Tax reform, BBL top Senate’s priority legislation
Tax reform, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and government’s shift to federalism are just some of the priorities of the Senate as the 17th Congress resumes.
When the Senate opened the second regular session on Monday, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel II enumerated the bills the leadership hopes to prioritize.
Among these are the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act or Train, strengthening of anti-terrorism laws, the BBL, and the Duterte administration’s proposal for a federal form of government.
The Senate will also push for the national ID system and the Universal Health Care Act.
Asked in an ambush interview if death penalty would be a priority, Pimentel said, “Not priority (but we will discuss it) in the regular course of business.”
“As the Senate President, this bill was submitted by the House so we owe it as a gesture of friendship to the House,” he said. “Since they passed this, that means they want us to discuss it. Hanggang doon lang.”
“I can assure the House that we will discuss the death penalty bill,” Pimentel continued.
In his speech at the opening of the session, Pimentel noted that the Senate enjoyed a 57 percent approval rating in a recent survey. It was three points higher than in the previous study.
“But with higher trust and higher approval come higher expectations. We may have performed well before, but we must exceed the standard we set in the previous session if we are to retain or exceed the trust and approval that we have from the public,” he said.
At present, there are 1,242 bills and 297 resolutions pending before different Senate committees.
With this, Pimentel said “each bill must be scrutinized with the view of accepting or rejecting them based on how well they can be of service to the people.”
“We have proven in the previous session just how much work we can put in when public welfare is on the line. I am confident we can do just as well, or even better than how we did in the previous session. There are no better companions for the tasks ahead than the Senate family,” he said. CBB
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