House to prioritize passage of revised hazing law, 5 bills
The revision of the hazing law and the creation of a separate department for disaster response are among the House of Representatives’ priority measures scheduled to be passed before the end of the year.
In a press briefing on Monday, Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin also mentioned the “One Town, One Doctor” Act as among the common legislative priorities of the House and the Senate which the lower chamber could approve on third and final reading any day during the four remaining weeks of the current session.
All forms of hazing
House Bill (HB) No. 6573, which seeks to prohibit “all forms of hazing… at whatever stage of the initiation rite or practice,” is still undergoing plenary debates at the sponsorship stage.
HB 6571, or the Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program Act — the House’s version of the “One Town, One Doctor” Act—is close to being approved on final reading. It was approved on second reading on Oct. 10, before Congress went on a five-week recess.
The bill provided for a medical scholarship program, where the government would grant free tuition and allowances for at least one qualified scholar from each of the country’s 1,489 municipalities, in exchange for rendering services in a public hospital for at least eight years.
As for the proposed creation of a department of disaster response, the technical working group of the committee on government reorganization is currently deliberating a draft bill.
Garin said the House’s legislative priorities would not not be affected by the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“I assure you, I don’t think the other chairmen and other members of the other committees will allow the justice committee to stop their work. The committee chairmen and members now are very industrious, so they would not stop working on their advocacies,” she said.
3 other bills
Apart from the three aforementioned measures, the House and Senate, in a meeting on Oct. 4, also identified three other bills that the two chambers hope to pass by December.
The House had done its part as its versions of the Free School Feeding Act (HB 5269), the Expanded Local Absentee Voting Act (HB 5661) and the Estate Tax Reform Act (HBs 4814 and 4815) were already approved on third and final reading on May 2, May 29 and May 29, respectively.
On top of this, Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia noted that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had pledged to approve the bill providing for the dissolution of marriage by yearend.
Cebu Daily News quoted Alvarez as saying in Cebu on Friday that the House “will pass [the bill] before Christmas because by December, it will be passed on its third reading. A lot [of people] are requesting for it, even on social media.”
Garcia noted that, although HB 6027 currently remained at the committee level, Alvarez’s coauthors “are now going to several embassies, Philippine embassies in other countries, to hear the plight of Filipinas who [were] divorced by their husbands [but] continue to be married.”
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.