MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday expressed optimism that Congress will pass the remaining priority measures of President Rodrigo Duterte within the year.
In an online press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque hoped lawmakers would heed Duterte’s call to pass his administration’s priority bills “as soon as possible,” considering that many of them will be busy for their reelection bids next year.
“Kapag pinaabot pa natin sa susunod na taon, busy na sa politika ang lahat (If we will wait for next year, everyone will be busy with politics). So the priority bills must be heard and hopefully passed within the year 2021,” Roque said.
Roque said he is confident that Duterte’s good working relationship with Congress would pave the way for the speedy passage of his priority measures.
“Well, kampante naman po kami dahil napakabuti po ng samahan ng Presidente sa parehong kapulungan ng Kongreso na kung talagang urgent ang nature ng bill eh maipapasa naman po iyan (We are confident because the President has a very good relationship with members of Congress. And if the bill’s nature is urgent, that will be passed),” he said.
On June 29, Duterte urged Congress to pass his administration’s priority bills that would bring “genuine” reforms to the country.
Duterte cited the Package 3 and 4 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, and the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act as among the government’s priority measures.
Roque said Duterte might also push for the swift passage of the Bayanihan to Arise as One (Bayanihan 3) bill, which intends to earmark PHP401 billion for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response and recovery interventions grounded on economic inclusivity and collective growth.
“Hindi ko naman po maisip na merong tututol kung magkaroon ng desisyon nga na humingi ng Bayanihan 3 (I don’t think someone will oppose the passage of Bayanihan 3, in case [President Duterte] decides to ask for its swift passage),” he said.
Duterte is expected to ask Congress to pass his priority bills during his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26.
During his SONA, Duterte is also expected to report the state of the country and unveil his administration’s agenda for his last year in office.
Roque said there might be no mention of Duterte’s political plans for 2022.
“Siguro po, hindi mapapasama ang kaniyang mga planong political (Perhaps, he will not mention his political plans). Importante po (What’s important is) is the roadmap for his last year in office,” he said. (PNA)