THE HOUSE majority leader said the chamber has passed 18 measures on third reading since the start of the 18-Congress, including the 2020 Budget, key tax bills, and amendments to the Foreign Investment Act of 1991.

Representative Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez of Leyte’s first district described the chamber’s performance positively, adding that it promptly disposed of some key measures left unpassed by the 17th Congress.

House rules permit expedited approval for measures that achieved third-reading approval in the previous sitting of Congress.

He listed the measures that this Congress approved on third reading as:

• House Bill No. 4228 or the 2020 national budget

• House Bill No. 1026 imposing additional excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and vape products

• House Bill No. 300 or the amendments to the Foreign Investment Act of 1991

• House Bill No. 304 or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA)

• House Bill No. 4157 or the Corporate Income Tax and Incentive Rationalization Act (CITIRA), which was formerly known as the TRABAHO bill

He said that in the first 20 session days of the 18th Congress the House of Representatives processed 220 measures.

House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st district on Monday said the chamber were able to deliver some of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s legislative agenda since the Congress opened last July 22.

The tax legislation was among the priority measures identified by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in his State of the Nation Address to open the Congressional session, he later also certified the budget as urgent.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address, Mr. Duterte called for the passage of other measures including those authorizing the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections; the Magna Carta for Barangays; the National Land Use Bill; the creation of departments for Overseas Filipino Workers, disaster resilience, and water resources; the fire protection modernization program; the new Salary Standardization Law; the new version of the measure outlining the disposal of the coconut levy funds; and the mandatory implementation of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in senior high school.

“We also immediately passed on third and final reading bills under the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) to help the government achieve the A credit rating goal of the Duterte administration. We are a notch away from ‘A’ territory after a vote of confidence by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), upgrading the country’s credit rating from ‘BBB’ to ‘BBB+’ with a stable outlook because of robust economic growth,” Mr. Romualdez said.

Meanwhile, 38 bills were approved on second reading, including one authorizing the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from May 11, 2020 to Dec. 5, 2022.

Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, the chairman of the ways and means committee from Albay’s second district, has said that the committee will also “try” to approve within the year measures dealing with the Real Property Valuation and Assessment system, amendments to the Public Service Act amendment, a measure raising the Motor Vehicle Road User’s Tax, as well as the proposals to create the new government departments.

Congress will resume session on Nov. 4. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras