As Congress resumes its sessions on Monday, the 307-man House of Representatives has vowed to continuously work double time to ensure the expeditious approval of President Duterte’s priority measures including economic reforms that will further strengthen the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez, chairman of the House Committee on Rules, expressed the Lower Chamber’s commitment to work with the Senate to pass the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) and the Amendments to Republic Act (RA) No. 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001 to ensure the measures’ immediate approval 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,” he said in a statement.
Romualdez said the CREATE measure as one largest economic stimulus measures in the country’s history will help businesses, particularly micro- small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is pending in the bicameral conference committee.
He added that Congress needs to pass the AMLA amendments 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,” the House leader said.
The House approved on third and final reading the AMLA amendments in December last year.
Romualdez thanked the 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,” he said.
According to Romualdez, among the measures set to be approved on third and final reading are House Bill No. 8097 or the Additional Benefits for Solo Parents, and bills Instituting the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers and Extending the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate.
HB 8097 is one of the State of the Nation Address’ (SONA) priority measures of President Duterte.
Romualdez said the House already its part in transmitting the following SONA-priority measures to the Senate: HB 00304 or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation (PIFITA) Act; HB 4664 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 78 or the Public Service Act Amendments; HB 5832 or the Department of Filipinos Overseas and Foreign Employment (DFOFE) Act; HB 5989 or the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR); HB 07406 or the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act; and HB 7805 or the Internet Transaction Act/E Commerce Law.