MANILA - House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has named 5 measures as the House of Representatives’ top priorities for its 3rd and final regular session, which begins on Monday.
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to deliver his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, marking the start of the regular session of Congress.
The following bills were earlier identified as important measures by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC):
- An act creating the Philippine Virology Institute Act
- The Center for Disease Control Act
- Amendments to the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016
- The Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act
- The National Housing Development Act
“We will work toward the approval of these bills once we resume [the] session and we will also take into account the priority measures President Duterte will mention in his sixth and final SONA,” Velasco said in a statement.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress sought 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.
Likewise, the lawmakers also wanted 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 SONA last year, 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.
The Speaker also said he is looking forward to the Senate’s approval 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 Philippines has so far tallied more than 1.53 million COVID-19 cases, of which 50,000 remained active.
The virus has also claimed nearly 27,000 lives since the pandemic began.
On Thursday night, the health department confirmed local transmission of the more contagious Delta variant, which has been tagged as the cause behind overwhelming infections in India and Indonesia.