The House of Representatives will work double-time to ensure that the priority legislation of President Rodrigo Duterte fulfills its mandate by exercising its oversight function.
“We are now moving in the last months of the 17th Congress [and] most of the priority bills of President Duterte are already in the final stages,” Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told reporters at the sidelines of the inaugural meeting of the newly created House Committee on Disaster Management at the Lower House.
“We have to start moving into the oversight function so that the implementation can be attended to, and we would like to help the Executive Department to push and see what are the problems of implementation,” she added.
The House earlier named House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez as head of the House oversight committee.
The committee of Suarez, representative of the third district of Quezon, is tasked to assess the performance of various government agencies and its failure to spend public funds amounting to billions of pesos as well the check on the implementation of laws passed by Congress.
The Arroyo-led House is expected to finish the legislative agenda of the administration during its last few months.
In the first 25 session days under Arroyo’s watch, the Lower House tackled 778 measures or an average of 31 measures a day.
This means that in only 25 session days, Arroyo was able to accomplish 21 percent of the total 3,707 measures or output of the 17th Congress that opened on July 25, 2016.
Most of the measures tacked are on the legislative agenda of President Duterte as Arroyo made true her word that she will endeavor to push the measures backed by Duterte.
During her watch, Arroyo attended committee hearings and plenary sessions to ensure that vital socioeconomic measures are deliberated upon and approved on schedule.
During the plenary budget deliberations on Oct. 1, the Speaker, along with members of the House, stayed overnight until session was adjourned at 6 o’ clock in the morning the next day.
Then at 9 o’clock am that day, she attended the hearing of the Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Rep. Estrellita Suansing of Nueva Ecija which tackled the fiscal regime for the Mining Industry bill.
Of the 778 processed measures during the Third Regular Session, 32 were enacted into law, eight of which were of national significance and 24 of local significance.
Four days after the opening of the Third Regular Session last July, the much-awaited Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was signed into law by President Duterte as Republic Act 11054. That law was based on House Bill 6475.
Also among those signed by the President was Republic Act 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act that is based on HB 6221, which establishes a single national identification system to promote the seamless delivery of government services, and increase transparency while reducing corruption in the delivery of social services.
Meanwhile, 41 more measures are awaiting the President’s signature to become laws.
Apart from these landmark measures, the House ratified 10 bicameral reports, nine of which are of national importance and one of local significance.
Also during Arroyo’s watch, the House approved House Joint Resolution 26, which extends until December 31, 2019 the period of availability of funds intended for victims of human rights violations during the imposition of martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos.