Senate to prioritize economic recovery bills
In his address at the opening of the second regular session of Congress, Sotto called on Filipinos to remain strong and join hands in fighting the crisis as he pledged that the Senate “will fight for and in behalf of the Filipino people” while the world waits for a vaccine.
STAR/File
Senate to prioritize economic recovery bills
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will prioritize the passage of measures aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19, assisting the distressed and reviving the economy even as the chamber is “ready to do more” in addressing the effects of the pandemic, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said yesterday.

In his address at the opening of the second regular session of Congress, Sotto called on Filipinos to remain strong and join hands in fighting the crisis as he pledged that the Senate “will fight for and in behalf of the Filipino people” while the world waits for a vaccine.

“The travails brought about by the COVID pandemic apply to us all. Since we are all affected, therefore, the resolution to the problem must reside in each and every one of us. In this moment of crisis, our survival depends on how strong we fight this crisis together,” Sotto said.

The Senate’s legislative work, he added, would focus on five key areas: the digital landscape, distance learning, public transport system, encouraging new businesses and support for the arts.

Sotto said that for as long as the pandemic remains uncontrolled, there will be a need to upgrade and improve the digital highway in support of various communication and online transactional needs.

He also said the Senate would help the education sector migrate to more plausible learning platforms, noting that the country must not neglect a generation of young people who would otherwise be deprived of advancing in their studies as families continue in isolation.

In order to help revive the economy, the chamber will craft policies to have a safe, efficient and dependable public transport system that will ferry workers so industries may again produce goods and services and people can resume earning incomes to spend.

Sotto added that the government can help entrepreneurs find their place in the emerging business landscape by reassessing tariffs to lighten financial burdens as well as providing the means for new ventures to flourish.

‘No Cha-cha’

The Senate President maintained that there is no appetite among senators to push for amendments to the Constitution when Congress needs its full attention on the crisis.

“For sure we will do our work, we will read it (Charter change), we will study it, review it. That’s what we are doing with any bill, but doesn’t necessarily mean that once it reaches us, we agree with it… I would probably not talk off my hat when I say that majority (of senators) are not too keen on discussing it in the very near future,” he told reporters in a video conference after the morning session.

The Senate, he revealed, is expected to pass on third and final reading today the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which was passed on second reading before the sine die adjournment last month. The measure seeks to extend the powers granted to President Duterte under Republic Act 11469 to carry out national policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two measures, which originated from the Department of Finance – the Financial Institution Strategic Transfer (FIST) and Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) – will be prioritized by the Senate, he said.

The Senate is also expected to pass the repackaged Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE), formerly the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA), to help businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises badly hit by the pandemic, rebuild, recover and retain jobs for their employees.

Other priority bills Sotto is pushing are the Medical Scholarship Act, Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority Act, Hybrid Election Act, Anti-False Content Act and the 14th Month Pay law.

The Senate will also tackle the Expanded Solo Parents Act, Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience, amendments to Public Service Act and the Agrarian or Agriculture Credit Cooperative Condonation Act. – Delon Porcalla, Cecille Suerte Felipe

Related video:

ECONOMIC BILL
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with