Press Release
March 18, 2015

Senate sessions adjourn today

The Senate has adjourned session today, approving 36 various measures - 11 of which were already enacted into law - and adopting 38 resolutions since the 2nd Regular Session of the 16th Congress convened last year.

It will resume session on May 4, 2015 with the Bangsamoro Basic Law and various economic bills as top agenda.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that the Senate was "able to act on various proposed measures that are seen to improve the economy and bureaucracy, and uplift the lives of our countrymen, alongside the many hearings being held in the upper chamber on vitally important issues such as the Mamasapano incident."

Since the start of the 2nd Regular Session, 36 bills have been passed, 11 of which have been already signed into law by the President, which includes the Iskolar ng Bayan Act, the Act adjusting tax exemption limit for 13th month pay and other benefits, and the Act providing for mandatory Philhealth coverage for all senior citizens.

Eight other Senate bills are further awaiting the President's signature, such as the Amendments to the Sandiganbayan Act, the Act increasing the subsistence allowance for all officers and non-commissioned personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The upper chamber has already approved on third reading thirteen bills mostly about economic and policy reform, led by the amendments to the Cabotage Law approved last February 28, and the Fair Competition Act, which was approved last December 14.

Four additional bills passed by the Senate are pending in the bicameral conference committees, such as the Act establishing the open high school system in the Philippines and the joint resolution which authorizes the President to address the projected electricity imbalance in the Luzon grid.

Drilon said that the public can expect more key legislation to be approved before the 16thCongress ends its 2nd regular session in June 2015, particularly the Bangsamoro Basic Law and other economic bills such as a stronger enabling law for the Public-Private Partnership Law, the amendments to the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act, and the proposed bill on the Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives.

The Senate will also resume debates on 20 proposed bills which are being interpellated upon by senators before the break, with four other pending measures already in the period of amendments. These bills in the advanced stages of legislation include the Unified Student Financial Assistance System (UNIFAST) Act, and the Act creating the new Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

In addition, there are 24 bills which are already on second reading at the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, the Senate ratified a bicameral conference committee report declaring November of every year as National Children's Month to promote consciousness for the protection of the rights of Filipino children, before it adjourned sessions today.

"In a country like the Philippines where the struggle for peace and prosperity is felt and suffered most by children, a single-minded and concerted effort to create a 'children's rights culture' has to be made," Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality, sponsor of the measure and chair of the Senate panel of the Bicameral Conference Committee, said.

The Conference Committee on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 332 and House Bill No. 1641, agreed to adopt the House version, with an amendment to declare November as National Children's Month instead of November 20 as children's day, which was originally used in the Senate's version of the measure.

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