Velasco prods House legislators for ‘last big push’ to pass remaining priority bills
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Lord Allan Velasco called on his colleagues for “one last big push” to pass the remaining priority measures of the 18th Congress as the House of Representatives opened its third regular session ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday afternoon.
“As we enter the final year of our present term in Congress, it is time for that one last big push,” he said.
One of the biggest priorities of the House, according to Velasco, is the passage of the 2022 national budget.
The Speaker said the lower chamber expects the Department of Budget and Management and government economic managers to soon submit the National Expenditure Program for 2022.
“Kailangan natin itong busisiin, himayin, at buuin nang maayos upang makasagot sa lumalaking pangangailangan ng ating bayan ngayong panahon ng patuloy na pandemya,” he said.
(We need to scrutinize the budget so it can respond to the needs of our countrymen in this time of the pandemic.)
Velasco said the House is on track to approve the remaining legislative priority economic measures, including the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act.
“To assist in our economic recovery, we are pushing for the taxation of Philippine offshore gaming operators and E-sabong betting activities,” Velasco said.
Aside from this, Velasco said policies on public health and safety are also being tackled in the lower chamber including the establishment of the Virology Institute of the Philippines, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are set to approve the Medical Stockpiling bill to allow the Department of Health to stockpile, conserve, and facilitate the supply and distribution of pharmaceuticals and vaccines for public health emergencies,” Velasco said.
Also, Velasco said the House is set to tackle the substitute bill on the proposed Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) pension law, which seeks to institute long-needed reforms in the pension system of MUP and to address its attendant fiscal burden and sustainability risks.
Moreover, Velasco said bills pushing for more efficient ways of doing business and administering taxes are likewise being discussed in the House such as the Ease of Paying Taxes bill.
“We also recognize the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our creative industries, and fully support efforts to organize and institutionalize the Philippine creative economy,” the House leader said.
Duterte is set to deliver his final Sona late Monday afternoon at the Batasan Pambansa plenary hall.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.