19th Congress to Start Filing First Round of Priority Bills in the Philippines
The first round of bill filing started in the Senate hours before the 19th Congress opened last Monday, July 4.
Following the guidelines issued by Senate Secretary Myra Marie Villarica, each lawmaker is entitled to initially file ten bills or resolutions.
Senator Loren Legarda was the first to file bills based on the length of service. Senators Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, and Ramon Revilla Jr., were next in line to file their orwn resolutions.
Lapid filed numerous legislative acts such as the Monthly Social Pension for Indigent Persons with Disability Act; Free Professional Examinations Act; Tourist Protection and Assistance Act; Climate Resilient Agriculture Act; and Medical Bill Transparency Act.
Lapid stated, “You can expect that the service I have started in the previous Congress will continue, and we will work harder to file bills and pass more laws for the people.”
On the other hand, Revilla filed an amendment to the Centenarians Act of 2016 that will allow those who have not yet reached 100 years old to enjoy part of the ₱100,000 cash grant.
Revilla noted, “Upon reaching 80 and 90 years old, Filipino elderlies will already receive part of the amount and the remaining benefit upon reaching 100.”
Revilla also included the following acts in his priority legislative measure:
- Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act (Teaching Supplies Allowances)
- Direct Financial Assistance to Filipino Rice Farmers
- Family Medical Leave Act
- Karapatan ang Pabahay Act
Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, and Jinggoy Estrada, who is in service for at least 12 years, also submitted their bills.
Estrada’s priority bills include the following bills:
- Strengthening of the National Wages and Productivity Commission
- An Act Providing for a Working Time Flexibilization in the Private Sector and Other Purposes
- An Act Providing Indigent Job Applicants a 20% Discount in Payment of Fees for Certain Certificates and Clearances Issued by Government Agencies.
Senator Sonny Angara, who served for nine years together with Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, and Cynthia Villar, has filed the following Acts:
- Exports and Investments Development Act
- E-Health System and Services Act
- Health Care Facility Augmentation Act
- Satellite Specialty Hospital Act
- Teaching Supplies Act
- Underprivileged Students’ Discount Act
- Magna Carta for Workers in the Informal Economy
- Poverty Reduction Through Social Entrepreneurship Act
- Right to Adequate Food Framework Act
Aside from the Acts mentioned, Angara also filed a Resolution urging the Senate Committee on Finance to conduct inquiry legislation on the budgetary requirements of the government’s industrialization and employment-generation initiatives.
Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva filed acts such as:
- Trabaho Para sa Lahat ng Pilipino Act (Institutionalization of the National Employment Recovery Strategy Program)
- End of Endo Act (Security of Tenure in the Private Sector)
- Public Sector Regularization Act (Civil Service Security of Tenure)
- Institutionalization of TUPAD Emergency Employment Program
- Expanding the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Program
- Alternative Working Arrangements
- Work From Home for Businesses in Economic Zones (Amendments to the CREATE Act); Freelance Workers Protection Act
- Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers
- ₱100 Billion Stimulus for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Villanueva cited, “To create more jobs remains my job in our second term in the Senate. Opportunities and job security are what we are pushing in these measures to strengthen the country against poverty and crises.”
Risa Hontiveros has also filed her bills, including the SOGIESC Equality Act, Anti Hospital Detention, Lingap Para kay Lolo at Lola Act (Universal Social Pension), Bantay Dagat Welfare and Incentives Act, Rights of Nature Act of 2022, Free Dialysis for Senior Citizens Act of 2022, Philippine Rise Marine Resource Reserve Act, Dissolution of Marriage Act, and Maternity Benefit for Women in the Informal Economy Act.
In the second round, senators can file another ten bills, following the seniority act. While the third ruling will be a “first come, first served” basis with an unlimited number of bills.
The guidelines mentioned were formulated in consultation with the Office of the Senate President and the Legislation Department.