Senate adjourns session; resumes July 23

June 6, 2012 11:15 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, June 6 — The Senate closed on Wednesday night as what Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile described “as the most challenging” second regular session of the 15th Congress by adjourning sine die, which means “without a day.”

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the Senate would resume its third regular session on July 23, in time for the State-of-the-Nation Address, when senators will proceed to the House of Representatives for a joint session of Congress to hear President Aquino deliver his SONA.

“In closing, permit me to make a confession. With candor, I will admit that this Second Regular Session has been the most challenging that I have had to lead, and mostly in part because of the impeachment,” Enrile said.

Despite of the delay in the legislative work due to the 44-day impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, the Senate managed to pass urgent and priority bills to improve the people’s quality of life, according to Enrile.

The Senate made up for lost time this week by approving 13 bills, including six house bills, on third and final reading. In addition, he reported that the Conference Committee has also approved the Cybercrime bill.

These bills are Senate bill 3009 amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2011; Senate Bill 3127 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012; Senate Bill No. 3164 amending the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act; Senate Bill No. 3206, or the act recognizing the early years from zero to age eight as the first crucial stage of educational development, strengthening the Early Childhood Care and Development Council and renaming the day care center as Child Development Center; Senate Joint Resolution No. 14 which seeks to extend the life of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Dangerous Drugs (COCDD) to 10 more years; Senate Bill No. 3209, otherwise known as the “Red Cross and other Emblems Act of 2012” which penalizes misuse of the Red Cross logo.

Also approved were House Bill No. 5608, also known as the “Reapportioning of the Province of Palawan into Three Legislative Districts” and six franchise bills for the construction, operation and maintenance of radio and television broadcasting stations in the country.

Statistics from the Legislative Bills and Index Service as of May 30 showed that Senate has approved a total of 47 bills and has acted upon 283 other measures filed since July 2010.

These 17 have been enacted into law, namely: RA No. 10147 (General Appropriations Act of 2011), RA No. 10148 (Grant of Philippine Citizenship to Marcus Eugene Douthit), RA No. 10149 (GOCC Governance Act), RA No. 10150 (Extending the Lifeline Rate to Marginalized End-Users of Power), RA No. 10151 (An Allowing the Employment of Night Workers), RA No. 10152 (Mandatory Basic Immunization Services for Infants and Children) RA No. 10153 (Synchronization of the ARMM Elections with the National and Local Elections), RA No. 10154 (Early Release of Retirement Pay of Government Employees), RA No. 10155 (General Appropriations Act of 2012), RA No. 10156 (Conferment of Civil Service Eligibility to Members of the Sangguniang Bayan), RA No. 10157 (Kindergarten Education Act), RA No. 10158 (Act Decriminalizing Vagrancy), RA No. 10159 (Amending the Revised Penal Code provision on Subsidiary Imprisonment), RA No. 10160 (Bacoor City Charter), RA No. 10161 (Imus City Charter) and RA10162 (Sta. Rosa City Charter) and RA10164 (Mabalacat City Charter).

Two other bills are pending in the conference committee, Department of Information and Communications Technology and Ethnic Discrimination.

Nine bills were sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence – SBN 789 or Additional Benefits and Protection for Househelpers, SBN 429 or the Discrimination Against Women, SBN 480 or Replacing the Term “Spouse of Age” with “Either Spouse”, SBN 1052 amending the Family Code (Divorced Obtained Abroad), SBN 2796 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2011, SBN 2811 or the People’s Survival Fund (Climate Change), SBN 2817 or the Involuntary Disappearance Act, SBN 2875 or the Security of Tenure of Casual/Contractual Employees of the Government and SBN 2965 or the Data Privacy Act.

Sotto expressed satisfaction with the output of the Senate despite the huge time it spent for the impeachment trial of Corona.

”Generally, I’m very satisfied with the production of the Senate. What we have achieved for the entire year (June 2011 to June 7 2012) is quite difficult to achieve without the impeachment but with the impeachment it is doubly satisfying,” Sotto said. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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