because HB No. 8276 was approved on the third and final reading in the 17th Congress, the approval of its refiled version, HB No. 831, was on a fast-track mode in the 18th Congress, Bordado added

He said he presented House Bill No. 831 at the Senate on Feb. 12, 2020 with BMC chief Dr. Francisco Sales III to give support and answer questions.

Research conducted by Bicol Mail showed that Bordado filed on July 1, 2019 during the current 18th Congress House Bill (HB)No. 831 or “An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of the BMC from 500 Beds to 1,000 Beds, Upgrading is Service Facilities and Professional Health Care Services, Authorizing the Increase of its Medical Workforce Complement, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 8053, and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

Villafuerte, for his part, filed on July 17, 2019 HB No. 2244 or “An Act to Modernize the Facilities, Equipment and Manpower Complement of the BMC in Naga City, Province of Camarines Sur and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

In the House Committee Report No. 100 submitted by the House Committees on Health, and Appropriations on Nov. 27, 2019, Villafuerte’s HB 2244 was consolidated with Bordado’s HB No. 831, and recommended for approval with amendments.

The sponsors of the consolidated bill were Bordado, Villafuerte, Reps. Angelina D.L. Tan, M.D., and Isidro T. Ungab.

The Senate version of the measure, Senate Bill No. 640 was sponsored by Sen. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan.

In the Senate Committee Report No. 57, Senate Bill No. 640, taking into consideration HB No. 831, was recommended for approval by the Committee on Health and Demography chaired by Sen. Bong Go, and Committee on Finance headed by Pangilinan on Mar. 2, 2020.

In the same FB post, Villafuerte also slammed Rep. Marissa Andaya (1st Disitric, Camarines Sur) and Rep. Arnie Fuentebella (4th Distric, Camarines Sur) for not contributing anything to the passage of the BMC bill. “What is more important is for the people to ask the congressional representatives of 1st and 4th districts of Camarines Sur. Where are they? What did they do to help pass this bill? They did not even serve as co-authors of the bill. Are their constituents not benefiting from BMC? Now the people know that they are not doing anything in the House of Representatives. They are always absent and in the lounge eating,” Villafuerte’s FB post said.

Bicol Mail tried to get the reactions of the two Camarines Sur solons on Villafuerte’s accusations, however, as of press time, efforts to reach the duo proved futile.