Senate OKs 16 bills as session resumes

AROUND 16 bills, including the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) IV and the proposed Customs and Tariff Modernization Act (CMTA), were approved on third and final reading when the Senate resumes plenary sessions on Monday.

Leading the package of Senate bills approved was the proposed SSL IV, which would introduce a higher compensation system for all government employees, including nurses, teachers and soldiers.

The SSL IV seeks to attract more professionals into the public workforce by making compensation for all civilian government personnel "competitive with those doing comparable work in the private sector."

Also approved by the Senate was the proposed CMTA, which would introduce full automation of customs procedures, and strengthen the Bureau of Customs' risk management, revenue collection and enforcement systems.

The Senate also passed other important bills like the proposed Foreign Ownership Restrictions Act lifting the ban on foreign ownership restrictions on financing and lending houses and investment houses; the proposed Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Plan Act ending the spread of tuberculosis in the country; and the bill extending maternity leave for female employees up to 100 days.

The bills amending the period of collection and utilization of the agricultural competitiveness enhancement fund, declaring the second week of November every year as Economic and Financial Literacy Week, and mandating the installation of speed limiters and setting speed limits for public utility buses were also approved.

Measures renewing the franchise granted to Contel Communications Incorporated, Radio Veritas-Global Broadcasting System, Far East Broadcasting Company, Progressive Broadcasting Corporations, and Mabuhay Broadcasting Incorporated, were passed.

Also approved were bill granting the Pipol Brand and Telecommunications a franchise to operate telecommunications system and bills extending for another 25 years the term of the franchise granted to Tarlac Electric Incorporated and Bell Telecommunications Philippines Incorporated.

Meanwhile, the Senate passed Senate resolutions extending its condolences to the death of long-time Philippine Daily Inquirer editor and renowned journalist Letty Jimenez- Magsanoc, and congratulating the new Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who won the title last December 20, 2015.

“Even with the elections drawing close, we have much work to do in the Senate. We intend to make good on our promise to the Filipino people on the start of the 16th Congress that we will help the poor, widen the delivery of education and other social services and improve the economy,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said.

With a tight schedule ahead, Drilon vowed that there would be no let up in the Senate's legislative efforts, and that they would waste no time in working on the passage of remaining priority bills like the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and the proposed Public-Private Partnership Act.

"The Senate will continue to be a working Senate. We will maximize our remaining time to continue our mandate and work on relevant, important and much-needed laws for our people," the Senate leader said. (Sunnex)

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