Following the orderly approval of the 2021 national budget bill and the anti-red tape measure, newly-installed Speaker Lord Allan Velasco vowed Congress will continue to pass priority legislations of President Rodrigo Duterte as soon as possible.
Velasco assured President Rodrigo Duterte that the House’s attention will be fixed on two more urgent bills he endorsed.
The Chief Executive certified House bills 6174 and 6622 as urgent on the day Congress adjourned its four-day special session.
The first bill seeks to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) while the other proposes to ensure resiliency of the country’s financial industry amid the ongoing pandemic or the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act.
Despite the ongoing break of Congress from 17 October to 15 November, Velasco said the House is committed to approve amendments on the bill as soon as plenary sessions resume.
“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.
Romualdez: Expect hard work
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,” Romualdez said.
“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 get rid of their non-performing assets (NPA) 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 NPA — hindering them from acting as financial intermediary.”
Meanwhile, Duterte wanted the AMLA to be compliant of the legal standards of international bodies against money laundering and financing of terrorism.
These two bills were the second and third measure which the President certified as urgent in a span of three days. The first one was the Anti-Red Tape bill which was certified as urgent last 14 October and was passed by the House on 16 October.
The law gave Duterte the power to expedite the process and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications.
LAKAS grows stronger
Romualdez also indicated members of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) in the House have grown to 42, following the addition of six new allies.
Romualdez, the political party’s president, said of this number, 21 are district congressmen and 21 are partylist allies.
The two district congressmen who recently joined the party were Quezon City Rep. Anthony Peter “Onyx” Crisologo and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe; while the four partylist lawmakers were Reps. Rodolfo Ordanes (Senior Citizens); Ducielle Marie Cardema (Duterte Youth); Angelina Natasha Co (BHW) and Claudine Diana Bautista (DUMPER PTDA).
Crisologo, who is formerly from National Unity Party (NUP), took his oath last 16 October after the House adjourned its four-day special session; while Dalipe, who was from Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), took oath last 15 September.
Dalipe was once again sworn in before Romualdez last 15 October.
The four partylist representatives, meanwhile, signed the “Declaration of Alliance for Unity and Progress.”
Being the administration’s coalition party, Romualdez reiterated the commitment of Lakas-CMD to support the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Welcome to the ever-growing Lakas-CMD party. This is in line with our commitment to strengthen Lakas-CMD’s political influence nationwide and help President Duterte pass the remaining legislative agenda of his administration and ensure that genuine reforms are implemented in the last 20 months of his administration,” Romualdez, concurrently the House committee on rules chairperson, said.
“Lakas-CMD is gaining momentum in its goal to strengthen its ranks in the House of Representatives,” he noted.
Earlier, two former members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino have also joined the Lakas-CMD. They were Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus “XJ” Romualdo and Dinagat Islands Rep. Alan Ecleo.