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Philippine Congress called to to pass "vital five" legislative bills
Akbayan Party-list urged Congress to pass important reform measures it dubbed as the “Vital Five” or the “VV” legislative bills. According to the party-list group, the “VV bills” composed of pending pieces of legislation in Congress namely the Reproductive Health bill, Freedom of Information (FoI) Bill, Anti-political dynasty Bill, the Sin Tax Bill, and the amendments to the Cybercrime Prevention Law, were necessary reform bills.
“We hope Congress will give the Filipino people a good Christmas package before the year ends. The passage of the VV bills will ensure that the victories that have been instituted by the people’s campaign for transparency and accountability become institutionalized and that services and programs for health and development reaches those who need them the most,” according to Akbayan spokesperson Barry Gutierrez.
Legacy not truancy
“The lack of quorum is one of the reasons why these bills have not been put to a vote and passed. While it is understandable that many lawmakers are already preparing for the 2013 midterm elections, we also hope that they understand the people’s desire for deeper reforms before the year ends,” Gutierrez said.
“Our legislators should temporarily put on hold their electoral campaign plans and focus on passing these bills first. We look forward to the leadership of the legislature to urge its members to leave a virtuous legacy by passing these bills and not an awful tradition of truancy,” Gutierrez added.
Wide-ranging policy response
Akbayan said the five bills are “vital” as they address important aspects of the economy, political reforms and civil liberties.
“What is so vital about these proposed bills is that if put together and passed at the same time, they comprehensively address important socio-economic and political issues that are in need of a wide-ranging policy response from the government,” Gutierrez explained.
Gutierrez said the RH and Sin Tax bills address the people’s health and economic development, the FoI and Anti-political dynasty bills respond to the clamor for political reforms, and the amendments to the Cybercrime Prevention Law to ensure and safeguard the public’s freedom of expression and civil liberties.
“These bills address specific national issues but complement each other. Taken as a whole, they address the fundamental issue of modernizing and strengthening our society, economy and democratic institutions,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez also noted that some of the bills have been languishing in Congress for years while expressing hope that they could be passed this year.
“We hope that the bills’ long journey will finally end this year. Some of these have been languishing for years in Congress such as the FoI and RH bills. We are hopeful that they can finally become laws.” Gutierrez said.