WITH only nine session days left, the House of Representatives is targeting to accomplish 16 priority bills.

"Time may not be on our side, but we will do it. All the Standing and Special committees, led by the Committee on Rules, are up to their respective mandates," House Speaker Prospero Nograles said.

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Congress is set to resume on January 18 and adjourn on February 5 to give way to the May elections.

As of the adjournment last December 18, 2009, up for third and final approval are two bills: Free Legal Assistance and Cybercrime act.

Four bills are scheduled for second reading approval. This include "if the Senate would conform," the calling for a Constitutional Convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.

Nograles said that any request for a special session to pass bills that won't be passed in the regular sessions is subject to consensus.

"First, we must get the Senate to agree. Second, they must identify what priority measures do they want to take up to merit a special session. Third, we should be able to asses from our peers whether we can get enough warm bodies to attend," he said.

The three other bills up for second reading are the Further strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Law, Instituting a self-sustaining Forest Management Program and Instituting Reforms in Land Administration.

The remaining nine priority bills on the advance stages in committee deliberations are: Electricity Reduction Rate; Charging of P.05 centavos regulatory fee for Telecoms and installation of Electric Metering Device; Build-Operate-Transfer Law of 2007; Development of the Downstream Natural Gas Industry; Farmland as Collateral; Modernization ofthe Health Care Delivery System; National Student Loan Program Rationalization of tuition fee increases; Magna Carta for Students and Fair Competition Law (Anti-Trust).

Five bills such as the Witness Protection Program; National Disaster Management Sytem, Mindanao Development Authority, Granting Good Conduct Time Allowance to Prisoners Who Participate in Literacy/Skills and Values Development Programs in Penal Institutions; and Mandating the Wearing of Standard Protective Motorcycle Helmets while Driving are already under deliberation by the bicameral committee.

Nograles said there are more bills lined up but the list had to be trimmed because of time constraints.

After the February 5 adjournment, session will again resume on May 31, 2010, inclusive of the Presidential canvassing by Congress, until the final adjournment on June 4, 2010. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)