Duterte mentions priority bills in his 4th SONA


On July 22, Monday, Pres. Duterte, in his 2019 State of the Nation Address or SONA mentioned priority bills that he wants the 18th Congress to pass.

Here is a list of those bills:

Pass Trabaho bill. The Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities or Trabaho bill aims to reduce the corporate income tax rate to 20%, broaden the tax base, and rationalize tax incentives to businesses.

Death penalty for heinous crimes related to illegal drugs and plunder. Duterte was very much into the reinstatement of this law since the start of his war against illegal drugs. Senators Bong Go and Manny Pacquiao already filed bills for the reinstatement of this capital punishment.

Mandatory ROTC for Grades 11 and 12. Duterte had pushed for the revival of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). When Duterte became president, he again threw support behind the measure to “instill discipline and patriotism among young Filipinos.”

Pass new Salary Standardization Law. Duterte shared in his SONA speech that the compensation adjustment under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) will end this year. In his plea to pass a new SSL, Duterte also wanted to include a pay raise for public school teachers and nurses.

Move barangay, SK elections to October 2022. It an be remembered that the President has postponed the barangay and SK elections twice before the election year. His reason for moving the elections is to rectify the truncated terms of sitting barangay officials. 

Enact a Magna Carta for Barangays. This is also part of the President’s wish list. It aims to declare barangay officials as regular government officials, and further empower barangays to improve their delivery of government services.

Review and pass government rightsizing bill. PD30 sought a government rightsizing bill in 2017. In his 2019 SONA, he called again for the bill’s passage “to reconfigure the existing Metro Manila-centric bureaucracy and streamline government systems in order to deliver services without delay and within a short timeline.

Establish a Department of Overseas Filipinos. A Cabinet department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) was among Duterte’s campaign promises when he ran for President in 2016.

Establish a Department of Disaster Resilience. In 2018, during the 17th Congress, House Bill 8165 which seeks to create a Department of Disaster Resilience was passed, but the bill was still in the Senate when their terms ended.

Establish a Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission. The purpose of the creation of this department was to enact reforms in water management in the country, considering the issues faced by us today especially in the Metro Manila and nearby cities. Bills were passed regarding this, but failed to progress beyond the committee level.

Pass Fire Protection Modernization Program. There were already bills passed in the 17th Congress for this program, and it aimed to put up fire stations and emergency medical services in every local government unit, upgrade existing equipment and services, and train personnel and volunteers using state-of-the-art tools to prevent and suppress fires.

Enact National Land Use Act within 2019. The proposed law will regulate the use and management of the country’s land and water resources, and classify land according to its use.

Urgent utilization of coconut levy fund for farmers. In February 2019, Duterte vetoed a bill concerning the coco levy fund and the Philippine Coconut Authority, saying the version passed by the House would likely put the fund in the hands of private individuals and would compromise executive branch actions.

Pass National Defense Act, Uniformed Personnel Separation Retirement Pension Bill. These legislative initiatives are “aimed at strengthening defense-related systems.” In February 2019, Duterte certified as urgent a bill that seeks to reform the pension system for military and uniformed personnel.




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