Measures granting emergency powers to the president to address the traffic problem, proposing a national identification system, and comprehensive tax reform are among 10 bills considered "common priorities" by the Palace and Congress.
In a meeting on Tuesday, Senate officials and lawmakers' chiefs-of-staff, as well as officers from the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) set priority bills to be tackled during the 14 calendar days prior to both Houses' adjournment of sessions in June.
The list discussed on Tuesday did not include capital punishment, despite Senators expecting to debate on the measure by May or June.
The Lower House recently affirmed a bill on third and final reading reimposing the death penalty for drug-related offenses, considered a priority bill by the administration.
The 10 measures considered "common priorities" by Congress and the executive branch were the following:
1. Occupational Safety and Health Hazards Compliance Act (Committee Report No. 30 approved on 3rd reading in House, 1 Senate Bill)
2. National Mental Health Act (10 House Bills, Committee Report No. 41 approved by Senate on 2nd reading)
3. Utilization of the Coconut Levy Fund (18 House Bills, Committee Report No. 8 in second reading at the Senate)
4. National Transport Act (1 House Bill, Committee Report No. 24 in second reading at the Senate)
5. Unified National Identification System Act (1 House Bill, 3 Senate Bills)
6. Condonation of Land Amortization and Arrears on Interest Payment (2 House Bills, 2 Senate Bills)
7. Concurrent Joint Congress Resolution on the Revised Base pay Schedule of Military and Uniform Personnel (1 House Bill, 4 Senate Bills)
8. Pension Reform for Uniformed Personnel (1 House Bill, 1 Senate Bill)
9. Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (1 House Bill, 12 Senate Bills)
10. Security of Tenure Bill (11 House Bills, 7 Senate Bills)
PLLO Secretary Adelino Sitoy admitted in a statement that the task of addressing numerous measures in little more than 2 weeks is "quite challenging."
However, he said it will be possible as long as lawmakers and the executive branch work together.
In the past 2 months, President Rodrigo Duterte met with select lawmakers regarding priority bills, including the measure granting him emergency powers to address traffic problems, and the proposed comprehensive tax reform package.