Economic bills await Duterte okay

February 13, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte

ECONOMIC bills passed by Congress have yet to be enacted by President Rodrigo Duterte, including those that would liberalize rice trading and extend paid maternity leave of female employees.

Under the Constitution, any bill that is neither signed nor vetoed by the President automatically lapses into law 30 days after it was forwarded by Congress.

The bill which removes quantitative restrictions on rice importation is set to lapse into law on Friday, if Duterte decides not to take any action on it.

Palace reporters on Tuesday inquired about the status of the bill with presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo who said he had no information yet.

The expanded maternity bill grants additional maternity leave benefits to all female workers regardless of civil status or the legitimacy of the child, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.

From the current 60 days, working women will enjoy 105 days of maternity leave with full pay and an option to be extended for another 30 days without pay.

In a statement early this month, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III tagged the bill as “priority legislation” of the Labor department.

The proposed measure was reviewed by concerned government agencies, including the tripartite council.
“We exerted efforts on this and I have high hopes it is signed by the President very soon,” Bello said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said the non-economic bill seeking to protect women from catcalling and other forms of street-based harassment is also awaiting the President’s action.

Congress had also ratified the bills increasing the capitalization of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) from P50 billion to P200 billion and allowing a one-person corporation, removing the minimum capital requirement and providing for perpetual existence of corporations.

Also ratified was the bill seeking a general tax amnesty for all unpaid tax obligations, including estate taxes, general taxes, and delinquent accounts due for taxable year 2017 and prior years.

Malacañang has yet to release the exact number of bills awaiting Duterte’s signature.