SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano lauded the efforts and hard work of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to deliver better and bolder initiatives in the past year in line with their commitment to bring a better life to the Filipino people.
“For the past year, we have worked to pursue better initiatives and bold solutions to improve delivery of basic services, respond to disasters, promote inclusive growth and help address the COVID-19 crisis,” Cayetano said in a statement.
Among these initiatives was the creation of the Defeat COVID-19 Committee (DCC) which has spearheaded the passage of at least six measures in a span of one month to strengthen government response to the pandemic and stimulate economic growth.
Other initiatives were the creation of Special Committee on Persons with Disabilities, Special Committee on Interfaith, Inter Religion and Inter-cultural Affairs, and Special Committee on Flagship Projects; the conduct of marathon hearings for to pass the proposed 2020 national budget in record time of 20 days; and the holding of Plenary Session in Batangas to listen directly to the concerns of the affected communities of the Taal Volcano eruption.
Cayetano said the House also collaborated with the Department of Finance to pass “bold tax reform measures” such as the law that seeks to Increase and Restructure the Excise Tax Rates on Alcohol, Heated Tobacco, and Vapor Products.
Other bills include the Corporate Income Tax & Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA), Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA), and the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Act, all of which were passed on third and final reading last year.
A year after Cayetano took the helm of the House of Representatives, the 18th Congress has exceeded the record of the 16th and 17th Congress in terms of the number of measures enacted into law during the First Regular Session.
It has also reported a 260% increase in the number of national and local measures enacted into law during the First Regular Session compared with the same period in the 17th Congress.
Only 14 measures were enacted into law in the same period of the 16th Congress. Meanwhile, there were five laws signed after the end of the First Regular Session of the 17th Congress.
As of July 16, 2020, a total of 18 measures have already been enacted into law, of which 12 are national measures and six are local bills.
The 12 national bills are the following:
1) Postponement of the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections;
2) Establishment of Malasakit Centers;
3) Increasing and Restructuring the Excise Tax Rates on Alcohol, Heated Tobacco, and Vapor Products;
4) Creation of the National Academy of Sports;
5) The Salary Standardization Law of 2019 which increased the salary of teachers and nurses;
6) The Act Extending Availability of the 2019 Appropriations to December 31, 2020;
7) The Act Appropriating Funds for the Operation of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines from January 1-December 31, 2020;
8) The Act Designating the Third Sunday of November Every Year as the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors, and Their Families;
9) The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act;
10) The GMRC and Values Education Act;
11) The Anti- Terrorism Act of 2020; and
12) The Grant of Franchise for Golden Broadcast Professional Inc.
“We cannot accomplish these milestones without the strong cooperation and support from our counterparts in the Senate,” Cayetano said in his statement.
“Both Houses strive to pass game-changing reforms that will make the lives of Filipinos safer and more comfortable,” he added.
Official statistics from the House Committee on Rules showed that despite there being fewer session days in the 18th Congress from July 22, 2019 to June 5, 2020, the total measures processed during the 18th Congress of the House of Representatives surged to 1,630 measures from 1,247 in the previous Congress.
The report also showed that the number of measures processed per session day doubled from 13 in the 17th Congress to 27 in the 18th Congress, equivalent to a 108% increase.
“As a result of the collective action of the institution, we have surpassed the records set by the 16th and 17th Congress,” Cayetano said.
Recently, the House of Representatives set another bold precedent when it passed the Anti-Terrorism Law despite strong opposition from various sectors.
“We stood our ground to put an end to the injustices committed by the terrorists as well as the economic disruptions and damages in the areas where they operate,” Cayetano said.
Unlike terrorists, Cayetano pointed out that oligarchs are able to fully use our legal system to victimize people.
“They were able to circumvent the laws to avoid taxes which may appear legal but the uncollected funds should have benefited many Filipinos who desperately need more services,” he said.
“In line with our thrusts to pursue socio-economic and political reforms, the House of Representatives will continue to fight for what is right and will never tolerate anyone, including oligarchs, who will abuse the system and cheat both the government and our people,” he added.