Monday , May 28, 2018

41 House bills enacted into law

THE House of Representatives has processed one out of four bills filed by its members since July 2016.

In a report to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, House Majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas said as of December 2017, a total of 8,528 bills and resolutions have been filed before the lower chamber of the 17th Congress.

Of the total, 6,911 were bills while 1,617 were resolutions.

Fariñas said 2,100 were processed during the past 145 session days since July 2016 while 41 were enacted into law.

Among those recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law were the P3.767-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2018 and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Act, which provides personal income tax exemption to annual taxable income of up to P250,000.

Ten other bicameral committee reports that the House ratified before its holiday break are also expected to be signed into law in the next few days.

Among the ratified bicameral committee reports that have already been submitted to the Office of the President for signature are the following: House Bill (HB) 5670, or an Act strengthening the assistance to all farmers by providing free irrigation service fee; HB 4863, an Act restoring the Philippine National Police- Criminal Investigation and Detection Group's power to issue subpoena; and HB 5241, which declares December 8 as a special non-working holiday to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Meanwhile, Alvarez said those marked as priority bills were being fast tracked.

Alvarez during the opening of the Second Regular Session in July had identified as priority bills the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the measures seeking the dissolution of marriage and legalization of same-sex unions.

He also wanted the 17th Congress to fast track the passage of the resolution forming itself into a Constituent Assembly to amend the charter and pave for the government's shift to a federal form.

All this, he said, is in line with the President's legislative agenda.

Last December 8, a joint committee formed a sub-committee to draw up a working draft that would harmonize all four bills proposing the BBL.

This committee is expected to come up with a bill consolidating the bills respectively filed by Alvarez, Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Lanao del Norte Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo.

All bills seek to provide the Mindanao region more flexibility and a wider range of authority in politics, finance and economy.

In a recent interview, Alvarez said the bill seeking the easy dissolution of marriage, which he filed in August, is expected to pass the plenary this January.

Several lawmakers including those from the opposition co-authored the bill with Alvarez.

The Senate has yet to draft its version of this proposed measure.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III earlier vowed to push for the same legislation once the bill hurdles the House of Representatives.

HB 6595 aimed at legalizing same-sex unions, also filed by Alvarez in October, also has yet to secure the lower chamber's approval. (SunStar Philippines)