LIST: 14 bills the 17th Congress aims to pass by May 31

Mara Cepeda
LIST: 14 bills the 17th Congress aims to pass by May 31
Legislators are eyeing to pass 14 measures in less than a month, including bills that would provide free public Wi-Fi and extend the validity of drivers' licenses

MANILA, Philippines – Leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives identified 14 measures they want to pass on 3rd and final reading before session adjourns in June.

The following lawmakers met at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel on Tuesday, May 2, to discuss their legislative agenda:

  • Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III
  • Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III
  • Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto
  • Senate Minority Leader Frankin Drilon
  • Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
  • House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas
  • House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez
  • House ways and means committee chairperson Dakila Cua

In a chance interview with reporters, Fariñas listed the 14 bills they plan to approve by May 31, the last session day before the 17th Congress adjourns its first regular session.

The bills are as follows:

  • Free Internet Access in Public Places Act 
  • Affordable Higher Education for All Act
  • Philippine Passport Act
  • Bill amending certain penalties and values under the Revised Penal Code
  • Philippine Mental Health Act
  • Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act
  • An act authorizing the court to require community service in lieu of imprisonment where the penalty is arresto menor
  • An act penalizing the refusal of hospital and medical clinics to administer medical treatment in emergency cases
  • Universal Health Care Act
  • Bill providing free irrigation services
  • Agrarian and Agricultural Credit Condonation Act
  • Bill extensing driver’s license validity
  • Prohibition of the conversion of irrigated lands
  • Bill amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act to include casino operators 

“So both Houses of Congress gave [their] commitment to pass these measures by May 31. So excluding today, 13 session days lang kami eh (that’s just 13 session days),” said Fariñas.

“Kayang-kaya namin ‘yan siyempre (We can do it, of course),” he added.

Most of the 14 bills have been approved on 2nd or 3rd and final reading at the House and the Senate.

Once both chambers pass these measures on 3rd and final reading, they will then be transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, who may sign the bills into law or veto them.

The Ilocos Norte 1st District representative clarified, however, that both houses of Congress will continue tackling other priority measures, including the reimposition of the death penalty, lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility, and postponing the 2017 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Fariñas said these measures were not included in the list because legislators are unlikely to finish debating on them by June. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.