Senate resumes session as 2nd Regular Session starts

The Senate returns to its legislative work as it resumes session on Monday, July 24, 2017 to formally start the 2nd Regular Session of the 17th Congress.

The opening of the new session would come two days after the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the proposed extension of Martial Law in Mindanao, as requested by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said that the entire institution was eager to go back to work and address “bigger challenges” facing the country.

“While we may have achieved much in the 1st Regular Session, our work is not yet done,” he said.

Topping the list of priority bills the Senate is expected to tackle during this session is the comprehensive tax reform package being pushed by the Duterte administration, and the proposed shift to a federal form of government.

Thirteen bills have been also endorsed by the Legislative-Executive Advisory Council to President Duterte as “urgent” bills in Congress: 1) Unified National Identification System Act, 2) Security of Tenure Bill (End of “Endo” or Contractualization), 3) bill on utilization of the Coconut Levy Fund, 4) National Transport Act to address transport traffic crisis, 5) Budget Reform Act, 6) National Land Use Act, 7) bill on Rightsizing of the National Government 8) Amendments to the Anti-Cybercrime Act, 9) amendments to the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, 10) amendments to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Charter to allow for free irrigation, 11) amendment to Public Service Act, 12) Ease of Doing Business Act/Fast Business Permit Act, 13) amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Pimentel would lead the opening ceremonies for the 2nd Regular Session on Monday morning. After the event, senators will proceed to the Batasang Pambansa Complex in the afternoon, and attend a joint session of Congress to hear the President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The Senate remains as the top government institution in the country with the highest public approval ratings, as reported by polling firms Pulse Asia Research Inc. and Social Weather Stations (SWS) in their surveys last June. The SWS pegged the upper chamber’s rating at a “good” +49 with 64% of respondents “satisfied” with the Senate’s performance so far, while the Pulse Asia survey said that the Senate posted “majority” approval ratings at 59%. ###

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