House to get busy in last session days

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

THE leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is committed to passing  more pending legislative bills, hoping to muster enough quorum in the remaining nine session days as the outgoing 17th Congress returns to work this Monday after the midterm polls, a House leader said Sunday.

“We are committed to approve more pending measures for as long we can muster a quorum,” said House Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fred Castro.

The 17th Congress has until June 7 to hold session, but is expected to adjourn sine die on June 5.
Leyte first district Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez reiterated her appeal for the Senate to pass the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) in the remaining nine-session days of the outgoing 17th Congress that will resume this Monday.

With the series of earthquakes that have rocked the country recently, Romualdez, the chairperson of the House Committee on Accounts, underscored the importance of approving the measure before closing the 17th Congress this June.

“I hope that our good senators will include the approval of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience in their agenda,” said Romualdez, one of the principal sponsors of the DDR measure that the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading last year. “This would help drastically reduce, if not totally eliminate, the bureaucratic red tape that has caused many delays in the delivery of immediate assistance needed by disaster and calamity victims,” The DDR guarantees a unity of command, science-based approach, and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters.

House Assistant Majority Leader Bernadette Herrera-Dy echoed Castro’s and Romualdez’s position.

“If the Senate is able to approve some of those bills, the House would swiftly act on them so they can be sent to Malacanang at the soonest,” said Herrera-Dy.

House Assistant Majority Leader Michael Romero expressed hope that Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Magna Carta for the Poor bill will be signed into law by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.

“Working with our colleagues in the House and the Senate, we placed our mark in these three significant pieces of legislation, especially the two anti-poverty measures wherein we pushed for systems, processes, standards, and funding meant to make government implement its social programs better than ever before,” said Romero.

Some of the bills that were already approved on second reading and may be approved on third and final reading include House Bill (HB) No. 8909 or “An Act Strengthening Drug Prevention And Control, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 9165, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act Of 2002”; HB No. 9025 or “An Act Creating The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Sovereign Fund”; HB No. 9061 or “An Act Encouraging Corporate Social Responsibility, Providing Incentives Thereof”; HB 9051 or “An Act Reorganizing The Cooperative Development Authority”; HB 9023 or “An Act Strengthening The Polytechnic University Of The Philippines By Declaring It As The National Polytechnic University , And Appropriating Funds Therefor”; HB 6138 or “An Act Granting Travel Tax Exemption To Dependents Of Married Or Solo Parent Overseas Filipino Workers”; and adoption of House Resolution (HR) No. 1855 or “Resolution Expressing The Sense Of The House Of Representatives On The Need To Convene The National Security Council In Order That A National Policy On The West Philippine Sea May Be Formulated And Defined.”

Before Congress went on a break, the House of Representatives passed and endorsed for Senate approval the necessary legislative measures which are vital to “uplift the lives of the people, ensure peace and order in the country, strengthen the campaign against drugs, provide more jobs to the people, lure more investments and enhance national development.”

The following are some of the legislative bills that were approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading and sent to the Senate: the Security of Tenure Act, Trabaho Bill or TRAIN 2, Mining Taxes, Alcohol Taxes, Tobacco Taxes and revision of the Constitution; HB No. 8858 or a measure amending The Juvenile Justice And Welfare Act Of 2005”; HB No. 8837 or an act “Creating The National Commission Of Senior Citizens, and HB No. 8961 or “An Act Mandating The Institutionalization, Development, Training, Organization And Administration Of Basic Reserve Officers Training Corps (Rotc) In Grades 11 And 12 In Public And Private Educational Institutions are also pending in the Senate.