Press Release
March 5, 2018

Explanation of Vote
First 1,000 Days

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto
05 March 2018

Mr. President:

There is a saying that in making laws, it is the politicians who write the bill, but it is the people who foot the bill.

Campaign promises are free; redeeming them is what is costly. Lawmakers get the credit, but it is the taxpayers who raise the cash.

Yes, the Senate may be a fountainhead of brilliant ideas, but it does not, however, print cash.

While our proposals to end the many ills of our nation are infinite, they are limited only by our people's capacity to finance them.

It is for this reason, Mr. President, that I am no fan of "Noah's Ark" type of lawmaking: in which we fill a bill to the brim with provisions, in the false belief that many is meritorious, forgetting that bills are like boats, which must be fiscally buoyant, or they sink under the weight of their own unfunded mandates.

This bill, Mr. President, in my view, is fiscally responsible. It redeems what we have promised our children, without creating IOUs they will pay.

While the list of the programs this bill mandates is long, the cost of doing them is low.

Our projection is that on its first year of implementation, this proposed law will require an additional P6 to P7 billion, or about six to seven weeks of soda tax collections.

Doon po kasi sa tinatayang P16 to P17 billion na total budget ng 1,000 Days Program, mga P10 billion ay kasalukuyang may pondo na.

Ganoon pa man, milyun-milyong mga nanay at bata ang makikinabang.

Let me go briefly into what this bill will provide them, which is not even tallied in the fine print of this bill. Bills are like food--to appreciate them, we should read beyond the label.

It will provide nutritional supplement to 650,000 high-risk women and 300,000 babies from poor families annually.

It will administer Vitamin A drops to almost 3.3 million 6-to- 23-month old infants.

It will give iron tablets to 3.8 million pregnant women and half-a-million babies.

It will vaccinate 2.7 million one-year-old and below babies against Hepatitis B, Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

It will inoculate 2.7 million pregnant women against Tetanus and Diptheria.

It will deworm 3.7 children below 2 years of age, plus girls 10 to 18 years of age.

It will provide Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines to 1.4 million children 1 year old and below.

It will nutritionally fortify 4 million metric tons of flour, and ensure that 50 million Filipinos will have access to iodized salt.

These are just a few of the commodity deliverables. Equally important are provisions that will train, empower, and orient government agencies on the mainstreaming of the 1,000 Days template in their programs.

We are also relaxing procurement rules because it has been proven that underspending by the government leads to undernutrition of children.

Pati po promotion of breast-feeding kasama po dito, kasi the best milk comes in natural containers.

Subalit ang pinakamahalaga sa lahat, this bill will address the problem of undernutrition, which comes in many forms: stunting, wasting and underweight.

While the rest of the world is growing taller, so to speak, the Philippines will remain stunted if we do not act fast to solve undernutrition--which will prove costlier to society in terms of loss of productivity, than the P17 billion budget it will entail to implement this 1,000 days program.

On that happy note, Mr. President, let me register my yes vote.

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