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Closing Remarks of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. Before the Adjournment of Session 15th Congress, 3rd Regular Session February 6, 2013

Closing Remarks of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. Before the Adjournment of Session 15th Congress, 3rd Regular Session February 6, 2013

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Closing Remarks of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Before the Adjournment of Session
15th Congress, 3rd Regular Session
February 6, 2013
Closing Remarks of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Before the Adjournment of Session
15th Congress, 3rd Regular Session
February 6, 2013

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Closing Remarks of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.Before the Adjournment of Session15
th
Congress, 3
rd
Regular SessionFebruary 6, 2013
My Dear Colleagues, this is a moment where I invite all of you to reflect, as we put a close to thistriumphant session. Allow me yet again the honor to commend you all for your sterling efforts,your untiring dedication, and your determined commitment to reform.The start of the 15
th
Congress was marked by a great clamour for change by our people. We allyearned for our nation to be reborn and given a new direction: a new way—the right way—of doing things.We rose to the call, and put ourselves to task. We focused on the work that we needed to do. Weworked together to pass the measures that were necessary to uplift the lives of the ordinaryFilipino. We held on to our legislative priorities, and helped to enact a total of 219 laws, to date. Now the Philippines
is
back on the map. It cannot be said enough: the sick man of Asia is now arising economic tiger.Amidst a weak global economy in 2012, the Philippines registered a rapid economic growth of 6.6 percent, breaching the economic growth target of 5 to 6 percent set by our economicmanagers.The Philippines is showing a steady improvement on various governance and competitivenessindicators: we moved up by 24 places in the Transparency International – Corruption Index;climbed 10 notches in the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Rankings; and advanced by 4notches in the World Bank Government Effectiveness Indicator.With the strong macroeconomic fundamentals and upbeat economic prospects, there are hugeexpectations that the Philippines could be upgraded to investment grade this year.Here I must tell you that I believe the 15
th
Congress is very much a part of these positivedevelopments happening in our country today.The 15
th
Congress holds the singular distinction of enacting the General Appropriations in atimely fashion. Before the start of fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013, government agencies werealready assured of fresh appropriations – without resorting to a temporary budget re-enactment.By putting the fiscal house in order, we were able to provide funds for social protection programssuch as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, supplemental feeding for daycarechildren, the self-employment assistance-kaunlaran program or SEA-K, and social pensions for indigent senior citizens, to name a few.After lengthy deliberations on the health and moral issues of cigarette and alcohol consumption,
NR # 3007CFEB. 3, 2013
 
as well as the implication of tax increase to tobacco farmers, the House of Representativesinitiated the filing and subsequent approval by both Houses of sin tax reforms, under R.A. No.10351. Annually, we expect incremental revenues of more than P30 billion which will go toUniversal Health Care, medical assistance and health enhancement facilities program, andfinancial support for displaced workers in the alcohol and tobacco industries.Believing that good governance is the cornerstone of sustainable economic growth, we enactedthe GOCC Governance Act of 2011, the Act Further Strengthening the Anti-Money LaunderingLaw, and the Data Privacy Act. We await the President’s signature on the Act Rationalizing theTaxes on International Air Carriers which will further boost our tourism efforts.To enable the marginalized and vulnerable sectors of our society to share and participate in the benefits of economic growth, we enacted the law Rationalizing the Nightwork Prohibition onWomen Workers, the Act Decriminalizing Vagrancy, the Foster Care Act for Abandoned and Neglected Children And Children With Special Needs, the Act Establishing the People’s SurvivalFund, and the Kasambahay Law or the Domestic Workers Act. And after years of waiting,victims of human rights violations will soon find vindication for their struggles under the HumanRights Victims Compensation Act. Notably, to promote improved maternal health and reduce maternal mortality rates, we enactedthe Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act. Toenhance our country’s basic education system, we enacted the law Institutionalizing KindergartenEducation into the Basic Education System, and have ratified the Bicameral ConferenceCommittee Report on the Early Years Act and the Basic Education Act or the K+12 Law.To promote wider peace and order, we enacted the law Defining the Crime of Financing of Terrorism and the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act.Did our people appreciate our efforts?I am confident that they did. We have consistently garnered positive approval ratings in opinion polls. We encouraged people’s participation in the deliberation of the most contentious issues.We made sure that the opinions and sentiments of the people were heard and seriouslyconsidered.We will be remembered as the House that passed the most number of historic and game-changinglaws with less histrionics.We substituted discipline for drama and the result is a rich harvest of laws that will improve thelot of our people and our country.From reproductive health to sin taxes to human rights compensation, long given up for dead for fear that they will disturb the status quo, these bills now end up as banner legislation for change.In these laws, we prove that no one can stop a House bent on making the most of its time andmandate from passing laws whose time have come.And, as in the case of the national budget, we also approved them on time because we believethat budget delayed is development denied. The prose of the laws that we passed are now being

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