THE House of Representatives approved on third and final reading Tuesday, February 16, House Bill 7808, which aims to promote the growth of the contracting business and the upgrading of its construction capability both in public and private sectors.

Principally authored and sponsored by Pampanga Third District Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr., House Bill 7808, which received 200 affirmative votes, seeks to update Republic Act 4566 or the Contractors' License Law, as amended, by raising or imposing fines for violations of the law, increasing the amount of application fees which have remained unadjusted to inflation since 1965, and amending the license renewal proves to make it easier and more flexible.

"The construction industry has entered its golden age due to President Rodrigo Duterte's Build Build Build Program. This sector has greatly contributed to the economy of our country, while also achieving socio-economic development goals like providing shelter, infrastructure and employment," Gonzales said.

"Our country will continue its upward growth, thanks to the construction sector. However, we need to update this 56-year-old law to adjust to the current standards," he added.

Among its key provisions is the increase in penalties to be imposed on any convicted contractor found guilty of misdemeanor, who submits or attempts to submit a bid to construct or assumes charge in a supervisory capacity of a construction work without first securing a license to engage in the business of contracting in our country. Violators of this measure would be penalized with a fine of not less than P100,000 or the equivalent of 0.1 percent of the project cost, whichever is higher. In addition, the offending contractor would be prohibited from gaining a contracting license for a period of not less than one year.

The bill also increases fees for licensing, registration of the application, and renewal. Said fees have not been amended since the law's enactment in 1965. The adjusted fees include P5,000 for an original license, P6,000 for an examination of an applicant, and P5,000 for annual renewal.

The license will also be valid for one year from its issuance, and may be renewed by filing an application for renewal at least one month before its expiry date.

House Bill 7808 was transmitted to the Senate for its concurrence.