Philippine Policymaking Process

In the Philippines, legislation is vested in the Congress which consist of two chambers or houses: the Senate (upper) and the House of Representatives (lower). The Congress of the Philippines can act on the following types of legislations:

  1. Bills – These are general measures that may become laws. This requires the approval of both chambers and signature of the President. Often, bills deal with matters on economy, regulations, budgetary appropriations, and the like.
  2. Joint Resolutions – This shares similarities with bills in terms of requirements and effect upon approval. However, the difference is that joint resolutions usually deal with a single issue. Also, it can be used to propose amendments on the Constitution.
  3. Concurrent Resolution – This is to address matters affecting the operations of both chambers. It must be approved by both houses but need not the President’s signature. Thus, it doesn’t have the effect of a law. Usually it fixes the time of Congress’ adjournment and expresses the “sense of Congress” (or the opinion of the majority) on an issue.
  4. Simple Resolution – This shares the same elements as the concurrent resolution, but only be acted on by one chamber. It doesn’t have the effect of a law and it only needs the approval of the concerned chamber. These are usually used to express the opinion of one house on a current issue.

The legislative process starts with proposals that may originate from government and non-government entities. This can be considered as the agenda-setting phase of Philippine legislation.

Proposals that were considered by any member/s of the Congress to be introduced as a bill will be the ones that shall undergo formulation.

Upon introduction of the bill, it will undergo its first reading wherein the title and authors are read. This phase also observes the referral of the bill to its appropriate committee. 

The committee discusses the details of the referred bill. Subject matter experts are involved to ensure that the bill underwent sharp scrutiny before its fate is decided. Substantial revisions are also done at this level.

Upon deliberation at the committee level, the bill may be accepted (with or without revisions) or rejected entirely. Only accepted bills will be considered by the chambers for the second reading, while rejection will essentially kill it. Accepted bills are given a committee report with its detailed developments and revisions.

Once the bill is accepted on the third reading, its final version will be distributed among the policymakers. It will then be voted upon if the bill will be accepted or rejected. If it passes the third reading, it will be sent to the other Chamber (if the bill is from the Senate, it will be transmitted to the House of Representatives, and vice versa) wherein the bill will undergo another three readings for concurrence.

Otherwise, a Bicameral Conference Committee will be called to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House of Representative version. Upon reconciliation, the final bill will be submitted to the Senate for its printing and submission to Malacañang.

Once the final version has been concurred between the Senate and House of Representatives, then it will be printed and submitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature. It may be signed or vetoed by the President.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.