Social and human rights measures near enactment

SPEAKER Feliciano Belmonte today expressed confidence that several vital social and human rights bills would reach the President’s desk in time before the adjournment of the 3rd regular session of the 15th Congress.

“I would like to think that even with the very limited time left, the prospects for the enactment of vital measures already in their advanced stages in the legislative process look promising,” Belmonte said.

The House leader noted the following bills being fine tuned in bicameral conferences (as of Dec. 20, 2012): 1) HB 4643/SB 429 – Expanding the prohibited acts of discrimination against women on account of sex, amending for the purpose Articles 135 and 137 of the Labor Code of the Philippines (pending since the 9th Congress); 2) HB 4241/SB1198 – Providing for early voting to qualified members of media (since 14th Congress); 3) HB 5990/SB 3334 – Providing compensation to victims of Human rights Violations during the Marcos regime (since the 11th Congress).

“Those bills have been pending since the 9th, 14th and 11th Congress, respectively,” the Speaker noted.

Also being reconciled in separate bicameral meetings when Congress adjourned for the Christmas holidays were: 1) HB 4807/SB 2914 – Prohibiting Racial, Ethnic and Religious Discrimination; 2) HB 6686/SB 2918 – Strengthening Conciliation – Mediation as a voluntary mode of dispute settlement for all labor cases; and 3) HB 6685/SB 2921 – Strengthening Tripartism.

Likewise, the Speaker cited several vital measures already approved on 3rd reading and transmitted to the Senate for proper action, among them are: (1) HB 5714 – Strengthening the witness protection, security and benefit program, amending R.A. 6981; (2) HB 4484 – Providing for the Magna Carta for the Poor; (3) HB 6545 – National Land Use and Management Act of the Philippines; (4) HB 6419 – Providing for a free and culture-sensitive Indigenous Peoples Civil Registration System Act of 2012; and (5) HB 6474 – Strengthening the food safety regulatory system in the country to protect consumer health and facilitate market access of local foods and food products.

Also transmitted to the Senate were, among others: (6) HB 6528 – Instituting a compulsory insurance for members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI), Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI), the Board of election Tellers (BET) and their support staff for every national and local election; (7) HB 6567 – Providing all Barangay officials, including Barangay Tanods, members of the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa, Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Day care Workers, a lump sum retirement pay equivalent to one (1) year honorarium; (8) HB 6643 – Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012; (9) HB 5927 – Strengthening further the workers’ right to self-organization; (10) HB 6735 – Institutionalizing the Philippine National Health Research System; and (11) HB 6565 – Further Strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Law, amending R.A. 9160

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