Drilon urges colleagues: Set aside politics, resolve pressing problems

-- Senate President Franklin Drilon opens the 3rd and last Regular Session of the 16th Congress on Monday (July 27, 2015) at the Senate Building in Pasay City. The Senate will hold a joint session with the House of Representatives Monday afternoon to hear the last and 6th State-of-the- Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III. (MNS photo)

— Senate President Franklin Drilon opens the 3rd and last Regular Session of the 16th Congress on Monday (July 27, 2015) at the Senate Building in Pasay City. The Senate will hold a joint session with the House of Representatives Monday afternoon to hear the last and 6th State-of-the- Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III. (MNS photo)

MANILA, July 27 (Mabuhay) – Noting that they are racing against time, Senate President Franklin Drilon on Monday rallied his colleagues to set aside political interests “and think of solutions to the nation’s pressing problems.”

In his speech during the opening of the third regular session of the 16th Congress, Drilon said lawmakers should remind themselves that they are in their positions to serve the people, and not special interest groups.

“We should continue in the last regular session of this Congress, and even beyond, the pursuit of good governance and the audacity to implement meaningful reforms, no matter how unpopular they may be,” he said.

He then stressed the importance of passing the proposed 2016 national budget on time as they have done so in the past five years.

“So that the government would not operate on a reenacted budget. If you recall, because of the reenacted budget, the previous administration converted the entire General Appropriations Act into a single lump sum appropriation,” he said.

“We assure our people that the pork barrel system is a thing of the past,” he added.

He further said that they will continue to promote lasting peace and sustainable development in Mindanao through a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is consistent with the 1987 Constitution.

The other proposals he said they should focus on are the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act (CTMA), Tax Incentives Monitoring and Transparency Act (TIMTA), creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and modernization of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration.

He also said that they aim to address the gaps in the Build-Operate-Transfer Law and the Law on Acquisition of Right-of-Way.

The Senate chief also enumerated the laws passed by the chamber since 2010 such as the GOCC Governance Act, Sandiganbayan Law, amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act and Cabotage Law, Philippine Competition Act, Full Entry of Foreign Banks, Revised Insurance Code, Sin Tax Reform Law, Amendments to the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, National Health Insurance Act, Graphic Health Warning Act, Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.

Underscoring the importance of education as a weapon to fight povery, Drilon said they passed the following: Ladderized Education Act, the Open Learning and Distance Education Act, the Open High School System Act, Iskolar ng Bayan Act, Fast-Tracked Science & Technology Scholarship Act, Enhanced Basic Education Act.

He also noted the passage of MARINA Law, amendments to the Fisheries Code, and raising of rate for the 13th Month Pay and Other Benefits.

Drilon said their hard work will rake in huge dividends in improving the life of ordinary people, strengthening the economy, creating a stable political system, and providing social protection to our citizens.

“I am confident that they appreciate our collective efforts to institutionalize these reforms. I note with pride that our people have become more zealous and vigilant to protect our gains,” he said.

He added the challenge that is thrown to them and to the people who will be elected in 2016, is to ensure the continuity of these reforms.

“We must ensure a bright and promising future for the younger generation and the generations yet unborn,” he said. (MNS)

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