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CA wraps ups 1st regular session for 19th Congress

May 31, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 103 views

Zubiri cites ‘productive’ season

SENATE President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri presided over the Commission on Appointments’ (CA) plenary session on Wednesday, May 31, 2023.

As the bicameral appointments body adjourned its First Regular Session under the 19th Congress, Zubiri touted the CA’s “record-high” accomplishment, having confirmed 597 nominations and ad interim appointments.

This is higher than the 328 confirmations during the 18th Congress and 218 during the 17th Congress in the same period, he said.

Zubiri thanked the members of the CA for a “very productive” season.

During Wednesday’s plenary session, the commission confirmed the nominations of seven foreign service officers in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the promotion of 86 senior officials in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Earlier, Zubiri said the Senate has so far accomplished at least three more priority bills of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

These are the Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act, the Regional Specialty Centers Act, and the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Act, which has been certified as “urgent” by Malacañang.

Alongside these priority bills, the Estate Tax Amnesty Act which they will send to Malacañang for the President’s signature together with the measure on the Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs).

The First Regular Session has produced seven priority measures of the administration, including the SIM Registration, the Act Postponing the Barangay Elections, and the AFP Fixed Term Law, which have already been passed into law, Zubiri confirmed.

“I am proud to say that the Senate has performed very well for the First Regular Session, which typically tends to have a slow start in any Congress because we are essentially starting from scratch and studying all of the bills anew,” the Senate President said.

“With the Senate being composed of twenty-four republics, we have to hear everyone’s perspectives out, toward the betterment of our measures. Thankfully, we have all developed a great working relationship with one another, and we have been able to give due time for everyone to carefully debate and deliberate on all the measures that go through our committees and the plenary.”

Overall, the Senate has thus far produced six bills into law, four of which are of national application.

At the moment, sixteen bills are awaiting the President’s signature, including amendments to the National Cultural Heritage Act.

Three bills are pending conference committee, including the Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and the One Town, One Product Act.

Apart from the Maharlika Investment Fund Act, eight more LEDAC priority measures are already in advanced stages in the Senate, with the followings bills pending second reading approval: the Ease of Paying Taxes Act; the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers Act; the Act Institutionalizing the Automatic Income Classification of Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities; the New Philippine Passport Law; amendments to the Public-Private Partnership Act; the Internet Transactions Act; the Mandatory ROTC Act; and the Center for Disease Control Act.

“The Senate will continue to prioritize the quality of our measures over the speed of our performance or the quantity of our output, but we do expect to be able to devote more time to our plenary duties, now that most of our major Commission on Appointments (CA) work has already been dealt with.”

The Senate President said the CA duties of the thirteen senators, which consumed much of their morning schedules, made it a challenge for them to work out the schedules of the Senate.

“But we are nevertheless proud of what we have been able to accomplish without sacrificing the quality of our bills, and we are ready to get right back to work in the Second Regular Session.”