MANILA, Philippines – The halls of the Philippine Senate have been filled with action for the first seven months of the 17th Congress, mainly because of the series of high-profile hearings on the drug war and extrajudicial killings.
And while the Senate seemed to deserve a gold star for the amount of media coverage they got from these hearings, a quick peek on their legislative performance might give a different impression.
The Philippine Senate, through its website, released a report called “Statistical Data on Bills/Resolutions” showing their performance for the 17th Congress so far. The latest version of the report covered a bit more than seven months, spanning from July 25, 2016 up to Feb. 1, 2017.
Members of the Senate filed 1,310 bills in the first seven months of their term for the 17th Congress. Of these bills, only one has been enacted into law: the one that enforced the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections which was originally scheduled on Oct. 31, 2016.
In the latter part of the report, the 2017 General Appropriations Act was also mentioned, classified as enacted into law from being a house bill sent to the Senate for concurrence.
Majority of these bills, or 1,186 of the total to be exact, were still pending in their respective committees awaiting public hearing as of Feb. 1. This number constitutes 90.53 percent of the total bills filed.
Also, of the 123 remaining bills that were classified as “acted upon by the Senate”, two were just pending on the side of the House of Representatives: the Philippine Food Technology Act of 2016 and the PNP Reorganization Act.
Twenty-four of these bills, meanwhile, were “pending on second hearing” and all of which were classified under “special business”. The remaining 97 were “consolidated or substituted in the committee reports”.
Senators also filed 281 senate resolutions in the past seven months, and only 37 or 13.17 percent of which were adopted – 35 were “simple resolutions”, one was classified under “treaties” (Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment) and the remaining one was labeled as an “unnumbered resolution”.
The said unnumbered resolution, curiously, is about the Social Security System Pension Increase.
Forty-two senate resolutions were classified as already “acted upon”, with varying statuses. Two resolutions, both about extra-judicial killings, were pending on second reading, 32 were considered or consolidated in adopted resolutions, seven were consolidated or constituted in the committee reports, and one was “withdrawn”.
The remaining 202, or 71.89 percent of the total, were still pending in their respective committees as of Feb. 1, the report showed.
The report also showed four “senate concurrent resolutions” filed, three of which were already adopted; six filed senate joint resolutions; 30 “house bills sent to the senate for concurrence”, 28 of which were still pending in the committee.
Finally, the report also included three “house concurrent resolutions” (one adopted, one acted upon by sending to archives, and one pending in the committee), and one house joint resolution and two resolutions of both houses filed – all of which still pending in their committees. –RealTalk, February 17, 2017