MANILA — The 19th Congress has approved only 4 of the 42 legislative priorities of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) with just one last week of sessions before wrapping up its 1st Regular Session.
As explained in a press release of the House of Representatives, the President has signed into law only 3:
A 4th bill, which already has the nod of both the House and the Senate and is just waiting for the signature of the President, is the bill which seeks to condone unpaid loans obtained by thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries together with their penalties.
For its part, the House already approved 31 of the 42 priority bills, including the 4 that already got the nod of the Senate, which means 27 House approved priority bills are in the backlog of the Upper Chamber.
The 27 House approved administration priority bills include the following:
- Virology Institute of the Philippines
- Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation
- National Disease Prevention Management Authority or Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Medical Reserve Corps
- Philippine Passport Act
- Internet Transaction Act/E-Commerce Law
- Waste to Energy Bill
- Free Legal Assistance for Police and Soldiers
- Apprenticeship Act
- Build Operate Transfer Law
- Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers
- Valuation Reform Bill
- Eastern Visayas Development Authority
- Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone
- Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery
- National Citizens Service Training Program
- Magna Carta of Seafarers
- E-Governance Act / E Government Act
- Negros Island Region
- Rightsizing the National Government
- Maharlika Investment Fund
- Ease of Paying Taxes
- Automatic Income Classification for Local Government Units
- Amendment to the Universal Health Care Act
- Specialty Centers in Hospitals
- Infrastructure Development Program
- National Land Use Act
- Senate to fast-track Maharlika fund bill approval after Marcos nudge: Zubiri
Earlier this week, the House gave final approval to the proposed 30-year National Infrastructure Program Bill and the proposed National Land Use Act.
“We are proud of our collective accomplishment - 31 out of 42 and counting. As of today, we have achieved a significant part of our goal in less than a year of session,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement, as he thanked his colleagues for their work.
House Bill 8078 contains the proposed 2023-2052 National Infrastructure Program.
“It will be an all-encompassing program covering not only public works like roads, bridges and expressways, which we commonly refer to as infrastructure, but also energy, water resources, information and technology, agri-fisheries, food logistics, and socially-oriented structures such as school buildings and other educational facilities,” Romuadez said.
“It would institutionalize the ‘Build Better More’ program of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to support a strong economy through a resilient and reliable national infrastructure network,” he said.
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas voted against this bill.
"Bumoto ng NO ang Gabriela Women’s Party sa 30-year National Infrastructure Program dahil sa ilalim ito, iniinstitusyonalisa ang pagsalig sa mga proyektong pang-imprastraktura na bulnerable sa korapsyon at kinatatampukan ng panandaliang trabaho," Brosas said in a separate press conference.
"Ang napakalaking paggasta sa imprastraktura ay naging isang katangian ng mga nakaraan at kasalukuyang administrasyon, na wala namang ibinunga na pangmatagalang trabaho. Nakita natin kung paano halos hindi naisalin ang patakarang ito sa makabuluhang pagbabago sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas, lalo na sa kalidad ng buhay ng mga Pilipino," Brosas also said.
"Ang pag-institutionalize ng isang 30-year infrastructure program ay magsasara ng mga pampublikong rekurso tungo sa mga proyekto na pangunahing makikinabang sa mga dayuhang mamumuhunan, mga eksporter ng bakal at semento at mga lokal na kasosyo sa mahabang panahon. Naninindigan kami na ang pondo rito ay dapat na nilaan na lamang para sa pagbubuo ng mga pambansang industriya at tunay na repormang agraryo," Brosas added
Meanwhile, the proposed National Land Use Act (HB No. 8162) will institutionalize a national land use policy that has been years in the making.
"This is a long-awaited measure and the President knows its importance. Through this proposed law, the government will have the tool to properly identify land use and allocation patterns in all parts of the country," the Speaker said.
Two more bills are scheduled for approval on third-final reading: Bureau of Immigration Modernization and Philippine Salt Industry Act.
On the other hand, three others are for second reading approval by the House: Natural Gas Industry Enabling Law, National Employment Action Plan, and Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System Bill.
Under committee/technical working group deliberation are: Department of Water Services and Resources, and amendments to the Electric Power Industry Act and Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.
For committee discussion are Budget Modernization, National Defense Act and Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension for Uniformed Personnel.
The 19th Congress is expected to adjourn its 1st regular session next week, with the 2nd regular session set to open on the 4th Monday of July for the President's 2nd State of the Nation Address.