Monday, January 25, 2010

New Philippine laws (2009)

In his 2009 yearend report, Hon. Prospero Nograles, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines Congress, inter alia, listed the new laws that the Philippine Congress had passed, thus:

1. Among the vital measures, enacted into law during the 40 actual session days of the 3rd regular session, include the following:

• RA 9829 - Establishing the Pre-Need Code of the Philippines authored by Reps. Jaime Lopez and Juan Edgardo Angara and sponsored by the Committee on Banks and Financial intermediaries chaired by Rep. Lopez;

• RA 9828 - Creating the Military Service Board and providing funds therefore, authored by Herminia Roman, sponsored by the Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare chaired by Rep. Antonio Diaz;

• RA 9803 - Encouraging the donation of food for charitable purposes, authored by Rep. Eduardo Zialcita, sponsored by the Committee on social Services headed by Rep. Faysah RPM Dumarpa;

• RA 9775 - Defining the crime of child pornography/ priscribing penalties therefore and for other purposes, authored by Reps. Antonino, Custodio, Velarde, Arroyo and Narciso Santiago, jointly approved and sponsored by the Committees Justice, Welfare of Children and Appropriations chaired respectively by Reps. Matias Defensor, Monica Louise Prieto-Teodoro, and Junie Cua;

• RA 9745 - Penalizing the commission of acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, authored by Reps. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino, (the late) Crispin Beltran, Liza Maza, Luzviminda Ilagan and Salvador Escudero III, sponsored by the Committees on Justice, Human Rights and Appropriations, chaired respectively by Reps. Defensor, Lorenzo Tanada III, and Cua;

• RA 9729 - Establishing the framework program for Climate Change, creating the Climate Change Commission for this purpose, authored by Rep. Roilo Golez, sponsored by the Committees on Government Reorganization, Ecology and Appropriations, chaired respectively by Reps. Erico Basilio Fabian, Belma Cabilao and Cua;

• RA 9711 - Strengthening the regulatory capacity of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) by establishing adequate testing laboratories and field office, upgrading its equipment, augmenting its human resource complement, giving authority to retain its income and renaming it as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), authored by Reps. Arthur Pingoy, Jr., and Edcel Lagman, sponsored by the Committees on Health and Appropriations chaired respectively by Reps. Pingoy, Jr., and Cua;

• RA 9710 - Providing for the Magna Carta of Women, authored by Reps. Nanette Castelo-Daza, Ma. Isabelle Climaco and Juan Edgardo Angara, sponsored by the Committee on Women and Gender Equality chaired by Rep. Castelo-Daza;

• RA 9709 - Establishing programs regarding early detection, diagnosis and interview for newborns and infants (Early hearing loss detection, diagnosis and intervention Act) authored by Rep. Narciso Santiago, sponsored by the Committee on Health and Appropriations;

• RA 9708 - Adjusting the requirements on education and for promotion in the Philippine National Police, amending for the purpose RA 8551, otherwise known as the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, authored by Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, sponsored by the Committee on Public Order chaired by Rep. Antonino himself; and

• RA 9700 - Sustaining the implementation of the CARP, extending the acquisition & distribution of all agricultural lands, instituting necessary reforms, authored by Reps. Lagman, Cua, Abraham Khalil Mitra, Elias Bulut, Jr., Reno Lim and Hontiveros, sponsored by the Committees on Agrarian Reform and Appropriations.

2. As of December 26, 2009 under review by the President were the following conference committee reports ratified by the House:

HB 6767 - 2010 GAA
HB5618/SB3429 - Authorizing the issuance of Free Patent Title for Residential land
HB 5649/SB 3286 - Improving the standards of protection and assistance for migrant workers
HB 6076/SB 1598 - Expanding the promotion of breastfeeding
HB 4253/SB 3482 - Creating a National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, defining its powers, functions and responsibilities & appropriating funds therefore
HB 6733/SB 3014 - Providing for the protection and conservation of the National Cultural Heritage, strengthening the national cultural agencies
HB 6899/SB 3220 - Amending Sections 6..etc….of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, allowing the exchange of information by the BIR on tax matters pursuant to the internationally agreed Tax Standards and for other purposes
HB 5210/SB 3392 - Exempting certain transactions from the Value-added tax
HB 6095/SB 3431 - Providing for an Agricultural & Agrarian Reform Credit & Financing System through Banking Institutions
HB 6017 - Grating tax relief to the Life Insurance Industry by abolishing the Documentary Stamp Tax and Premium Tax on Life Insurance
HB 515/SB 3389 - Transferring the Phil. Coast Guard to the Dept. of Transportation & Communications as an attached agency and redefining it organization & personnel administration
HB 6517/SB 2357 - Anti- Photo and Video Voyerism Act of 2009
HB 6820/SB 1620 - Granting additional retirement, survivorship, and other benefits to member of the Judiciary
HB 6633/SB 2669 - Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and other crimes against humanity
HB 6112/SB 1980 - creating three additional branches of the Regional Trial Court in South Cotabato
HB 5922/SB 2454 - Granting the SSS a one time authority to condone penalties on unremitted or delinquent contributions by employers
HB 6516/SB 3288 - Declaring Arnis as the Philippine National Sport
HB 5279/SB 3111 - Providing for the legitimation of children born to parents below marrying age, amending for the purpose the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended
HB 50/SB 3106 - Providing for the Magna Cart for Homeowners Associations
HB 6400/SB 3283 - Declaring the 10th Day of Zhul Hijja, the 12th Month of the Hijrah Calendar a National Holiday for the observance of Eid’l Adha
HB 6379/SB 2639 - Providing the Legal Framework for Real Estate Investments Trusts

3. Since July 23, 2007 to December 18, 2009 (1st, 2nd and 3rd Regular Session of the 14th Congress), there were a total of 7,093 bills filed, 1,634 Resolutions filed for a grand total of 8,727 measures filed, from which 2,571 Committee Reports were produced by the different standing and special committees.

4. From 2007 until Dec. 18, 2009 some 342 measures were enacted into law, 65 of which of national scope, 272 of local application and five (5) were HJRs. Some 1,122 were approved on 3rd reading (186, national; 930, local; 1 HCR) and are pending in the Senate. Some 1,069 Resolutions were adopted, excluding three reports on privilege speeches, for a grand total of 4,449 measures processed.

5. Until December 18, some 20 measures are now under the Unfinished Business, and 24 other measures fall under the classification Business for the Day which the Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader Defensor said are up for plenary consideration until the last day of session of the 14th Congress before the May 2010 campaign period.


Considering the multi-billions in pork barrels, salaries, fringe benefits, and junket foreign trips of Filipino legislators (and their bureaucratic sycophants in the Executive Branch) which shamelessly drain the almost-empty treasury of the Philippine government and ruthlessly suck the anemic and malnourished blood of Filipino taxpayers, the passage of the aforecited eleven (11) new laws should not impress the Filipinos as great accomplishments of the Philippine Congress.

The per capita expense viz. each new law passed is not cost-effective(in fact, the cost-benefit ratio is grossly embarrassing).

Neither should the filing by the legislators of hundreds of bills impress the Filipinos because a great majority thereof are merely refiled and rehashed bills or insignificant and routine bills of local application, e.g., re-naming a public street or school and the like.