THE Senate has lined up measures that seek to aid business recovery amid a coronavirus pandemic and opening up the economy to more foreign investment when it opens its second regular session later this month.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on Thursday said they would start work on bills in advanced stages such as the one extending President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s special powers against the pandemic.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the bill when the President gives his state of the nation address on July 27, he said at an online news briefing.

The bill provides for a P140-billion standby fund for low-income households, displaced workers and sectors hit hard by the crisis, including tourism.

Also on the Senate’s priority list is the bill seeking to cut corporate income tax to 25% and streamline fiscal incentives for companies, as well as measures supporting solo parents and coconut farmers, Mr. Sotto said.

Senators would also seek to amend the 83-year-old Public Service Act to clearly define “public utilities” which had been used interchangeably with “public services.” The bill will exempt sectors identified under public services from the 40% foreign ownership limit imposed on public utilities.

Both bills have been approved by the House of Representatives.

Also on the list are bills on medical scholarship, mandatory military training for senior high school students, creation of a disaster agency and condonation of agrarian and agriculture debt, Mr. Sotto said.

He also said he would ask fellow lawmakers to fast-track bills mandating 14th month pay for workers in the private sector, strengthening the government’s anti-illegal drug agency, setting up a hybrid electoral system and penalizing fake news.

“I will move for speedy but comprehensive committee and plenary discussions on these five priority measures which I believe can make a huge impact on the lives of the Filipino people,” he said in a statement. — Charmaine A. Tadalan