Procedure on Approval of Bills in the Philippines (with Comments)

A bill is introduced by any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate except for some measures that must originate only in the House of Representatives. (Note: Most of the Bills should come from the House of Representatives, Why? Because the House represents the sectoral, marginalized, local and under represented, the House of Representatives knows the real problems that needs to be addressed since they represent a proportion of the locality)

First Reading: Involves only a reading of the number and title of the measure and its referral by the Senate President or the Speaker to the proper committee for study. (Note: Why should it be on three separate days? It is to inform the Houses that there is a Measure that will be discussed and – if any – they have ample time to study and research on the subject matter that will soon be discussed and debated upon)

There are two options, it would either be “killed” or it will be recommended for approval, with or without amendments, sometimes after public hearings are first held thereon, so if there are many bills with a common measure or purpose, they shall be consolidated into one bill under common authorship or as a committee bill.

If the bill is reported out, the bill shall be scheduled for the Second Reading. At this stage the bills will be read in its entirety, scrutinized, debated upon and necessary amendments when desired. This stage of the Procedure is the most important.

As the bill is approved on Second Reading, it is printed in its final form and copies shall be distributed at least three days before the third reading. On the Third Reading, the members merely register their votes and explain them if they are allowed by the rules. (Note: There will be no further debates during this stage because they have given the second reading to discuss and give their comments on the measure and was already scrutinized).

Once the bill passed the third reading, it is sent to the other chamber, where it will also undergo the three readings. If there are differences between the versions approved by the two chambers, a conference committee will representing both Houses will draft a compromise measure that, if ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives, will be submitted to the President for his consideration.

The bill is now called ENROLLED Bill, when printed as finally approved by the Congress, thereafter authenticated with the signatures of the Senate President, the Speaker, and the Secretaries of their respective chambers, and approved by the Head of State (President).

The Approval of the president is the same as explained in this topic, Four Phases of the Budget Cycle in the Philippines.

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