Press Release
February 14, 2013

Senate passes record 529 bills in 15th Congress

The 15th Congress performed rather well and exceeded all expectations, passing a total of 529 measures from July 23, 2012 to February 6, 2013 compared to 524 measures passed by the 14th Congress from July 27, 2009 to June 4, 2010.

This, according to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who said that he was more than satisfied with the output of the 15th Congress even when the Senate also had to convene as an impeachment court to try the case of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

"We passed major legislations that will have a significant impact on our country and our people. As senators, it is our task to anticipate the needs of a nation and solve an immediate concern in a manner that is beneficial to all," he said.

Enrile said the Senate worked hard to ensure the early passage of the national budget for the last three years. The assurance of fresh appropriations, he explained, guaranteed the continuity of vital government programs. He said Congress had also passed Joint Resolution 17, which annulled the Books of Voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The resolution directed the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to conduct a new general registration of voters in the regions, which was done in 2003.

Enrile said other measures passed by Congress and were signed into law include Republic Act (RA) 10351, that raised excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products; RA 10354 also known as the Reproductive Health Bill; RA 10361, which gave additional benefits to household workers; RA 10349 or the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, RA 10149 or the Government Owned and Controlled Corporations Act; RA 10151, that allowed night work for women; RA 10167 that expanded the predicate crimes covered by the Anti-Money Laundering Act; RA 10168 that criminalized terrorist financing; RA 10174 or the People's Survival Fund; RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act; RA 10153 which synchronizes the elections of ARMM with the national and local elections, and, RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Law.

According to Enrile, 92 bills are currently awaiting the approval of the President while eight measures are still pending in the bicameral conference committee. He said 237 measures, which were approved from July 23, 2012 to Feb. 6, 2013, were sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

"The impeachment trial has brought us to another level of political maturity. It tested the institutions that comprise our government and the system of checks and balances that characterize our democracy," Enrile said.

Even when senators had been preoccupied with the impeachment trial, he said, the Senate passed a significant number of measures that addressed the country's economic and social difficulties. He said the Chamber had committed to craft more relevant measures that are more responsive to the citizens' needs such as the Kasambahay bill, the Cybercrime Act, immunization services against hepatitis B for infants, etc.

Enrile said the Senate will approve additional measures when it resumes for a two-day session on June 5 before it adjourns sine die. (PILAR S. MACROHON, PRIB)

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