House leaders want no vetoed bill in 18th Congress
MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez on Tuesday said they are pushing for monthly meetings with senators, Cabinet members and other key government executives to avoid even a single presidential veto of bills to be approved by the 18th Congress.
Cayetano and Romualdez the other day met with Senate leaders and Cabinet secretaries in a small group Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting at Malacañang and discussed ways to expedite President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority measures.
“We are eyeing zero veto for all bills to be approved by the Senate and the House. Hopefully, we can avoid any possibility of a Presidential veto by working closely with Cabinet members and Senate officials,” Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), said in a statement.
“Our target is efficiency, quality, yet faster,” Cayetano said in a separate interview.
Romualdez said some of the initial priority measures that the small group agreed to approve immediately include the 2020 national budget, creation of the Department of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), amending the Public Service Act, higher excise tax rates on alcohol, institutionalizing Malasakit Centers and the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities or Trabaho bill.
To avoid any veto of bills passed by the current Congress, Romualdez also said they would work closely with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office and reactivate a joint congressional technical working group that would monitor the progress of legislative action on priority and certified measures.
Romualdez said the Congressional Planning and Budget Office estimates that at least P3 million are being spent for the approval of any bill until third reading.
The amount covers the salary of congressmen and House personnel involved in the process as well as government resources used in the proceedings, he added.
In the 17th Congress, Duterte exercised his veto prerogative on nine bills approved by the Senate and the House including the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
The President vetoed only parts of the budget bill, including the provisions allocating P95.3 billion for public works projects.
Meanwhile, many criticized the President’s veto of the Security of Tenure bill or the anti-endo bill which he certified as urgent in 2018.
The other vetoed bills are:
- House Bill No. 5554 – An Act declaring December 9 of every year a special working holiday in the province of Dinagat Islands in commemoration of the birth anniversary of Ruben Ecleo, Sr.2. HB 8552 – An Act further strengthening the Philippine Coconut Authority
3. HB 5745 – An Act creating the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund, providing for its management and utilization
4. HB 8239 – An Act promoting positive and non-violent discipline, protecting children from physical, humiliating or degrading acts as a form of punishment
5. HB 7376 – An Act further strengthening the Office of the Solicitor General
6. HB 8637 – An Act creating the Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub of Central Luzon
7. HB 7820 – An Act granting survivorship benefits to the dependent children of a deceased retired member of the Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections, and the Ombudsman. /gsg
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