THE two-chamber Congress resumed its sessions yesterday, with the 24-member Senate vowing to prioritize the approval of priority bills, including those that seek to improve the quality of life “for all.”
In the view of some quarters, one of the worries of well-meaning Filipinos is the presence of corrupt public servants, who continue to make a mockery of the government’s anti-graft crusade.
Despite this, lawmakers hope to finish work on at least 24 priority bills, including the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before the 17th Congress’ second regular session ends in July.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, a former chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), said the institution would work harder to improve the quality of life of the Filipino people.
Senator Sotto said the proposed legislation seeks to establish the “Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, on the other hand, said “we need to speed up the approval of the BBL, but this does not mean that we should do it in a haphazard manner.”
Villafuerte underscored the importance of working overtime “so we can go over its provisions and ensure that the law becomes an effective tool in bringing genuine autonomy for our Muslim brothers.”
The Senate will also prioritize the approval of the Charter-Change initiative and the shift towards a federal form of government, which is being discussed in the committee on constitutional amendments.
Another priority is the proposed Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2017 (Senate Bill No. 1715), which seeks to amend the Human Security Act.
Likewise, the Upper House of Congress has prioritized bills that are seen to streamline bureaucracy, improve government processes and expand services to the Filipino people.
For the benefit of the taxpaying public, our lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives should hasten the passage of the Duterte administration’s priority bills.
It’s a move in the right direction.