House OKs 19 bills on final reading after resumption of sessions
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday passed a total of 19 bills on final reading including providing aid for higher education, additional benefits for senior citizens, rural financial inclusion, and tax cut to help the live entertainment industry recover from the impact of the pandemic.
This came after the House resumed its sessions on Monday, only a few weeks left before the Congress adjourns on Feb. 5 for the election period.
Below are the list of bills approved by the House:
- House Bill (HB) 10541 or the “Film and Live Events Recovery Act” which aims to ensure that livelihood opportunities are made available to Filipinos working in the creative industries by lowering from 10 percent to five percent the amusement tax collected from proprietors, lessees or operators of theaters, cinemas, concert halls, boxing stadiums, and other places of amusements.
- HB 10555 or the proposed “Free College Entrance Examinations Act” which seeks to mandate private higher educational institutions (HEIs) to waive college entrance examination fees to underprivileged high school students and high school graduates belonging to the top 10 percent of their class.
- HB 10560 which mandates the establishment of the Tertiary Education Subsidy in all state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges, private HEIs, and technical vocational institutions to Filipino students enrolling in the first undergraduate post-secondary tertiary education of their choice.
- HB 10561 which seeks to establish the Enterprise-Based Education and Training Program, strengthening middle-level manpower education and training programs and ensure the steady supply of educated manpower equipped with the appropriate skills to meet the requirements, demands, and standards of the workplace both locally and internationally.
- HB 10568 which seeks to increase the discount rate and exempt from value added tax or VAT of the monthly electric and water consumption below 150kwh electricity and 30 cubic meters water of senior citizens.
- HB 10569 or the proposed “Magna Carta on Religious Freedom Act” which aims to ensure that no act of the government, or any of its instrumentalities, officers or employees shall burden, curtail, impinge or encroach on the person’s right to exercise one’s religious belief, freedom and liberty of conscience.
- HB 10576 which aims to recognize and protect the rights and fundamental freedoms of a human rights defender, defining human rights defenders as any person who, by one’s self or in association with others, acts or seeks to act to protect, promote or strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms and welfare of the people, at the local, national, regional, and international levels.
- HB 10579 which aims to strengthen the field offices of the Commission on Elections by upgrading and creating certain positions for its personnel, equipping them to be more responsive to the public and further protect the right of suffrage of Filipino citizens.
- HB 10582 or the proposed “Rural Financial Inclusion and Literacy Act” which seeks to promote financial empowerment and reduce financial vulnerabilities among its citizen by promoting financial inclusion and literacy programs that contribute in establishing a financial system to benefit all Filipinos regardless of socio-economic status, to accelerate economic growth and development especially in rural and provincial areas.
- HB 10610 which seeks to encourage the registration of firearms and reduce the number of loose firearms in the country by fixing the validity period of the license to own and possess, registration, and permit to carry firearms outside of residence or place of business.
- The House also approved on final reading two bills granting Philippine citizenship and seven local bills.
The lower chamber also ratified the bicameral committee report on the proposed Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act, which provides for a national energy policy and regulatory framework for the use of electric vehicles and their development as an industry.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco then expressed gratitude to his fellow House members for taking part in Monday’s session despite the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 surge driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
“We thank our colleagues for their unwavering dedication and commitment to enacting meaningful and relevant laws that will benefit Filipinos even in the face of overwhelming challenges,” Velasco said.
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