Congress races against time to pass key economic bills

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — The legislative session ends on June 7th, along with the shift to a new Congress.

This leaves legislators in a race against time to pass key economic bills of the Duterte administration, as these bills would have to go through the entire legislative process all over again once the 18th Congress takes over on July 22.

Once of these bills include the Private Services Act, which would lift the foreign ownership limits in the telecommunication and transport sectors.

"It can address the issues on water, air, transportation, and power. Sapul lahat doon sa (It will hit) Public Service Act, which is very old," Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III told reporters.

Congress is also working on passing the bill which would increase excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, which would fund the Universal Health Care Act.

READ: Finance and Health departments renew call to pass sin tax law 

The second tranche of the administration's tax reform program, the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities (Trabaho) bill, is also still pending in Congress.

Speaking to CNN Philippines Business Roundup, Asian Institute of Management Associate Professor Emmanuel Leyco said that the upcoming administration-allied Congress might make passing these laws easier.

"Well, in terms of passing the law with the majority now with the president, legislation is going to become easier. It will be faster," Leyco said.

However, he added that legislation such as the Trabaho bill should not be rushed.

"One of the major issues that were cited by the business sector was that the benefits they are currently enjoying right now will be removed and they say, if that is removed, they will have no reason to stay in the country. So they will just stay out," Leyco said.

He added that it falls upon the 18th Congress to pass laws that would benefit the economy in the long-run, not just until the end of the administration.

"I am hoping that the new legislative body will put priority on the competitiveness, on the stability and the long term benefit, long term direction of our economy... You have to consult with all stakeholders and make sure that the steps that are being taken right now is not just for the temporary 1-2 years," Leyco said.

CNN Philippines correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this story.