Press Release
January 17, 2013

Senate opens session Monday

The Senate will resume its session on Monday, January 21, 2013 and is expected to pass several pending measures before it will go on a four-month break starting on February 8 for the 2013 mid-term elections.

The Chamber will resume session on June 5, 2013 before it will adjourn Sine Die on June 7. The Senate will begin the first regular session of the 16th Congress on July 22, 2013.

Despite the limited number of session days, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the Chamber will try to enact measures that will address the country's economic and social difficulties when it resumes session.

"It is the Senate's task to anticipate the needs of a nation. Every senator is looked upon to solve an immediate concern, proposing to solve it in a manner beneficial to all," Enrile said.

Among the priority measures to be tackled are the proposed Competition Act, which seeks to penalize anti-competitive conduct, abuse of dominance and anti-competitive mergers; the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Law, which seeks to expand the list of covered institutions such as casinos, real estate agents, dealers in precious metals/stones, foreign exchange corporations, money changers and pre-need companies; the amendments to the Absentee Voting Act, which seek to remove the requirement on overseas Filipino workers to execute a waiver stating that they will return to the Philippines in three years time before they are allowed to vote in Philippine elections; the amendments to the Rural Bank Act, which will allow the infusion of foreign capital in rural banks nationwide, and, the National Land Use Act of the Philippines.

Before the Senate went on Christmas break last month, it passed on third reading a bill authorizing the wiretapping, interception and recording of communications and surveillance of drug pushers and manufacturers, a bill reorganizing and modernizing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), a bill strengtheninahe Bureau of Corrections, a bill extending the life of the Land Bank of the Philippines, and the bill granting income tax exemptions to international airlines on the basis of reciprocity.

Also approved by the Senate and pending in the bicameral conference committee are the bill on Media Absentee Voting, Discrimination Against Women, Early Years Act of 2012, Magna Carta of the Poor, Human Rights Reparation and Recognition Act, Ethnic Discrimination, among others. Several measures--the P2.006 trillion General Appropriations Act of 2013, the Sin-Tax Reform Law (R.A. No. 10351), and the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (R.A. No. 10354)--passed by the Senate before it adjourned for the Christmas season, were also signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III. (YVONNE ALMIRANEZ, PRIB)

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