House to start 5-day week marathon session starting next week

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Sept. 3 (PNA) — The House of Representatives will conduct a five-day week marathon session starting this coming Monday amid truancy problem to generate 10 extra session days that could be seen as a “virtual” special session to approve priority measures that include next year’s PhP3.002-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a press conference, House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said the House of Representatives will buckle down to work as inspired by a good number of attendance of lawmakers that resulted in the presence of quorum in the last few session days.

Gonzales said the last two weeks of session or from Sept. 28 to Oct. 9 will be allotted exclusively to pass the national budget while the first three weeks or from Sept. 7 to 25 will be devoted to approve the pending priority bills, including the BBL.

“We agreed to hold a weekly five-day session in the next five weeks starting Monday (Sept. 7). This is to ensure the passage of priority bills, including the BBL. The last two weeks before adjournment are exclusively for national budget’s approval,” said Gonzales, adding a special session is not possible after Congress adjourns starting Oct. 10 to give way to the filing of certificates of candidacy (CoCs) on Oct. 12 to 16, 2015.

Technically, Congress can hold session until Friday if important legislative measures are about to be approved, but attending to the needs of their constituents limit the normal regular session days from Mondays to Wednesdays.

Gonzales attended the leadership meeting at Marco Polo Hotel with Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Senate President Franklin Drilon and other key congressional leaders.

Aside from the national budget and BBL, Gonzales said the other priority bills agreed to be passed during the meeting are the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Bill, creation of the Department of Information and Communication Technology, Amendment to Build-Operate-Transfer Law, Amendment to Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the Revise Penal Code Indexation. (PNA)