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‘Last big push:’ Velasco rallies House to pass priority bills on last leg of 18th Congress

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
âLast big push:â Velasco rallies House to pass priority bills on last leg of 18th Congress
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco addresses House lawmakers during the opening of the chamber's third regular session.
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MANILA, Philippines — As Congress enters its final leg, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco rallied House lawmakers to pass proposed laws he identified as the chamber’s priorities, including measures that address the country’s economic and health woes as the pandemic rages on.

“As we enter the final year of our present term in Congress, it is time for that one last big push,” Velasco said in his address during the opening of the House’s third regular session.

Among the House’s priority bills is the Health Procurement and Stockpiling Act, which will allow the Department of Health to stockpile, conserve and facilitate the supply and distribution of pharmaceuticals and vaccines for public health emergencies.

Also included in the House’s priority for this session is the creation of the Virology Institute of the Philippines and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

These three measures are pending on third and final reading.

Meanwhile, Velasco said the House is awaiting action from the Senate on the proposed amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Service Act, and the proposals to tax Philippine offshore gaming operators and online cockfighting.

2022 budget

Also among the House’s priorities is the passage of the 2022 national budget, which Velasco said should be scrutinized, especially in light of the continuing pandemic. 

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez earlier said that they aim to pass the budget before the filing of candidacies in October.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the House can pass all these before its members’ terms end in June 2022 as they typically get busy with campaigning for their respective electoral bids during this leg, resulting in absences in Congress which hampers the passage of legislation.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LORD ALLAN VELASCO SONA 2021
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