Press Release
July 22, 2012

Senate resumes session Monday

Lists priority bills

The Senate will resume its third regular session of the 15th Congress tomorrow, July 23, and will continue working for the passage of several priority bills, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said. Enrile will deliver his opening speech in the morning before he will lead senators to the House of Representatives in the afternoon for a joint session of Congress to hear the President's State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA). During the regular Kapihan sa Senado, Enrile said senators will hold a caucus on Tuesday to discuss priority bills, including local bills which need "urgent" attention.

"We will hold a caucus on Tuesday because there are urgent bills that must be done. Some of the local bills involve the splitting of provinces and the creation of districts. The filing of certificate of candidacies is fast approaching for the 2013 elections so we have to tackle those bills," Enrile said.

"We have bills that need to be passed on third reading including SBN 3071 which aims to promote competitive Filipino design and the promotion of a national design policy; SBN 2842 which seeks to upgrade the copyright section of the Department and Industry into a servicing bureau under the Intellectual Property Office and SBN 2746 which seeks to eliminate "botcha" or the sale of dead meat in the market by providing label or origin for meal and meat products," he added.

"The improvement of the economy is the government's vital concern. We wish to generate an economic climate that encourages the creation of goods and services in a playing field that is intentionally made fair for all," Enrile explained.

The Senate, he said, is slated to on third reading SBN 3199 which will create the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) to address the housing backlog in the country. In addition, Enrile said, the Senate will prioritize Senate Bill 3098 or the Anti-Trust Law, which seeks to prohibit or discourage the formation of anti-competitive mergers and anti-competitive conduct; SBN 3208 or the People's Ownership over Government Information (POGI); SBN 2865 or the Reproductive Health Bill, SBN 2978 or the Coconut levy fund; SBN 3093 or the filing of false complaints against public officers as an aggravating circumstance of perjury; SBN 2857 or institutionalizing the participation of civil society organizations in the preparation of the annual national budget; SBN 107 which will require public officials and employees to submit a written permission of waiver in favor of the Ombudsman to look into bank deposits; SBN 3114 or the strengthening of the political party system and SBN 3123 which seeks the amendment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act. "We also anticipate the submission of the proposed 2013 national budget by the Executive Department of Congress in the next few weeks. In the same way that Congress passed the General Appropriations Act in the previous regular sessions in an expeditious manner, I am confident that the Senate Committee on Finance will likewise work hardfor the timely passage of the 2013 budget," Enrile said.

Despite a delay in legislative work due to the 44-day Impeachment Trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, approved a total of 47 bills and has acted upon 283 other measures filed since July 2010.

Seventeen bills have been enacted into law, namely: RA No. 10147 (General Appropriations Act of 2011), RA No. 10148 (Grant of Philippine Citizenship to Marcus Eugene Douthit), RA No. 10149 (GOCC Governance Act), RA No. 10150 (Extending the Lifeline Rate to Marginalized End-Users of Power), RA No. 10151 (An Allowing the Employment of Night Workers), RA No. 10152 (Mandatory Basic Immunization Services for Infants and Children) RA No. 10153 (Synchronization of the ARMM Elections with the National and Local Elections), RA No. 10154 (Early Release of Retirement Pay of Government Employees), RA No. 10155 (General Appropriations Act of 2012), RA No. 10156 (Conferment of Civil Service Eligibility to Members of the Sangguniang Bayan), RA No. 10157 (Kindergarten Education Act), RA No. 10158 (Act Decriminalizing Vagrancy), RA No. 10159 (Amending the Revised Penal Code provision on Subsidiary Imprisonment), RA No. 10160 (Bacoor City Charter), RA No. 10161 (Imus City Charter) and RA10162 (Sta. Rosa City Charter) and RA10164 (Mabalacat City Charter). Two other bills are pending in the conference committee, Department of Information and Communications Technology and Ethnic Discrimination.

Nine bills were sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence - SBN 789 or Additional Benefits and Protection for Househelpers, SBN 429 or the Discrimination Against Women, SBN 480 or Replacing the Term "Spouse of Age" with "Either Spouse", SBN 1052 amending the Family Code (Divorced Obtained Abroad), SBN 2796 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2011, SBN 2811 or the People's Survival Fund (Climate Change), SBN 2817 or the Involuntary Disappearance Act, SBN 2875 or the Security of Tenure of Casual/Contractual Employees of the Government and SBN 2965 or the Data Privacy Act. //Pilar Macrohon, PRIB Writer

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