Bohol First District Representative Rene Relampagos has expressed optimism that the reforms rolled out by the present administration as mentioned in President Benigno S. Aquino IIIâ€™s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) will lead the way towards sustained economic growth and societal development.
Legislative record of the First and Second Regular Session of the 16thÂ Congress shows that there around 5,906 House bills were filed; twenty-nine (29) Republic Acts were enacted; and more than five hundred measures were approved.
Relampagos said he is very proud of the accomplishments of Congress in the last two years and looks forward to passing more substantive laws in the last year of the sixteenth Congress including the 2015 General Appropriations Act. â€œThe record of Congress only shows how the legislative branch has been a faithful partner in laying down necessary for sustained economic growth.â€
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, in his opening statement during the opening of the third session of Congress, said, â€œGood governance and credible laws are the keys to continuing and expanding growth. Through these economic measures, we intend to make unstoppable the full economic resurgence of the Philippines, by placing our economic policies in line with the best practices of the world, we will make inevitable the achievement of full social inclusiveness, and no dreams will be unreachable.â€
The new Republic Acts passed during the second session of Congress pertain to the â€œGranting of Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for all Filipino Senior Citizensâ€ (R.A. No. 10645); the â€œLadderized Education Actâ€ (RA. No. 10647); the â€œIskolar ng Bayan Actâ€ (R.A. No. 10648); the â€œOpen Distance Learning in Higher Educationâ€ (R.A. No. 10650). The new laws that Relampagos co-authored and sponsored are the â€œIncrease in the 13thÂ Month Tax Exemptionâ€ (R.A. No. 10653), the â€œPhilippine Competition Actâ€ and â€œAmendments to the Cabotage Law, among others.â€
â€œSince the Aquino administration, the budget laws or the General Appropriations Acts were always passed on record time. There were no re-enacted budgets. And in the last Congress, the Supplemental Budget was passed with dispatch to address the critical relief and rehabilitation efforts of government. Bohol is a beneficiary of this Supplemental Budget,â€ the Solon said.
Relampagos also authored and co-authored various bills that were passed on third reading and submitted to the Senate for consideration include, among others, the Magna Carta of the Poor, National Land Use Policy, Anti-internal Displacement of Persons, Regulation of Organ Donation, Penalizing Electronic Violence Against Women and Their Children (E-VAWC), Farm Tourism, Prohibition of Hazing and Regulation of Initiation Rites, Rectification of Simulated Births, bill promoting positive and non-violent discipline of children, bill promoting entrepreneurship and financial literacy among the youth and bill requiring the giving of exact change to consumers as well as the bill defining the territorial jurisdiction of the Bohol First District Engineering Office.
The Creation of the Youth Development Councils, Peritoneal Dialysis First Policy, Free Basic Medicines Program, Empowering Local Organic Farmers, Philippine Hazardous and Radioactive Waste Management, Establishment of Elderhomes in Every Region, Charter of the Commission on Human Rights, Plain Writing Law, Detainee Voting, Green Fee, Urban Parks Development Authority, Lemon Law, Amendment to the Solo Parents Law and the BOT Law, Magna Carta for Nurses, Marine Protection, Coastal Management, Mining Law, Modernization of the National Bureau of Investigation and Security of Tenure of Barangay Officers are just some of the national measures filed by Relampagos.
For the local bills, the lawmaker sponsored the establishment of a Special Economic Zone in Loon, converting to national roads the Sto. Nino provincial road and the Antequera-Balilihan via Dorol road, increasing bed capacity of the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital and the Natalio Castillo Memorial Hospital, establishment of the Balilihan Congressional Library, establishment of eldercare institution in the first district, among others.
Relampagos looks at additional measures that will deal on additional income for local government units especially the coastal municipalities through the internal revenue allotment, some more on womenâ€™s, childrenâ€™s and senior citizensâ€™ rights, the implementation of the benefits of barangay officials as well as some more bills to promote tourism in the country, to name a few.
He said, â€œthere is much to be done in terms of national policies specifically on ensuring public accountability but we are off to a good start and we hope to maintain the same commitment in the third and last session of the Sixteenth Congress.â€
â€œPresident Aquinoâ€™s SONA was motivational and inspirational. The Presidentâ€™s commitment to â€œdaang matuwidâ€ will make a difference, maybe not be felt today, but as a legacy that the future generation of Filipinos will greatly thank him for. I just hope that the Presidentâ€™s predecessor will be able to continue and sustain what has been started.â€ â€œIn this last year, we hope to continue to pass landmark legislations that will lay the ground for effective policies for economic growth, good governance, environmental protection and the promotion of the rights of our vulnerable sectors for the next administration,â€ Relampagos concluded.