17th Congress 2nd Regular Session: Senate accomplishment

Here is a recap of what the Senate has accomplished so far

The Senate adjourned its session last October 12, 2017.

When session resumes on November 13, the Senate will tackle Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1592, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill being pushed by Malacañang, and House Bill No. (HBN) 6215 per Senate Committee Report 167, or the 2018 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

Both measures are currently pending on 2nd reading.

Among the amendments introduced by the Senate in the 2018 budget is the allocation of P10 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi City next year, sourced from the 2018 budget of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Fund. The amount is on top of the P5 billion given this year for Marawi's rehabilitation.

Funding for Marawi's rehabilitation will also come from the government's Contingency Fund and the funds of other agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Armed Forces Engineering Brigade.

The Senate has also approved the P693-million budget for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to fund the commission's various programs and activities in 2018, including continuing assistance to victims of human rights violations during the 2013 Zamboanga siege.

Legislative accomplishments
Since the start of the 2nd Regular Session last July, six measures passed by the Senate had been signed into law by the President including the Philippine Passport Act (RA10928); Free Internet Access in Public Spaces Act (RA 10929); Extending the Validity Period of Driver's Licenses to 5 Years (RA10930); Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (RA10931); Anti-Hospital Deposit Law (RA 10932) and Amending the Revised Penal Code (RA 10951).

Also in the list of new laws is the postponement of the barangay polls from October 23, 2017 to the second Monday of May 2018 (Republic Act 10953), which was signed into law last October 4.

Other bills the Senate had passed on third reading included the proposed Free Irrigation Service to Small Farmers Act of 2017 (SBN 1465), Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2017 (SBN 1397), Gift Check Act of 2017 (SBN 1466), the Expanded Anti-Red Tape Act (SBN 1311), Fiscal and Monetary Report Act of 2017 (SBN 1483), and the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act of 2017 (SBN 1461).

The bicameral conference committee report on HBN 6061 (Gift Check Non-Expiry Act) and SBN 1466 (Gift Check Act), was reported out and approved on the floor before session adjourned, with both Houses of Congress agreeing to use the Senate version.
The bicameral conference committee on the disagreeing provisions of SBN 1465 (Free Irrigation Service to Small Farmers Act of 2017) and HBN 5670 (Free Irrigation Services Act), meanwhile, succeeded in coming up with a reconciled version. Both chambers agreed to provide free irrigation services to farmers with farm holding of not more than 8 hectares.


Photo courtesy of: Official Gazette