House vows to work double time on reform agenda

Majority leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said Sunday the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, had vowed to continue to work double time in passing President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda and to pursue economic reforms to ensure a sustained campaign to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez
He said Congress would work on the immediate approval of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE and the Amendments to Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act or AMLA of 2001 in the bicameral conference committee.

“These [CREATE and AMLA amendments] are administration measures, which the Department of Finance classified as vital for our economic recovery program. We are going to harmonize immediately the differences between the Senate and the House versions during the bicameral conferences,” Romualdez said.

If enacted into law, he said, “the CREATE bill will definitely provide businesses, particularly micro- small, and medium enterprises with one of the largest economic stimulus measures in the country’s history to help them recover from the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The AMLA amendments, on the other hand, need to be passed before February for the Philippines to avoid being included in the Financial Action Task Force’s so-called gray list. This measure seeks to address the deficiencies in the anti-money laundering law and to implement regulations that will improve efforts to curb terrorist financing.

“I thank our senators for working double time to ensure prompt action on these vital measures. We need all these laws if we are to bounce back from the economic ravages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CREATE is now pending in the bicameral conference committee, while AMLA amendments have already been approved by Congress on third and final reading in December.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to approve on third and final reading House Bill 08097 or the Additional Benefits for Solo Parents, a part of the President’s State of the Nation Address priority measures.

The bills of Instituting the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers and Extending the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate are also pending, HB 07814 or Strengthening Drug Prevention and Control is now under period of sponsorship, Romualdez said.

Congress has already transmitted to the Senate several SONA priority measures — HB 00304 or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act; HB 04664 or the Real Property Valuation Assessment; HB 06134 or Mandating Banking Institutions to Strengthen the Financing System for Agricultural, Fisheries and Rural Development in the Philippines; HB 00078 or the Public Service Act Amendments; HB 05832 or the Department of Filipinos Overseas and Foreign Employment Act; HB 05989 or the Department of Disaster Resilience; HB 07406 or the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act, and HB 07805 or the Internet Transaction Act/E Commerce Law.

Romualdez reaffirmed his commitment to advance the constitutional reforms that Velasco revived in order to sustain the country’s economic growth.

The push for Charter-change campaign of the Velasco leadership would complement the Duterte administration’s initiatives to accelerate economic growth.

“We will keep our dedication, commitment, passion and the flame burning in pursuing Charter change until we reap the real benefits of genuine constitutional reforms for our children and the succeeding generations,” Romualdez said.

“We need to create opportunities and for strong economic growth to be felt also by ordinary people.”

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Sunday said the House of Representatives alone was blatant in its heresy.

“Neither the House or the Committee on Constitutional Amendments can constitute itself as a Constituent Assembly in solitude,” he said in a statement.

A Constituent Assembly mandatorily entails the convening of the House and the Senate in joint session to propose amendments to the Constitution, he said.

Topics: Martin Romualdez , House of Representatives , COVID-19 , Rodrigo Duterte , Charter change
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