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Velasco vows to approve more Du30 priority bills

Michelle R. Guillang

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Following the swift passage of the proposed 2021 national budget and the Anti-Red Tape measure under the leadership of newly-installed House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, the Lower House leadership on weekend has vowed the immediate approval of other priority measures being pushed by Malacanang.

Velasco himself made this assurance after President Rodrigo Duterte asked the lower chamber on 16 October to swiftly pass two other important bills.

Malacanang has certified as urgent House Bills 6174 which seeks to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act and 6622 or the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST), the day the Congress adjourned its four-day special session.

While Congress is suspended, Velasco vowed to attend to all these bills that would pave the way for the early submission for plenary debates once Congress resumes its session.

“Cognizant of the importance to put in place more stringent provisions in AMLA, the House will see to it that the measure, which aims to curb the cost of doing financial transactions of our overseas Filipino workers and the business sector, will be approved expeditiously once plenary sessions resume next month,” Velasco said in a statement.

The commitment was echoed by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

“We are committed to work harder, smarter, and more efficiently when Congress resumes session on 16 November,” said Romualdez.

“As part of our tradition, we are going to hit the ground running to pass vital pieces of legislation,” he added.

The FIST Act aims to aid financial institutions to get rid of their non-performing assets (NPAs) to relieve the economic impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on their operations.

As financial institutions like banks faced a long period of delayed loan collections, this led them to deal with higher NPAs—hindering them from acting as a financial intermediary.

Meanwhile, Duterte wanted the AMLA to be compliant with the legal standards of international bodies for anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism.

 

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