The House of Representatives will act on its remaining priority measures before it adjourns in February in preparation for the 2022 national elections.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday disclosed that the Lower Chamber will move swiftly for the passage for third and final reading of House Bill (HB) 10582 or the proposed Rural Financial Inclusion and Literacy Act which seeks to uplift the lives of the marginalized sectors — small farmers, fisherfolk and informal workers — by addressing the huge gap in reaching financial inclusivity.
Also up for final reading is HB 10579, which aims to strengthen the field offices of the Commission on Elections by upgrading and creating certain positions, amending for the purpose Section 53 of Batas Pambansa 881 of the Omnibus Election Code, as amended and providing funds, therefore.
The Congress is set to resume sessions on Monday, 17 January following its month-long break for the Holiday season. It only has three weeks or nine session days before it goes on recess beginning 5 February for the campaign period.
As preparation for the resumption of work, Velasco ordered stricter health protocols inside the Lower House to protect personnel amid the spike in coronavirus infections in the country due to the Omicron variant.
He maintained that only 20 percent of the workforce in each department and office in the House will be allowed to report physically inside the Batasang Pambansa and said that a stiffer implementation of the HousePass system will also be mandated.
“This is not the time to be complacent. We needed to step up our health and safety protocols in the House so we could keep the legislative mill running even in the midst of what has been described as the worst surge in Covid-19 cases in the country,” Velasco said.
An antigen test will be administered to those physically reporting for work at the start of every week.
Those who have symptoms or have received a positive test result should consult a physician and self-isolate for at least seven days, pursuant to the recent guidelines released by the Department of Health.
The sessions shall be held from Monday to Wednesday, with a limited number of House members and Secretariat personnel physically present inside the plenary hall. The rest of the lawmakers shall attend the session through videoconference.