House resumes session; Bayanihan 3 among priority measures
MANILA, Philippines — After a nearly two-month break, the House of Representatives resumed its session on Monday, with the proposed third Bayanihan measure among its priority measures.
The House resumed its session still under a hybrid set-up, with some lawmakers physically present at the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City and the remaining lawmakers attending through videoconferencing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said among its priority legislation is the proposed Bayanihan to Arise As One Act or Bayanihan 3, which includes the provision of P2,000 cash aid per Filipino, regardless of social status. This cash aid will be given in two tranches, amounting to P1,000 per tranche.
“We need to make sure that we have economic stimulus laws to help our country bounce back better from this pandemic,” Velasco said in a statement.
“The House is ready to sit down with the Senate to make sure that these measures become laws before we adjourn,” he added.
The proposed Bayanihan 3 still needs to be approved by the House committee on appropriations before it can be transmitted to the plenary for further debates and approval.
Other measures eyed
Velasco said the lower chamber will also continue the plenary deliberations on the Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which seeks to give the next Congress the flexibility to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
“We are looking at lifting the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution as an intervention to allow substantially more foreign investments for the country’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” Velasco said.
Furthermore, Velasco said the House will also approve the resolutions concurring with President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamations granting amnesty to Muslim and communist rebels who agreed to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law.
“The amnesty program is a huge step toward achieving just and lasting peace in the country and giving former rebels a path back into civilian life,” Velasco said.
The House Speaker stressed that the lower chamber is committed to ensure timely enactment of “what’s left of the priority measures under the Duterte Administration.”
The House Speaker, however, noted that most of Duterte’s priority measures have already been approved on third reading by the House.
“Maybe for the next three weeks, we will await Senate action on the bills certified urgent by the President,” Velasco said.
The House Speaker said these measures include Senate Bill No. 2094 which seeks to amend the Public Service Act; Senate Bill No. 1156 or the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act of 1991; and Senate Bill No. 1840 which aims to amend the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000 by lowering the required paid-up capital for foreign retail enterprises.
The House will only have three weeks before the sine die adjournment on June 4.
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