Congress resumes session today, Monday

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Senate of the Philippines session hall. (Photo courtesy by CNN Phils.)

MANILA, Philippines — Congress will resume its session Monday, January 20, after it adjourned on December 18, 2019 and go on a one-month legislative leave during the Christmas holidays.

The second regular session in the 18th Congress will begin with the hearing on motorcycle tax regulation by the Senate Public Services Committee chaired by Senator Grace Poe.

The Senate adjourned its Session December 18, to go on a one-month legislative break during the holidays.

Topping the list of the Senate’s accomplishments in the first four months of the First Regular Session in the 18th Congress, is the passing of the P4.1 trillion 2020 General Appropriations Act, which the Upper Chamber ratified and adopted last week.

“We opened the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress with a new batch of senators raring and eager to buckle down to work, and I am happy to note that we were able to file a record number of bills and resolutions, foremost of which is the P4.1-trillion 2020 budget,” Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri said.

“The budget is the most important law of the land. By approving it well ahead of the Christmas break, we will be spared from the difficulties arising from a re-enacted budget as had happened earlier this year. The re-enacted budget delayed projects and, worse, delayed salaries of national and LGU employees for the first quarter of 2019,” he added.

From the start of the 18th Congress last July 22 till December 17 of this year the senators had filed a total of 1,241 bills and 281 resolutions.

The Senate successfully passed Republic Act No. 11462, the first law passed by the 18th Congress, principally sponsored by Sen. Marcos. It postponed the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections formerly scheduled for next year and moved these to December 5, 2022 for which the government would have allocated P5.77 Billion, according to the Commission on Elections.

This was followed by the Malasakit Center Act (R. A. No. 11463), principally sponsored by Sen. Bong Go, that will establish Malasakit Centers in all government-owned hospitals of which 54 have been established, the most recent was in Antipolo, Rizal.

The Senate passed the following on Third and Final Reading: the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims Act (SBN-1122), the Night Shift Differential Pay (SBN 643), the National Transportation Safety Board Act (SBN 1077), an Act Fixing the Validity Period of the License to Own, Permit to Carry and Registration of Firearms (SBN 1155), the Salary Standardization Law 5 (SBN 1219) and Establishment of Separate Facilities for Prisoners Convicted of Heinous Crimes (SBN 1055), Amending the National Internal Revenue Code by Increasing the Excise Tax on Alcohol, Heated Tobacco and Vapor Products and for other purposes (SBN 1074), among others.

Also approved by the Senate was House Bill No. 5437 extending the availability of the 2019 appropriations for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays (CO).

It also adopted 35 Resolutions, noteworthy of which is Senate Resolution No. 22 that expressed the sense of the Senate opposing liberalization of the sugar industry in order to protect the livelihood of millions of sugar workers and agrarian reform beneficiaries; SRN 18 recognizing the 70th anniversary of the Philippines and Republic of Korea relations; SRN 8, reconstituting the special committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation.

“We went head on against negative issues by steadfastly tackling serious issues afflicting the country’s jails, the illegal drugs problems, rising HIV cases and the decline in incomes of rice farmers and hograisers due to calamities, diseases and import liberalization. However, the first four months also saw the Senate positively united in support of the stellar performance of our athletes with Resolutions filed to honor athletes in windsurfing, arnis, weightlifting, wushu, among others, during the recently concluded South East Asian Games hosted by the Philippines. Indeed, it was a productive six months of 2019,” concluded Zubiri (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)

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