House to prioritize passage of 5 bills

July 23, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 185 views

ALONGSIDE the legislative agenda President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte will outline in his final State of the Nation Address (SONA), the House of Representatives will prioritize the passage of five bills earlier identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) when it resumes session next week.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the five are the proposed Philippine Virology Institute Act, Center for Disease Control Act, Amendments to the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act, and National Housing Development Act.

“We will work toward the approval of these bills once we resume session and we will also take into account the priority measures President Duterte will mention in his sixth and final SONA,” Velasco said. “We will do our best to help the President fulfill all his promises to the Filipino people.”

In view of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, Congress seeks to establish the Philippine Virology Institute as the premier research and development institution in the field of virology, encompassing all areas in viruses and viral diseases in humans, plants and animals.

It also wants to create the Philippine Center for Disease Control that will serve as the country’s principal health protection agency tasked to prevent, protect and manage the spread of diseases and other health threats originating domestically and internationally.

The proposed Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act seeks to modernize, professionalize and improve the compensation of officials and personnel of the Bureau of Immigration, while the proposed National Housing Development Act aims to significantly reduce the country’s housing backlog through continuous funding support for socialized housing.

In his 2020 SONA, President Duterte asked Congress to amend the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, which requires Filipino professionals to take additional formal and non-formal learning before they can renew their licenses and identification cards.

Velasco said the House did a good job in passing Duterte’s priority bills in his SONA last year, some of which became laws such as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentive for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act, Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, and Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

“We in the House have actually passed a lot of the priority bills of the President, some of which are under deliberation in the Senate,” Velasco said.

The Speaker said he’s looking forward to the approval by the Senate of the proposed Internet Transactions Act and the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos, both of which were already passed by the House.

The proposed Internet Transactions Act would ensure an effective regulation of commercial activities through the internet in the promotion of consumer and intellectual property rights, data privacy, fair advertising and competition.

“We need the Internet Transactions Act mainly because of all the online transactions that are happening right now, and it would actually lead to the protection of consumers and the buying public online,” Velasco pointed out.

The House chief said he fully supports the creation of a department dedicated to protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers, who have been hailed as “modern-day heroes” for keeping the Philippine economy afloat through their remittances.