Press Release
October 4, 2012

Senate resumes session Monday

The Senate will resume its legislative session on Monday, October 8, 2012, to tackle several priority measures, among them the remaining amendment to the anti-money laundering law, and the anti-trafficking in persons act.

The Senate went on a two-week break to give way to the filing of candidacies for the May 2013 national and local elections.

The Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act of 2012, which aims to strengthen and amend certain provisions of RA No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, is expected to be passed on third and final reading while the Anti-Money Laundering Act will be up for debate on the Senate floor.

"We will do our best to ensure the passage of the last remaining amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act before we adjourn again in two week's time, but we must also be careful not to rush into approving this measure just to meet a deadline," Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to review before its annual meeting on October 15, anti-money laundering laws being implemented by non-compliant countries. The Philippines was earlier upgraded from the DFATF's dark grey list after both Houses of Congress passed two AMLA measures, listing terrorist financing as a predicate crime and allowing authorities to freeze suspected bank accounts without a court order.

Other bills expected to be taken up in the next two weeks are Senate Bill No. 1198, an Act providing for absentee voting by the members of media who are away from the places of their registration by reason of official functions on election day; SBN 1030, an Act requiring all registered voters whose biometrics have not been captured to appear before the election officer of their place of registration; SBN 3002, the Special Education Act; SBN 2918, an Act strengthening conciliation-mediation as a voluntary mode of dispute settlement for all labor cases; SBN 2921, an Act strengthening tripartism, amending for the purpose article 275 of Presidential Decree 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines; and SBN 2838, an Act further strengthening workers' right to self-organization.

The Senate is also expected to tackle the controversial House Bill No. 4820, which seeks to carve a new province out of Camarines Sur, naming it Nueva Camarines.

Meanwhile, the period of interpellations and introduction of individual amendments on the Reproductive Health Bill is expected to continue. Plenary deliberations on Senate Bill No. 3208, otherwise known as the People's Ownership of Government Information Act of 2012, will also start next week.

The Senate is set to adjourn its session on October 20, 2012, and resume on November 5, 2012 before it adjourns for a one-month Christmas break. (YVONNE ALMIRAÑEZ, PRIB)

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