By Jose Cielito Reganit, September 28, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has acknowledged the diligence and collective action of all members of the House of Representatives for having approved on third and final reading all the 20 Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) priority bills way ahead of the end of the year target.

“Salamat sa tulong ninyong lahat. Mission accomplished po tayo – tatlong buwan bago matapos ang deadline na napagkasunduan ng (Thank you for all your help. We are mission accomplished three months before the deadline agreed upon by the) Senate, House of Representatives and Executive department,” Romualdez said in his speech Wednesday night before Congress adjourned for a five-week recess.

“I have no doubt that our collective action, imbued with competence and a passion for public service, led us to deliver responsive and relevant legislative measures required to champion social justice and economic development,” he added.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed into law one of the 20 LEDAC priority measures – the Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act as Republic Act No. 11962 on Wednesday.

Romualdez noted that five more are “inches away” from becoming laws.

House Bill (HB) No. 7006 or the Automatic Income Classification Act for Local Government Units, has already been transmitted to Malacañang for appropriate action; the House adopted Senate Bill 1846 as an amendment to HB 0004 or the Internet Transactions or E-Commerce Law; the House ratified conference committee reports on HB 6527, or the Public-Private Partnership Act; HB 4125, or the Ease of Paying Taxes Act; and HB 8278, or the “Philippine Salt Industry Development Act”.

Meanwhile, the other LEDAC priority measures passed on third and final reading are: the Philippine Centers for Disease Prevention and Control Act (HB 6522); Health Auxiliary Reinforcement Team Act (HB 6518); Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines Act (HB 6452); Instituting a National Citizens Service Program (HB 6687); Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act (HB 6558); and the E-Governance/E-Government Act (HB 7327).

Also included are: the Waste Treatment Technology Act (HB 6444); New Philippine Passport Act (HB 6510); Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers (HB 7325); National Government Rightsizing Act (HB 7240); Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act (HB 7393); Amending the Bank Secrecy Law (HB 7446); Military and Other Uniformed Personnel Pension Act (HB 8969); and the Anti Agri-fishery Commodities and Tobacco Economic Sabotage Act of 2023 (HB 9284).

Romualdez also noted that since the start of the second regular session in July, eight bills approved by the House had been signed into law.

These are RA 11962 or the Trabaho Para Sa Bayan Act; Extending the Tax Amnesty Availment Period (RA 11956); Increasing the Disability Pension of Veterans (RA 11958); Regional Specialty Centers Act (RA 11959); OTOP Philippines Act (RA 11960); and Amending the National Cultural Heritage Act (RA 11961).

Before the start of the Second Regular Session, President Marcos signed RA 11953, or New Agrarian Emancipation Act, and RA 11954, or Maharlika Investment Fund Act of 2023.

Romualdez also reported that of the 17 measures identified by President Marcos in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), 10 have already been passed on third and final reading by the House, including the ratified conference committee report on Local Government Unit Income Classification and the Ease of Paying Taxes Act; as well as the Fiscal Regime for the Mining Industry; the MUP (military and uniformed personnel) Pension; the Amendments to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act; the Single-Use Plastic Bags Tax Act; VAT on Digital Services; the Amendment of the Fisheries Code; the Anti-Financial Accounts Scamming Act; and the Immigration Modernization Act.

“The rest are already in advanced stages and are scheduled to be reported out when Congress resumes session in November, and targeted for approval on third reading by December 2023,” Romualdez said.

The House was also to pass on third and final reading urgent measures identified by the LEDAC, including HB 8456 or the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Industry Development Act, the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Act (HB 8443).

Romualdez said the House is also reviewing “archaic and obsolete” laws on direct foreign investments “to effectuate substantive changes in the economic landscape.”

“Seeing its value, the President stressed the policy to make our legislation relevant and effective. To this, we must gladly comply,” he said.

Romualdez urged his colleagues to remain “faithful and dependable partners” of the Executive department in bringing about policies that enhance the well-being of Filipinos, and continue working to fulfill their obligations and tackle the lawmaking process with greater fervor.

“We adjourn today’s session with the heartfelt appreciation and profound gratitude for successfully accomplishing our sworn duty to craft and enable noteworthy laws during the first period of the Second Regular Session,” he said.

“I am confident that with our steady and stable pace, driven by our eagerness to fulfill our duties, the rest of our targets are achievable. Let us do our best and prove that through our solid efforts, the nation is in good hands,” Romualdez said.