House opens session ahead of Duterte’s final Sona
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday opened its third regular session hours ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The House opened its session in a hybrid set-up, with some members physically present at the Batasang Pambansa and others attending through video conferencing, following a nearly two-month break.
During Monday’s session, the following measures are expected to be approved:
- House Bill No. 9459 An Act Increasing the Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens
- House Bill No. 9147 or An Act Regulating the Production, Importation, Sale, Distribution, Provision, Use, Recovery, Collection, Recycling, and Disposal of Single-Use Plastic Products
- Center for Disease Prevention and Control Bill
Duterte will physically deliver his final SONA on Monday afternoon at the House of Representatives plenary hall.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the House is all set for Duterte’s SONA, emphasizing that strict security and health restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of the President, members and staff of Congress, and other invited officials and guests throughout the activity.
Velasco said he expects Duterte to ask Congress to pass certain legislative measures on his administration’s final year.
“Many people thought we were shooting for the stars and that programs such as free tertiary education, accessible health services, environmental rehabilitation, peace and order in communities would never see the light of day. But PRRD proved that under his leadership, this can be achieved,” Velasco said in a statement.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez earlier said that the passage of the 2022 national budget and other anti-COVID measures remain to be top priority of the lower chamber.
Romualdez said the House intends to pass the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) before the October deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacies (COCs) for next year’s presidential elections.
“With the expiration of Bayanihan 2, I am anticipating that most of the concerns in our defeat COVID-19 campaign will be included in the 2022 national budget that we are about to receive after the final SONA of President Duterte,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez also said that Velasco has asked the House to prioritize the approval of five bills earlier identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
These include the proposed Philippine Virology Institute Act, Center for Disease Control Act, Amendments to the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act, and National Housing Development Act.
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