Press Release
November 5, 2015

Transcript of Interview with Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
at the monthly legislative meeting between the Senate
and House leadership

Q: On the monthly legislative meeting of Senate and House leaders

SPFMD: First, we met again with our counterparts in the House - and bigyan ko lang diin ano, in my years in Congress, this is the most effective mechanism that the leadership of both Houses have adopted, that enabled to pass a number of critical and reform-oriented measures. Just from the last time that we met, we passed no less than 4 measures, since the last time met.

We have passed in both Houses the measure that will increase the minimum SSS pension, we passed the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act, we passed the PAGASA Modernization Act, we passed the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act.

So these are the four laws that we passed since our last meeting, and in our meeting today, we plotted again what we can do in the next fifteen (15) session days, which will be until December, we have 15 session days. We have discussed and enumerated the measures that we will give priority to.

Of course the number one priority is the budget. The House will transmit to the Senate the budget on November 9. The Committee on Finance of the Senate will sponsor it on November 11. Interpellations will immediately follow. One of our problems is that on November 17 there will be three (3) days of APEC holidays and even if we want to meet in the Senate and have sessions, we could not do so because the agencies will be busy with APEC and the roads, the security measures in our premises will be very difficult.

So we are looking at the Senate version of the General Appropriations Act being passed on third reading at the first week of December. We are very confident that by third week of December it will be by the President for his signature and we will have a budget before the year is over.

Our agreement is that we will also continue the interpellations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. There are a lot of negotiations, we will see how and what we can do. But we will give it also our priority. There are about half a dozen other measures that we have included in our calendar for the next 15 session days. That's what it is.

Q: What are the other priority measures?

SPFMD: The Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Acquisition of Right-of-Way for Government Infrastructure Projects, we have the amendments to the Build-Operate and Transfer (BOT) Law, the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act or CTMA, and the Government Industry Tax Plan.

Q: On the proposal of Congressman Colmenares to pass a joint resolution suspending the provision of the law penalizing the possession of more than one bullet, to address the laglag-bala scam

SPFMD: We would rather have a permanent bill rather than a suspension, and in both Houses, I understand, there are bills on this. Congresswoman Leni has filed, Senator Bam in the Senate filed similar bills on this, decriminalizing the illegal possession of up to three bullets rather than you know, a temporary solution . We are in favor of this.

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