More than 100 key bills approved in 15th Congress

Published by rudy Date posted on June 6, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The outgoing Congress had approved more than 100 key pieces of legislation, mostly on promoting human rights as well as strengthening the economy and the campaign against crime and corruption, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday.

Belmonte issued the statement as the House of Representatives moved its final session to today for approval of some bills, whose passage last night was aborted by the suspension of session in the Senate.

The final session of the 15th Congress was supposed to be yesterday but the Senate suspended work following the resignation of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile as Senate president.

The 16th Congress will convene on July 22 coinciding with the State of the Nation Address of President Aquino.

“Not without adversities and diversities, the 15th Congress has lived up to its mandate as a catalyst of reforms, and serving as the crucible of our people’s aspirations,” the Speaker said in a statement.

“Crucial laws were enacted to adapt to demands of these changing times in those vital areas of development. We must have sustainable development in mind as we consider our future policies to ensure consistent growth,” he said.

“Under challenging circumstances and finite resources, we have laid the foundations of genuine societal reformation. We remained steadfast to our mandate as representatives of our people and did what was required of us,” the Speaker said.

He described the 15th Congress as “a union of diverse individuals united in the goal of pursuing policy reforms needed to benefit the greater majority of our people.”

“Human limitations may have prevented us from achieving all that we had hoped, but collective determination to institute reforms promoting transparent and responsive governance never fell short,” Belmonte said.

Data from the House committee on rules showed that from July 26, 2010 until mid-May this year, 392 vital measures were enacted into law, 104 of which were national in nature and 283 for local concerns.

Of the 104 statutes, 10 cover economic and fiscal reforms. These are General Appropriations Act from 2011 to 2013, Further Strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Act, Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products, Rationalizing the Taxes on International Air Carriers in the Philippines, and the Extension of the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

Laws promoting political and governance reforms include: the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, requiring all government offices to ensure the release of the retirement benefits of employees within 15 days from retirement; Conferring upon a member of the Sangguniang Bayan, Sangguniang Panlunsod and Sangguniang Panlalawigan the Appropriate Civil Service Eligibility, the Amendments to the AFP Modernization Act, and the Strengthening of the National Electrification Administration. –Paolo Romero, The Philippine Star

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