Senators file pet bills for 18th Congress

Maris Federez   •   July 1, 2019   •   1609

The country’s senators have started filing their pet bills on Monday (July 1) as they begin their regular office work in preparation for the official opening of the 18th Congress on July 22 for President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Every senator will file their first 10 priority bills.

The first who filed his bills is Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

His proposals include the following:

  1. Presidential Drug Enforcement Agency
  2. Anti Drug Penal  Institution
  3. Medical Scholarship Act
  4. Amendments to Human Security Act
  5. Hybrid Elections Act
  6. 14th Month Pay Law
  7. Anti Fake News Act
  8. Increasing Penalty of Perjury
  9. Sim Card Registration Act
  10. Dangerous Drugs Court

Meanwhile, Senator Sonny Angara also filed his pet bills, as follows:

  1. Upgrading Salary Grade Level of Teachers from 11 to 19
  2. Under Privileged Students’ Discount Act
  3. Increasing the Monthly Pension of Senior Citizens
  4. Dialysis Center Act
  5. Resolution on Dialysis Fraud

Senator Bong Revilla Jr also filed his priority bills for the 18th Congress, which include:

  1. P125 Daily Across-the-Board increase in the Salary Rates of Employees in Private Sector
  2. Lowering the Mandatory & Optional Retirement Age of Government employees

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, filed the following:

  1. Coco Levy Act
  2. National Land Use Act of 2019
  3. Proposed Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources
  4. Proposed Department of Disaster & Emergency Management
  5. Rainwater Management Bill
  6. Single-Use Plastic Regulation & Management Act
  7. Basic Education Teachers Pay Increase Act

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Ralph Recto, on the other hand, will once again file the bills entitled Sogie Equality Bill or the Anti-Discrimation Bill and the One Town, One Doctor Bill, respectively.

Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva said he will propose measures regarding the welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers.

“Gustong gusto natin yung Bagong Bayani Filipino hospital for our OFW and then yung OFW insurance act,” said Villanueva.

Senator Lito Lapid, on the other hand, signified his desire to strengthen the free legal assistance and will propose a measure to resolve the water shortage, according to his son, Mark Lapid.

“Siyempre gusto niyang magsubmit ng paano natin (sosolusyunan) ang water crisis,” Lapid said.

Meanwhile, the offices of the newly elected senators are currently under renovation.

These include the offices of Senators Pia Cayetano, Bong Revilla, Ronald Bato dela Rosa who personally visited his office, Bong Go, and Lito Lapid.

The equipment and furniture of the outgoing senators are now pulled out of their former offices.  (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

SONA 2020: Bills Duterte wants 18th Congress to support

Marje Pelayo   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 27) fulfilled one of his most important tasks as head of the country despite the risks of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He opted to deliver his SONA personally at the Batasang Pambansa despite heavy rain and several reports of COVID-19 positive test results among some of the event’s supposed attendees.

The ceremony was obviously a deviation from the Congress’ decade-long tradition: no prior meet-up with the Senate and House leaders, no fancy welcoming rites, no live performers and no handshakes.

The President went straight to the plenary upon his arrival and after the opening numbers, he went on to deliver his report to the nation. 

His speech lasted for about an hour and 40 minutes.

During his SONA, President Duterte asked the Congress to pass significant legislation that he believes are necessary in helping his administration propel the country even amidst the ongoing challenges. 

One of which is the revival of death penalty for drug-related crimes.

“I reiterate the swift passage of reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Acts of 2002,” he said in his speech stressing the dangers illegal drugs cause to an individual and families.

Likewise, he asked Congress to immediately enact the Bayanihan Two so that assistance to sectors most affected by the pandemic will be delivered right away and funds will be made available for the procurement of additional medical equipment that will augment the country’s healthcare system.

“I hope that we can get some or the same treatment of clarity, purpose and the fastness to support the passage of the Bayanihan [to Recover as One Act], which will supplement funds for recovery and response against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Aside from these two priority bills, the President enumerated several legislation which he wants Congress to deliberate and pass soon. 

These include the passage of the:

  • Corporate Recovery And Tax Incentives For Enterprises (Create) Act
  • Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Or Fist Act
  • Establishment of the Department Of Overseas Filipinos
  • National Land Use Act
  • Coconut Farmers and Industry Fund
  • Advanced Nursing Education Act

After his SONA, the President immediately left the Batasang Complex and went back to Malacañang. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

LIVE UPDATES: President Rodrigo Duterte’s #SONA2020

Marje Pelayo   •   July 27, 2020

News and live coverage on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address on July 27, 2020 at the Batasang Pambansa.

Refresh this page for updates.

https://twitter.com/HarleneDelgado/status/1287655037636759553

Ngayon: As of 12:20pm,tinapos na ng nga ralisyista ang kanilang physical protest bago pa ang nakatakdang SONA ni…

Posted by Joan Nano on Sunday, 26 July 2020

Duterte to deliver 5th SONA at Batasang Pambansa — Sotto

Maris Federez   •   July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27 at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City, according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

“I just received word today that the President has decided to deliver his SONA in the Batasang Pambansa, the House of Representatives, on July 27,” Sotto announced during an online conference with Senate reporters.

But due to the continuing threat of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), they will limit the number of people who will be allowed entry to the Congress plenary hall.

Sotto said only 50 people will be allowed to attend – 25 from the executive and 25 from the legislative departments, which include office staff and security personnel.

And unlike the previous SONA, there will be no invited audience.

Sotto added that only nine members of the House of Representatives (HOR) and eight senators are expected to attend physically.

Sotto said he will be joined by Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Francis Tolentino, Ronald Dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, Sherwin Gatchalian and Pia Cayetano.

The Senate President said he agrees with the decision of the Palace.

“I agree with that decision of the executive department. We must give the country and the public and the people the semblance that your government is up and about and ready to continue with its job,” he said.

Sotto said attendees in the SONA are all expected to undergo rapid testing and comply with the health protocols to be implemented during the event.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, on the other hand, said it is not yet confirmed whether the President will personally appear in Congress or will just do a video telecast emanating from Malacañang.

“The venue is confirmed, it is Batasan pero ang alam ko po, hindi pa po 100% sure kung physically maga-attend ang president or mag-broadcast po from Malago to Congress,” Roque said.

Under the Constitution, the President is mandated to deliver his SONA before a joint session of Congress every fourth Monday of July. — (with inputs from Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

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