Congress leaders define 35 priority legislations for 2nd regular session

admin   •   July 27, 2017   •   4364

MANILA, Philippines — Leaders from the upper and lower houses of Congress convened on Wednesday to identify measures included in their common legislative agenda.

Senate President Aquino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, majority leaders Cong. Rudy Fariñas and Senator Tito Sotto and minority leaders Congressman Danilo Suarez and Senator Franklin Drilon were among those who attended the meeting.

House majority leader Cong. Fariñas said, in order to facilitate easier passage of bills, they segmentized the second regular session into four quarters.

In the first quarter starting this Monday to October this year, they will prioritize the passage of tax reform package, traffic crisis and Emergency Powers Act, national ID system, end of contractualization or “endo”, among others.

While they have not set a definite timeline, House and Senate also agreed to focus on passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Minority leader Cong. Danilo Suarez expects long debates on this.

“We agreed to have it prioritized pero ang problema hindi pa namin nakikita eh, hindi ko pa nababasa ang BBL eh (but the problem is, we have yet to see it. I have not read the BBL yet.) Sa Senado hindi pa nila nakikita (They have not seen it yet in the Senate). So sinabi ng pangulo iyon (The President mentioned it) so we have to come up with a responsive action. We will prioritize it,” he said.

Revision of the Constitution is also identified as one of the legislative agenda and Congress has agreed to create a technical working group for it.

House majority leader Cong. Fariñas said, “ang napagusapan namin (What we discussed was) if we cannot wait for the commission being created by the president, both Houses bubuo nalang kami ng parang (we’ll just form something like a)… technical working group ng (of) both Houses na magpepresent ng (that will present) amendments to the act.”

Leaders from the House of Representatives are positive they will be able to hit all these 35 target bills for this second regular session. They say most of the job is in the Senate, as some measures like the tax reform are already finished in third and final reading in the lower chamber.

While the barangay elections are already in October, the bill for the postponement of the barangay elections is not in the priority agenda of both Houses.

“Hindi ito legislative agenda dahil hindi pumapabor si Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon. On the part of the House okay kami. Postpone the elections, no hold over, doon nagkakatalo kasi eh, ” said Fariñas. —  Joyce Balancio | UNTV News & Rescue

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Senate on total closure from January 10 to 16 – Sotto

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2022

MANILA, Philippines ­– The Senate will be closed for a week amid rising COVID-19 infections among its employees, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Friday.

Citing a report from the Senate Medical Team, Sotto said there are now 46 active COVID positive cases in the upper chamber while 175 employees are under quarantine due to exposure and manifestation of symptoms.

Sotto said these employees are awaiting the result of their COVID-19 swab test.

He also mentioned that five staff of the Medical Bureau are under quarantine, which depleted their workforce and find it hard to attend to the needs of the infected employees.

“Medical has sent a Memo recommending 7 days of total closure of the Senate from January 10 (Monday) to  January 16 (Sunday),” he told reporters.

“They will conduct thorough disinfection and this will lessen contact among employees to prevent or slow down virus transmission,” he added.

Sotto said total closure means no one will be allowed to enter the Senate premises except for those involved in the disinfection process to be conducted on January 8 and January 15.

The House of Representatives earlier announced it has extended the lockdown in its offices until January 16, also due to increasing COVID-19 cases.


Pagpapatupad ng mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, nakasalalay sa Kongreso – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nakasalalay sa Kongreso ang pagbalangkas ng batas kung gagawing sapilitan sa bansa ang pagpapabakuna kontra COVID-19.

Ito ang naging pahayag ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) matapos sabihin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na payag siyang gawing mandatory ang COVID-19 vaccination sa Pilipinas sa harap ng banta ng bagong COVID-19 variant na Omicron.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, wala sa kapangyarihan ng IATF na pilitin ang publiko na tumanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Kailangan po ng batas, mas magiging… mas magkakaroon ng mandatory enforcement kapag meron pong batas mula sa Congress at mapirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte, so it is up to congress to feel the need kung kinakailangan magkaroon ng batas to make it mandatory,” ani Nograles.

“As far as IATF is concerned, patuloy pa rin po ang ating pagmi-meeting tungkol d’yan at paguusap namin sa proposal na yan,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, iiminungkahi naman ni Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año na higpitan na lamang ang mga polisiya para sa mga hindi pa bakunado upang maengganyo ang mas marami pang Pilipino na magpabakuna.

Aniya, may kapangyarihan naman ang mga alkalde na maglabas ng kautusan o ordinansa para makumbinse ang kanilang mga constituent na magpaturok na ng COVID-19 vaccine.

“Hindi natin ima-mandatory but at least, we’ll make it harder for them to live while there’s a pandemic. It’s because of mutations, kung hindi ma-achieve ang herd immunity,” ani Año. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Defense chief Lorenzana tests positive for COVID-19 anew

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed on Wednesday that he has again contracted COVID-19.

In a message to reporters, Lorenzana said he was informed of his test result earlier in the day but he has not manifested any symptoms.

He said he is fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

“This morning I got the result of my swab test yesterday afternoon after the Senate hearing. I am asymptomatic,” he said.

“Yes, I am fully vaxxed. I’ll observe myself for several days after that I’ll have another swab,” he added.

The Defense chief first tested positive for COVID-19 in April and recovered.

Lorenzana took a swab test after undergoing screening for COVID-19 on Tuesday when he physically attended a Senate hearing for his department’s budget for 2022.

With this development, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said they might suspend the budget deliberations on Thursday to give way for the testing of exposed Senate staff.

Lorenzana had interactions with several senators during the session. Among those who was exposed to him were Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino.

Senators and staff who had contact with Lorenzana have been asked to undergo quarantine and get tested after five days.


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