President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed two new laws—one postponing the 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and another seeking to institutionalize Malasakit Centers across the country.
The President signed Republic Act No. 11462 that reschedules the barangay and SK elections from May 2020 to the first Monday of December 2022. Subsequent elections would happen every three years thereafter.
This would be the third postponement of the said polls under the Duterte administration.
He also signed RA No. 11463, a pet project of his long-time aide Senator Christopher Go, which orders that Malasakit Centers be established in every government hospital.
Malasakit Center serve as a one-stop place for medical patients who need financial assistance from PhilHealth, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Meanwhile, President Duterte has decided to issue an executive order on land use while his pet bill National Land Use Act or NaLUA is still pending in Congress.
During the Cabinet meeting Monday night, Duterte approved the suggestion that the administration comes up with an executive order for the meantime while Congress had yet to pass his priority bill.
The proposed measure seeks to formulate a comprehensive plan on how land resources should be allocated, used and managed to ensure its sustainable and efficient use.
The policy would include how much land to set aside for food production, residential use, industrial use and environmental protection.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President “stressed the importance of the passage” of his pet bill to institutionalize land use planning and policies as Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia presented a draft of the measure.
Malacañang has yet to elaborate on the content of the executive order that will be issued by the President.
In the meantime, local governments have the authority to regulate land use in their jurisdictions as stated in the Local Government Code of 1991.
The NaLUA was identified as a legislative agenda in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 to support strategies in ensuring ecological integrity, clean and healthy environment and building safe and secure communities.
Duterte has been urging lawmakers to pass the bill since 2017, even saying in his 2019 State of the Nation Address that he wanted NaLUA to be passed by the end of the year.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives managed to pass its version of the bill but the Senate failed to pass a similar measure.
Based on the data from the National Economic and Development Authority, similar bills have been filed in the 18th Congress: House Bill 105, HB 158, HB 564, HB 706 and Senate Bill 38.
The efforts to pass a NaLUA began in 1994 during the administration of former President Fidel Ramos. It was certified as urgent by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2013.