OUTGOING House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is calling the Senate to push for the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo R. Duterte before the 17th Congress ends in three weeks.

“We want to achieve the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as he listed in his 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA), plus the bill lowering the age of criminality that he personally requested last January,” said Ms. Arroyo in her letter addressed to Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III dated May 21. The Senate has scheduled a caucus on Wednesday.

The 11 bills that were already passed on third and final reading by the House of Representatives are the Security of Tenure Act (approved by the Senate as of Wednesday afternoon), An Act Creating the Coconut Industry Trust Fund, the National Land Use Act, Department of Disaster Resilience Act, Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High Quality Opportunities, An Act Establishing the Fiscal Regime for Mining Industry, An Act Amending the Excise Tax on Alcohol Products, An Act Increasing the Excise Tax Rate on Tobacco Products, An Act Instituting Reforms in Real Property Valuation and Assessment in the Philippines, the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act of 2019, and a Resolution Proposing the Revision of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.

Ms. Arroyo also pointed out that the House reintroduced a bill on the creation of the Coconut Industry Trust Fund which she hopes would “conform more to the policy direction of the Executive and thus constitute…our main priority for our last three weeks’ work in the House of Representatives.” The said bill was vetoed by the President.

The 17th Congress will end on June 7 and a new Congress will start on July 22. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras