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House leadership shows off performance despite budget delays

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 05:33 AM June 17, 2019
speaker House party-list bloc will still obey Duterte, Sara's order on speakership

The plenary hall of the House of Representatives. (Photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The leadership of the House of Representatives patted itself on the back for its productive performance in legislation in spite of some major political hiccups, such as the monthslong delay in the passage of the 2019 budget during the yearlong tenure of outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Under Arroyo’s speakership, the chamber approved 909 measures, 250 of which became laws — 82 national in scope — based on a report of the House rules committee.

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Forty-four measures were transmitted to President Duterte for approval, while 15 were ratified by the two houses after a bicameral conference committee, the report added.

This, according to the House leadership, amounted to 2,505 measures processed in 54 session days, or an average of 46 measures per session day.

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The House performance “showed the hard work, focus and determination of lawmakers in passing vital socioeconomic measures that will benefit the present and next

generation of Filipinos,” a statement issued by Arroyo’s office read.

Arroyo, whose final term as Pampanga representative will end on June 30, gave her farewells to colleagues on the last session day of the 17th Congress on June 4.

Political wrangling

But her stint as the leader of the House will likely best be remembered for her and her allies’ unceremonious ouster of the previous Speaker, Pantaleon Alvarez, in July 2018, and the political wrangling between the House and the Senate that delayed the enactment of the P3.7-trillion budget law of 2019.

The House and the Senate had traded accusations about the former’s last-minute changes to the spending bill, leading to a standoff that lasted months and set back the country’s economic growth.

The 18th Congress will open on July 22 under a new leadership.

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In her sine die adjournment speech, Arroyo said she had set her principal objectives as Speaker to push for the legislative agenda of President Duterte, especially the passage of priority bills that were highlighted in his 2018 State of the Nation Address.

‘Tireless work’

She lauded the House members for their “tireless work and dedication which resulted in genuine milestones that will benefit Filipinos now and in the future.”

Among the new laws passed under Arroyo’s watch are measures institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the Magna Carta of the Poor.

The House approved 387 bills on third and final reading, including Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 proposing the Revision of the 1987 Constitution and authored by Arroyo herself. The measure, however, lacked concurrence with the Senate.

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TAGS: 17th Congress, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, House of Representatives
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