Press Release
September 29, 2007

Villar: Senate to pass bills on agriculture,
entrepreneurship among host of other bills

Senate President Manny Villar today said he is expecting the bill which seeks to provide development assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises to be passed by the Senate before going on a four-week recess. This bill is among the priority measures identified by the Senate.

"This bill is particularly close to my heart as this encourages entrepreneurship through development assistance to ensure their continuing viability and growth," Villar, himself an entrepreneur, said.

Villar said on Monday, the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Food on the bill extending the life of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) will be sponsored.

"ACEF provides funding for projects and activities that will enhance competitiveness of agriculture and fisheries sectors. It will also provide scholarships for agriculture-related courses," he said.

Last Wednesday, the Senate reported out the reports on the bill granting good conduct allowance to deserving prisoners, the bill seeking the professionalization of legislative career service, and the bill that will regulate the presentation of witnesses to the public and media. This came about after the 12-hour Blue Ribbon inquiry on the ZTE National Broadband deal.

"We greatly appreciate the cooperation and hard work put in by my colleagues at the committee level and during plenary sessions to make the first two months of the 14th Congress fruitful," Villar said.

Villar also said he is hopeful the Committee on Trade and Commerce will finish the polishing works on the Cheaper Medicines Act and the report will be submitted for floor deliberations before the October break.

"We expect no lengthy debate on this most-awaited measure because the Senate deliberated and passed this bill on third reading during the last Congress," he stressed.

Villar said also in the pipeline is the Tourism Act of 2007, which will provide the political and legal structures to spur tourism growth in the country. The bill promoting breastfeeding especially among working mothers will also be passed by the Senate.

The Senate president also expects the committee report on the bill providing a fixed term for Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff and the bill providing benefits to Filipino World War II veterans to be submitted for plenary debates.

Last Monday, the bill providing more retirement benefits for judges and justices was passed on second reading by the Senate. The approval on third reading of this measured is scheduled on Monday.

The priority measures also include the 2008 National Budget, the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, the New UP Charter, Amendment to the Child Pornography Law, Anti-Cellphone Theft Act, Act Creating of the Commission on Missing Persons, Law on the Credit Information Bureau , and the Personal Equity Retirement Act.

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