House passes 45 bills on final reading after summer break

Mara Cepeda
House passes 45 bills on final reading after summer break
The approved bills include one that prohibits hospitals from demanding deposits before treating patients, and one that mandates free public internet access

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved a total of 45 bills on 3rd and final reading on Tuesday evening, May 2, the day the 17th Congress reopened session after a 6-week summer break.

Among those approved were House Bill (HB) Number 5525, which will provide for free public internet access, and HB 5159, which prohibits hospitals and clinics from demanding deposits or advanced cash payments before treating patients.

These two measures are among the 14 bills both the House and Senate are targeting to pass on 3rd and final reading by May 31.

Aside from HB 5525 and HB 5159, 7 other approved measures are nationwide in scope. They are as follows:  

  • HB 735: An act including a National Artist as a member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts
  • HB 5000: An act providing for the regulation and supervision of payment systems
  • HB 5152: An act requiring higher education institutions to report participation and program support expenditures in all college athletic programs
  • HB 5224: An act strengthening the rules on the proper use and display of our national symbols and the rendition of the national anthem
  • HB 5240: An act instituting a national land use and management policy providing the implementing mechanisms thereof and for other purposes
  • HB 5241: Declaring December 8 of every year a special non-working holiday to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • HB 5269: An act institutionalizing the national school feeding program for public kindergarten and elementary pupils and appropriating funds therefor

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin lauded the approval of both HB 5159 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Bill as well as HB 5240 or the National Land Use Bill. 

“Akbayan welcomes the approval of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Bill, as this brings us a step closer to ensuring that those in emergency situations, including expecting mothers in active labor, will no longer be deprived of medical services. No matter how rich or how poor, every person has a life worth saving,” said Villarin. 

“Likewise, we welcome the approval of the National Land Use Bill, which can serve as the key to effectively and equitably manage land as a highly disputed albeit valuable resource,” he added. 

Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Christopher Belmonte also welcomed the 3rd reading of HB 5250.

“I welcome the passage of this important legislative measure that aims to put in place a national land use policy that shall end the current degradation of the country’s land resource, and optimize balanced development,” said Belmonte, who was ousted as chairperson of the special committee on land use because he voted against the death penalty bill.  

“We are hopeful that by the enactment of this proposed law, the ‘out of control’ state of our country’s land use will end,” he added.  

Meanwhile, Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago is happy the House approved the free internet access bill.

“Passing a law that mandates government to provide fast and reliable internet connectivity in public places, especially in our 114 state universities and colleges, is one step towards improving Philippine internet. In its own way, public internet connectivity will help bolster the economy and provide students and the general public essential tools in the digital age,” she said. 

“Higher internet penetration will bring a wealth of benefits to Filipinos and efficiencies for the economy, reducing business costs and helping the economy to become more competitive,” Elago added. 

See the full list of the 45 bills approved on 3rd and final reading at the House on May 2 below: 

– 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.