MANILA, Philippines – Nearly two dozen bills cleared the House of Representatives on December 12, the last Monday of 2022 that the 19th Congress was in session, including measures that were specifically mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his first State of the Nation Address in July.
These bills include the following:
- Internet Transactions Act, which seeks to establish a robust e-commerce environment in the Philippines through secure online platforms
- Public-Private Partnership Act, which seeks to provide a new framework for PPP projects
- a measure seeking to create the Philippine Centers for Disease Prevention and Control
Other measures approved by the lower chamber on final reading include issues concerning health, education, business, and technology, among others.
Lawmakers are set to take a holiday break beginning Saturday, December 17, and will not be back until January 22, 2023.
Some ‘no’ votes from Makabayan
Most of the bills were approved unanimously by lawmakers present, except for a few which were opposed by the Makabayan bloc.
The three-member bloc voted against a bill seeking free legal assistance for military and uniformed personnel (MUP) who are facing charges before the courts.
They argued that public funds should not be used for the legal expenses of officers who commit human rights violations.
“If this bill is passed, impunity, fascism, and the lack of accountability over human rights violations by MUP will worsen because everything they will do, they will tag as service-related even if these incidents are blatant human rights violations,” Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas said.
They also opposed the proposed Waste Treatment Technology Act, Revised National Apprenticeship Program Act, Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act, and PPP Act.
“It is not relegation to the private sector, but better fiscal responsibility and prioritization of the actual needs of the people that we need to practice,” Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel said on the PPP bill.
Despite the passage of the numerous bills, their legislative journeys are far from over.
The measures will be transmitted to the Senate, which has the prerogative to adopt the bills or come up with their own versions.