|Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.|
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Enrile calls to promptly act on the proposed 2012 national budget
MANILA, July 25, 2011-As the senate deliberation will start on the proposed general appropriation act of 2012 today, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile bats his colleagues to promptly act on the proposed national budget for 2012, citing the need for Congress to pass bills that would help government in building the nation’s fiscal and economic capabilities, as well as to strengthen the country’s environmental and defense mechanisms.
“Early approval would allow the chamber to assess the various programs of the Aquino administration under a ‘reform budget’,” Enrile said, adding that the ideal scenario is for Congress to pass the budget earlier than the date it passed last year’s budget.
As the Senate prepares to buckle down to work today, Enrile said that the people expect the senate to make tough decisions, saying that the citizenry elected them to see to it that they have a voice in helping reform the society, and owe it to them to see to it that their needs are met. This is the time to crank the gears of the engine of sustainable development and use these available resources for the common good,” Enrile explained.
Enrile pointed out that the Congress needed to pass important legislative measures that will show the Filipino people that their government meant business.
“The heavy flooding in various parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, the recent findings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on alleged fund misappropriations in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the allegations of electoral fraud committed last 2004 and 2007 elections which have brought to light the need for Congress to enact legislation that would address these problems,” Enrile cited.
During the first Legislative-Executive Advisory Council (LEDAC), Senate sources said that with the opening of the 2nd Regular Session of the 15th Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives are set to focus on bills discussed.
The priority measures included in the LEDAC main concerns were signed into law by the president before the end of the 1st Regular Session such as R.A. 10151, rationalizing the night work prohibition on women workers; R.A. 10149, promoting financial viability and fiscal discipline in government-owned and controlled corporations; RA 10153, synchronizing the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the national and local elections; and RA 10154, which mandates all government agencies to ensure the early release of a retiring state worker’s retirement benefits within 30 days of his or her actual date of retirement.
Two pro-poor bills were enacted into law were the Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011 (R.A. 10152), and the Act Extending the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate (R.A. 10150).
The Senate also passed on second reading three bills discussed in the first LEDAC meeting such as the Whistleblower’s Protection Act of 2011 (SBN 2860), which sought to provide better protection, security and benefits for whistleblowers; the Kindergarten Education Act (SBN 2700) which called for the institutionalization of kindergarten education into the basic education system and prescribing a mother tongue-based multi-lingual education; the National Health Insurance Act (SBN 2849) which sought to amend and improve the country’s current national health insurance policy. (Jason de Asis)
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