Anti-trafficking, money laundering bills top Senate agenda-A A +A
Saturday, October 6, 2012
MANILA -- Senators have roughly two weeks to tackle several priority measures, among them the remaining amendment to the anti-money laundering law and the anti-trafficking in persons act before they go on a Halloween break.
Up for third and final reading is the Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act of 2012, which aims to strengthen and amend certain provisions of Republic Act 9208, while the Anti-Money Laundering Act will be debated on the Senate floor.
"We will do our best to ensure the passage of the last remaining amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering Act before we adjourn again in two week's time, but we must also be careful not to rush into approving this measure just to meet a deadline," Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said.
The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to review before its annual meeting on October 15, anti-money laundering laws being implemented by non-compliant countries.
FATF is an inter-agency governmental policy-making body tasked to combat money-laundering and anti-terrorist financing.
The Philippines was earlier upgraded from the group's dark grey list after both houses of Congress passed in June two AMLA measures, listing terrorist financing as a predicate crime and allowing authorities to freeze suspected bank accounts without a court order.
Set to be taken up in the next few days as well are Senate Bill 1198 (media absentee voting), Senate Bill 1030 (biometrics registration of voters), Senate Bill 3002 (Special Education Act), Senate Bill 2918 (strengthening conciliation-mediation as a voluntary mode of dispute settlement for all labor cases), Senate Bill 2921 (strengthening tripartism in the Labor Code) and Senate Bill 2838 (strengthening workers' right to self-organization).
Moreover, the Senate will continue to discuss the controversial House Bill 4820, which seeks to carve a new province out of Camarines Sur, naming it Nueva Camarines.
The bill has been strongly opposed by reelectionist Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who accused Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile of conniving with local politicians to have the measure approved as soon as possible.
Enrile, in turn, slammed Trillanes for his role as backdoor negotiator for the Philippines in its conflict with China in the West Philippine Sea.
Meanwhile, the period of interpellations and introduction of individual amendments on the Reproductive Health Bill is expected to continue. Plenary deliberations on Senate Bill No. 3208, otherwise known as the People's Ownership of Government Information Act of 2012, will also start soon.
The Senate is set to adjourn its session on October 20 and resume on November 5 before it adjourns for a one-month Christmas break.
Previously, Senate sessions were put on hold for two weeks to give way to the filing of candidacies for the May 2013 national and local elections. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)