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House enters Lenten recess with 23 of 31 PBBM priority legislation approved.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez announced on Wednesday that 23 of the 31 measures identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) as priorities during the Marcos administration have already been passed by the House of Representatives on the third and final reading.

Considering that from March 25 to May 8, Congress will be out of session for Holy Week.

Romualdez said that the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) of Malacaang, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, which consists of the 31 LEDAC priority items, was compiled from a large number of bills that had been submitted to Congress since the beginning of the 19th Congress in July of last year.

The key proposals, according to him, seek to improve health care for Filipinos and further encourage economic activity, job possibilities, and poverty reduction.

Out of the 23 measures authorized by the House, two, according to Romualdez, have already been signed into law by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. The other eight proposals on the LEDAC priority list are currently in the advanced stages of consideration.

“We have contributed to passing significant pieces of legislation that will aid in the nation’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic’s devastating effects and other external shocks that have a negative impact on the economy and the country,” he said. “We made that pledge throughout the talks at LEDAC. That is our ongoing commitment to the people of the Philippines.

According to Romualdez, Marcos included the priority initiatives of the LEDAC in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), delivered in July of last year.

According to him, “we have positively reacted to the President’s request for legislation that will speed the nation’s recovery from the pandemic, continue our economic growth, and implement his Agenda for Prosperity.

The Mobile Phone SIM (subscriber information module) Registration Act and the bill delaying the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections till October of this year are the two bills that have already been signed into law.

The 20 proposals supported by LEDAC that were approved on the third and final reading, according to Romualdez, have already been forwarded to the Senate.

They are the Philippine Passport Act, the Internet Transaction Act/E-Commerce Law, the Waste-to-Energy Bill, the Magna Carta of Seafarers, the Negros Island Region, the Virology Institute of the Philippines, the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation (PIFITA) Act, the National Disease Prevention Management Authority, or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also covered are the National Citizens Service Training Program, Rightsizing the National Government, the Free Legal Assistance for Police and Soldiers, the Apprenticeship Act, the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, the Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers, the Valuation Reform, the Eastern Visayas Development Authority, and the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone.

The Agrarian Reform Debts Condonation Bill, another LEDAC priority bill, is currently awaiting approval from the bicameral conference committee, he claimed.

Out of 31 priority bills, the final eight are still waiting in the House. Regional Specialty Hospitals (for approval on second reading); Enabling Law for the Natural Gas Industry (under technical working group or TWG deliberation); National Land Use Act; Department of Water Resources and Services and Creation of Water Regulatory Commission; Electric Power Industry Reform Act; Budget Modernization; National Defense Act; and Unified System of Health Care. (also for committee deliberation).

Along with the 31 proposals on the LEDAC list, Romualdez noted that 21 additional measures were prioritized by House committee chairs and members.

“We are putting in twice the effort to pass both our own priority laws and the final eight LEDAC proposals. Before the sine die break, we are optimistic that they will be approved on the third and final reading, Romualdez remarked.

The 10 LEDAC-endorsed House priority bills—the Maharlika Investment Fund bill, the Ease of Paying Taxes Act, the LGU Income Classification, and the Amendment to Universal Health Care Act—were four of the 21 measures that were adopted on the third and final readings of the House.

The “restrictive” economic elements of the Charter should be amended through a constitutional convention, according to Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 and its implementing legislation, HB 7352, which are on the House’s priority list. This would allow the nation to draw in more international investment. On March 14, both received approval during the third and final reading.

The Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) proposal and the efforts to change the economic clauses of our current Constitution through a constitutional convention, according to Romualdez, are two of the House’s more promising ideas.

The On-Site, In-City, Near City Local Government Resettlement Program, Open Access in Data Transmission, Online Voter Registration, Amendments to the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation Charter, Mandatory Establishment of Evacuation Centers in Every City, Province, Municipality/Permanent Evacuation Centers, and Local Government Income Classification were the other House priorities that were approved on third and final reading.

The bicameral conference committee’s report on the AFP Fixed Term Law, which is likewise a top priority for the House, is also set for ratification on Wednesday.

The Government Procurement Act (TWG), the Department of Resilience (committee level), and the Livestock Development and Competitiveness Bill are the other top priorities of the House. (committee level).

Reviving the salt industry, the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System, modernizing the Bureau of Immigration, the National Employment Action Plan, amending the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, and the Infrastructure Development Plan/Build Build Build Program are among the other measures that are being discussed by the LEDAC.

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