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Senate, House reveal priorities

by Hannah L. Torregoza and Ellson A. Quismorio

The Senate will prioritize the measure proposing amendments to the 1987 Constitution and the Duterte government’s proposed P3.767-trillion national budget for 2018 as it resumes legislative work in the second regular session of the 17th Congress today.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said that he intends to pursue Charter change proposals so they can keep in step with plans to convene as a Constituent Assembly in January or February as earlier disclosed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

President Duterte has urged Congress to fast-track moves to put in place a federal system of government in the country which he sees as a key to resolve the armed conflict in Mindanao.

“There’s no formal agreement yet, but in principle, I agree. I made Charter change a priority in this second session,” Pimentel said over the weekend.

On the other hand, the House of Representatives said their legislative priorities for the second regular session of the 17th Congress may include the priority bills previously listed by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.

Some of the bills in the LEDAC list have been approved by the House, among them, amendments to Republic Act 8178 or “Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996”; Amendments to the Anti-Cybercrime Act; and Amendments to the National Irrigation Administration Charter.