Press Release
May 16, 2006

Senate holds marathon sessions to fast-track
approval of seven priority bills, says Drilon

Aside from the passage of the long-delayed 2006 national budget, senators have decided to fast-track the passage of six other priority bills during marathon sessions before Congress adjourns on June 9, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said today.

Drilon said the decision to work overtime and hasten the approval of these seven important bills indicated that the Senate was well in touch with the actual need to institute reforms in governance, Drilon said as he debunked allegations by Malacanang that the Senate was engaging in too much politics at the expense of its legislative work.

During an all-senator caucus held Monday night, Drilon said the senators have agreed to hold daily plenary sessions, from Mondays to Fridays, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to work on the priority measures.

Apart from the General Appropriations Act of 2006, which is scheduled to be sponsored in plenary by the Senate Committee on Finance Chair Sen. Manuel Villar, Jr. on May 22, Drilon said the Senate will also fast-track the debates on the proposed Senate Bill (SB) 1936 or the act establishing a credit information system that will directly address the lack of reliable credit information concerning the credit history and track record of both individual and corporate borrowers, including credit card users.

Also, in recognition of the fact that ordinary consumers should be spared from the impact of higher electricity bills and soaring prices of petroleum products, Drilon said the Senate will also prioritize SB 2232 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) and the Biofuels Act of 2006.

The bill to amend the present EPIRA law will ensure transparent, just and reasonable prices of electricity in the country under a regime of free and fair competition and full accountability to the end-users of electricity, Drilon said.

Drilon added that SB 2226 or the Biofuels Act of 2006 seeks to mandate the development and use of indigenous renewable energy sources to avoid dependence on imported oil, protect public health and to increase rural employment and income.

Also listed as a priority measure is the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act that will seek to adopt adequate, efficient and effective counter measures to fight all acts of terrorism with due regard and respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people guaranteed under the Constitution, Drilon explained.

Drilon revealed that also included in the priority list is the pending Senate measure seeking to amend Republic Act 8436 to address the long overdue need for automation of the national and local elections.

The other item in the priority list is a bill that will incorporate pending proposals from a number of senators seeking to reform the present individual income tax system (Income tax relief bill).

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