THE HOUSE of Representatives will pass three more bills, including measures on amending the Constitution and rightsizing the executive branch, before it goes on a break on March 25, a leader of the lower chamber said.
“We still have to pass three measures on third reading, namely HB (House Bill) 7352, that is the accompanying of RBH 6, plus we have the rightsizing bill plus another one, the income reclassification of the LGUs,” Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose M. Dalipe told reporters at the sidelines of the eCongress portal launch on Thursday.
The lower chamber on Monday passed on final reading Resolution of Both Houses 6, seeking to change economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution through a constitutional convention (con-con). House Bill 7352, which specifies how the con-con will operate, was approved on second reading on Tuesday.
The lower chamber on Wednesday also approved on second reading a bill seeking to rightsize the bureaucracy to improve the delivery of government services. A bill proposing to institutionalize an income classification system based on the financial capability of local government units also received a second reading nod.
Three of the House’s priority measures — e-governance, the creation of the Negros Island region, and the magna carta for seafarers — were passed on third reading on Monday.
“We’re hoping [that the Senate passes their “cha-cha” bill.] We’re gonna pass it and we’ll wait for our counterparts in the Senate on how they will be receiving, and probably discussing what we have passed,” Mr. Dalipe said.
However, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said that Charter change remains the least of the upper chamber’s priorities because it is focused on post-pandemic recovery and on inviting more foreign investors to the country.
“When we talk about Charter change, it takes years,” Mr. Zubiri told reporters. “Political amendments, removal of term limits may suddenly be included… of course the public will be outraged. Let us focus at the job at hand.”
He said that the Senate will prioritize the approval of a bill looking to strengthen the local salt industry as well as the creation of a virology institute and a medical reserve corps, which are all pending at the committee level.
He also said that the upper chamber will pass the proposed Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control Act, which is currently under deliberation.
Congress will go on recess from March 25 to May 7. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz