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In the midst of the pandemic, the 18th Congress has been the most productive, according to Romualdez.

Since the start of the 18th Congress, the House of Representatives has adopted about 1,600 bills on the third reading, according to Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.

Before the sine die adjournment, Romualdez praised his colleagues and House employees for going “above and beyond the call of duty” to make the 18th Congress “one of the most productive ever,” despite the epidemic.

More than 300 bills had been enacted into law, he noted, some of which were created to address the pandemic’s adverse impacts, such as the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws, which allowed billions of pesos to be released for pandemic response.

“The Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic presented a significant challenge for us here at the 18th Congress.” “How do we get back to work and safeguard our people from the pandemic’s ravages when senior citizens and individuals with co-morbidities are discouraged from leaving their homes?” he wondered.

“Embracing technology that allowed House members to engage in all processes by electronic methods, such as email, teleconferencing, and messaging applications, was a wonderful decision.”

Despite the adoption of hybrid sessions, Romualdez noted that certain members of Congress and House employees continued to report to work every day, despite the risk of contracting the virus.

“In the first several months of community quarantine, practically everyone locked themselves in their houses for safety,” he stated, “House members and employees went out of their way to report for work and fulfill their tasks conscientiously.”

According to Romualdez, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released PHP646.97 billion under the Bayanihan Laws to support the implementation of different projects, activities, and programs in response to the pandemic.

Under Republic Act (RA) 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, PHP387.17 billion was released (Bayanihan I).

Implementing agencies indicated that they have already committed PHP358.24 billion and disbursed PHP339.65 billion, resulting in an obligation rate of 92.53 percent and a disbursement rate of 94.81 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, releases under RA 11465, also known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II), totaled PHP259.80 billion.

According to agency reports provided to the DBM, PHP132.65 billion has been obligated, with only PHP93.31 billion released.

This leads to a commitment rate of 51.06 percent and a disbursement rate of 70.34 percent.

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