6 bills passed on final reading as House adjourns session

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives spent its last session day before taking a two-week break by passing on 3rd and final reading a total of 6 bills.

Lawmakers on Wednesday, October 19, first approved House Bill (HB) Number 3408 or the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The proposed P3.35-trillion budget got the nod of the Lower House with a vote of 243-5-1. 

The other 5 bills that were approved by legislators are as follows:

On September 13, the House of Representatives also passed on 3rd and final reading HB Number 3504, which is seeking the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls. The measure has already been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. 

HReps adjourns session as it takes 2-week break, w/ 6 bills passed on 3rd rdg so far. Session resumes on Nov 7. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/BpZDE1RRDl — Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) October 19, 2016

During Wednesday’s session, the House also approved the justice committee’s report on its probe that dug into the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison. 

The committee report said there is “sufficient evidence” against former justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima. The House panel also recommended the reimposition of the death penalty for drug-related cases

In a brief speech during the session, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas thanked his colleagues for a “truly productive session.”  

“Another accomplishment is that the chamber has acted on measures filed before it. As of this day, there are more than 4,000 bills and 500 resolutions filed and referred to various committees. We have 6 bills already approved on 3rd and final reading, two bills approved on second reading, and 21 resolutions duly adopted,” said Fariñas. 

He noted that an average of 257 members of 88% of the congressmen were present during the past 39 sessions. Fariñas also commended the lawmakers for finishing the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2017 budget in just 8 days.

“More so, Mr Speaker and honorable colleagues, for the first time in history, in all of the 8 days, the roll was called every morning during session and we have quorum every time the roll was called. The calling of members in the morning is unprecedented,” said the Ilocos Norte 1st District representative. 

The House will resume session on November 7.

Pending priority measures 

Meanwhile, the House is still working on the other pending bills of the Duterte administration. (LIST: Priority bills of the Duterte administration

The House committee on constitutional amendments already voted in favor of the 17th Congress convening as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) to pave the way for federalism. (READ: Will federalism address PH woes? The pros and cons of federalism)

Despite the criticism that people distrust Congress, Duterte’s preferred mode of amending the 1987 Constitution is through a Con-Ass. (READ: Duterte: I'll close Congress if Con-Ass ruins Charter)

The measure seeking the restoration of capital punishment in the Philippines is already pending before the committee on justice.

The House committee on ways and means is closely working with the Department of Finance on the latter's proposed tax reform package. (READ: House panel wants tax reform bill passed mid-2017

The committee on transportation has also been conducting several hearings on the bills granting Duterte emergency powers to address the perennial traffic problem. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.