SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez reported on Wednesday that the House of Representatives has approved 18 out of the 20 priority measures that the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) targeted for approval by December this year.
The House Speaker, at the same time, expressed confidence in having all the 20 bills approved before the end of September, or three months ahead of the commitment date set by the Senate and the House of Representatives in the previous LEDAC meeting held last July 5.
Romualdez, who heads the 311-member House of Representatives, presented the report during the full council meeting convened Wednesday morning by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. at Malacanang Palace.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that 18 out of these 20 have already been approved by the House of Representatives on Third and Final Reading. We are on track to approve the two remaining measures before the October recess,” the House leader said.
“In sum, the House of Representatives will meet its commitment to approve all 20 priority measures by the end of September, or three months ahead of target,” he added.
From the 20 measures LEDAC slated for approval by the end of the year, the House has already approved on third and final reading the following: 1. Amendment to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT)/Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act, 2. National Disease Prevention Management Authority or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.Internet Transaction Act/ E-Commerce Law, 4. Health Emergency Auxiliary Reinforcement Team (HEART) Act, 5. Virology Institute of the Philippines, 6. Instituting a National Citizens Service Training (NCST) Program, 7. Valuation Reform Bill (Package 3), 8.E-Governance Act/ E-Government Act, 9.Ease of Paying Taxes, 10. Waste-to-Energy Bill, 11. New Philippine Passport Act, 12.Magna Carta of Seafarers, 13. Rightsizing the National Government, 14. Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act (AFASA), and 15. Amendment to the Bank Secrecy Law.
Likewise, the enrolled bill on Trabaho Para sa Bayan (National Employment Recovery Strategy) has already already been transmitted to Malacanang for the President’s action, while another enrolled bill, the Automatic Income Classification Act for Local Government Units, is also ready for transmittal to Malacanang.
On the other hand, the proposed Philippine Salt Industry Development Act is undergoing deliberations in the bicameral conference committee, bringing to 18 the total of measures the House has approved from the 20 LEDAC bills it committed to pass this year.
As for the two remaining LEDAC measures, Romualdez said HB 8969, or the Military and Uniformed Personnel Pension System Act, was approved on second reading during the plenary session Tuesday and slated for approval on third and final reading next week.
He added that the Committee on Agriculture and Food approved early Wednesday the substitute bill consolidating all measures seeking amendments to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, paving the way for its scheduled approval in plenary by next week.
Romualdez also reported that the House started on Tuesday the plenary deliberations of the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024 or General Appropriations Bill (GAB), with the session lasting over twelve (12) hours.
“The House commits to exert all efforts to continuously deliberate on the GAB to meet its target passage on third and final reading by next week, Wednesday, September 27, 2023,” Romualdez said.
“These accomplishments are made possible, of course, through the hard work and commitment of the Members of the House, as well as the cooperation of the Executive,” he added.
Meanwhile, Romualdez said that of the 17 measures President Marcos identified in his latest State of the Nation Address seven (7) have been approved by the House on third and final reading, while two were on the 2nd reading stage.
Romualdez said that while the eight remaining measures are in still in the committee level, six (6) of these are already in advanced stages and scheduled to be reported for plenary discussion and approval when Congress resumes session in November.
“We are confident of meeting our self-imposed target of having all these measures approved before we go on our Christmas break,” the Speaker said.
The House had ratified the bicameral conference committee report of (1) Automatic Income
Classification Act for Local Government Units and approved six (6) other bills on third and final reading, including the 2. Excise Tax on Single-Use Plastics, 3. VAT on Digital Services, 4. Amendment of the Fisheries Code, 5.Anti-Financial Accounts Scamming Act (AFASA), 6. Ease of Paying Taxes, and 7. The Philippine Immigration Act.
On Tuesday, the House approved on second reading the 8. Unified System of Separation, Retirement, Pension for Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP), while the 9. Rationalization of Mining Fiscal Regime is slated for approval on second reading before the session break.
The Committee on Agriculture and Food has just approved its committee report on the 10. Amendment to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act which will be reported to the plenary for its consideration and approval.
For comments of the House Committees of Appropriations and Ways and Means are 11. Department of Water Resources and Services and Creation of Water Regulatory Commission, 12. Motor Vehicle User’s Charge/Road User’s Tax, and 13. Tatak-Pinoy (Proudly Filipino) Act,and 14. Blue Economy Law.
Under Committee/Technical Working Group (TWG) Meeting are the 15. New Government Procurement Law, and 16. Amendment of the Cooperative Code, while the 17. New Government Auditing Code is undergoing committee deliberations.
Romualdez noted that last year, the House processed in record time a total of 1,150 bills and resolutions, approving on final reading a total of 173 measures.
“We did this in less than six months or just barely 41 session days. This year, we hope to exceed this output or at least match the intensity,” Romualdez said.