The leadership of the House of Representatives under the stewardship of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has commended its members for having processed a total of 900 measures in 32 session days.
That’s an average of 28 measures for each day the House holds session, which is no mean feat, according to House leaders.
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said the chamber as an institution performed its tasks commendably by answering the “challenges and demands of our duties and responsibilities.”
Romualdez , chairman of the House Committee on Rules, said these measures include Republic Act 11462postponing the May 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to December 2022, RA 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act that establishes a one-stop shop in every government hospital where poor patients can seek financial assistance for their medical needs from four government agencies: the Department of Health, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, ratification of House Bill 4228 or the proposed 2020 P4.1 trillion national budget, and HB 1026 that increases the tax on electronic cigarettes and impose higher duties on alcohol or the Package 2 Plus B of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, amending Sections 141, 142 and 143 of the Republic Act 8424, as amended or the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, and among others.
“I am proud to report, as the Majority Leader, that the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress processed a total of 900 legislative measures since July 22 to December 18 of the current year. In just 32 session days, we were able to steer the approval of 175 legislative measures. Two of these measures, the institutionalization of the Malasakit Centers and the postponement of the barangay and SK elections, had already been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte,” said Romualdez in his report to Cayetano.
“The bicameral report of two other measures, the 2020 General Appropriations Act and the Sin Taxes, were also ratified by both Houses of Congress and are due for signature by the President before the end of the year,” said Romualdez.
Through the leadership of Cayetano, Romualdez reiterated his assurance to the public that the leadership would continue to perform better.
Before Congress went on a month-long Christmas break last Dec. 21, Romualdez said the House of Representatives processed a total of 900 measures or an average of 28 measures per day during the 32 session days.
From July 22 to Dec. 18, 2019, Romualdez said the House received a total of 6,562 measures and 186 committee reports.
Of these, Romualdez said 5,889 are bills and 673 are resolutions. Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said the record time third and final reading approval of the proposed 2020 P4.1-trillion national budget by the House of Representatives is one of the highlights of the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress.
“I consider the swift passage of the 2020 General Appropriations as one of the highlights of the First Regular Session of the House of Representatives. We were able to steer the approval of the 2020 national budget in record time through creative initiatives never before experienced in the House of Representatives. Committee hearings for the budgets of various departments and offices were held simultaneously, from day to night, Monday to Friday,” Romualdez said.
He added the chamber also approved the tax reform measures of the Duterte administration to promote the country as a viable investment destination.
Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, also lauded both the majority and the minority’s “tough work ethic in doing their jobs creditably.”
“Your congressmen, both from the majority and the minority, worked feverishly in the committee and plenary levels just to get the job done on time.
“The minority congressmen were given almost 80 percent of the total time allotted in plenary for interpellation. With democracy at work in the House, we manage to craft a national budget that is truly a collaborative product of hard-working legislators. No pork, no parking, and no delay. With the swift approval of the 2020 budget, we are confident that we will meet the country’s economic target of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent growth for this year up to 2020,” Romualdez stressed.
As this developed, two bills that were approved by the Congress before if went on a Christmas break would bring about better economic development in the coming year, Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymund Villafuerte said.
Both measures, one of which has been signed into law, will speed up government spending on infrastructure and human-capital development, that will boost the growth momentum and create more jobs.
Villafuerte, who represents Camarines Sur, said the approved measures are the 2020 General Appropriations Bill of P4.1 trillion, which is now awaiting President Duterte’s signature, and the newly-signed Republic Act 11464, which made unspent portions of the 2019 General Appropriations Act available for release until Dec. 31, 2020.
“The swift approval of both measures by the House under the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano best illustrates the unequivocal support of the bigger chamber for the vision of President Duterte to sustain the high-growth momentum, attack poverty and improve the lives of the Filipino people over the medium term,” Villafuerte said in a statement.
Villafuerte said the economic growth powered by heavy state spending and low inflation would keep the Philippines among the world’s fastest-growing economies for the remainder of the Duterte presidency.
“Such accelerated spending through the would-be enacted 2020 GAA plus the remaining funds under the 2019 GAA would set off a double-barreled economic stimulus guaranteed to boost the growth momentum, attract local and offshore investments and create a lot more jobs for our people,” Villafuerte added.