Press Release
January 19, 2014

Senate resumes session Monday, to intensify anticorruption,
pro-economic efforts

The Senate is set to tackle measures that would promote government transparency, eliminate corruption and bolster the country's economic performance, once it resumes its legislative session on Monday, January 20, 2014, following a month-long break.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said senators "are deeply committed to intensify the campaign against corrupt practices" and will prioritize bills like the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI), "which would enable significant steps in curbing corruption in Philippine bureaucracy."

"We will continue the intensive discussions we had before we went on a break with the FOI bill, which is now in advanced stages of legislation," Drilon said.

According to the Senate President, the enactment of the FOI bill into law "will encourage active participation in the governance process and will introduce new levels of accountability by increased public scrutiny."

Drilon said senators are already working on Senate Bill No. 470, which seeks to introduce reforms to the current Sandiganbayan Law, in order to "expedite the disposition of numerous ongoing cases bogged-down in the anti-graft court.

Aside from anti-corruption measures, Drilon said the Senate will also tackle other measures which would sustain the country's economic growth, along with legislation that would capacitate the "adequate protection of our national interests."

"We have been also striving towards the immediate passage of Senate Bill No. 2043, which will establish the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) as the sole administrative agency responsible for the implementation of the International Convention of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of the country's seafarers. The measure would allow us to avoid a European Union ban that could possibly capsize the local maritime industry," he explained. The senators are also expected to act on Senate Bill No. 2046, or the "Go Negosyo Act of 2013" introduced by Sen. Bam Aquino, which would promote the national development of micro, small and medium enterprises as a potential tool towards reducing the country's poverty rate.

Drilon said the Senate will "strongly consider" Senate Bill No. 819 being pushed by Sen. Antonio 'Sonny" Trillanes, that aims to create a fully independent national agency similar to the United State's Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) to address the natural and man-made disasters that would hit the country.

He said that they would "urgently address" Senate Bill No. 480 and Senate Joint Resolution No. 2, both of which are intended to provide for the "long -requested and much-clamored increases" in the quarterly and subsistence allowances of enlisted personnel and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and commissioned and non-commissioned personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP). "These initiatives are intended by the Senate to ensure that the agencies responsible for our national security have the right organizational capacities and sufficient resources, so that the country's security and welfare remains uncompromised- even as we address our numerous economic and political challenges," the Senate leader said.

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