MALACANANG is opened to the idea of calling for a special session if Congress fails to act on priority measures before they adjourn in February, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said over a radio interview.

But the official expects Congress to immediately act and eventually pass several measures, which they are aware are needed by the country.

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“If there is a need for a special session… then Malacañang welcomes it,” he said, assuring the Executive branch's cooperation with the Legislative branch to ensure the immediate enactment of the laws.

“We are confident that in the remaining days there will be additional priority bills that will be passed by Congress if not all, most of them will still be passed and we will be working closely with Congress to ensure that these priority bills will be passed,” he added.

Among the measures that Malacanang is waiting for is the 2010 national budget of P1.541 trillion which despite being passed by Congress last year, is still being printed and has yet to be transmitted to the Office of the President for review and signing into law.

Remonde said the administration is also waiting for the Philippine Coast Guard Law that remains pending in the Senate and necessary amid recent sea tragedies in Batangas and Cavite.

Congress, which resumes sessions on January 18, will adjourn by February 5 to enable its members that are running in the elections to prepare for their campaign.

The campaign for the national elections starts in February while the campaign for the local poll starts in March.

Among the bills that Congress expects to complete and transmit to Malacañang are the Freedom on Information Act, the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, and the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, which the Senate was able to pass last year.

Still pending are the National Telecommunications Commission Law that aims to protect mobile phone consumers, the Cybercrimes Law to protect the public following the spread of pornographic materials in the internet and telecom industry, and the proposed bill allowing the conduct of early elections in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. (JMR/Sunnex)