Congress will open its second regular session on July 24, with Sen. Grace Poe reiterating her commitment to prioritize key measures handled by two Senate committees which she chairs.
"Karapatang malaman ng ating mga kababayan kung paano natin gugugulin ang ating oras para pagsilbihan sila; kung ano ang mga prayoridad natin sa Senado at paano ito lilikha ng makabuluhang pagbabago sa kanilang buhay," Poe said.
Poe, chairperson of the committee on public services, will once again defend the bill granting emergency powers to the President in plenary and pursue its approval, as the debilitating traffic crisis puts a toll on the country's economic growth. Poe had already endorsed the bill last December.
Poe, principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1284 or the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, said legislators have yet to approve the measure a year after President Rodrigo Duterte declared that he wants Congress to do its part in addressing the traffic congestion.
"We hope to resume deliberations when session reopens, and as sponsor, we want this bill passed before the year ends," said Poe.
Poe said that the emergency powers bill, if passed, will allow the use of alternative methods of procurement for faster implementation of transportation projects. She is hopeful that it remains a priority of the Senate in addressing the traffic mess that hounds commuters and motorists everyday.
"There are still a few more senators who have questions about the bill," Poe said.
On the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, Poe expressed optimism that the anti-corruption measure will be approved by the Senate. She said her committee on public information and mass media will schedule the FOI for plenary debates in order that the bill will advance. This measure will breathe life to the people's right to information on matters of public concern as enshrined in the Constitution.
The Philippine Business Groups-Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines has included the emergency powers bill and FOI bill in their 12 priority wishlist they want Congress to pass to improve the business and economic climate in the country.
Meanwhile, Poe is ready to endorse the creation of a National Transportation Safety Board that will conduct independent investigations on transport-related accidents on land, air, maritime and rail in order to solve the current incoherent setup of several agencies investigating different transport incidents.
"Sa dami ng nadidisgrasya sa transportasyon, kailangan na natin ng isang ahensya na tututok rito," Poe said.
The senator is also set to hear resolutions filed by senators on fake news which were referred to the committee on public information and mass media.
At the same time, Poe is urging the Senate to frontload the approval of her pet anti-hunger measures: one that seeks to establish a schools-based feeding program for public school students enrolled in K-12, and the First 1,000 Days Act that provides children full support beginning conception up to two years of age.
Source: Senate of the Philippines