Press Release
March 22, 2017

Tax Reform, Traffic Crisis Act among 10 priority bills pushed by Congress, Malacañang

A package of 10 proposed bills- including reforms to the country's taxation system, and the bill addressing the country's traffic crisis - will be part of the priority legislation that the legislative and executive branches have agreed to work on in the upcoming months.

This was confirmed during the four-hour consultative meeting and dialogue between officials from the Senate and the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) last Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at the Midas Hotel in Pasay City.

Senate officials led by Senate Secretary Lutgardo Barbo, chiefs-of-staff from the offices of the senators, and Senate Secretariat officers represented the Upper Chamber during the event, while the PLLO contingent was led by PLLO Secretary Adelino Sitoy and PLLO Undersecretary Antonio Gallardo.

According to Gallardo, both panels agreed to "work closer and enhance cooperation" in order to secure the more efficient passage of pending legislation, given Congress' hectic and limited schedule.

He said both Houses of Congress would only have around 14 calendar days to meet their legislative targets before they go on sine die adjournment on June.

"I would say that the task ahead of us is quite challenging. But as long as we work together, the challenge can be answered adequately," Sitoy said. Gallardo said the 10 bills considered as "common priorities" by Congress and the Malacañang are as follows:

Bills considered "common priorities" by Malacañang and Congress Status
1. Occupational Safety and Health Hazards Compliance Act Committee Report No. 30 approved on 3rd reading in House, 1 Senate Bill
2. National Mental Health Act 10 House Bills, Committee Report No. 41 approved by Senate on 2nd reading
3. Utilization of the Coconut Levy Fund 18 House Bills, Committee Report No. 8 in second reading at the Senate
4. National Transport Act (to address transport traffic crisis) 1 House Bill, Committee Report No. 24 in second reading at the Senate
5. Unified National Identification System Act 1 House Bill, 3 Senate Bills
6. Condonation of Land Amortization and Arrears on Interest Payment 2 House Bills, 2 Senate Bills
7. Con-current Joint Congress Resolution on the Revised Base pay Schedule of Military and Uniform Personnel 1 House Bill, 4 Senate Bills
8. Pension Reform for Uniformed Personnel 1 House Bill, 1 Senate Bill
9. Comprehensive Tax Reform Program 1 House Bill, 12 Senate Bills
10. Security of Tenure Bill 11 House Bills, 7 Senate Bills

Gallardo said that out of the 10 priority legislation, four are already in advanced legislation either at the House of Representatives or at the Senate. These are the proposed National Transport Act, the Utilization of the Coconut Levy Fund, the Occupational Safety and Health Hazards Compliance Act, and the National Mental Health Act.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte identified 55 priority bills as part of his legislative agenda while Congress listed 39 "common legislative priorities." "The challenge really is on how all of us can help push these important bills," Gallardo said.

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