Press Release
August 19, 2010

Congress agrees to take shorter vacations

Members of both chambers of Congress will have more working days ahead compared to past Congresses as legislators agreed to have shorter vacation breaks.

With the approval of Senate Resolution No. 2, introduced by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, fixing the legislative calendar of the First Regular Session of the 15th Congress, lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives will have shorter vacation breaks, according to Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

The Senate resolution was approved Tuesday, Sotto said. The House earlier adopted a similar resolution, Senate Secretariat officials said.

"There are many things to take up on the floor," said Sotto, explaining that "all vacations were shortened except for the Holy Week break, giving us more time to do our mandate. Shortening the break will give us the chance to do more legislation."

During the 14th Congress, the First Regular Session commenced on July 23, 2007 before it adjourned for a short break October 12 of the same year. This year, the current legislative calendar officially started last July 26, and is scheduled to end on October 15, 2010, before it adjourns on June 10, 2011, to make way for the Second Regular Session.

"We will be working straight from now until October," Sotto said.

"Our break will only be from October 16 to November 6. By October 16 we hope to have the budget passed by the House at least on Second Reading. The next break will be from December 18 to January 16, and the next, March 26 to May 8, 2011. Sine Die will be on June 10 to July 24, 2011," Sotto said.

Finance Committee Chairman Senator Franklin Drilon said that the adoption of the new legislative calendar was timely as the Senate was scheduled to begin scrutinizing the proposed 2011 national budget possibly starting next week.

"With shorter vacation breaks, we can allot more time in scrutinizing the 2011 budget. This will perhaps, allow us to make sure that every single centavo will go to deserving projects, and not the pockets of dishonest government officials," Drilon said.

The Senate Finance Chief also noted that the shorter breaks could ensure that Congress would be able to enact the 2011 budget before the end of the year. "We hope that we will be able to do away with the practice in the past administration of reenacting the previous years' budget because Congress failed to pass the current year's budget on time," Drilon explained.

* Press Release by Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB)

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