HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez yesterday said the 18th Congress passed at least seven bills of national application, which President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte signed into law.
Romualdez said the House of Representatives as an institution performed its tasks commendably and with distinction to deliver the legislative agenda of the President.
“We are busy with our work, and we intend to keep it that way. We all have roles to play, and we are just glad to be given the opportunity to serve,” said Romualdez, who chairs the powerful House committee on rules.
Through the collective hard work and determination of House members under the sterling leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Romualdez said “we are always focused and committed to pass quality legislation at all times.”
“I thank both the majority and the minority’s tough work ethic in doing their jobs creditably,” said Romualdez, referring to the leaders and members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
From July 22, 2019 to January 22, 2020, Romualdez, both president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said the House of Representatives received a total of 7,449 measures and 201 committee reports.
Of these, 6,748 are bills and 701 are resolutions, according to Romualdez, adding that the House of Representatives processed a total of 940 measures or an average of 27 measures per day during the 35 session days.
Since the beginning of the 18th Congress last July 22, President Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) No. 11462 or Postponing the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguaniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) and resetting these twin polls to December 5, 2022; RA No. 11463 or Establishing Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DoH) Hospitals where indigent patients will have widen access to quality medical and primary health care services that would complement the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) program;
RA No. 11464 or Extending the Availability of the 2019 Appropriations to December 31, 2020 to ensure the continuity of government’s priority infrastructure projects; RA No. 11465 or the P4.1-trillion national budget, which is aimed at continuing the journey to a more peaceful and progressive Philippines by funding the government’s critical programs.
Romualdez said the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the national budget in record time on September 20, 2019.
“Historically, the proposed national budget is approved in the House not earlier than October. The speed at which the national budget was approved is unprecedented. We just needed only 20 working days to finish the job in approving a pork-free and bereft of any illegal parking of funds and insertions’ national budget,” said Romualdez, recalling that the Duterte administration just submitted the spending plan to the House of Representatives on August 20, 2019.
RA No. 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law 5 that will benefit about 1.4 million state workers; RA No. 114667 or the Sin Tax law which imposes additional excise taxes on alcohol, heated tobacco products (HTPs) and vape products to help the effective implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act and; RA No. 114668 or Designating the Third Sunday of November Every year as the National Day for Road Crash Victims, Survivors and their Families.
“Our focus right now is to work hard in legislation and pass all the measures needed to improve the living condition of our people. That is the marching order from the President,” said Romualdez. “We answered the challenges and demands of our duties and responsibilities.”
Romualdez reiterated that the House of Representatives will work on the passage of bills creating the Departments of Filipinos Overseas (DFO) and Disaster Resilience (DDR) which are both pending for second reading approval and the Water Resources (DWR) which will be endorsed soon for plenary passage.
He said the House leadership will approve soon on second reading House Bill (HB) No. 78 or Defining Public Utilities, Further amending The Public Service Act and HB No. 59 or Setting the Minimum Paid-up Capital and Locally Produced Stock Inventory Requirements for Foreign Retail Business Enterprises.
The House leader said his panel is awaiting the committee reports on the proposed Assignment of Health Workers in all Barangays,
Fire Protection Modernization Program, Establishing a Department of Water Resources, and National Academy of Sports for High School Students.
“Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time in passing vital legislative measures,” said Romualdez.
He said House Joint Resolution (HJR) No. 22 or the Joint Resolution Authorizing the Use of the Rice Subsidy for the Purchase of Palay from Local Farmers is now pending in the bicameral conference committee.
“We also immediately passed on third and final reading bills under the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) to help President Duterte reach his goal for an A credit rating,” said Romualdez. “We are notch away from ‘A’ territory rating after a vote of confidence by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) upgrading the country’s credit rating from ‘BBB’ to ‘BBB+’ with a stable outlook because of the robust economic growth.”
Notable among the bills approved on third and final reading to promote the country as a viable investment destination, according to Romualdez, include House Bill (HB) No. 300 or amendment to the Foreign Investment Act of 1991, HB No. 304 or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA), and HB No. 4157 or the Corporate Income Tax and Incentive Rationalization Act (CITIRA).