Speaker asked governor to amend RISE Act via executive order but no response

Speaker Therese Terlaje (PNC file photo)

With all the problems arising from the RISE Act, Speaker Therese Terlaje said she asked Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to issue an executive order to address the issues.

But so far, the Speaker said Adelup has not responded.

“The governor should immediately remove the barriers to the All-RISE application by executive order and make payments immediately. I have repeatedly asked the Governor and Acting Governor to do this. They amended the RISE Act through executive order. They can amend their All-RISE program through executive order,” the Speaker said.

Senator James Moylan had asked both the Governor and the Speaker to hold a special emergency session to address the problems in the All RISE Act.

Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. also wrote to the governor expressing his support for Moylan’s request that she exercise her Organic Act authority to convene a legislative session to address the expedient and simplified release of payments through the All RISE Act.

“The Governor allowed the legislation for the measure to lapse into law in January and expanded the eligibility pool in May because she felt that aid to more families was best for the financial well-being of our community. I agree with her and now ask her to recognize the urgency in putting it into the hands of the people,” Blas said.

Blas added: “In support of my colleague’s request, I hope that the Governor recognizes that there are thousands of people who could really use that money right now. Many people have expressed to me their discontent and frustration with the timeliness of aid and assistance from the government, and this is one of the reasons why I join Senator Moylan in finding a means to move this expeditiously along,” Blas said.

But the governor, during her news conference last week, said there was no emergency situation and that Moylan was just playing politics.

Speaker Terlaje, on the other hand, said that she shares Moylan’s concerns regarding the delay in the RISE payments and the long lines and difficulties that the community is facing regarding the requirements for the RISE Act.

“However, I have consulted with legislative counsel and I do not think I can certify an emergency involving danger to public health and safety that Bill No. 75-36 (COR) would immediately remedy. I have asked Senator San Agustin to have a public hearing on Bill No. 75-36 (COR) as soon as possible … I have also reiterated your request to the Governor to remove the impediments by Executive Order so that the Department of Revenue and Taxation can implement the program with minimal documentation,” Terlaje wrote in a letter to Moylan.

The Speaker has also introduced a bill, which she says would more directly remedy the concerning provisions of the RISE Act and facilitate immediate payment.

“The community’s needs are urgent. Currently, applicants for the All-RISE payments, including manåmko and persons with disabilities, are congregating in long lines for mayor’s verifications and the Department of Revenue and Taxation has not begun accepting applications. I had requested the Governor to remedy this situation through Executive Order but no remedy has been made as of this writing. Refusal by the Governor to remove the impediments by Executive Order and make immediate payments ignores the urgent needs of the community,” Terlaje said.

She said this is the reason why she introduced Bill 164-36 (COR) to increase the payouts, remove the cap on funding, and waive the need for mayor’s office verifications.

“I introduced Bill 164-36(COR) to address these things due to the lack of action by the Governor. A public hearing is set for Thursday, July 29, 2021 at 9 am,” the Speaker said.