Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Thursday that the Freedom of Information bill and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law will top Congress’ legislative agenda in the final months of the Aquino administration.
Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado, Drilon said he and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. agreed at a meeting early Thursday morning that Congress would tackle six priority measures, including the FOI bill and BBL, in the six months remaining for the third regular session of the 16th Congress.
The other priority measures are the 2016 national budget, the creation of the Department of Communications and Information Technology, the strengthening of the Build-Operate-Transfer law and the modernization of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
“There is a lot on our plate but we intend to achieve as much as we can. We have six months up to December 18, kaya puspusan ang trabaho (so we will be working very hard),” he said.
Aside from Drilon and Belmonte, the others who attended the meeting held at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas Center were House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, San Juan Representative Ronaldo Zamora, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Gregorio Honasan representing the minority.
“Apart from six priority measures, there are other 15 bills which will be closely monitored and pushed. But we will not raise our expectations since we have only six months left. We will meet every two week to monitor the progress of these priority measures and other bills,” Drilon said.
Among the other measures are the Tariff and Customs Reform Act, the National Identification System, and Prepaid SIM Card Registration.
Drilon also promised that the 2016 General Appropriations Act would be enacted on or before December 31 to avoid a reenacted budget next year.
Marcos to report BBL in August
Meanwhile, Drilon said Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has assured he will file the committee report on the BBL on August 3 and immediately begin deliberations in plenary.
“On the part of the Senate for the BBL, I had a meeting with Senators Recto and Marcos, that he will be ready to file the report on August 3, one week after the SONA,” Drilon said.
After the report is filed, Drilon said he will call for an all senators caucus to discuss the timeline for the passage of the priority measures.