Congress Resumes Its Session Today

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Congress resumes its session today to tackle important legislations in the wake of the terrorists' attack in the United States after its two-week break which started last Sept. 7.

On the eve of its session, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo underscored the urgency to enact into law some 16 bills identified under the administration's priority legislative agenda which she claimed are needed to comply with the country's global commitments.

Some of the measures having global commitments include a bill making farm lands acceptable as loan collateral, additional capital market reforms such as the Personal Equity Retirement Act, the Investment Company Act and Amendments of the Securities and Regulation Code, the President said.

President Arroyo also has urged Congress to take appropriate action on the long-hoped for Absentee Voting Bill which would empower Filipino overseas workers to vote, bills on the Internet Privacy and Security, and the creation of the Department of Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate would give special focus on economic planning and deliberations of bills intended to mollify the impact of the international economic downturn on the local economy owing to the terrorist attack in the United States, and its retaliatory action against those responsible for it.

Drilon expressed willingness to lead his chamber into closely coordinating with their counterparts in the House of Representatives headed by Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., and government executives, just so they could draw up as early, measures that cushion whatever problems might arise from the international conflict on terrorism.

Among the measures being considered by both the Senate and House leadership were the proposals to make the budget responsive to the looming economic problem, and have an emergency employment program that would address the need of the country amid the escalating global war against terrorism.

The Senate chief said while the attack on the US portends a dwindling economy for the Philippines, the Senate leadership has decided to take a good look at the proposed budget for 2002, and find ways to use it as a means to cushion the adverse impact on the country's economy.

"We would look at the budget as a possible instrument through which we can perk up the domestic economy, and the Cabinet can suggest some emergency measures such as the emergency employment measures during the time of the late former President Diosdado Macapagal, which can perk up employment, especially in the countryside," he said. …