SENATE President Juan Miguel Zubiri wants to add nine bills for inclusion in the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) on top of the 42 bills already listed in the agenda. He made the pitch in Wednesday’s Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council meeting.
“It was a productive meeting, and President Marcos was very participative, with his questions on the problems and bottlenecks in some of the bills,” said Zubiri.
Among the nine proposed bills for inclusion are the Philippine Defense Industry Development Act (PDIDA), the Cybersecurity Law, and amendments to the procurement provisions of the AFP Modernization Act—which were all discussed during Zubiri’s working visit to Washington, DC, in June.
“These bills will be vital in strengthening our AFP, and to our overall efforts to build a truly self-reliant defense strategy,” he said.
He explained that “PDIDA, in particular, is crucial to provide local capability to manufacture [our own] equipment. As we do that, we will be creating jobs, and courting foreign companies to invest here as well.”
The amendments to the procurement provisions of the AFP Modernization Act will allow for the purchase of non-new equipment—“so we can acquire highly advanced, good-as-new equipment, at a lower price point. We want to buy smart, and not just buy what is new.”
The Cybersecurity Law, meanwhile, seeks to develop a legal framework that would enhance cybersecurity and protection and establish protocols in their use among government agencies and vital institutions.
Two education bills—the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act and the Batang Magaling Act—were also proposed for inclusion, as well as the Safe Pathways Act, the Open Access in Data Transmission Act, the Tatak Pinoy Act, and the Blue Economy Act. On the part of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber proposed 15 additional bills on agriculture, industry and services, infrastructure, digital regulatory frameworks, transport, good governance, energy, environment, and domestic resources. These include the Excise Tax on Single-Use Plastic, the Sustainable Urban Mobility Act, and the act rationalizing Motor Vehicle User’s Charge.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also proposed two more bills, namely, the Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill and the Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday affirmed the commitment of the House of Representatives to abide by the agreement reached at the Ledac for the passage of 20 key administration measures before the end of the year.
“Upon the start of the 2nd Regular Session of the 19th Congress, I together with the rest of the members of the House of Representatives will continue our efforts in realizing the President’s vision to greatly improve the Philippine economy, to reduce the prices of everyday commodities, and to increase the purchasing power of every Filipino citizen,” Romualdez said at the Ledac meeting.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives committed to approve a total of 20 priority measures before the year ends, including two measures added Wednesday to the CLA.
Of the 20 priority measures due for approval before the end of the year, 16 have already been approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading during the First Regular Session.
The only four remaining measures are the National Rightsizing Program; Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension of MUPs; National Employment Action Plan and the Amendments to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.