MANILA (UPDATE) — Senate and House leaders touted their accomplishments despite the 19th Congress finishing only 6 out of the 42 administration priority bills approved by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council led by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
On its 1st year of legislative work under the Marcos Jr administration, only these 6 got the nod of both the House and Senate, which paved the way for these bills to make it to the President's desk for his final approval.
Three have been signed into law, namely the SIM Registration Act, the Act Postponing the Barangay Elections, and the AFP Fixed Term Law.
Three more are awaiting the President's signature, namely the Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, the Regional Specialty Centers Act, and the Maharlika Investment Fund Act.
Both Senate President Migz Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez recognized these bills in their respective adjournment speeches.
Both chambers finalized the Regional Specialty Centers bill and the Maharlika Investment Fund bill on its last week of session before the sine die adjournment.
Romualdez however noted that these bills are but part of the 33 LEDAC priorities the House managed to approve on final reading before finishing the first regular session of the 19th Congress.
Zubiri, in his own speech, said the Senate approved 8 administration priorities.
"Of these, three have been signed into law—the SIM Registration Act, the Act Postponing the Barangay Elections, and the AFP Fixed Term Law— while four more are for the signature of the President, namely the measure on the Condonation of Unpaid Amortization and Interests of Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, the Regional Specialty Centers Act, the Extension of the Estate Tax Amnesty Act, and the Maharlika Investment Fund Act. The Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act has also been approved on third reading," he said.
However, the Extension of the Estate Tax Amnesty does not appear in the latest list of 42 LEDAC priorities.
In a subsequent text message, Zubiri confirmed that the estate tax amnesty extension is not one of the 42 LEDAC priorities but just the same, it is an administration priority.
"The Extension of the Estate Tax Amnesty is not under the LEDAC CLA, but was certified by the Palace as urgent, and so is a priority measure. It was also for recommendation by the LEDAC-TWG as a priority measure but the sine die adjournment came first before the full LEDAC meeting. It was the House which pushed for it (in the LEDAC-TWG) to be a priority measure," he said.
Zubiri meantime clarified that the Trabaho para sa Bayan Act is the same as the National Employment Action Plan in the LEDAC list.
"The Trabaho Sa Bayan Act is the same as the National Employment Action Plan in the LEDAC Common Legislative Agenda," he said.
This time, however, it is the House which has yet to catch up because their version of this bill is still pending in the chamber for second reading approval. It was included in the order of business as of May 30 only.
Going beyond the LEDAC priorities, the House reported that it finished the 1st Regular Session with close to 450 bills of various applications approved on final reading and pending before the Senate.
The 33 approved bills include Ease of Paying Taxes Act, Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act, Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act, Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Act, Maharlika Investment Fund Act, 30-year National Infrastructure Program Act, Public-Private Partnership Act, National Land Use Act, Tax Amnesty Act, Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, Internet Transaction Act, Philippine Passport Act, Speciality Centers in Hospitals, Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act, National Government Rightsizing Program, and Philippine Salt Industry Development Act.
In a separate statement, the House noted that it processed an average of 30 measures per session during the First Regular Session, which saw the filing of 8,426 bills and 1,089 resolutions, 567 of which were approved.
It also reported it was able to process a total of 9,600 measures consisting of 8,490 House bills, 1,109 resolutions and one petition.
"Needless to say, our first regular session has been both eventful and productive," Romualdez said.
The Senate President's scorecard was modest in comparison. Zubiri said the Senate approved a total of six measures enacted into law—four of national application, and two local laws.
"Twenty-two bills are now also for the President’s signature—seven of them national, fifteen local. Three national bills are pending the bicameral conference committee, and six more national bills have been approved on third reading," he said.
Zubiri was proud of this record, arguing the quality of their work over quantity or speed.
"True to our tradition, we do not agree to proposals without discussion, nor embrace ideas without debate. We improve before we approve. We do not trade scrutiny for speed," he said.
"Lahat naman po ng batas na ating pinapanday dito ay dumadaan sa masusing pag-aaral. Hindi po natin ito pinapabagal. Ang ating ginagawa ay pinapabuti natin itong mga batas."
Both chambers also touted their oversight work.
Both Congressional leaders thanked and lauded their colleagues and secretariat officials and employees for their work and achievements.
The House got a special video message from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. before the adjournment.
"I’d like to thank you for the hard work that you have put in, the cooperation between the legislative and executive branches have to be strong, that partnership is so important if we are to move towards the future," Marcos Jr said.
He and the Speaker are first cousins. The President's son, Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos, is also senior deputy majority leader of the House.