Press Release
December 20, 2012

Senate resumes sessions on Jan. 21

The Senate ended its plenary sessions for this year on Wednesday having approved 87 of its own bills and 234 bills from the House of Representatives since the start of the Third Regular Session in July 2012.

Congress goes on a month-long Christmas and New Year holiday break and will resume regular sessions on January 21, 2013.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said senators have been working hard to pass urgent measures designed to address the country's economic difficulties and respond to the prevailing challenges in health, education, environmental protection, public safety and consumer protection.

Highlighting the upper chamber's accomplishment was its early passage of the P2.006- trillion national budget for the year 2013, which was signed into law by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III last Wednesday. The sin tax bill was also signed into law yesterday while the reproductive health bill is expected to be submitted for the President's approval before the year ends.

Research records showed that 28 other bills are pending for approval by the President, which include, among others, the absentee voting for media bill, the Kasambahay bill which provides additional protection and benefits for house helpers, the bill amending the act to eliminate trafficking in persons especially women and children, the proposed law requiring all registered voters without biometric data to have their photographs, fingerprints and signatures, among others, captured through the methods of biometric data, and the bill defining and penalizing the crime of enforced or involuntary disappearance.

A total of 179 national and local bills have been signed into law since the start of the Third Regular Session in July 2012.

Approved by the Senate and pending in the conference committee are the bills amending the People's Television Network, Inc., the Senate version of the Freedom of Information bill, and the bill providing for the reparation and recognition of martial law victims. Also passed on third reading this month were the following: the proposed Act authorizing wiretapping and interception and recording of communications and surveillance of drug pushers and manufacturers, the bill reorganizing and modernizing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the bill strengthening the Bureau of Corrections, the bill extending the life of the Land Bank of the Philippines, and the bill granting income tax exemptions to international carriers on the basis of reciprocity.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have approved bills creating regional and municipal trial courts, establishing national high schools, and converting provincial roads into national roads, among others.

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