THE House of Representatives reported a total of 2,100 measures processed — including a proposed tax reform package — during its first and second regular session for the 17th Congress.

Of these, two certified as urgent were recently ratified in the bicameral committee: the 2018 national budget and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). The bicameral report on the amendment to the National Irrigation Authority regarding in relation to the free irrigation act was also ratified. Another 14 bills were listed in the Common Legislative Agenda.

A total of 39 measures were also signed into law, 12 of which are of national significance.

Seven of these pieces of legislation were passed during the second session, including: free tuition in state universities and colleges (RA 10931), a priority measure; the extension of validity of Philippine passport from five years to 10 years (RA 10928); free internet access in public areas (RA 10929); extension of validity of driver’s license from five years to 10 years (RA 10930); anti-hospital deposit in emergency and serious cases (RA 10932); raising the amount of fines imposed (RA 10951); and the postponement of the Oct. 23, 2017 local elections (RA 10952).

Three measures are awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, namely: the declaration of Dec. 8 every year as a special non-working day in commemoration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary; the creation of Barangay Pudo in the Municipality of Natonin, Mountain Province; and the establishment of a national science high school in the City of Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

Meanwhile, a law seeking to prohibit the imposition of expiry dates on gift checks is up for enrollment.

Currently on bicameral conference level are: the establishment of a national mental health policy; and the establishment of a national policy on the ease of doing business, which are included in the priority legislations of the president.

A total of 110 bills of national significance have also been approved on third reading, among them: national land use policy, rightsizing the national government and Filipino identification system; utilization of the coconut levy fund; national land use act; strengthening of the balik-scientist program; amendments to public service act and social security act; and enhanced universal health care act.

Likewise, 241 bills of local significance have also been passed on third reading.

The House also adopted 76 resolutions and submitted six reports on inquiries, in aid of legislation, including the investigation on the P6.4 billion-worth shabu seized by the Bureau of Customs (BoC), and the alleged smuggling of high-grade shabu through the expresslane of BoC.

The Congress will have its one month Christmas break starting Dec. 16. The session will resume on Jan. 15, 2018. — Minde Nyl R. dela Cruz