House adjourns; Belmonte cites passing of ‘game-changing laws’
MANILA, Philippines— Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that the 15th Congress has approved the most “game-changing laws” as it adjourned Wednesday night, to make way for the campaign period for the May elections.
In his speech marking the adjournment in the House of Representatives, Belmonte said that it was the 15th Congress that “passed the most game-changing laws… without much histrionics.”
As of Wednesday, he said they have seen to the enactment of 219 laws, including the controversial laws on sin tax reforms and reproductive health, as well as the approval of many other measures.
Although tensions flared during the heated deliberations on these two bills alone, lawmakers were able to reach compromises and reconciled disagreeing provisions before the end of 2012.
President Benigno Aquino III has signed both bills into laws.
Before going on recess, House members passed pending measures and ratified several bicameral conference committee reports, including one on strengthening the anti-money laundering act (AMLA). They resume session on June 3.
Belmonte said they were able to maintain focus on deliberating on and approving necessary legislation as an answer to clamors for reforms in the government.
“Now the Philippines is back on the map… and the World Bank says that the sick man of Asia is now a rising economic tiger,” he said.
There was however no mention of the Freedom of Information Bill at plenary during the last session day and Belmonte himself has earlier said that the measure was dead in the 15th Congress.
FOI advocates have earlier criticized the Aquino administration for failing to certify the bill which sought to institutionalize transparency in the government.
Its authors said that the House members have once again killed the FOI Bill.