Senate to pass budget, BBL by December — Drilon

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Oct. 7 (PNA) — The Senate on Wednesday adjourned without passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is still being discussed at the plenary of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

However, Senate President Franklin Drilon said they will work hard to finish deliberation when they resume in November for the timely passage of the budget and BBL hopefully by December.

“We will resume debates on the Bangsamoro Basic Law when we come back in November and we will continue to work hard on it. So, hopefully, it will be passed in the Senate by December,” Drilon said.

Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile has been scheduled to interpellate in the last three days but Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., sponsor of the substitute bill of the BBL, was a no show.

Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Aquilino Pimentel III, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano and Vicente Sotto III have so far participated in the plenary debates.

Drilon said the continuing deliberations on the proposed Php3.002-trillion national budget for 2016 would also be on top of their agenda when the regular session resumes on November 3.

“By November, we expect that the discussions of the House of Representatives on the budget have wrapped up, and that it has been transmitted to the Senate for debates,” Drilon said.

“As we have consistently done so for the last five years, the Senate will pass the 2016 budget on schedule, for the timely delivery of government services next year,” he emphasized.

Before ending the session, the Senate ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA), which seeks to promote greater transparency and accountability in the grant and administration of tax incentives to business entities, individuals and corporations.

Under the bill, data and information related to the tax incentives claims of registered business entities, along with the actual amount of tax and duty incentives granted that are submitted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to the Department of Finance (DOF), shall be maintained by the DOF under a single database for monitoring and analysis.

The Senate also passed on third and final House Bill No. 1841 creating three schools in Zamboanga del Sur, Southern Leyte and Navotas in Metro Manila; the separation of 18 school annexes all over the country into independent schools; the renaming of a school; and the conversion of two integrated schools.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and sponsor of the bills, the three new national high schools are in Dumalinao, Zamboanga Del Sur; Libagon, Southern Leyte and Navotas, Metro Manila.Cayetano said 18 high school annexes would be separated into independent schools “to enable these institutions to better serve their constituents and provide quality education.”

The high school annexes are Kabugao Agro-Industrial High School – Lenneng Annex in Apayao; Limbaan National High School – Sta. Fe extension in Davao Del Norte; Tukuran Technical-Vocational High School – Tabuan Annex in Zamboanga del Sur; Compostela National High School – Corazon C. Aquino High School Annex in Compostela Valley; Luna National High School – Tumog Annex in Apayao; General Emilio Aguinaldo National High School Annex in Cavite; San Jose National High School – Daniel C. Mantos Annex in Zamboanga del Sur; Kalinga National High School – Salegseg Annex in Kalinga; Bacungan National High School – Palandok Annex in Zamboanga del Norte; Alfonso Castañeda National High School – Abuyo Annex in Nueva Vizcaya ; Sta. Marcela National High School – Consuelo Annex in Apayao; Bacungan National High School – Talinga Annex in Zamboanga del Norte; Halapitan National High School – Little Baguio Annex in Bukidnon; Libertad National High School – Colongulo Annex in South Cotabato; Midsalip National High School – Buloron Annex in Zamboanga del Sur; Silae National High School – St. Peter Annex in Bukidnon; Pio Dalim Memorial School of Arts and Trades – Sta. Filomena Annex in Apayao and Bacungan National High School – Tinuyop Annex in Zamboanga del Norte.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, co-sponsor of the bill, said the Batasan Hills National High School in Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City shall be renamed Corazon C. Aquino National High School in honor of the late President Corazon C. Aquino.

Drilon said the Senate would continue to push the passage of priority measures when session resume such as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, and the Filipino Identification System Act. (PNA)