House OKs SIM reg­is­tra­tion, PCGG abo­li­tion, 10 other bills

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By BEN R. ROSARIO

Af­ter a long sum­mer break, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­proved 12 bills of national sig­nif­i­cance upon re­sump­tion of reg­u­lar ses­sions on Tues­day, in­clud­ing the reg­is­tra­tion of sub­scribers’ iden­tity mod­ule (SIM) Card and the abo­li­tion of the Pres­i­den­tial Com­mis­sion on

Good Government (PCGG).

Vot­ing 167-6, the House passed on third and fi­nal read­ing House Bill 7233 or the pro­posed Sub­scriber Iden­tity Mod­ule (SIM) Card Reg­is­tra­tion Act. Six con­gress­men be­long­ing to the Mak­abayan bloc op­posed the mea­sure.

With 162 af­fir­ma­tive and 10 neg­a­tive votes, the Lower House also ap­proved House Bill 7376 which strength­ens the Of­fice of the So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral by giv­ing it the au­thor­ity to carry out func­tions of the PCGG and the Of­fice of the Government Cor­po­rate Coun­sel (OGCC). The PCGG and OGCC will be abol­ished.

The Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Jus­tice, chaired by Sen. Richard Gor­don, does not fa­vor the trans­fer of the pow­ers of the PCGG to the OSG be­cause such a trans­fer “is the quick­est way to for­get” the re­cov­ery of the al­leged bil­lions of pe­sos of ill-got­ten wealth of the Mar­cos fam­ily.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Franklin Drilon said the PCGG re­mains an im­por­tant agency and thus should be main­tained and strength­ened.

“I op­pose it. I am tak­ing into po­si­tion that there will be dif­fi­cul­ties if we abol­ish the PCGG and the Of­fice of the Government Cor­po­rate Coun­cil,” Drilon said.

Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV said that if the Duterte government is se­ri­ous in erad­i­cat­ing cor­rup­tion, it should work to strengthen the PCGG rather than move to abol­ish it.

House Bill 7163 that seeks to im­pose stiff penal­ties on per­sons found guilty of throw­ing hard ob­jects at mo­tor ve­hi­cles was ap­proved with 171 votes with­out any op­po­si­tion.

HB 7233, au­thored by Reps. Al­fred Var­gas (PDP-La­ban, Que­zon City) and Gus Tam­bunting (PDP-La­ban, Parañaque City), also pro­vides manda­tory reg­is­tra­tion of end-users who are for­eign na­tion­als. The mea­sure, a con­sol­i­da­tion of 12 bills, can be used as a po­tent weapon to track down crim­i­nals and lawless el­e­ments in­volved in il­le­gal activities.

To pro­tect the pri­vacy of sub­scribers, the bill pro­vides for a Con­fi­den­tial­ity Clause that pro­hibits dis­clo­sure of any in­for­ma­tion of a sub­scriber, un­less or­dered by a com­pe­tent court or re­quested by law en­force­ment agen­cies.

Se­na­tor Sher­win T. Gatchalian, chair­man of the Se­nate Eco­nomic Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, urged the Se­nate on Wed­nes­day to pri­or­i­tize the pas­sage of the SIM Card Reg­is­tra­tion Act af­ter the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­proved its own ver­sion.

HB 7163, au­thored by Ma­jor­ity Leader and Ilo­cos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Far­iñas, pro­vides for the im­po­si­tion of penal­ties rang­ing from one to 25 years im­pris­on­ment against per­sons found to have hurled stones, rocks, bot­tles, metal, wooden, or any hard ob­jects on ve­hi­cles. It also im­poses fines rang­ing from 110,000 to 1100,000 against of­fend­ers, de­pend­ing on whether or not the act caused dam­age to the ve­hi­cle, in­jury, or death to per­sons in­side it.

Also passed on third and fi­nal read­ing was HB 7321 which es­tab­lishes a “no call and no text reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem” aimed at track­ing down or pre­vent­ing un­wanted calls and texts mes­sages.

Also ap­proved was HB 5236 pro­vid­ing for the re­turn of the mil­i­tary rank clas­si­fi­ca­tion for po­lice­men.

Other bills passed by the Lower House are:

• HB 7033 propos­ing to es­tab­lish a com­pre­hen­sive sys­tem for reg­is­tra­tion and li­cens­ing of so­cial welfare and de­vel­op­ment agen­cies and ac­cred­i­ta­tion of so­cial welfare and de­vel­op­ment pro­grams and ser­vices;

• HB 7193 to pro­vide for a frame­work for the right to ad­e­quate food;

• HB 7260 declar­ing Fe­bru­ary 4 of ev­ery year as the Philip­pine Amer­i­can War Memo­rial Day;

• HB 3988 pro­vid­ing for the con­ju­gal part­ner­ship of gains as the gov­ern­ing regime in the ab­sence of a mar­riage set­tle­ment or when the regime agreed upon is void;

• HB 7422 that will in­te­grate the National Build­ing Code of the Philip­pines as a ma­jor sub­ject for en­gi­neer­ing and ar­chi­tec­ture cour­ses;

• HB 7392 propos­ing to in­sti­tu­tion­al­ize the Al­ter­na­tive Learn­ing Sys­tem in the ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion of out-of-school chil­dren, youth and adults, per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, in­dige­nous peo­ple, and other marginal­ized sec­tors of so­ci­ety;

• HB 7436 pro­vid­ing for the abo­li­tion of the Road Board and trans­fer­ring to the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways the distri­bu­tion and man­age­ment of the mo­tor ve­hi­cle user’s charge col­lec­tions. (With re­ports from Mario B. Casayu­ran and Han­nah L. Torregoza)

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