MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will hold sessions four days a week to ensure the passage of urgent economic and fiscal measures needed to pull the country out of recession.
The decision to hold sessions from Monday to Thursday until Congress adjourns session on June 4 was reached following an hour-long all-senators caucus yesterday before the chamber opened session, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.
The caucus also reached a consensus on the bills that the chamber will prioritize for passage in the next three weeks, particularly the proposed amendments to the Public Services Act; the proposed Retail Trade Liberalization Act; the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Bill and the proposed extension of the amnesty for the payment of estate tax.
Senators also agreed to pass the Malacañang-backed proposal to postpone the elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to 2025 as well as the bill on learners with disabilities.
“We will try our very best to pass the three fiscal bills pushed by the DOF (Department of Finance) and the resetting of the BARMM elections,” Zubiri said, adding he believes the measures were certified or will be certified as urgent by President Duterte.
He said there are some five to six bills up for approval on third and final reading that can be passed in the next two weeks.
Zubiri also said the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting would push through on Wednesday to harmonize the priority list of bills by both branches of government.
Out of the 16 priority bills set by the previous LEDAC meeting, seven to eight are in the final stages of passage, such as the Bureau of Fire Protection modernization which is already in the bicameral conference committee.
Created by law, the LEDAC is composed of the President and select Cabinet members as well as leaders of both chambers of Congress led by the Senate president and the House speaker.
Zubiri, however, said it remains unclear whether or not Duterte would preside over the LEDAC or let Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea represent him as in previous meetings.
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