Press Release
June 4, 2021

Senate Performance for Second Regular Session
Manifestation of Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri

Mr. President, before we close the Second Regular Session of the Eighteenth Congress, please allow me to thank our colleagues for their patience, industry, and full cooperation in our legislative work for the past year. Our job became doubly difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We missed hitting the ground and consulting, face-to-face, with our constituencies. We have had to make do with online meetings during committee hearings and navigate through the hybrid Senate Sessions with a bit of difficulty as the telecommunications infrastructure in the country is still coping with the needs of the time. Despite that, the Senate, through your able leadership, has managed to overcome all these difficulties and still achieve outstanding performance.

I am very proud to report to the Body and to the public the Senate performance for the Second Regular Session of the Eighteenth Congress, covering our plenary sessions from July 27, 2020 to today, June 3, 2021.

For the Second Regular Session, we have seen to the passage of an astounding seventy-two (72) bills into laws. Many of these are COVID response measures, namely:

1. RA 11494

The Bayanihan 2 - providing an economic stimulus package to help us bounce back from COVID; we also passed a law extending the availability of appropriations under Bayanihan 2, to fund our continuing COVID recovery efforts

Sponsor: Sen. Angara

Authors: Sens. Marcos, Angara, Recto, Sotto, Zubiri, Cayetano, Villar;

2. RA 11517

An act expediting the processing of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications in times of national emergency - isinulong natin ito dahil sa COVID pero magagamit rin po ito para sa kahit anong national emergency that we might face in the future;

Sponsor: Sen. Zubiri

Authors: Sens. Sotto, Recto, Zubiri, Drilon, Lacson, Revilla, Go, Pacquiao, Villanueva, Lapid, Dela Rosa, Gordon, Angara, Gatchalian, Binay, Poe;

3. RA 11548

An amendment to the Social Security Act mandating the deferment of SSS contributions in times of national emergency - again this was initiated because of COVID but will be useful for future national emergencies

Sponsor: Sen. Gordon

Authors: Sens. Villanueva, Gatchalian, Marcos, Gordon, Revilla, Zubiri, De Lima, Poe, Villar

4. RA 11534

CREATE or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act - which has been in the pipeline for a long time, but has been reworked to be more responsive to the economic challenges we're facing due to the pandemic; for instance, talagang ibinaba natin ang buwis ng mga MSME sa ilalim ng CREATE para makatulong na maibsan kahit papaano iyon pong financial burden nila at matulungan silang maka-recover agad Sponsor: Sen. Cayetano

Authors: Zubiri, Recto, Angara, Cayetano;

5. RA 11525

And of course the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act, probably the first legislation in the world on a COVID-19 vaccination program - which has already kicked off, and is soon moving into the vaccination of our A4 priority group, or our frontline personnel in essential sectors, ang ating mga economic and government frontliners. Talagang umaasa tayong magtutuloy-tuloy na po ng maayos ang ating inoculation para sa lahat ng Pilipino at magbukas na ang maraming sektor ng ekonomiya at negosyo

Sponsor: Sen. Angara

Authors: Sens. Marcos, Poe, Cayetano, Revilla, Zubiri, Angara, Recto, Go, Tolentino, Villanueva, Binay,

Gatchalian, Gordon, Hontiveros, Villar, Pangilinan, Pacquiao, Dela Rosa, Drilon

Some of the other major measures we passed during this Second Regular Session are:

- the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act (RA 11509) for medical scholarship with return service o Sponsor: Sen. Villanueva

o Authors: Sens. Sotto, Recto, Villanueva, Dela Rosa, Angara, Lapid, Pacquiao, Lacson, Tolentino, Revilla, Villar, Gatchalian, Zubiri, Gordon, Poe, Go

- the Alternative Learning System Act (RA 11510) for out-of-school children and even adults o Sponsor: Sen. Gatchalian

o Authors: Sens. Gatchalian, Binay, Zubiri, Drilon, Hontiveros, Dela Rosa, Angara, Cayetano, Go, Gordon, Lacson, Lapid, Marcos, Pacquiao, Pangilinan, Pimentel, Poe, Recto, Revilla, Sotto, Tolentino, Villanueva, Villar

- the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act

o Sponsor: Sen. Villar

o Authors: Sens. Pangilinan, Recto, Villar, Marcos, Angara, Binay, Cayetano, De Lima, Dela Rosa, Drilon, Gatchalian, Go, Gordon, Hontiveros, Lacson, Lapid, Pacquiao, Pimentel, Poe, Revilla, Sotto, Tolentino, Villanueva, Zubiri

- Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer or FIST (RA 11523)

o Sponsor: Sen. Poe

o Authors: Sens. Marcos, Lapid, Recto, Poe, Villanueva

- the Labor Education Act (RA 11551)

o Sponsor: Sen. Villanueva

o Authors: Sens. Lapid, Revilla, Villanueva, Hontiveros, Zubiri

- And just recently, the PNP, BFP, BJMP, and BuCor Height Equality Act (RA 11549) o Sponsor: Sen. Dela Rosa

o Authors: Sens. Zubiri, Sotto, Lacson, Tolentino, Dela Rosa, Pacquiao, Revilla, Gatchalian, Go, Villanueva, Marcos, Poe, Gordon

We also passed amendments to update and strengthen:

- the Anti-Money Laundering Act (RA 11521) o Sponsor: Sen. Poe

o Authors: Sens. Poe, Marcos

- the Organic Agriculture Act (RA 11511)

o Sponsor: Sen. Villar

o Authors: Pangilinan, Villar, Revilla, Poe, Angara, Binay, Cayetano, Dela Rosa, Drilon, Gatchalian, Go, Gordon, Hontiveros, Marcos, Lacson, Lapid, Pacquiao, Pimentel, Recto, Sotto, Tolentino, Villanueva, Zubiri

- and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (RA 11552) o Sponsor: Sen. Gatchalian

o Authors: Sens. Gatchalian, De Lima, Go, Zubiri, Villanueva

And as the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, please allow me to celebrate the passage of the act making the position of a Cooperatives Development Officer mandatory in all of our LGUs (RA 11535). Sinubaybayan po talaga ito ng ating cooperative sector. At naipasa rin po ang isa sa ating mga happy bills dito sa Senado, ang Act

Declaring October of Every Year as the National Cooperative Month (RA 11502).

And we have twenty-one (21) more bills awaiting the President's approval, including the bill extending Estate Tax Amnesty (Sponsor: Sen. Cayetano; Authors: Sens. Revilla, Cayetano, Villanueva, Zubiri, Gordon, Gatchalian), and three (3) more bills lined up for bicameral conference committee.

We also have thirty-four (34) bills approved on third reading, including:

- the Separate Facility for Heinous Crimes Inmates Act o Sponsor: Sen. Gordon

o Authors: Sens. Sotto, Gordon, Zubiri, Dela Rosa, Pacquiao, Recto;

- the Inclusive Education Act for learners with disabilities

o Sponsor: Sen. Gatchalian

o Authors: Sens. Lapid, Cayetano, Gatchalian, Angara, Villar, Villanueva, Revilla, Zubiri, Binay, Hontiveros, Go, Gordon, De Lima, Tolentino, Pimentel;

- the Safe Pathways Network Act

o Sponsor: Sen. Cayetano

o Authors: Sens. Cayetano, Tolentino, Pacquiao, Angara, Dela Rosa, Villanueva, Poe, Revilla, Gordon, Villar, Drilon, Zubiri, Go;

- the Electric Vehicles Act

o Sponsor: Sen. Gatchalian

o Authors: Sens. Gatchalian, Recto, Zubiri, Pangilinan, Pacquiao, Poe, Pimentel, Villanueva, Cayetano, Sotto;

- and the Special Protections against Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Act o Sponsor: Sen. Hontiveros

o Authors: Sens. Marcos, Hontiveros, De Lima, Angara, Binay, Pangilinan, Revilla, Gordon, Gatchalian, Villanueva, Zubiri, Recto, Dela Rosa, Cayetano, Poe, Villar, Pacquiao, Drilon;

To respond to the needs of the local constituents of our colleagues in the other House, we have approved on third reading thirty-five (35) local bills, for the establishment of local hospitals, schools, LTO offices, engineering districts, and franchises.

All these, amid the difficulties of our hybrid sessions and COVID lockdowns. Unfortunately, the Senate was not spared the havoc of the COVID-19 pandemic, as some of our staff, both in the Senate proper and Secretariat, perished as a result of the COVID-19 infection. We are truly saddened by their passing and remember their sacrifices and dedication to serve this revered institution and our people.

There is obviously more to be done, and of course we will continue to hold hearings on urgent and important measures even as the plenary sessions adjourn. But I don't think it's too self-aggrandizing to recognize that we've had a pretty productive Second Regular Session, and for that, I thank and congratulate our colleagues, and our staff. I am deeply grateful to everyone for their efforts and their understanding.

I also want to thank our good Senate President Vicente Sotto III, for leading us throughout this particularly demanding time. Maraming, maraming salamat po!

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