House sets legislative priorities for second regular session

HOR plenary hall
The plenary hall of the House of Representatives. PHIL. STAR FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The 2018 national budget, the supplemental budget for the rehabilitation of the war-torn Marawi City, charter change and the bill that would legalize civil unions are among the measures that would be on the plate of the House of Representatives when the second regular session opens on July 24, leaders of the chamber said in a news conference Monday.

The civil union bill has yet to be filed, but Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, its main proponent, said it would benefit same sex couples and heterosexual couples, who want to live together but are not yet decided about marrying.

Asked why the soon-to-be-filed bill was included in the House priorities, Garcia said, “I have mentioned earlier that we need to address changing realities of our times … The civil union bill will address the needs of couples for property and custodial rights.”

Asked about their position on the bill, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro and Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua said they would listen to the consultations during committee deliberations and decide which action would be best for the Filipino families.

But they cautioned that the measure “should not destroy the integrity of families.”

A total of 210 national and local bills were approved by the House on the first regular session of the 17th Congress.

Of these, 180 bills have been referred to the Senate for action; 30 are pending with the bicameral conference committee; six have been ratified by the bicameral conference committee; and, four have been enacted into law.

The bills that have been ratified and awaiting transmittal to Malacañang are the Free College Education bill, Free WiFi bill, 10 year validity of Philippine passports, Stricter law prohibiting hospitals and clinics from requiring deposits before treatment, 5 year validity of driver’s license, and the inclusion of casinos in the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.