How the ‘Super Majority’ can affect passage of proposed bills

Maris Federez   •   May 22, 2019   •   2099

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

Having proposed bills approved in Congress is and has always been a numbers game.

Majority votes by members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are always needed for a bill to pass and get enacted.

But just how long does it take to have a bill approved in Congress?

There are 12 steps to take to get thru the legislative process.

  1. Preparation of the Bill
  2. First Reading
  3. Committee Consideration / Action
  4. Second Reading
  5. Third Reading
  6. Transmittal of the Approved Bill to the Senate / House
  7. Senate /House action on the approved Bill
  8. Conference Committee
  9. Transmittal of the Bills to the President
  10. Presidential Action of the Bill
  11. Action on Approved Bill
  12. Action on Vetoed Bill

For a bill that is not so urgent, it usually takes one and a half to two years before it gets approved in Congress, especially when there is no one is opposed to it.

The annual proposed budget, on the other hand, has a prescribed time frame of six months for it to get thru the process and get approved.

The President, however, always has the power to expedite the process by having a bill certified as urgent.

Just like what then-President Benigno Aquino III did when he certified the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections as urgent in the 16th Congress.

It only took less than one month from the time it was filed until President Aquino signed the law.

On the other hand, some proposed laws do have early demise in Congress.

Two versions of the Anti-Political Dynasty bill could hardly get to move from the committee level.

With the opening of the 18th Congress with its new composition, the Super Majority composed of presidential allies is deemed to get even stronger.

Is this a prelude to a speedier passage of bills that are within the agenda of the administration?

For political analyst Ramon Casiple, this will make things easier for the government, pointing out that this has already happened even at the start of the Duterte administration with the Super Majority in the lower house.

Making things comfortable for the administration was the fact that the President’s allies have also dominated the Senate.

However, with all these things, one bill is still pending in both houses of Congress – the bill that seeks the changing of the form of government to Federalism.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubirri, nevertheless, assured that the Super Majority is not going to be a big issue in the Senate, so as not to affect the sensitive bill.

“The Senate is not just a working Senate but a thinking Senate, we need to have long hard discussions on this issues, hindi lang basta basta hook, line and sinker, ipapasa natin ang mga measures na itong mga measures na ito, dahil malaking implications, kung magkamali tayo sa Federalism, it can cause the bankruptcy of our country,” Zubirri said. (with reports from Nel Manibojoc) /mbmf

Senate to probe massive flooding in Luzon after recent typhoons

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A resolution that seeks to probe the “confluence of factors” that led to the massive flooding in Luzon after the recent typhoons has been filed in the Senate.

Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., the author of the resolution, said the release of water from dams due to overcapacity should have been anticipated and measures should have been done in order to prevent the released water from reaching the homes of the citizens.

“We must anticipate that the dams will release water, so dapat may mga naka in-place na infrastruktura tulad ng dadaluyan ng tubig at sasalo nito, para huwag rumagasa at manalanta ng mga kabahayan, (there should have been infrastructures in-place which can direct the waterflow away from residential areas),” he said.

In a span of three weeks, five typhoons entered the Philippines which has greatly affected low-lying areas in Luzon. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC) reported Typhoon Ulysses has displaced a total of 1,755,224 persons which is an equivalent of 428,657 families in 4,543 barangays in the affected areas.

Revilla hopes to aid in the legislation of necessary actions to prevent similar disasters from happening in the future. AAC

Senate OKs on final reading bill hiking teaching allowance to P10k

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to institutionalize and increase the teaching supplies allowance for public school teachers.

Voting 20-0, the Senate gave its nod to pass the Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1902 or the Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2020 which proposes to hike the teaching allowance of public school teachers up to P10,000 starting next year.

The measure is a substitute for SBN 42 introduced by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, SBN 75 by Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., and SBN 957 by Senator Sonny Angara.

Under the proposal, each classroom teacher will receive P5,000 for the school years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.

The allowance will further increase to P7,500 for the school year 2023-2024; and P10,000 for the school year 2024-2025 onwards.

Senators earlier agreed to “progressively” increase the teaching allowance starting 2021 so that the state’s coffers could bear the additional cost.

Revilla stressed that the government “could not afford a drastic increase given the present situation.”

To make the measure responsive to the needs of the teachers, the bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct a periodic review and recommend the necessary increase based on the current prices of the materials.

The bill also provides that the amount necessary for the grant of teaching supplies allowance per teacher shall be charged against the appropriations of the DepEd under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Revilla expressed hope that the Lower House adopts the Senate version and that the President immediately signs the same despite uncertainties of its funding because of the pandemic.

Senate panel to begin probe on alleged ‘red-tagging’ activities of military officials

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2020

The Senate panel will begin its inquiry next week (November 3) on the alleged ‘red-tagging’ activities of military officials.

Senator Panfilo Lacson filed Senate Resolution No. 559 and will summon Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.

Parlade drew the ire of netizens after he warned actress Liza Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, against associating with the Gabriela Women’s Party-list, which he accused of having links with the New People’s Army.

Lacson said the resolution aims to resolve issues as well as draft guidelines to avoid misunderstandings between the military and the public.

The Senator will be inviting other officials from the Department of National Defense and the AFP.  

He added that the Gabriela Women’s Party-list and other militant groups will also be invited to the inquiry.

“We will also invite Gabriela and other militant groups para maliwanagan natin saan ba nag-uugat iyong misunderstanding at saka iyong conflict pagdating sa red-tagging, red-baiting, (to shed light on the root of the misunderstanding and the conflict when it comes to red-tagging, red-baiting)” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado).

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