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AS OF 11 June 2014 530PM

REMARKS DELIVERED BY
SPEAKER FELICIANO BELMONTE, JR

Adjournment Sine Die
First Regular Session, 16
th
Congress
June 11, 2014


MY S!MD C"##A$%S&
WHEN THE SIXTEENTH CONGRESS OPENED A YEAR AGO, WE
WERE RIDING HIGH ON THE MOMENTUM OF THE
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE 15
TH
CONGRESS.
PUBLIC GRATITUDE FOR OUR EFFORTS TOWARDS ACHIEVING
PRESIDENT PNOYS VISION OF DAANG MATUWID WAS EVIDENT
IN OUR RECORD-HIGH APPROVAL AND TRUST RATINGS. THE
ECONOMY WAS GROWING AT AN UNPRECEDENTED PACE, AND
INVESTOR CONFIDENCE HAD NEVER BEEN BETTER.
OUR ECONOMYS REMARKABLE TRANSFORMATION TO A HIGH-
LEAPING TIGER, UNDAUNTED BY EXTERNAL PRESSURES, HAD
LED US TO ACHIEVE HISTORIC HIGHS IN INTERNATIONAL
CREDIT AND COMPETITIVENESS RANKINGS, RECEIVING CREDIT
RATING UPGRADES FROM BOTH MOODYS AND STANDARD AND
POORS.

AND THIS EVENING, WE END THE FIRST REGULAR SESSION OF
THE 1
TH
CONGRESS ON A HOPEFUL NOTE.


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OUR COMMITTTEES HIT THE GROUND RUNNING FROM THE
FIRST DAY OF THIS CONGRESS TO THIS HOUR TO PROCESS AND
CONSOLIDATE 1!"# MEASURES TO PRODUCE $%& COMMITTEE
REPORTS FOR PLENARY ACTION. IN #1 SESSION DAYS, WE
PASSED IN PLENARY 5 REPUBLIC ACTS, PUT ONSTREAM FOR
PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL 1! NATIONAL BILLS, APPROVED %1%
BILLS ON THIRD READING AND ADOPTED 1!# RESOLUTIONS. AT
THIS HOUR, %1% HOUSE INITIATED NATIONAL BILLS AWAIT
EXPEDITIOUS SENATE ACTION.

TRUE TO OUR COMMITMENT NEVER AGAIN TO ALLOW A RE-
ENACTED BUDGET, WE APPROVED THE %!1' NATIONAL BUDGET
WAY AHEAD OF TIME.

IN THE WAKE OF THE ONSLAUGHT OF NATURAL CALAMITIES
CAPPED BY THE DEVASTATING TYPHOON YOLANDA, WE
APPROVED WITH UTMOST DISPATCH A P1'. BILLION
SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET TO FUND CRITICAL RELIEF AND
REHABILITATION PROGRAMS. WE ALSO CHANNELED FUNDS
PREVIOUSLY EARMARKED IN THE NATIONAL BUDGET FOR THE
PDAF TO THE CALAMITY FUND BY EXTENDING THE VALIDITY OF
THE %!1$ CALAMITY AND (UICK RESPONSE FUNDS AS WELL AS
UNRELEASED APPROPRIATIONS FOR OPERATING AND
MAINTENANCE EXPENSES AND CAPITAL OUTLAYS.

AMONG THE LANDMARK LEGISLATION WE ENACTED TO
STRENGTHEN THE GROUNDWORK FOR INCLUSIVE GROWTH IS
THE MARINA REFORM AND RATIONALI)ATION LAW TO BETTER
ENFORCE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS ON STANDARDS OF
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TRAINING FOR SEAFARERS IN THE COUNTRY.
AWAITING TRANSMISSION AND PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL ARE
THE BILLS EXTENDING THE LIFE OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL
RAILWAYS TO PAVE THE WAY FOR ITS RETOOLING AND
DEVELOPMENT AS THE BACKBONE OF OUR PUBLIC
TRANSPORT SYSTEM, STRENGTHENING CONSUMER
PROTECTION IN THE PURCHASE OF BRAND NEW VEHICLES *+
,THE LEMON LAW-, LIBERALI)ING THE ENTRY AND SCOPE OF
OPERATIONS OF FOREIGN BANKS IN THE COUNTRY,
PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF MICRO, SMALL AND
MEDIUM ENTERPRISES OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE ,GO
NEGOSYO BILL-, AND THE GRAPHIC OR PICTURE-BASED
HEALTH WARNING LAW IN TOBACCO PRODUCTS.
WE MADE EDUCATION A HIGH PRIORITY OF THE CHAMBER.
AWARE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION AS A DRIVER OF
GROWTH, WE APPROVED ON THIRD READING $' EDUCATION
BILLS THE MOST NOTABLE OF WHICH ARE .
THE LADDERI)ED EDUCATION INTERFACE ACT,
THE OPEN DISTANCE LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
ACT,
THE UNIFIED STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SYSTEM
FOR HIGHER TECHNICAL EDUCATION ACT /UNIFAST0,
THE VOLUNTARY STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM OF PRIVATE
BANKS ACT,
THE OPEN HIGH SCHOOL SYSTEMS ACT, AND
THE FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION IN INFORMATION AND
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TECHNOLOGY ACT.
WE HAVE LIKEWISE APPROVED A BILL THAT SEEKS TO
ESTABLISH A SPECIAL EDUCATION CENTER IN ALL PUBLIC
SCHOOL DIVISIONS IN THE COUNTRY.

WE ALSO INCREASED THE PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD FROM 15 TO
$! YEARS FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE ANTI GRAFT AND CORRUPT
PRACTICES ACT TO MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR PUBLIC
OFFICIALS TO EVADE PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY.

TO STRENGTHEN OUR AGRARIAN, AGRICULTURE AND
FISHERIES SECTORS WE APPROVED THE BILLS THAT.
INSTITUTIONALI)E CREDIT SUPPORT OF THE LAND BANK
OF THE PHILIPPINES TO AGRARIAN REFORM
BENEFICIARIES, FARMERS AND FISHERFOLK,
PROMOTE SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT,
AND
STRENGTHEN THE REGULATORY FUNCTIONS OF THE
BUREAU OF FISHERIES.

THE LANDMARK INITIATIVE OF INSTITUTING A NATIONAL LAND
USE AND MANAGEMENT POLICY ACT WAS ALSO APPROVED ON
THIRD READING TO ENSURE JUDICIOUS HARNESSSING AND
DEVELOPMENT OF OUR LAND RESOURCES.

IN THE ARENA OF SAFEGUARDING OUR PEOPLES HEALTH AND
WELFARE, AMONG THE MOST NOTABLE BILLS WE APPROVED
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ON THIRD READING ARE THOSE WHICH SEEK TO.
PROVIDE MANDATORY PHILHEALTH COVERAGE FOR ALL
SENIOR CITI)ENS,
INSTITUTIONALI)E PRE-HOSPITAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL
CARE SYSTEM,
RE(UIRE HEALTHCARE FACILITIES TO PROVIDE A
PRICELIST OF THEIR HEALTHCARE SERVICES INCLUDING
INCIDENTAL EXPENSES TO BE CHARGED IN THE MEDICAL
BILLS OF PATIENTS.

IN THE SPHERE OF DISASTER RESPONSIVENESS, WE HAVE THE
FREE MOBILE DISASTER ALERTS ACT, AWAITING THE
SIGNATURE OF THE PRESIDENT, WHICH MANDATES
TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS TO SEND FREE
MOBILE ALERTS IN THE EVENT OF NATURAL AND MAN-MADE
DISASTERS AND CALAMITIES. I AM ALSO PLEASED TO REPORT
THAT THE BILL MODERNI)ING THE COUNTRYS WEATHER
BUREAU1THE PAG-ASA1HAS ALREADY BEEN PASSED ON
THIRD READING. AMONG ITS KEY PROVISIONS IS THE INCREASE
IN THE PAY SCALE AND BENEFITS OF PAG-ASA PERSONNEL
WHICH, HOPEFULLY, WOULD ALLOW US TO KEEP OUR VETERAN
WEATHER FORECASTERS WITHIN PHILIPPINE SHORES.
I CAN GO ON ENUMERATING WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED 2 BUT,
LET IT SUFFICE TO STATE THAT THE FIRST REGULAR SESSION
OF THE 1
TH
CONGRESS BORE WITNESS TO A HOUSE THAT IS AT
WORK DESPITE THE DIFFICULT CHALLENGES WE FACED.
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THE WORK ETHIC WE DISPLAYED GIVES US THE IMPETUS AND
CONFIDENCE TO LOOK AHEAD TO MORE FRUITFUL
DELIBERATIONS AND DECISIVE ACTION FOR THE PASSAGE OF
MORE STRATEGIC LEGISLATION IN THE SECOND REGULAR
SESSION, AND WHICH I HOPE WILL INCLUDE.
THE AMENDMENTS TO THE ECONOMIC PROVISIONS OF THE
CONSTITUTION,
THE BANGSAMORO LAW,
A COMPETITION LAW THAT WILL ENSURE THAT OUR
MARKET IS READY FOR THE ASEAN %!15 INTEGRATION
AN ANTI-DYNASTY LAW THAT DOES NOT DIMINISH THE
RIGHT TO SUFFRAGE WHILE EFFECTIVELY PROSCRIBING
THE STRANGLEHOLD ON POLITICAL POWER BY THE FEW,
AND
A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT -- SUBJECT TO SUCH
DECISION THAT IS DESIREABLE --THAT FACILITATES
JUDICIOUS EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED OF
THE ACTIVITIES OF GOVERNMENT AND ITS
FUNCTIONARIES.
ALL THESE TO ENSURE THAT THE INROADS AND GAINS
ATTAINED TOWARDS INSTITUTIONALI)ING GOOD GOVERNANCE
AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY WILL ENDURE EVEN BEYOND
THE TERM OF THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION.

WE CANNOT WISH AWAY NOR REMAIN SILENT ON THE
UNREMITTING ASSAULTS TO THE INTEGRITY OF THIS HOUSE
AND OF ITS MEMBERS, OFTEN WITHOUT BASIS, IN THE WAKE OF
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THE PDAF CONTROVERSY. BUT THIS, OUR WORK IN THIS FIRST
REGULAR SESSION, MUST AND SHOULD SPEAK ELO(UENTLY
FOR US AS PUBLIC SERVANTS, AND AS REPRESENTATIVES OF
OUR CONSTITUENCIES TO THE BEST THAT WE CAN DO.
OUR PERFORMANCE AS LEGISLATORS PROVES OUR FIDELITY
TO OUR PEOPLES TRUST. WE HAVE TWO YEARS REMAINING IN
THIS 1
TH
CONGRESS TO CONTINUE TO MAKE OUR
PERFORMANCE SPEAK FOR US AND FOR THIS HOUSE.

IN THIS SPIRIT, LET US MOVE FORWARD TO THE NEXT REGULAR
SESSION STRENGTHENED BY OUR RENEWED RESOLVE TO
MAKE LEGISLATION AN AUTHENTIC INSTRUMENT OF SERVICE
TO THE WELFARE OF THE NATION AND OUR PEOPLE.
THE LEADERSHIP OF BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS HAS BEEN
ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN A STRONG AND SYNERGETIC
PARTNERSHIP THESE PAST MONTHS, AND WE HAVE LIKEWISE
PLEDGED TO CONTINUE OUR WORK IN PRIORITI)ING AND
SHEPHERDING LEGISLATIVE MEASURES TO ENSURE THAT THE
PERFORMANCE OF THIS 1
TH
CONGRESS SURPASSES THAT OF
ANY PRECEDING IT. NO SCANDAL OR CONTROVERSY SHOULD
KEEP US FROM PERFORMING OUR FUNCTIONS AND DUTIES AS
DULY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR CONSTITUENCIES.

ON THIS NOTE, MAY I THANK THE DEPUTY SPEAKERS FOR
THEIR HARD WORK IN THE SHEPHERDING OF PRIORITY
LEGISLATION BOTH IN THE COMMITTEES AND IN PLENARY.

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I ALSO EXTEND MY HEARTFELT GRATITUDE AND
COMMENDATION TO THE MAJORITY LEADER AND HIS DEPUTIES
FOR THEIR ABLE MANAGEMENT OF PLENARY PROCEEDINGS
AND FACILITATING EXPEDITIOUS ACTION ON PRIORITY BILLS.

TO OUR COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSONS AND OFFICERS, WE
SIMILARLY CONVEY TO ALL OF YOU OUR GRATITUDE FOR THEIR
UNRELENTING INDUSTRY IN WINNOWING LEGISLATIVE
PROPOSALS AND HAMMERING THEM INTO RESPONSIVE PIECES
OF LEGISLATION.

WE MUST ALSO THANK OUR ESTEEMED MINORITY LEADER AND
HIS DEPUTIES FOR HAVING ENSURED THE CRITICAL
COLLABORATION OF THE MINORITY IN THE PASSAGE OF
PRIORITY LEGISLATIVE MEASURES.

TO ALL OF YOU, MY COLLEAGUES, FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY
HEART, I CAN ONLY EXTEND MY SINCEREST GRATITUDE FOR
YOUR UNSTINTING HARD WORK AND UNREMITTING
COOPERATION.
AS WE CELEBRATE OUR NATION3S INDEPENDENCE DAY
TOMORROW, LET US NOT FORGET THAT AS OUR ANCESTORS
HAVE FOUGHT WITH BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS FOR THE
FILIPINOS TO GOVERN THEMSELVES, SO TOO MUST WE FIGHT
WITH HONESTY, INTEGRITY, AND SOLIDARITY SO THAT THE
FILIPINO PEOPLE MAY CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE SOVEREIGNTY
THAT WE ALL RIGHTFULLY DESERVE.

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MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO4 REALLY FROM THE
BOTTOM OF MY HEART, WE ARE ONE HOUSE, ONE CONGRESS,
MAGSAMA-SAMA TAYONG LAHAT4 /$!0
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