House opens second regular session

MANILA-- The House of Representatives of the 17th Congress formally opened its second regular session on Monday, ahead of the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Rodrigo Duterte.

With the banging of the gavel, the morning session opened at 10 a.m. which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem then by the invocation.

In his opening remarks, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez highlighted the achievements of the lower chamber for the first regular session as it was able to pass a total of 210 bills for third and final reading in a span of 97 session days.

Given that we had 97 session days, that's an average of two bills on third reading for every session day Our concrete efforts to provide our people with better chances in life are undeniable, Alvarez said.

Alvarez said among the measures successfully passed by the House are the 2017 national budget, the death penalty bill, and the comprehensive tax reform bill, among others.

Aside from these bills, Alvarez said both chambers of Congress also successfully passed six bills from its common legislative agenda which are now at the door step of becoming laws. These bills require just the signature of the President.

Thanks to the approval of both chambers of Congress, several bills are also now submitted to the President for his signature, Alvarez said.

Alvarez was referring to bills that have made tertiary education more accessible, increased interconnectedness of our people through free internet in public places, updated the backwardness of the fines applicable in the Revised Penal Code to be more in keeping with today's realities, and strengthened emergency health care services especially for indigent patients.

Also on their way into becoming laws are the 5-year validity for driver's licenses and the 10-year passport validity.

Our first session aimed at getting the basics right without which we end up hubristically building our nation on shifting sands. Getting the basics right is like finding our granite upon which we can build a sturdy nation - our home - designed and capable of withstanding the tests of time, Alvarez said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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