Senate leader assures passage of 10 priority bills before SONA

By Wilnard Bacelonia

April 16, 2024, 3:04 pm

<p>Senate Majority Joel Villanueva <em>(PNA file photo by Avito Dalan)</em></p>

Senate Majority Joel Villanueva (PNA file photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on Tuesday said the Senate is set to approve 10 bills when session resumes on April 29.

Congress has less than one month of plenary sessions before the 2nd Regular Session adjourns sine die on May 24. The 3rd regular session of the 19th Congress will coincide with the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on July 24.

"Medyo maliit yung (There is quite a small) time window to pass as much as we can, especially our priority measures. We are looking at least mga sampung (about 10) bills ready for the President's signature before the SONA so that it will become a law," Villanueva said during the Kapihan sa Senado forum.

He said some of these bills are now under the scrutiny of the bicameral conference, which include the Philippine Maritime Zones Act, Real Property Valuation Assessment Reform Act, Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act, and Self-Reliant Defense Posture Revitalization Act.

Villanueva said other priority measures that are expected to be passed soon are the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System Act, Negros Island Region Act (already adopted by the House of Representatives), Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act (currently in the period of amendments), New Government Procurement Act (currently in the period of interpellations), Blue Economy Act, and the Enterprise-Based Education and Training Framework Act.

"I feel very confident that we will be able to pass these," Villanueva said.

Meanwhile, Villanueva considers the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Act and the Waste to Energy Act as bills that still have to undergo "heavy debates."

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier assured that the proposed ROTC Act will be one of their priorities as soon as session resumes.

"Yan po ay ita-tackle din (These will also be tackled), but I would say ‘best efforts’ to act on it whether it will pass or not kasi may mga (because there are) reservations," Villanueva said, admitting that he is one of the senators that want “more clarifications” on the said measures. (PNA)