Drilon asks colleagues to put nation before self
Racing against time to continue the reform agenda of the Aquino administration, Senate President Franklin Drilon urged his colleagues in the Senate on Monday to set aside “political interests and think of solutions to the nation’s pressing problems.”
“Since the beginning of the Aquino administration, we have worked hard to institute reforms needed to improve the economy, create a stable political environment and improve our social infrastructure,” Drilon said in a speech during the opening of the 3rd regular session of the 16th Congress.
“We achieved our legislative agenda because we worked closely with our partners in the House of Representatives, meeting the House leadership on a regular monthly basis. But, let us walk a mile more.”
“We are racing against time. We must set aside political interests and think of solutions to the nation’s pressing problems. Let us remind ourselves that we are here to serve the people, and not special interest groups,” Drilon said.
He said Congress should continue—not only in this last session but even beyond—“the pursuit of good governance and the audacity to implement meaningful reforms, no matter how unpopular they may be.”
The Senate leader also vowed to scrutinize the 2016 national budget and to pass it on time as in the past five years so that the government would not operate on a reenacted budget.
“If you recall, because of the reenacted budget, the previous administration converted the entire GAA (General Appropriation Act) into a single lump sum appropriation,” he said.
“We assure our people that the pork barrel system is a thing of the past,” he further said.
Drilon also promised to continue to promote lasting peace and sustainable development in Mindanao through a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that is consistent with our Constitution.
Until now, the proposed BBL remains pending in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Nineteen out 24 senators attended the opening of the session.
Absent were Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has been on sick leave due to lung cancer; Senator Serge Osmena III, and the three jailed senators: Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.