Press Release
March 12, 2020

Senate adjourns for summer break

The Senate wrapped up its session Wednesday, March 11, to go on its annual Lenten break. Regular sessions will resume on May 4, 2020.

"We are adjourning during this First Regular Session on the heels of increasing COVID-19 incidents wherein the Senate itself suspended Session since Monday evening to Wednesday afternoon and instituted skeletal force schedules in our attempt to prevent further spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing as a whole institution," said Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri.

"Before we go on recess, we made sure to pass people-centric legislation," Senator Zubiri said.

The Senate on Third Reading passed Senate Bill No. 1083 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which repeals the Human Security Act of 2007 in order to provide a strong legal backbone towards the protection of the life, liberty and property of Filipinos against the evils of terrorism.

The Senate also passed the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Legal Assistance Fund (SBN 1233), a measure which expands the use of a fund meant to help more than 10 million Filipinos working in foreign lands.

Likewise, two educational measures hurdled the Senate, namely SBN 1086, which establishes the Philippine high school for sports "to train and develop future generations of world champion Philippine athletes," and the Good Manners and Right Conduct Comprehensive Values Education Act (SBN 1224), which Zubiri said "will equip Filipinos with the necessary skills, and values to be citizens with good manners and ethical convictions."

"It is important for the youth to be given avenues to experience and pursue various passions so they may exercise their choice on what they wish to develop in themselves. Filipino athletes who went on to accomplish great things did so despite, and not because of, the physical education curriculum of our schools. With the PHSS, I am certain we will see more Manny Pacquiaos, Ramon Fernandezes, and Hidilyn Diazes," Zubiri said. Zubiri, a former world champion, is the president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF).

SBN 1296, a bill creating the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute (PERPI), a government think tank for critical research and policy development to recommend reforms in the energy sector, was also approved on Third Reading.

"Besides the passage of these measures, we adopted several resolutions, foremost of which was Senate Resolution 312, expressing the sense of the Senate for the president to reconsider his plan to withdraw from the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States of America," Zubiri also said.

The Senate also adopted Senate Resolution 337 asking the Supreme Court to rule whether or not the Senate must concur in the abrogation of a treaty that was previously concurred in by the upper chamber.

Concluding the day was the turnover, led by Senator Zubiri of Adopted Resolution No. 15 to the National Telecommunications Commission Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios. The resolution backs the issuance of a provisional permit to ABS-CBN to continue operations beyond the expiry of its franchise as Congress continues to deliberate on its franchise.

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