Only 4 of 2,175 bills passed by Senate in 2013

By Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 15 2014 01:51 AM | Updated as of Apr 15 2014 09:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Since July last year, only four of the 2,175 bills filed in the Senate have been approved.

Data culled from the Legislative and Bills Index Service of the Senate as of March 12 this year showed that a total of 53 bills were actually taken up during committee hearings and in plenary or were withdrawn by their respective authors.

Of the 53 bills, 29 were consolidated or substituted in committee reports prepared by the various Senate committees. A total of 12 bills were withdrawn.

Four bills were eventually approved by the Senate, namely the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan election, the MARINA bill, the proposed Go Negosyo Act of 2013 and the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.

This does not include the 2014 General Appropriations Act and the P14.6-billion supplemental budget, both of which originated from the House of Representatives and are not considered as ordinary pieces of legislation.

Of the four bills approved by the Senate, only two – the SK election postponement and the MARINA bill – have been enacted into law.

The Go Negosyo and FOI bills are pending in the House of Representatives.

A total of 21 committee reports have been prepared, including one on the pork barrel scam investigation conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, which has not yet been released due to lack of signatures from the committee members.

Eight bills are set for approval on second reading, namely the picture-based health warning bill; increase in quarter allowance for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the regulation and modernization of the practice of chemistry in the country, chemical weapons prohibition act, forestry profession act, metallurgical engineering act, amendment of the Sandiganbayan law and the Cooperative Development Authority charter act.

As far as resolutions are concerned, a total of 564 were filed, out of which only 39 were adopted, including three treaties.

The Senate gave its concurrence to the ratification of three extradition treaties with the United Kingdom, India and Spain.

The House has also sent a total of 78 bills for the concurrence of the Senate, including the 2014 GAA, the postponement of the SK election, the supplemental budget and the MARINA bill.

Two of these bills are set for third reading in the Senate, namely the free mobile disaster alerts and the grant of a franchise to the Cotabato Light and Power Co.

While the primary job of the Senate is to work on legislation, much of its time has been spent on the conduct of inquiries.

Among the inquiries conducted by the Senate were the pork barrel scam involving businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the smuggling of rice in the country and the bidding for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport project.

A total of nine hearings were conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on the pork barrel scam issue.