Trailblazing bills passed into national laws in the 17th Congress

With the first woman to become the Speaker of the House of Representatives, members of the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo-led 17th Congress made sure that even in a short period of time given to them before they bow out from the Lower House ahead the midterm elections, they still fulfilled the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte, proving the true functions of the Working House.

As we voted the next potential legislators for the incoming 18th Congress during the midterm elections, the 292-member House of Representatives, with their joint efforts, has surely left a great legacy by pushing the passage of some notable bills.

Let’s take a review of the passage of some notable bills signed by the President to become national laws from the 17th Congress. 

Bangsamoro Organic Law

Date signed: July 27, 2018

Formerly called the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the BOL aims to establish an entity called the  Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (formerly known as Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) for a more peaceful, intimate, and unified community for the Mindanaoans.

It was first introduced by Pantaleon Alvarez, Rodolfo Fariñas, Danilo Suarez, and Bai Sandra Sema during the 16th Congress, but failed to pass into law.

It was then reviewed and finally signed by the President on July 27 during the 17th Congress. 

The passage of BOL has gained concerns and oppositions from various groups on whether to proceed with the implementation of the law. However, during the plebiscite, more provinces under the BARMM has shown support for  the law.

PhilSys Act (National ID System)

Date signed: August 6, 2018

Before the Philippine Identification System Act was signed nine months ago, the Philippines was one of the nine countries that did not issue a national identity card. Most countries worldwide have been adopting the issuance of an identification system to serve as the proof of identity

And now under President Duterte, the Philippines has its own identification card. 

Every Filipino citizen and resident aliens are required to apply for it which will serve as an all-in-one card or valid ID for different transactions in government and private sectors.  

However, many are concerned that this may lead to various implications such as data breach and invasion of data privacy. 

However, government officials had given the assurance that the system has enough safeguards against any data breach.

Personal Property Security Act

Date signed: August 17, 2018

Aside from your house, you may now use your other personal properties as collateral for a bank loan. It can be an inventory or equipment. This is to give help to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), farmers, and fisherfolks access to financing.

If you are asking on what property you may now use, the law says: “A description such as ‘all personal property,’ ‘all equipment,’ ‘all inventory,’ or ‘all personal property within a generic category’ of the grantor is sufficient.”

Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act

Date signed: January 20, 2019

Back in 2017, a high number of grave violations against children in armed situations were recorded, a report by Office of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict stated. 

This included the usage of children by large armed groups and engaging them to participate in illegal armed activities.

This law mandates that children should be protected from all types of abuse and violence specially in times of armed conflicts.

 It also aims to have the children’s human rights be respected and be protected from degradation, humiliation, maltreatment, exploitation, and assault. The law covers all minors or below the age of 18.

Secondary School Career Guidance Counselling Act

Date signed: February 14, 2019

Annually, graduating students from junior high school students can participate in a career guidance and counseling program that will be conducted by DepEd that will help them decide on what path or course they are going to take in the tertiary level.

Aside from NCAE, high school students can now participate in a career guidance and counseling program which will be conducted by DepEd that will help them decide on what path or course they are going to take in the tertiary level.

Universal Healthcare Act

Date signed: February 20, 2019

When the Universal Health Care Act was signed three months ago, many were asking on who should be praised in pushing the passage of the bill. Should it be the members of the Senate or the House of Representatives?

However, the passage of the Universal Health Care Act is brought to us by the joint efforts from the two, with the help of the Department of Health.

The law’s main goal is to provide health care to all Filipinos. This means that every Filipino is will be enjoying their right to have health assistance by becoming part of the National Health Insurance Program. These include includes preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care for medical, dental, mental, and emergency health services.

Expanded Maternity Leave Law or Republic Act 11210 

Date signed: February 20, 2019

This allows working mothers of government and private sector to be granted with additional paid maternity leave credits. Single mothers will be granted an additional 15 days of paid leave.

First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act or Republic Act 11261 

Date signed: April 10, 2019 

First-time job seekers or fresh graduates may now access and obtain for free government-issued documents which are commonly needed in applying for a job locally and abroad.

Other notable bills passed and enacted as Republic Acts in the 17th Congress are the following:

• Providing For The Special Protection Of Child Passengers In Motor Vehicles or Republic Act 11229

• Mobile Number Portability Act or Republic Act 11202 

• Filipino Sign Language Act or Republic Act 11106

• Tax Amnesty Act of 2019 or Republic Act 11213

• Rice Tarrification Law or Republic Act 11203

• Magna Carta for Persons with Disability or Republic Act 11228

• Speech Pathology Act or Republic Act 11249

Topics: House of Representatives , House Bills , Republic Acts , 17th Congress , Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
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