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House to OK 2 priority measures when session resumes

  • The House of Representatives will pass on Monday the joint resolutions extending the 2019 budget and the bill seeking to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections
  • Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said many other measures will be passed during the session resumption and before the year ends.
  • The lower chamber has so far passed 18 measures on third and final reading since the start of the 18th Congress.

After going on a month-long recess, the House of Representatives is set to pass on third reading two priority legislative measures from its calendar of business.

These are the joint resolutions extending until December 2020 the validity of funds for the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlay (CO) of agencies in the 2019 national budget, and the bill seeking to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. 

“We aim to hit the ground running on the first day of work. Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time on vital legislative measures,” House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said Sunday.

House Joint Resolutions 9 and 10 seeks to extend the availability of the 2019 appropriations for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays (CO) to December 31, 2020. These funds will be intended for priority projects, medical assistance program, aid and relief activities, as well as maintenance, construction and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, roads, and other facilities of the national government.

Lawmakers previously approved via voice vote House Bill (HB) 4933 postponing the synchronized Sangguniang Kabataan and barangay elections from the second Monday of May 2020 and moving it to December 5, 2022, amendments of which have been patterned after the Senate version. 

Via PhilStar

Romualdez added that the lower chamber also aims to fast-track the approval of a pending joint resolution authorizing the use of the rice subsidy as provided in this year’s P3.757-trillion national budget for the purchase of palay (unhusked rice) from farmers. 

The House has so far passed 18 measures on third reading since the start of the 18th Congress. These include the 2020 national budget, key tax measures, and amendments to the Foreign Investment Act of 1991.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address last July, President Rodrigo Duterte had called for the passage of other measures, such as: the Magna Carta for Barangay (villages); the National Land Use Bill; the creation of departments for Overseas Filipino Workers, disaster resilience, and water resources; the fire protection modernization program; the new Salary Standardization Law; the new version of the measure outlining the disposal of the coconut levy funds; and the mandatory implementation of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in senior high school.

via PhilStar

Other economic bills that needed swift action from the House include measures dealing with the Real Property Valuation and Assessment system, amendments to the Public Service Act amendment, a measure raising the Motor Vehicle Road User’s Tax, as well as the proposals to create the new government departments.

The House leader echoed Cayetano’s plea to tackle and pass the measures creating the  Department of Water Resources, the Department of Filipino Overseas, and the Department of Disaster Resilience after the budget deliberations.The House also targets to pass the proposed measure providing free legal assistance to officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who are charged in relation to the performance of their duties before the year ends.

“These military officers offer their lives to serve and protect the public. It is but just to spare them from legal fees arising from harassment and nuisance cases,” Romualdez said.

Featured image via Manilla Bulletin

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