Saturday, October 18, 2014

Senate resumes session Monday

MANILA-After a three-week break, the Senate will resume its plenary sessions on Monday, October 20, to continue working on pending important measures amid a tight schedule.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said senators intended “to make the most out of our schedule, in order to make progress on our growing list of legislative agenda” before congressional sessions adjourn for the All Saints’ Day break on October 29, two weeks from now.

“We have a lot of pertinent bills on our list, and a number of these proposed legislation requires immediate passage. We will make every second of our remaining time in session count. We will give it our best shot,” he said. 

Drilon said senators were expected to start the week by passing on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 2042, which prohibits “the development, production, stockpiling, use of chemical weapons, and providing for their destruction,” in order to safeguard the country from the threats and hazards of chemical weaponry.

He also noted that the Senate’s version of the Fair Competition Act, Senate Bill No. 2282, was close to seeing passage as well, after senators finished introducing amendments to the measure.

Drilon explained that the Fair Competition Act was part of a package of priority economic measures which Congress would pass within next year, in order to improve the Philippine’s business climate, boost investment and ensure macroeconomic and fiscal sustainability in time for the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

Likewise, senators are ready to introduce amendments to Senate Bill No. 2400, which establishes the Sugarcane Industry Development Fund, according to Drilon.

Other Senate measures in advanced stages of legislation include pro-labor bills such as Senate Bill No. 29, or the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 2013; Senate Bill No. 161, which provides security of tenure for all casual and contractual government employees who have rendered the prescribed years of service; Senate Bill No. 12, which provides retirement benefits to barangay officials, health, and day care workers; and Senate Bill No. 1386, or the amendments to the Public Employment Service Office Act of 1999.

Also in the period of interpellation is Senate Bill No. 2269, or the amendments to the Revised AFP Modernization Program. The bill seeks to amend an existing provision in the AFP Modernization Program that will allow the country to purchase major equipment or weapons systems, so long as they are also used by the armed forces of the equipment’s country of origin, or by the armed forces of at least one country.

Additional Senate bills also in the period of interpellation are Senate Bill No. 2210, which seeks to institutionalize the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Program; along Senate Bill No. 2414, which amends the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.


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