The Daily Manila Shimbun


Senate to pass 3 landmark bills as session resumes on Tuesday 

April 28, 2017

The Senate will pass on third and final reading three bills on reforms to the country’s criminal justice system, mental health sector and local innovation and entrepreneurship - as it resumes its sessions on May 2. But with nearly five weeks before Congress goes on sine die adjournment on June, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the proposed shift to federalism remains the “highest priority” for the Senate. “We will continue to push for the legislative mechanism which will start the process of shifting to a federal government, in order to bring solutions to some of the country’s long-standing ills and problems,” he said. Pimentel earlier said the Senate is “very eager” to resume its work following the Lenten recess, starting with the approval of the amendments to the Revised Penal Code, Mental Health Act of 2017 and the Philippine Innovation Act . Amendments to the Revised Penal Code, authored and sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, would “adjust the amounts stipulated in various provisions of the 80-year old Revised Penal Code           to their present values, in order to ensure the proportionality of punishment.” The Mental Health Act of 2017, primarily authored and sponsored by Senator Risa Hontiveros, aimed to “promote mental health, promulgate a national mental health policy towards the enhancement of integrated mental health services, and the promotion and protection of persons utilizing mental health services,” among others. The Philippine Innovation Act, authored and sponsored by Senator Win Gatchalian, would “promote innovation and internationalization activities of micro, small and medium enterprises,” through the creation of the interagency National Innovation Council and other programs. Pimentel said other bills considered as common priority measures by both houses of Congress include the Philippine Passport Act, Estate Tax Reform Act, Enhanced Universal Healthcare Act, Free Irrigation Services Act, Agrarian and Agricultural Credit Condonation Act, Extension of Driver's License Validity Act, One Town: One Doctor Act, Income Tax Reform Act, Wage Rationalization Act; Occupational Safety and Health Standards Acts, Community Service in Lieu of Imprisonment for the Penalty of Arresto Menor Act, Family Code of the Philippines Amendments; Public Service Act Amendments, Department of Housing and Urban Development Act; Allowable/Recoverable System Loss Act, Expand Coverage of Local Absentee Voting Act; Salary Standardization Law IV; Government Procurement Reform Act Amendments, Revision of the Constitution, National ID System, Criminal Investigation Act, Fair Election Act Amendment, End of Endo/Contractualization Act, Anti-Hazing Law Amendments, and the Unified Uniformed Personnel Retirement benefits and Pension Reform Act. DMS