Creation of 3 new dep’ts house priority

January 19, 2020
Martin Romualdez

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez yesterday said the House of Representatives will expedite the passage of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s priority measures, including bills creating the Departments of Filipinos Overseas (DFO), Water Resources (DWR) and Disaster Resilience (DDR).

Acting on Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s instructions, Romualdez, the chairman of the House Committee on Rules, said the House aims to pass the three measures creating the DFO, DWR, and DDR before the next Congress adjournment in March.

“We aim to hit the ground running when session resumes on Monday (January 20). Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time on vital legislative measures. The Speaker made a clear instruction to pass these bills. No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself called on Congress to work on these measures during his fourth State of the Nation Address last July,” said Romualdez, President of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).

Romualdez, a lawyer, said the House of Representatives would vote on third and final reading other vital measures that the House of Representatives has already approved on second reading.

“This includes House Bill No. 5673 which authorizes the Department of Health to set and approve the bed capacity and service capability of all DOH-retained hospitals in all parts of the country,” said Romualdez.

“We hope to vote soon for second reading approval the proposed law creating the Department of Filipinos Overseas and Foreign Employment to keep an eye on the safety and protection of overseas Filipinos, including seafarers and household service workers, Department of Disaster Resilience to create a primary agency responsible for leading the national effort before, during and after disasters, the Department of Water Resources to avert water crisis, and other bills,” said Romualdez.

Romualdez vowed to work harder this year for another House of Representatives’ remarkable performance by approving President Duterte’s legislative agenda aimed at making the life of Filipinos more comfortable.

Romualdez said lawmakers are inspired to perform even better and accomplish more after Speaker Cayetano got a very impressive 80 percent approval rating last December from 64 percent last September and 76 percent trust rating compared to his 62 percent in the third quarter Pulse Asia survey.

“We are committed and inspired to work harder, smarter and more efficiently this year,” said Romualdez.

DFO is now being deliberated on in the plenary while the House Committee on Appropriations chaired by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab is scheduled to approve the budget component of DDR on Wednesday.

The House Committees on Government Reorganization and on Disaster Management last November 20 approved the substitute bill consolidating all DDR measures.

On November 25, 2019, the House Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda passed the DDR bill.

The Salceda panel granted exemption from taxes, import duties and donor’s tax on foreign donations, and goods and services donated from abroad under DDR.

Also last year, House Committees on Government Reorganization and on Public Works and Highways and on Ways and Means approved DWR that would ensure reliable, safe, quality and affordable water supply for all.

Before the Christmas break, Romualdez said the House processed a total of 900 measures or an average of 28 measures per day during the 32 session days.

From July 22 to December 18, 2019, Romualdez said the House of Representatives received a total of 6,562 measures and 186 committee reports.

Of these, Romualdez said, 5,889 are bills and 673 are resolutions.