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House to expedite approval of Land Use, Coco Fund, gov’t restructuring bills

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PHILSTAR/FELICER SANTOS

The House of Representatives will focus on passing at least seven of Speaker Lord Alan Q. Velasco’s priority bills, including the Coconut Levy Fund bill, the proposed National Land Use Act, and a measure outlining the restructuring of the government, the Majority Leader said Friday.

"We discussed how to expedite the approval of pending legislative measures in compliance with Speaker Velasco's directive to hit the ground running," Majority Leader Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.

Mr. Romualdez, who chairs the House committee on rules, said bills that were passed by the chamber on third and final reading in the previous Congress can be "disposed of" by invoking Rule 10 Section 48 of House rules, which permit one day of hearings only for such measures

"The concerned committees for these measures may meet for just one hearing and immediately refer the committee reports for plenary deliberation," Mr. Romualdez said.

Mr. Velasco's priority measures pending at committee level and eligible for one-day hearings are the Coconut Levy Fund bill, the proposed National Land Use Act, the Mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps bill, the Rightsizing the National Government bill, the Right to Adequate Food bill, the Anti-Ethnic, Racial and Religious Discrimination bill, and the On-Site, In-City Near City Local Government Resettlement Program bill.

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Mr. Romualdez said the Speaker is also pushing for the immediate approval of other proposals, including the Ordaining the Development of the Downstream Natural Gas Industry bull,the proposed Internet Transaction Act, the Military Uniformed Personnel Pension Fund bill, the Magna Carta for Barangays bill, Amendments to the Revised Penal Code, Amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act, the proposed Marinduque Special Economic Zone Act, the proposed Marinduque Sports Academy and Training Center Act, and the proposed Bisekleta Para sa Kinabukasan (“bicycles for the future”)Act.

"All other priority measures to be identified by the Speaker as his priority bills are expected to face easy sailing in the House," he said.

The House leadership on Tuesday included 12 economic measures sought by the Finance department for inclusion in the priority list for fast-tracking into floor and committee deliberations to help the government revive the economy following the damage done by the pandemic.

The priority measures include House Bill (HB) No. 7749 or the proposed Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery act, which is in plenary. Its purpose is to strengthen the capacity of government financial institutions to provide assistance to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.

Other priority measures in plenary are HB 7425 or the proposed Digital Transactions Value-Added Tax act, HB 7406 or the proposed Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Program act, HB 6135 or the Fiscal Mining Regime, and HB 7425 or the proposed Internet Transactions Act/E-Commerce Law.

Priority measures that have yet to make it past committee are the Military and Uniformed Personnel Services Separation, Retirement, and Pension bill, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization bill, the Coconut Farmers Trust Fund bill, the Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission bill, the Warehouse Receipts bill, the National Disease Prevention and Management Authority bill, and the National Land Use bill.

Legislators are set to convene the bicameral conference on the proposed 2021 national budget on Nov. 16. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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