As 17th Congress ends, Drilon touts accomplishments of Senate minority
MANILA, Philippines—Despite the administration’s criticisms and attacks, the six-member Senate minority bloc accomplished a lot in the Senate and steered the passage of a number of landmark measures.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said this Wednesday as he lauded the accomplishments of opposition members with the end of the 17th Congress.
Congress adjourned sine die on Tuesday. The 18th Congress will open on July 22, with the new set of senators who won in the 2019 midterm polls.
“The 17th Congress has not been easy for the opposition. It is hard to be in the opposing side these days,” Drilon admitted.
“We saw our colleague Sen. De Lima detained. All of us in the minority were subjected to criticisms and attacks. Despite all these, we soldiered on and remained focused on one goal: to get things done for the people,” he added.
Drilon, who authored the Revised Corporation Code, cited Senator Bam Aquino’s Free Tuition Act, Senator Risa Hontiveros’ Mental Health Act, Senator Francis Pangilinan’s Sagip Saka Act, Senator Sonny Trillanes’ Magna Carta of the Poor, and Senator Leila De Lima’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Institutionalization as among the landmark measures the minority bloc had ensured passage.
The veteran lawmaker noted that Aquino, one of the two outgoing opposition Senators, put premium on the welfare of the children and the youth with the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act and Balik Scientist Act, which seek to nurture children and support aspiring scientists, respectively.
On the economic front, Aquino wrote and sponsored measures such as the Personal Property Security Act that allows personal properties, and not just land titles, as collateral for bank loans, Drilon said.
Hontiveros, despite being a neophyte senator, shepherded the passage of the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act which seeks to protect everyone, especially women and members of the LGBT community, from sexual harassment in the streets, schools, and workplaces; as well as the landmark Anti-Hospital Deposit Law and the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act.
Drilon also credited Hontiveros’ work in the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan is the principal author and sponsor of recently enacted RA 11321 or the Sagip Saka Act which would increase farmers’ income by empowering them and connecting them to the market.
He is also the principal author of the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act and also filed other bills like the anti-political dynasty measure as well as the coco levy fund measure, among others, Drilon said.
As for De Lima, who has been detained on drug charges for two years now, Drilon credited her for the Institutionalization of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act and the Magna Carta of the Poor.
He also praised De Lima’s resolve to investigate alleged corrupt practices and irregularities, particularly in the government’s war against illegal drugs.
Lastly, Drilon stressed that there would be no Magna Carta of the Poor that protects and upholds the rights of the poor to adequate food, decent work, education housing, and health if it was not for Trillanes, who sponsored the measure on behalf of De Lima, chairperson of the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.
Trillanes, the other outgoing minority Senator, also co-authored the amendments to the Ombudsman Act and the amendments to the police recruitment and training system law.
Drilon also gave tribute to Trillanes and Aquino, whose terms of office end this June.
Aquino failed in his reelection bid after settling for the 14th spot of the recently concluded midterm elections. Meanwhile, Trillanes is already on his second term as senator.
“We thank them for their immense contribution to lawmaking and, as part of the minority bloc, for being true fiscalizers and vanguards of democracy,” Drilon said. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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