AS the House of Representatives opens its session today, the leadership will start working double time to pass the priority measures endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Under Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, the House will prioritize legislative measures that aim at strengthening the country’s economy, protecting Filipinos from the coronavirus disease COVID-19) pandemic and helping them cope with the recent calamities.
“We go back to work Monday with a full plate of priority bills scheduled for plenary and committee deliberation. Speaker Lord Allan Velasco wants to place on the front burner all economic and anti-poverty measures so we can approve the President’s priority measures before the onset of the election season next year,” Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said.
“We are also considering filing and expediting the approval of a bill that would extend the validity of the Bayanihan 2 bill to enable the national government to complete the release of our P140-billion response to the coronavirus pandemic even after the end of year 2020,” Romualdez added.
Included in the list of priority economic measures for plenary interpellations are House Bill (HB) No. 7904 or Amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, HB 7749 or the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE), HB 7425 or the Digital Transactions Value Added Tax, HB 7406 or Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Program, HB 6135 or Fiscal Mining Regime, and HB 7425 or Internet Transactions Act/E-Commerce Law.
Meanwhile, pending before the committees are Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) Services Separation, Retirement, and Pension Bill; Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Bill; Coconut Farmers Trust Fund Bill; Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission Bill; Warehouse Receipts Bill; National Disease Prevention and Management Authority Bill; and the National Land Use Bill.
Romualdez said these bills are among the legislative imperatives needed to help ensure that the economy recovers quickly from the corona-induced crisis in a strong, sustainable, and resilient manner.
On top of these priorities is the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act, which the House expects to ratify as soon as both chambers agreereconcile the conflicting provisions in a bicameral conference, Romualdez said.
The SONA priorities include the National Disease Prevention Management Authority, Evacuation Centers Bill, Assignment of Health Workers in all Barangays, Additional Benefits for Solo Parents, Magna Carta for Barangay, Restoration of Death Penalty for Plunder and Heinous Crimes related to drug, Modernization of the Bureau of immigration, Rental Housing Subsidy Bill, National Housing Development Bill, Medical Reserve Corps, Advance Nursing Education Act, Boracay Island Authority, and Amendments to Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016.
Earlier, Romualdez said Speaker Velasco, himself, has identified seven legislative measures that he wishes to be prioritized for deliberation by the various House committees.
These are the Coconut Levy Fund, National Land Use Act, Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps or ROTC, Rightsizing the National Government, Right to Adequate Food, Anti-Ethnic, Racial and Religious Discrimination Act, and On-Site, In-City Near City Local Government Resettlement Program.
Romualdez said the Speaker is also eyeing the immediate approval of the following proposals as his priority bills: Ordaining the Development of the Downstream Natural Gas Industry, Internet Transaction Act, Military Uniformed Personnel (MUP) Pension Fund, Magna Carta for Barangays, Amendments to the Revised Penal Code, Amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act, Marinduque Special Economic Zone Act, Marinduque Sports Academy and Training Center Act, and Bisekleta Para sa Kinabukasan Act.