Statement of Speaker Velasco on the adjournment of session until Jan 24

We have decided to suspend the plenary sessions for the rest of the week because of the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases in almost every corner of the metropolis, and the House of Representatives is no exception. We arrived at such decision to control the spread of the fast-moving coronavirus that has also affected our members and staff. Since the start of the year, more than 70 House members and employees have contracted the virus and many others are undergoing quarantine or self-isolation after exhibiting symptoms or having close contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite this, we continue to fulfill our constitutional duty of enacting laws that promote the interests and welfare of our people, while taking restrictive yet necessary measures to create a safe environment for House members and employees.

When we resumed session last Monday, we wasted no time to approve on third and final reading a total of 19 bills, 10 of them are of national significance, including aid for higher education, additional benefits for senior citizens, rural financial inclusion, and tax cut to help the live entertainment industry recover from the impact of the pandemic.

We have also ratified the bicameral committee report on the proposed Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act, and designated the House contingents to the bicameral conference committees that will finalize the bills establishing separate facility for high level offenders; regulating the manufacture, use, packaging, distribution, advertisement and promotion of vape; amending the Public Service Act; amending the Contractors’ License Law; requiring SIM card registration; and institutionalizing “Timbangan ng Bayan Centers” in public and private markets.

The House will resume session on January 24 and we hope that the COVID-19 situation has already improved by then so we could finish all pending priority measures before we adjourn for the election period.

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