A TOTAL of 22 proposed measures, including the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) bill, which were passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives during the first regular session under the 19th Congress, are up for the approval into law by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

Zubiri said that out of the 22 proposed measures, seven were national laws, while the remaining 15 were local.

He stated that the Senate successfully passed a total of six measures that were enacted into law, with four having national application and two being local laws.

Two national bills are pending in the bicameral conference committee, while an additional six national bills have already been approved on third reading.

Zubiri also highlighted the approval of eight priority measures of the Marcos administration, which include the SIM Registration Act, the act postponing the barangay elections, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines fixed-term law.

The measure on the condonation of unpaid amortization and interests on loans of agrarian reform beneficiaries, Regional Specialty Centers Act, extension of the Estate Tax Amnesty Act, and the Maharlika Investment Fund Act are currently awaiting the President's signature.

The lawmaker said that the Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act has been approved by the Senate on its third reading and only requires its House counterpart to proceed further.

"While this scoreboard shows the quantity of our output, it does not describe the quality of each of these measures," Zubiri said.

"True to our tradition, we do not agree to proposals without discussion, nor embrace ideas without debate. We improve before we approve. We do not trade scrutiny for speed,” he added.

He lauded his fellow senators who “toiled very hard” for the public.

Apart from producing measures, Senate committees also held “exhaustive” probes into various issues of national concern, including skyrocketing prices and smuggling in the agriculture sector; the malversation of public funds; the shutdown at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA); and the Pamplona Massacre involving Governor Roel Degamo.

The Senate has also produced committee reports on investigations regarding the overpriced and outdated laptops procured by the Department of Education through the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service, the escalating market prices of onions, and the NAIA air traffic management system glitch

"In order to create truly effective laws, we need to address the most pressing issues of the day," said Zubiri.

"When we conduct hearings on anomalies, we do not merely find faults, we find solutions as well. Our intention is not merely to look for crooks to be indicted, but to find what remedial laws must be initiated," he added.

At the House of Representatives, Speaker Martin Romualdez touted the “passage” of 33 priority bills of the administration, some of which are the following:

*Maharlika Investment Fund bill

*Bureau of Immigration (BI) Modernization

*Philippine Salt Industry Development

*Magna Carta of Seafarers

*E-Governance Act/E-Government Act

*Creation of Negros Island Region

*Establishing Virology Institute of the Philippines

*Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation bill

*Creation of National Disease Prevention Management Authority or Center for Disease Control and Prevention

*Creation of Medical Reserve Corps

*Philippine Passport bill

*Internet Transaction Act/E-Commerce Law

*Waste-to-Energy bill

*Free Legal Assistance for Police and Soldiers bill

*Apprenticeship Act

*Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) bill

*Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers

*Valuation Reform

*Eastern Visayas Development Authority

*Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone

*Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery

*National Citizens Service Training Program

*National Government Rightsizing

Romualdez mentioned that various bills are advancing towards third and final reading. These include measures related to the Natural Gas Industry, National Employment Action Plan, Philippine Ecosystem, Natural Capital Accounting System, creation of the Department of Water Services and Resources, amendments to the Electric Power Industry Act and Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, Budget Modernization, National Defense, and Unified System of Separation, Retirement, and Pension for Uniformed Personnel.

Romualdez, Marcos’ cousin, also expressed gratitude to his fellow congressmen.

The first regular session of the 19th Congress adjourned sine die on May 31. (SunStar Philippines)