Philippine Laws: February 2011

Another month gone, another month without any new laws approved.  But, there’s no need to fret.  The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) had their 111th meeting this month (but the first under P-Noy), and discussed the 23 priority bills of the Aquino administration (let’s call them “P-Bills”).

The P-Bills fall under five general groupings—Human Development; Infrastructure Development; Economic Development; Sovereignty, Security and Rule of Law; and Good Governance.

The Human Development P-Bills include the acts (a) creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development (let’s not call this the “DHUD”); (b) rationalizing the nightwork prohibition on women workers; (c) enhancing the curriculum and increasing the number of years for basic education; (d) providing a definite targeting strategy in identifying the poor (for purposes of the National Health Insurance Act); and (e) reorganizing the National Food Authority into the National Food Corporation (let’s not call this the “NaFooCor”) and the Food Development and Regulatory Administration.

The Infrastructure P-Bills include the acts (i) amending Republic Act No. (RA) 6957 as amended, or the Act Authorizing the Financing, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Infrastructure Projects by the Private Sector; (ii) amending RA 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001; and (iii) rationalizing the economic regulation of water utilities by, among others, creating the Water Regulatory Commission (let’s not call this the “WaR Commission”).

The Economic Development P-Bills include the acts (a) rationalizing the grant and administration of fiscal incentives for the promotion of investments and growth; and (b) instituting a National Land Use Act (let’s not call this “NALuA”).

The Sovereignty, Security and Rule of Law P-Bills include the acts (i) establishing the archipelagic sea lanes in the Philippine archipelagic waters, prescribing the rights and obligations of foreign ships and aircrafts exercising the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage and providing for the associated protected measures; (ii) defining the maritime zone of the Philippines; (iii) amending RA 7898 or the AFP Modernization Act, to strengthen the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, extend the implementation of the modernization program, and institute necessary reforms; (iv) resetting the date of the regular elections for elective officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and synchronizing the ARMM elections with the synchronized national and local elections in 2013; (v) penalizing anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant power, and anti-competitive mergers, establishing the Philippine Fair Competition Commission (let’s not call this “Phi-Fai-Co-Com”); (vi) amending RA 6981, or the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act, to strengthen the witness protection, security and benefit program; (vii) providing for protection, security and benefits of whistleblowers; and (viii) providing for the national defense of the Philippines and penalizing certain violations.

Finally, the Good Governance P-Bills include acts (a) instituting reforms in land administration; (b) promoting financial viability and fiscal discipline in government-owned or controlled corporations, and to strengthen the role of the State in its governance and management to make them more responsive to the needs of public interest; (c) amending RA 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act; and (d) amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

If you counted 22 P-Bills, you are right.  The 23rd P-Bill, a Good Governance P-Bill—Fiscal Responsibility Bill, was temporarily withdrawn as of the LEDAC meeting.

Which of these P-Bills do you think will be the first to become law?