Drilon vows to bring back public's faith in Senate

Posted at 07/27/14 12:32 PM

Senate to focus on Bangsamoro law, Constitution amendments

MANILA -- Senate President Franklin Drilon vowed that he will try to bring back the public’s faith in the Senate amid criticisms over the pork barrel scam and now, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

“In our first regular session, the Senate has shown a strong resolve to fulfill its duty to the nation, with fervor and determination. Amid the issues that confront us, we have persevered and continued to discharge our duties to the Republic, with our commitments and vows to the people serving as the guiding light on the road to recovery and redemption,” he said.

Drilon stressed that more needs to be done in the second regular session, which opens Monday, July 28. Among the relevant bills that the Senate will focus on is the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which Drilon said they will immediately act upon as soon as the draft is submitted.

He added the Senate will also await the House of Representatives’ action on the proposal to amend the economic provision in the Constitution, which Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said will improve the country's ability to invite foreign direct investments.

“We will also work to extend PhilHealth coverage to senior citizens and increase the tax exemption ceiling of the 13th month pay for Christmas bonuses and other benefits for public workers from P30,000 to P75,000 so our workers can go home during the holidays without having to worry about decreases in their bonuses," Drilon said.

The Senate is also set to pass on third and final reading four bills that will increase and democratize access to education, he said.

These are Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2274, which seeks to expand access to education through open learning and distance education in tertiary levels of education; SBN 2272, which aims to strengthen the ladderized interface between technical-vocational education and training and higher education; SBN 2212, which promotes entrepreneurship and financial education among the Filipino youth; and SBN 2275 or the proposed Iskolar ng Bayan Act, which mandates all state colleges and universities to annually confer automatic admission and provide scholarship grants to the top 10 public high school students of their graduating class.

Also set to be approved on final reading is SBN 1647, which would repeal Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes a woman who marries within 301 days from the time of her husband’s death or her marriage’s dissolution, or who marries before delivering a child from her previous marriage.