Congressmen rushed the approval on third and final reading of several economic measures in the Senate and in the House of Representatives as they were to adjourn today (Wednesday) for the election campaign period.
With 188 lawmakers in attendance, the House approved the bills such as institutionalizing and strengthening the public-private partnership, removing investment restrictions in the Foreign Investment Negative List, declaring large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage, measure institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program or the conditional cash transfer and extending the corporate life of the Human Rights Claims Board by two years until May 12, 2018.
Most notable among the Senate measures were the bill protecting children against disasters, the special program for the employment of students and the uniformed personnel retirement benefit and pension reform.
All the proposed measures will be forwarded to bicameral conference committees for deliberations before these are transmitted to the Office of the President for President Benigno Aquino III’s signature.
The Congressional bicameral committee has adopted the mandatory installation of speed limiters in public utility vehicles under Senate bill No. 2999.
The third and last regular session of the 16th Congress is expected to be cut short as Congress will take a break from Feb. 3 to May 22 for the May 9 national and local elections. Congress will adjourn session on May 3, and will adjourn sine die on July 11.
The bill on PPP, authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., seeks to recognize what the bill describes as the indispensable role of the private sector as “the main engine for national growth and development, create an enabling environment for PPP.”
The measure also seeks to provide “the most appropriate incentives to mobilize private resources for the purpose of financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects and services normally financed and undertaken by the government.”
The PPP refers to a contractual arrangement between the implementing agency and the project proponent for the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance or any combination thereof, of an infrastructure facility, in which the project proponent bears significant risk, management responsibility or both.
The bill provides that among other incentives, PPP projects in excess of P1 billion shall be entitled to incentives as provided by the Omnibus Investment Code, upon prior endorsement of the PPP Center and registration by the project proponent with the Board of Investment.
A joint congressional oversight committee is hereby created to oversee the implementation of this act.