THE House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, will continue to work double time in passing President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s legislative agenda and pursue economic reforms that would ensure a sustained campaign to defeat the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez said on Sunday.
Romualdez, chairman of the House Committee on Rules, said the House leadership will work on the immediate approval of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) and Amendments to Republic Act (RA) No. 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001 in the bicameral conference committee.
“These (AMLA amendments and CREATE) are administration measures which the Department of Finance classified as vital for our economic recovery program. We are going to harmonize immediately the differences between the Senate and the House versions during the bicameral conferences,” said Romualdez as session resumes this Monday.
Once enacted into law, Romualdez said “the CREATE bill will definitely provide businesses, particularly micro- small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with one of the largest economic stimulus measures in the country’s history to help them recover from the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The AMLA amendments, on the other hand, need to be passed before February for the Philippines to avoid being included in the Financial Action Task Force’s so-called gray list. This measure seeks to address the deficiencies in the anti-money laundering law and to implement regulations that will improve efforts to curb terrorist financing,” Romualdez said.
“I thank our senators for working double time to ensure prompt action on these vital measures. We need all these laws if we are to bounce back from the economic ravages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
CREATE is now pending in the bicameral conference committee while AMLA amendments were approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading last December.
Romualdez said the House is scheduled to approve on third and final reading HB 08097 or the Additional Benefits for Solo Parents, which is part of President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address’ (SONA) priority measures.
Also pending for third reading approval, according to Romualdez, are proposed laws Instituting the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers and Extending the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate.
HB 07814 or Strengthening Drug Prevention and Control is now under period of sponsorship, he said.
Romualdez said the House of Representatives already transmitted to the Senate the following SONA priority measures: HB 00304 or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation (PIFITA) Act; HB 04664 or the Real Property Valuation Assessment; HB 06134 or Mandating Banking Institutions to Strengthen the Financing System for Agricultural, Fisheries and Rural Development in the Philippines; HB 00078 or the Public Service Act Amendments; HB 05832 or the Department of Filipinos Overseas and Foreign Employment (DFOFE) Act; HB 05989 or the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR); HB 07406 or the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act; and HB 07805 or the Internet Transaction Act/E Commerce Law.
Last December, the House of Representatives ratified HB 06816 or the Financial Institution Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act and adopted a Senate bill under HB 08136 or the Coconut Farmers Trust Fund Bill or Coco Levy. The two measures are also among the SONA priority measures.
ECONOMIC CHARTER CHANGE
Romualdez also reaffirmed his commitment to advance the constitutional reforms that Velasco revived in order to sustain the country’s economic growth.
He added the push for Charter change (Cha-cha) campaign of the Velasco leadership would complement the Duterte administration’s initiatives to accelerate economic growth.
“We will keep our dedication, commitment, passion and the flame burning in pursuing Charter change until we reap the real benefits of genuine constitutional reforms for our children and the succeeding generations,” said Romualdez. “We need to create opportunities and for strong economic growth to be felt also by ordinary people.”