AS the House of Representatives opens session on Monday, seven priority bills of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco will be up for swift approval.
This is according to Majority Leader and House committee on rules chairman Martin Romualdez citing Rule 10 Section 48 of the House of Representatives.
Rule 10 Section 48, Romualdez said, authorizes the committees to dispose of priority measures already filed and approved on third reading in the immediately preceding Congress.
“We discussed ways on how to expedite the approval of pending legislative measures in compliance with Speaker Velasco’s directive to hit the ground running,” Romualdez said.
“The concerned committees for these measures may meet for just one hearing and immediately refer the committee reports for plenary deliberation by invoking Section 48 of the House rules,” Romualdez added.
Rule 10 Section 48 provides that: “In case of bills or resolutions that are identified as priority measures of the House, which were previously filed in the immediately preceding Congress and have already been approved on third reading, the same may be disposed of as matters already reported upon the approval of majority of the members of the committee present, there being a quorum.”
The seven priority measures of Speaker Velasco pending in various stages of deliberation include 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.
Speaker Velasco 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.
Earlier, Romualdez forwarded an initial list of anti-corruption bills to Speaker Velasco for possible inclusion in the House legislative agenda to boost President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s campaign against corruption in the government.
Both Velasco and Romualdez earlier vowed to heed the directive of President Duterte to intensify efforts against corruption in the government.
The five measures are: Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero’s House Bill (HB) No. 7230 which seeks to augment the financial resources of the Office of the Ombudsman by giving it a 30 percent share in any property forfeited in favor of the State under Republic Act (RA) No. 139, otherwise known as the Forfeiture Law; HB Nos. 581 and 6003 which requires the inclusion of anti-corruption and governance education in the basic education and higher education curriculum, respectively, and both filed by CIBAC party-list Reps. Eduardo Villanueva and Domingo Rivera; Cavite Rep. Francis Abaya’s HB No. 967 which seeks to provide protection and benefits to persons who would report corrupt officials and would serve as witnesses for their prosecution; and HB No. 579 which seeks to create the National Independent Commission Against Corruption (NICAC) as an attached agency of the Office of the Ombudsman, also filed by Villanueva and Rivera.
Likewise, Romualdez said the House leadership included 12 economic measures in the list of bills prioritized for floor and committee deliberations to help the Duterte administration jumpstart the economy and cushion the impact of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic on the livelihood of ordinary Filipinos.
The Majority Leader noted that the 12 economic measures are what remain of a total of 22 bills that were endorsed as priority measures by the country’s economic managers to the 18th Congress.