Congress to pass 20 priority bills

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Congress to pass 20 priority bills
Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos plays chauffeur to Speaker Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe and House committee on appropriations chairman Rep. Elizaldy Co at the Malacañang grounds yesterday. The four attended a meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council, where they discussed with President Marcos and senators the legislative priorities before the upcoming State of the Nation Address.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers yesterday committed to pass 20 priority measures aimed at promoting development and attaining socioeconomic transformation within the remaining sessions of Congress.

Members of the Cabinet and congressional leaders came up with a list of priority bills during the fifth Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting led by President Marcos at Malacañang.

“The council came up with a list of top priority bills that the members, the leaders of both houses of Congress, commit to pass within the remaining period of the current session,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement issued by the Presidential Communications Office.

“So, these are ten bills that are considered top priority. And there’s a second list that consists of another ten. I think that’s another ten bills. And also the other bills that are in advanced stages, that are either at the (bicameral) stages or already enrolled bills,” he added.

In an Instagram post, President Marcos said the priority bills were related to addressing rising prices, job generation and fighting poverty.

“Just concluded the 5th LEDAC meeting, where we laid out our top legislative priorities – addressing rising prices, increasing job opportunities and reducing poverty,” Marcos said.

“We continue to work hand in hand with the Senate and House of Representatives in enacting transformative legislation for a Bagong Pilipinas,” he added.

The ten priority measures that lawmakers aim to approve before the end of the 19th Congress are the Reform to Philippine Capital Markets, Archipelagic Sea Lanes Act, Amendments to the Right-of-Way Act, Excise Tax on Single-Use Plastics, Rationalization of the Mining Fiscal Regime, Amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA, Department of Water Resources, CREATE MORE Act, Amendments to the Foreign Investors’ Long-Term Lease Act and Amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law.

Measures included in the second priorities list are the Blue Economy Act, Enterprise-Based Education and Training Framework Act, Amendments to the Universal Health Care Act, Open Access in Data Transmission Act, Waste-to-Energy Bill, Mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension of Military and Uniformed Personnel, E-Government Act or E-Governance Act, Amendments to the Agrarian Reform Law and the Philippine Immigration Act.

Bills that are in advance stages of deliberation are the Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act, Amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act, Anti-Financial Accounts Scamming Act, Self-Reliant Defense Posture Revitalization Act, Philippine Maritime Zones Act, Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning Program Act, VAT on Digital Services and New Government Auditing Code.

“We see the current leadership of Congress responding to these needs of our economy, of our society, so that we can achieve the socioeconomic transformation that is a program under the Marcos administration,” Balisacan said.

A total of 17 out of 59 bills in the LEDAC common legislative agenda have been signed into law.

‘We did our job’

All of the priority measures listed by President Marcos have been passed by the House of Representatives, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said yesterday in his report to the LEDAC meeting.

“The House of the People has done its homework,” he said, revealing the chamber has approved on third and final reading last March, or three months ahead of schedule, all of the 20 priority LEDAC measures targeted for passage by the end of June 2024.

“Our accomplishments reflect our proactive stance in catering to the needs of the people by passing these much-needed legislations that are attuned to the Philippine Development Plan and the 8-point socio-economic agenda under the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework of the President,” he added.

He rendered the report to the full LEDAC meeting presided over by the President in Malacañang.

Romualdez said the chamber that he leads is just now awaiting Senate action on several of the priority legislative proposals of the President and the LEDAC.

The Speaker informed the LEDAC of the status of the 20 bills: three have been enacted into law and three are undergoing enrollment process – two conference committee reports adopted by both chambers and one adopted as an amendment to the House bill.

Four bills are under deliberation by bicameral conference committees, while the 10 other measures have been approved on third and final reading by the House – some as early as September and December 2023 and four last March. — Delon Porcalla, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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