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First House bills filed under 18th Congress tackle FOI, motorcycle regulation, HRDs, Cebu development

/ 04:21 PM July 01, 2019

Updated (7:56 pm.)

MANILA, Philippines — House bills seeking to allow the use of motorcycles as public transport, strengthen citizen’s right to government-held data, and protect human rights defenders were among the first five measures filed at the lower chamber on the first day of the 18th Congress.

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Cebu City Rep. Raul del Mar filed House Bill No. 13 on Monday seeking to amend Section 7 (c) of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

Del Mar said in the bill’s explanatory note that amending the said provision “will resolve the existing inadequacies in our laws and shall promote the safety and welfare of people who patronage motorcycles-for-hire known as habal-habal or Angkas.”

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“The absence of any law regulating the operation of motorcycles-for-hire…runs counter to the policy of the State to ensure the safety and of the public,” he said.

Del Mar noted that the bill was approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress but was not approved by the Senate “for lack of time upon congressional adjournment.”

The lawmaker from Cebu also filed House Bill No. 12 or “An Act Strengthening the People’s Right to Information.”

The said measure seeks to “put in place the enabling law necessary to implement a provision in the Philippine Constitution which states that “[t]he right of the people to information on matters of public concerns shall be recognized.”

Del Mar, who refiled the bill, said it was already approved on third and final reading by both chambers of Congress and was further approved by the Bicameral Conference Committee in the 14th Congress.

However, while the bicam report was ratified by the Senate, it could not be ratified by the House due to lack of quorum during the last session day of the 14th Congress.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman filed House Bill No. 15 or the “Human Rights Defenders Protection Act.”

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In filing the measure, Lagman said it is “imperative for the Philippine government to enact a law guaranteeing the protection of rights and fundamental freedoms of HRDs (human rights defenders)” amid the “continuing intimidation, reprisal, harassment and vilification of HRDs and the growing culture of impunity.”

Del Mar filed two other bills that focused on the development of Cebu.

House Bill No. 11 or the Mega Cebu Development Authority Act which seeks the creation of a “permanent, appropriate, and responsive institutional platform that commits to and is reflective of the principles and framework of inter-local and city-region collaboration, public-private sector partnership, citizen and civil society engagement, and evidence-based and expert-assisted planning and development.”

Meanwhile, House Bill No. 14 is an “an act providing a Light Rail Transport (LRT) or Metro Rail Transport (MRT) or Monorail in Cebu City or Metro Cebu.

“The common perception is that the traffic situation in the City of Cebu and Metro Cebu, considering the economic growth trends, population explosion rates, and migration factors, has already reached the level where a modern mass transit system must be put in place,” Del Mar said in his explanatory note.

A staff from the House of Representatives told reporters in a Viber message that 890 House bills and 24 House resolutions have so far been filed as of 7 p.m. (Editor: Eden Estopace)

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TAGS: 18th Congress, Cebu development, first House bills filed, FOI, HRDs, motorcycle regulation
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