THE House of Representatives, led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, has successfully passed vital pieces of legislation during the 18th Congress amidst pandemic brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Velasco labeled these important measures as “Tulong, Tatag, Tapang and Malasakit.”
He said the 18th Congress passed key economic laws or “Tulong” bills that are expected to facilitate the country’s recovery from the pandemic, including the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act.
According to Velasco, the passage of this trifecta of economic liberalization laws marks an important landmark meant to ease restrictions and will help bring in projected investment leads of $100 billion over a two-year period, and create more jobs for Filipinos that would help drive the country’s economic recovery.
Aside from the Bayanihan laws, Velasco said the outgoing Congress also passed several laws as our “Tugon” measures for the pandemic, such as the vaccine procurement law and the Streamlining Government Services in Times of National Emergency Act.
He said the best “Tugon’ for the pandemic remains the timely passage of the 2021 and 2022 national budgets, which would fund the pandemic-response programs of the national government.
The 18th Congress, he said, also passed other social and consumer protection laws such as Republic Act (RA) 11765, which gives more protection to consumers of financial services, and RA 11712, which grants mandatory continuing benefits to our healthcare frontliners.
Velasco said they also passed institution-building or what he called the “Tatag” bills including RA 11768, which seeks to strengthen the Sangguniang Kabataan; RA 11713, to support teacher education in the country; RA 11709, which creates fixed terms for key officers of the armed forces; and RA 11697, which paves the way for the development of electric vehicle industry in the country.
The House leader added that they have passed what he called “Malasakit” laws such as RA 11767, which seeks to promote the rights of foundlings or abandoned children; RA 11650 that would ensure inclusive education for learners with disabilities; and RA 11648 that seeks to provide stronger protection for children against sexual abuse and exploitation by raising the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16.
He likewise noted the enactment of laws that promote justice and peace, such as the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, and RA 11696 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act.
“We are proud to say that we are leaving the 18th Congress in order. We have improved upon the past and will transition smoothly to the next Congress. We are One Congress,” Velasco said.
“We first came to these august chambers with hopeful eyes, with eagerness to serve our constituents, fortified by our faith, driven by our desire to serve and strengthened by our virtues,” he added.
The House leader then said “we shall leave the House of the People with hope for the future under the new President, with the satisfaction that we have given our best to serve our people, and trust that the House shall continue what we have started—with unreserved ‘tapang’ and ‘malasakit’.”