Press Release
June 4, 2021

Senate adjourns sine die with 72 bills enacted into law

The Senate adjourned sine die the Second Regular Session of the 18th Congress Thursday, June 3, 2021, with 72 bills having been signed into law, including the passage of several important legislations that would enable the country, the economy, and the people cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III in his speech said that while the pandemic has brought so many worries and doubts, the Senate has remained steadfast and acted swiftly in passing needed legislation focused not only on the safety and health of every Filipino but also on the recovery of the country's economy.

"I believed that in moments of national crisis, our people expect more from their government. And therefore, it becomes the duty of us in the Senate to fulfill this expectation to the highest degree possible," Sotto said.

Merely weeks after the resumption of the Second Regular Session, the Senate passed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1564, or the "Bayanihan to Recover as One Act" which was signed into law by the President on September 11, 2020 as Republic Act (RA) 11494 or An Act Providing for Covid-19 Response and Recovery Interventions and Providing Mechanisms to Accelerate the Recovery and Bolster the Resiliency of the Philippine Economy. Apart from the passing the General Appropriations Act of 2021 on time, the Senate also adopted and passed House Bill No. 8063 or an Act Extending the Availability of Appropriations under RA 11494 or the "Bayanihan to Recover as One Act" and House Bill No. 6656 or an Act Extending the Availability of the 2020 Appropriations to December 31, 2021. Sotto said the chamber also took steps to ensure the immunity of everyone and help end the pandemic by passing Senate Bill 2057 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which was signed into law on February 26, 2021.

"Aware of the urgent needs of the pandemic, your Senate is committed to a legislative policy of shepherding government programs and resources for fighting COVID-19," the Senate President added.

To ensure financial resiliency against the pandemic, Senate passed SBN 1849, otherwise known as the Financial Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act, which was signed into law as RA 11523.

The Senate, according to Sotto, also conducted hearings and informal consultations with medical experts with the end in view of crafting laws to stay steps ahead of the natural course of the pandemic. As a result, a number of bills of local application creating schools, hospitals, and expanding bed capacity in hospitals in various parts of the country have been signed into law. Sotto also mentioned the enactment of RA 11509 or the "Doktor Para sa Bayan Act" which grants scholarships to medical students. The Senate also passed the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act (RA 11534), an Act Granting the President of the Philippines the Power to Defer the Increases in Contributions of the Social Security System (RA 11548), and an Act Reforming the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives System (RA 11534). Apart from measures related to the pandemic, the Senate also passed other important legislations that were enacted into laws. These were R.A. 11510 (Alternative Learning System Act); RA 11511 (An Act Amending RA 10068 or The Organic Agriculture Act of 2010); R.A. 11521 (An Act Further Strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Law); RA 11524 (Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act); RA 11535 (An Act Making the Position of a Cooperatives Development Officer Mandatory in the Municipal, City and Provincial Levels); RA 11549 (Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau Of Jail Management And Penology, and Bureau Of Corrections Height Equality Act); RA 11551 (Labor Education Act); and RA 11552 (An Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate). Meanwhile, 21 bills are now awaiting the signature of the President including SBN 1296 seeking to establish the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute; SBN 1886 expanding the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts; SBN 1931, Confirmation of Imperfect Titles; and SBN 2208, Extending the Estate Tax Amnesty. Three bills, SBN 1354, Amending Articles 183 and 184 of Act No. 3815 of the Revised Penal Code; SBN 1832, BFP Modernization Act of 2020; and SBN, amending RA 8762 or the Retail Trade Liberalization Act of 2000 are pending in the bicameral conference committee, while 34 bills are pending in the House of Representatives.

The Senate also convened into a committee of the whole this year to conduct an inquiry into the food security crisis brought about by the severe outbreak of the African swine fever.

"As Senate President, I give you a simple promise: We in the Senate, will do our best. I would like to think that similar to the fable of the tortoise and the hare, we will win over the pandemic not because of how fast we run, but how wise we are at strategizing for the win," he said.

Sotto also thanked his colleagues for their continued support and for joining him in the pursuit of coming up with legislations that are fair, reasonable, and for the interest of the people.

The Senate President also expressed gratitude to the unwavering service and dedication of all the Senate staffers - both from the offices of the senators and from the secretariat -- saying that the accomplishment of the chamber would not be possible without them.

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