LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Two bills principally authored by Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan which are both national scope and application are now awaiting the signature of President Bengno Simeon C. Aquino III before their being enacted into law.
House Bill (HB) No. 5588 allows the government to facilitate the acquisition of right-of-way site or location for national government infrastructure projects and HB No. 4271 that seeks to reduce the retirement age of surface mine workers from 60 to 50 years, amending for the purpose Article 287 of Presidential Decree No. 44 as amended, otherwise known as the Labor code of the Philippines, were already forwarded to the Office of the President after the Senate passed their respective counterpart measures in order for President Aquino to sign the same into law.
Cosalan expressed confidence that the President will sign the two major legislative measures that he authored for it to be enacted into law even before the expiration of the 30-day reglamentary period considering that both bills will be beneficial to the greater majority of the populace.
Under HB 5588, the government may acquire real property needed as right-of-way site or location for any national government infrastructure project through donation, negotiated sale, expropriation, or any other mode of acquisition as provided by law.
In cases of lands granted through Commonwealth Act No. 141 as amended, otherwise known as the Public Land Act, the implementing agency shall follow the other modes of acquisition enumerated under the proposed law, if the land owner is not the original patent holder and any previous acquisition of said land is not through a gratuitous title or follow the provisions under Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, regarding acquisition of right-of-way on patent lands, if the land owner is the original patent holder or the acquisition of the land from the original patent holder is through a gratuitous title.
Cosalan added the implementing agency may utilize donation or similar mode of acquisition if the land owner is a government-owned or government-controlled corporation. When it is necessary to build, construct, or install on the subsurface or subterranean portion of private and government lands owned, occupied or leased by other persons, such infrastructure as sub-ways, tunnels, underpasses, waterways, floodways, or utility facilities as part of the government’s infrastructure and development project, the government or any of its authorized representatives shall not be prevented from entry into and use of the sub-surface or subterranean portions of such private and government lands by surface owners or occupants, if such entry and use are not more than 50 meters from the surface.
Under HB 4271, surface mine workers shall include mill plant workers, electrical, mechanical and tailings pond personnel.
Within 30 days from the effectivity of the law, the Secretary of Labor and Employment shall, in consultation and coordination with the President of the Social Security System (SSS), promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the law.
By Dexter A. See