Senate back to work Monday; to focus on corruption

Posted at 01/19/2014 12:10 PM | Updated as of 01/19/2014 12:10 PM

MANILA -- Senators will go back to work on Monday with the promise of pushing anti-corruption measures.

First on the list is the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, “which would enable significant steps in curbing corruption in Philippine bureaucracy,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said, adding the Senate will continue with the intensive discussions just before they went on break back in December.

The enactment of the FOI bill into law “will encourage active participation in the governance process and will introduce new levels of accountability by increased public scrutiny,” he added.

The lawmakers will also work on Senate Bill No. 470, which seeks to introduce reforms to the current Sandiganbayan Law in order to “expedite the disposition of numerous ongoing cases bogged down in the anti-graft court."

The Senate received numerous criticisms last year because of the pork scam when some of its members were linked to alleged pork scam queen Janet Napoles.

Economy

According to Drilon, the Senate will also focus on sustaining the country’s economic growth.

“We have been also striving towards the immediate passage of Senate Bill No. 2043, which will establish the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) as the sole administrative agency responsible for the implementation of the International Convention of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of the country’s seafarers. The measure would allow us to avoid a European Union ban that could possibly capsize the local maritime industry,” he said.

The senators will also act on Senate Bill No. 2046, or the “Go Negosyo Act of 2013,” introduced by Sen. Bam Aquino, which would promote the national development of micro, small and medium enterprises as a potential tool towards reducing the country’s poverty rate.

They will also “strongly consider” Senate Bill No. 819 being pushed by Sen. Antonio ‘Sonny” Trillanes, that aims to create a fully independent national agency similar to the United State’s Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) to address the natural and man-made disasters that would hit the country.

Drilon said they would “urgently address” Senate Bill No. 480 and Senate Joint Resolution No. 2, both of which are intended to provide for the “long-requested and much-clamored increases” in the quarterly and subsistence allowances of enlisted personnel and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and commissioned and non-commissioned personnel of the Philippine National Police.