Thirty-three out of 42 bills listed as priority measures of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) have already been approved by the House of Representatives.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the chamber was able to process a total of 9,600 measures consisting of 8,490 House bills, including these LEDAC priorities, 1,109 resolutions and one petition before the first regular session of the 19th Congress went into sine die adjournment last Wednesday.
In his speech, Romualdez thanked the House members whose hard work for the past 10 months helped shape the successes achieved by the legislature in line with the administration’s socio-economic development agenda.
“Needless to say, our first regular session has been both eventful and productive,” Romualdez said.
The Speaker also reported that the House ratified the bicameral conference committee report relative to establishing specialty centers in hospitals under the direct supervision and control of the Department of Health (DOH).
The Speaker said it is “worthy to note is both Houses have earlier agreed on a version of the Maharlika Fund, the country’s first ever sovereign investment fund,” which “is designed to promote economic development by making strategic and profitable investments in key sectors, including public road networks.”
During the final week of sessions, the House gave final approval of LEDAC measures, House Bill (HB) No. 8203 or the proposed Bureau of Immigration (BI) Modernization Act; and HB No. 8278 or the proposed Philippine Salt Industry Development Act.
Among the measures that have been approved on third and final reading during the past 10 months include the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund, Magna Carta of Seafarers, E-Governance Act / E Government Act, Negros Island Region, Virology Institute of the Philippines, Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act, National Disease Prevention Management Authority or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Medical Reserve Corps, Philippine Passport Act; Internet Transaction Act / E Commerce Law, Waste-to-Energy Bill, Free Legal Assistance for Police and Soldiers, and Apprenticeship Act.
Also passed on third reading were the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers, Valuation Reform, Eastern Visayas Development Authority, Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone, Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery, National Citizens Service Training Program, and National Government Rightsizing.
More importantly, a handful of the Marcos priority bills that hurdled the House are now laws of the land, Romualdez said.
Two of these are Republic Act (RA) No.11934, otherwise known as the “Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act”; and RA No.11939, or an “An Act Further Strengthening Professionalism and Promoting the Continuity of Policies and Modernization initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Amending for this Purpose Republic Act No. 11709”.
Romualdez also thanked his colleagues for their hard work and for their fidelity to their job, resulting in the record-breaking accomplishments of the House of Representatives during the First Regular Session of the 19th Congress.
“Each and every member of this august body truly deserves commendation for a job well done. Congratulations to all of us! When I assumed the post as your Speaker, I invited each one of you to support and join me in fulfilling the aspirations of the Filipino people. For readily heeding this call, I express my sincerest gratitude to everyone,” Romualdez said.
The Speaker also called back to his long-running message of unity, which has become the foundation of the Marcos administration.
“The unity that we have shown in the performance of duty, and our relentless action in keeping the legislative mill grinding to full efficiency, are now reaping fruits for our beloved institution. Public opinion on the performance rating of the House of Representatives is fast reaching an all-time high,” he said.
Aside from doing its legislative duties, the Speaker said the House also performed its oversight function to find solutions to the country’s pressing problems, like the recent unwarranted increase in the price of onions.
He recalled that earlier this year, the House Committee on Agriculture conducted a motu proprio inquiry in aid of legislation to determine the root cause of the surge in the price of onions and other agricultural products and ascertain the appropriate government intervention to keep basic commodities affordable and accessible to everyone.
“We are also equally determined to recommend the prosecution of cartels and their cohorts, including all other profiteers, who continue to manipulate the supply and price of onion in the country,” he said.
Romualdez said due to the inquiry and work done by the committee on agriculture, the biggest onion cartel in the country has been dismantled and the price of the commodity has returned to its previous level.
The Speaker also expressed his gratitude to the political parties in the House for their commitment and cooperation in the approval of priority bills of President Marcos and LEDAC.
Just a few days ago, the Romualdez-led Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) signed alliance agreements with each of seven national, local, and sectoral political groups in the House.
These groups are the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), National Unity Party (NUP), Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Party-list Coalition Foundation
Inc. (PCFI), Partido Navoteño, and Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP).