Press Release
July 18, 2013

Senate resumes session on July 22

The Senate resumes its regular session on Monday morning, July 22, to open the 16th Congress of the Philippines after which senators will proceed 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).

Six neophyte senators will be joining the 16th Congress. They are Bam Aquino, Grace Poe, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, and JV Ejercito.

Also joining the 16th Congress are reelectionist Senators Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV and Gregorio Honasan II.

The other senators who comprise the 16th Congress include Pia Cayetano, Juan Ponce Enrile, Miriam Defensor, Franklin Drilon, Teofisto Guingona III, Acting Senate President Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Manuel "Lito" Lapid, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., Sergio Osmeña, Ralph Recto, Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. and Vicente Sotto III.

Records from the Office of the Legislative Bills and Index Service showed a total of 895 bills had been filed for the 16th Congress as of today, July 18. Senators Sotto, Legarda, Marcos, Escudero and Estrada were the first to file their pet bills.

Among the 16th Congress priority bills are the proposed additional amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) which is needed for the country to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force; the proposed National Land Use Act, which seeks to provide a clear delineation of land use categories, namely, protection land use, production land use, settlements development use and infrastructure land use; the Magna Carta of the Poor Bill, which seeks to ensure the protection of five basic rights of every Filipino such as the right to food, employment, quality education, shelter and basic health services and medicines; Fiscal Responsibility Bill, which seeks to instill fiscal discipline in the public sector by prescribing principles of responsible financial management and establishing control mechanisms on spending as well as establishing medium-term fiscal targets through the passage of a fiscal accord and annual budget strategy; Philippine Maritime Zones Act, which seeks to define the maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Philippines, among others.

For the 15th Congress, the Senate passed a total of 593 bills. Of all the bills passed, 460 were signed into law by President Aquino III, of which 138 were of national application and 322 were of local application.

Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who said he was more than satisfied with the performance of the 15th Congress, said senators worked hard to pass significant measures.

"The senators in the 15th Congress worked hard in coming up with laws to improve the rights and welfare of vulnerable sectors. The concerns of the bills ranged from the creation of additional judicial courts, the enhancement of health programs to the protection of labor and the increase or revenue collection. There were also laws that dealt with the environment, disabled persons and reparation of survivors of human rights violations," Enrile said. (PILAR S. MACROHON, PRIB)

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