House resumes session with COVID-19 vaccine, other measures as priority
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives resumed its session Monday afternoon following its month-long holiday break.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the priorities of the lower chamber for discussion are the issues involving the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, aside from other legislative measures previously mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Prior to the resumption of the House’s session, the lower chamber’s committee on health began its inquiry into the national government’s COVID-19 vaccination program attended by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.
Aside from the COVID-19 vaccine, Velasco said the lower chamber will also move to fast-track the approval of 34 legislative priorities, which includes bill seeking to give Duterte the power to suspend the scheduled increases in the contribution rates of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS) “in times of national emergencies.”
According to Velasco, of the 34 pending legislative priorities, one was approved on the second reading—a bill seeking additional benefits for solo parents—while the rest are set to be tackled at the committee level.
Among the priority bills pending at the committee level are the proposed Magna Carta of Barangays; National Housing Development Act; Department of Water Resources and Services; death penalty for plunder, heinous crimes related to drugs; the rightsizing of the national government; and the constitutional amendments as to economic provisions.
Meanwhile, Velasco said 13 other legislative priorities have already been approved on final reading which includes the proposed Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer or FIST Act, Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act, Internet Transaction Act, and the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.
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