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Senate lists priority amendments when session resumes

THE SENATE will prioritize the priority measures such as the amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberal Act and the formation of the Department of Overseas Filipinos, among other measures, when it resumes session Monday, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said.

“Priorities will be Public Service Act, Retail Trade Act, Dep’t of OFW and a few others,” he told reporters in a phone message on Thursday.

The measures were among the those identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council as priority measures in March.

The amendments to the Public Service Act and to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act were targeted by the LEDAC for passage by June, while the creation of a Department of Overseas Filipinos is expected to pass by December.

Mr. Sotto also said in the statement that he proposes to conduct sessions on Thursdays.

“I will propose to have sessions on Thursdays which we had in the Old Congress so we can have 12 days instead of 9,” he said in the statement, adding that he will caucus on Monday.

Senate Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto supported Mr. Sotto’s proposal.

“There is a need for everyone to try to be more productive. Extending session days will definitely help,” he said in a text message.

Congress sessions, held from Monday to Wednesday, will resume on May 17 after an almost two-month break.

The second regular session will adjourn from June 5 to July 25.

The bills to amend the Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Public Service Act were pending at second reading in the Senate, while the bill for the creation of the Department of Overseas Filipinos is pending at the committee level. The three measures were approved by the House of Representatives in third and final reading.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte in April certified as urgent the bills amending the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Foreign Investments Act. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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