Free tuition to TRAIN: Laws passed during first two years of Duterte admin
Two years since he assumed office, President Rodrigo Duterte has already signed into law a total
of 133 legislative measures, 38 of which are bills of national importance.
Most of these laws were in line with the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda,
while some were in keeping with his campaign promises to address crime, corruption, and poverty in the country.
In the House of Representatives alone, a total of 2,929 measures have been processed during the
183 session days from July 25, 2016 to July 11, 2018. On the part of the Senate, of the 1,843 bills filed,
483 have been acted upon and of which 19 have been enacted into law.
Out of the 133 laws enacted, 93 were local bills and while two measures are joint resolutions of the 17th Congress.
Among the most significant measures enacted during the Duterte’s first two years of office are:
- RA 10931 of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. This law provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees for students enrolled in State Universities and Colleges, as well as in local colleges and technical-vocational school.
- RA 10969 or the Free Irrigation Services Act. This law grants free irrigation to farmers who own not more than eight hectares of land, and condones unpaid irrigation fees by farmers who till the same size of property.
- RA 10932 or An Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law. This law increased the penalties for hospitals or clinics that refuse to treat patients in emergency or serious cases unless they could deposit a certain amount.
- RA 11032 or East of Doing Business Act. This law requires government agencies to act on applications within three days for simpler transactions, seven days for complex ones, and 20 days for those that are highly-technical.
- RA 10928 or An Act Extending the Validity of Philippine Passports. Under this law, the validity of Philippine passports extend to 10 years from the previous five years.
- RA 10930 or An Extending the Validity Period of Drivers’ Licenses. Under this law, motorists can now use their license for five years instead of three years.
- RA 10963 or Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). This law reduced personal income taxes while raising duties on fuel, cars, coal and sugar-sweetened drinks.
After Congress adjourned its sessions sine die on June 3, Duterte has also signed into law various measures ratified by the bicameral conference committee, such as:
- RA 11036 or Philippine Mental Health Act. This law aims to provide affordable and accessible mental health services for Filipinos.
- RA 11035 or the Act Strengthening the Balik-Scientist Program. Under this law, incentives will be provided to Filipino scientists to encourage them to return to the country.
- RA 11037 or National School Feeding Law. This law seeks to institutionalize a feeding program for undernourished children in public day care, kindergarten and elementary schools.
- RA 11039 or Electric Cooperatives Resiliency Fund Law. This measure seeks to provide orderly and continuing means of financial assistance to electric cooperatives to mitigate the effects of calamities.
- RA 11053 or Anti-Hazing Act of 2018. This law seeks to prohibit hazing and regulates other forms of initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations, and provides penalties for violation thereof.
Both houses of Congress have also worked together to ease the plight of the poor and public servants receiving measly salaries, with the adoption of:
- House Joint Resolution No. 15 and its counterpart Senate Joint Resolution No. 2. These mandate that the housing units intended for the uniformed personnel remain unused would be made available to qualified poor beneficiaries.
- House Joint Resolution No. 18. This measure gave military and uniformed personnel an increase in their base pay.
Duterte has yet to sign the following bills, whose bicameral conference committee reports have already been ratified:
- Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS). This measure imposes fines for non-compliance with OSHS and requires safety and health personnel to undergo the mandatory training on basic occupational safety and health as prescribed by the Department of Labor and Employment.
- Filipino Identification System. This bill provides official identification for all Filipinos through ta national identification number and Filipino Identification Card.
- Retirement Benefits System in the Office of Ombudsman. This measure seeks to increase the retirement benefits of officials and employees of the Office of the Ombudsman.
- Strengthening Legal Framework for Creation, Perfection, Determination of Priority Rights and Enforcement of Security Interests in Personal Property.
Duterte will report about his administration’s accomplishments, which may include laws pass under his term, during his third State of the Nation Address to be held on July 23 at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.
On that same day, he also expect to sign the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is seen to bring just and lasting peace in Mindanao.