THE Senate yesterday adjourned its session to go on a three-week break.
The upper chamber managed to release six committee reports for deliberation when the Senate resumes sessions on November 7 which include the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill and the need to wiretap suspected drug traffickers.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez have agreed that Congress will also prioritize the passage of the P3.35 trillion proposed 2017 national budget.
“We will exert our best efforts to timely conduct our hearings and ensure the early passage of this most important piece of legislation,” said Pimentel.
Meanwhile, Sen. Cynthia Villar has lauded approval, at the committee level, of the proposed measure granting a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the Social Security System (SSS) pension of retired SSS members.
“It is our early Christmas gift to the 1.9 million SSS pensioners. We expect no opposition to this bill at the Senate as well as from our counterparts at the House of Representatives,” she said.
Villar also lauded the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon for prioritizing the passage of this bill.
“During this afternoon’s hearing, I urged George Ongkeko, Jr., the Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary of SSS, to improve their collection efficiency or ask for government subsidy in order to improve the benefits provided to SSS members,” she said.
“I expect the passage into law of this measure before the year ends. We all agree that the cost of living faced by pensioners has enormously grown and this increase is necessary in order to provide for the well-being of the country’s retirees,” she added.
The Senate will also work on its pending priority legislation such as the proposed bill on emergency powers for the traffic crisis, the bill on ending “endo” or labor contractualization, the SIM Card Registration Act, Amendments to the Bank Secrecy Law, and the bill on adjusting the indexation of income tax rates, among others.
The upper chamber earlier approved on final reading Senate Bill No. 1112 which seeks to move the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from October 2016 to October 2017.
Meanwhile, the Senate on Monday formally kicked-off its celebration of the Senate Centennial Anniversary which is part of a series of activities to commemorate its establishment on October 16, 1916 during the American period.