New Securities Law OKd; Senate Adjourns
Maglalang, Ferdie J., Manila Bulletin
The Senate adjourned yesterday its supposed three-day special session with the ratification of only two of the seven measures identified as among the administration's priority bills.
President Estrada is scheduled to sign into law today these two measures - the Securities Regulation and Enforcement Act and the Safeguard Measures Against Import Surge.
The Securities Regulation and Enforcement Act imposes stiffer penalties against insider trading, stock price manipulation and strengthens the stock market against irregularities similar to the Best World Resources scam.
The General and Specific Safeguard Measure is designed to protect global industries from the upsurge of import products arising from our commitment to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff-World Trade Organization (GATT-WTO).
Senate President Franklin Drilon decided to cut short the special session due to the absence of a bicameral conference committee report on a proposal postponing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections.
"We may have to adjourn early. The report (on ARMM election) is not available," he told Senate reporters, adding that the House contingent has begged off due to lack of quorum to deliberate on the ARMM election bill.
The Senate chief earlier expressed high confidence that only three of the seven measures certified by President Estrada as urgent have the most and better chances of being adopted by the Upper Chamber.
But due to the lack of quorum on the part of the House contingent, no bicameral conference committee report on the ARMM election's second postponement has ever been produced and disposed of.
Under the Senate version of the ARMM election measure, President Estrada shall be given the prerogative to appoint in an interim capacity the new ARMM governor and his officials until the election of new officials in May 2001.
This provision does not, however, strictly prohibit incumbent ARMM Governor and Moro National Liberation Front Chairman Nur Misuari and his officials from being re-appointed in what may be an "extended hold-over capacity."
Other measures which were not acted upon during the abridged special session are the Power Sector Reform Bills, the amendments to the New Central Bank Act, the shift in the System of Valuation of Customs, and the modernization of the Professional Regulatory Commission.
Most of these measures are either pending in the Senate-House bicameral conference committee or are merely awaiting appropriate legislative action by the committees in the Senate or the House of Representatives.
Local Gov't Code
The Senate local government committee is eyeing at least 17 major amendments to the nine-year old Local Government Code that would strengthen, among others, the fiscal autonomy of local government units (LGUs) nationwide.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, the father of Local Government Code, made the announcement as his committee geared up for a series of out-of-town public consultations which kicks off in August and lasts until end of October.
"We are looking forward to a lively exchange of views among participants from a cross-section of society. …