House, Senate to keep track of priority bills

A House leader on Monday suggested the reactivation of a joint congressional panel with the Senate that will monitor the progress of legislative action on priority and certified measures.

House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said he would recommend the reactivation of the joint congressional technical working group to Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri.

Romualdez said the House will work on tighter coordination with the Palace and the Senate to avoid a single presidential veto of bills approved by the 18th Congress.

“The technical working group will not only help fast-track the passage of the President’s priority bills but will assist in spotting red flags for possible presidential veto,” Romualdez said.

“We aim to work closely also with the PLLO (Presidential Legislative Liaison Office) so that they can alert us what are the certain provisions of the bills that may need thorough discussion with Cabinet members concerned,” Romualdez added.

Romualdez said the Congressional Planning and Budget Office (CPBO) estimates that at least P3 million are being spent for the approval of any bill until third reading.

The amount covers the salary of congressmen and House personnel involved in the process as well as government resources used in the proceedings.

“We do not want to waste the people’s money. A well-crafted legislative measure, discussed thoroughly with Cabinet members and other stakeholders, will ensure that government resources are spent wisely and prudently,” Romualdez said.

On Monday last week, a small group from the Legislative ExecutiveDevelopment Advisory Council (LEDAC) met with Cabinet secretaries at Malacañang where they agreed to hold a regular monthly meeting to ensure the swift passage of the President’s priority measures.

“We are eyeing zero veto for all bills to be approved by the Senate and the House,” Romualdez said.

“The House leaders will exhaust all means possible to make sure that the executive and the legislative departments are in sync with regard to priority and certified bills filed in the 18th Congress. We do not want to put to waste all the money, time and effort which are normally spent in passing bills,” he added.

Romualdez said some of the initial priority measures that the small group agreed to approve immediately include the 2020 national budget, the creation of the Department of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the amendment of the Public Service Act, and higher excise taxes on alcohol.

READ: House leaders vow to speed up priority bills

Topics: Martin Romualdez , Miguel Zubiri , 18th Congress , Presidential Legislative Liaison Office , Department of overseas Filipino workers , Public Service Act
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