Senate targets 20 business laws by session end

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri assured today that the Philippine Senate is on course to pass at least 20 priority bills from the Common Legislative Agenda before the second regular session of the 19th Congress concludes in June.

These bills, spotlighted in the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), are considered pivotal for the country’s economic framework and business environment.

“We are confident that the Senate can pass 20 of these measures before the 2nd Regular Session ends, and the rest of our commitment before this year ends,” Zubiri said in a statement.

He assured that every bill has undergone extensive deliberation to ensure the resulting laws are of the highest caliber.

Among the advanced bills is the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Act, which is awaiting President Bongbong Marcos Jr.’s signature. This act aims to integrate natural capital into the country’s economic planning and decision-making processes.

Additionally, the bicameral reports for the Philippine Maritime Zones Act and the bill for the creation of the Negros Island Region are in the final stages. The Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act, set to reform the valuation system for taxation purposes, has also been ratified by the Senate.

“Four of the 20 measures are nearing enactment into law already,” Zubiri said, expressing optimism about completing the rest in due course.

High-priority bills include the Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act, which targets crimes against agricultural production, and the Self Reliant Defense Posture Act, aimed at bolstering the country’s defense capabilities. The Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act, designed to support the educational sector post-pandemic, has been approved on final reading.

Pending second readings are several critical bills like the Anti-Financial Accounts Scamming Act, aimed at protecting consumers from financial fraud, and the VAT on Digital Services/Transactions Act, which intends to adapt the country’s tax regime to the digital economy. The Government Procurement Reform Act is also due for amendments to streamline and modernize procurement processes.

Further economic and environmental reform bills include the Blue Economy Act, focused on sustainable marine resource management, and the Waste-to-Energy Act, encouraging renewable energy sources. Military and educational reforms are also on the agenda with the Mandatory ROTC Act and the Enterprise Based Education and Training (EBET) Program Act.

Other legislative pieces such as the E-Government/E-Governance Act, the Department of Water Resources Act, and the Konektadong Pinoy Act are awaiting committee approval.

The Senate will also deliberate the CREATE MORE Bill, which aims to enhance corporate recovery mechanisms and provide tax incentives to stimulate economic growth.

“We will focus all our energies on these 20 measures before we adjourn for the 3rd Regular Session,” highlighting the Senate’s commitment to achieving legislative milestones for national progress,” Zubiri said.


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