Senate passes 11 billsBy Kate Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday made up for lost time and passed 11 bills.
The Senate bills passed on third and final reading were:
*Senate Bill No. 3164 amending the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act;
*Senate Bill No. 3206, or the act recognizing the early years from zero to age eight as the first crucial stage of educational development, strengthening the Early Childhood Care and Development Council and renaming the day care center as Child Development Center;
*Senate Joint Resolution No. 14 which seeks to extend the life of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Dangerous Drugs (COCDD) to 10 more years;
*Senate Bill No. 3209, otherwise known as the “Red Cross and other Emblems Act of 2012” which penalizes misuse of the Red Cross logo;
*House Bill No. 5608, also known as the “Reapportioning of the Province of Palawan into Three Legislative Districts” and six franchise bills for the construction, operation and maintenance of radio and television broadcasting stations in the country.
The AFP modernization Act amendment bill, which aims to rectify flaws of its predecessor and introduce a more efficient and cost-effective implementation of the program, was approved with 21 affirmative votes, zero negative votes and zero abstention.
Included in the amendments is the cutting down of the procurement process from 29 stages to two assessment levels in addition to the actual procurement and contracting stages.
Meanwhile, the six House bills on the radio and television stations in the country – House Bill Nos. 4379, 4668, 5574, 5613, 5492 and 5491- were collectively sponsored by Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, chair of the Committee on Public Services.
HBN 4379 granted a radio and television broadcasting franchise to the Reliance Broadcasting Unlimited Inc., while HBN 557 approved the operation of telecommunication systems to Telecommunications Technology Solutions Inc. and the TV Maria Foundation Philippines, a Catholic organization, to operate several television stations.
Meanwhile, HBN 5491 and HBN 4668 allowed the Nueva Vizcaya State University and the Cultural Foundation of Davao to operate broadcasting stations in their respective regions, and HBN 5613 emended the Franchise of Wi-Tribe Telecoms Inc., which allows them to continue operations for the next 25 years.
The Senate approved the bills just days before the sine die adjournment.
The Senate had a long list of bills pending for approval due to time constraints brought about by the 44-day impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.