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Senate, House of Reps back in session; tackles state workers salary hike, nat’l budget top, BBL

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Senate President Franklin Drilon SENATE PHOTO

Lawmakers buckled down to work Monday after a weeklong holiday after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 summit to ensure the passage of three key pieces of legislation – the proposed P3.002-trillion 2016 national budget, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and the proposed P226-billion four-year Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2015.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said this in an interview with DZRH News through ACS Balita anchored by Angelo Palmones and Rey Sibayan.

“The Senate is committed to the passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is geared towards the establishment of peace in Mindanao, allaying fears the peace measure is now in limbo,” Drilon told DZRH.

“We have enough time and political will to ensure that this bill, so crucial to forging peace in Muslim Mindanao, will be passed and see the light of the day,” Drilon said.

Drilon said House administration and opposition leaders also assured the final passage of the proposed P226-billion four-year “Salary Standardization Law of 2015” (SSL 2015), which seeks to ease the financial plight of 1.53 million state workers.

The Senate President said while the 2016 national budget will consume most of the Senate’s legislative calendar, the enactment of BBL into law is still a “top priority.”

“From this week to the first week of December, we expect to be busy tackling the 2016 national budget, which we also need to pass before the year ends. After that, we will devote the rest of our sessions to passing the BBL,” Drilon said.

There is still four weeks of plenary sessions left in the 16th Congress’ calendar for the year. Next year, lawmakers are expected to be busy preparing for the May 2016 elections.

“I call on my colleagues not to abandon this piece of legislation so crucial to the establishment of peace and development in Mindanao,” Drilon urged.

Drilon said he is working closely with their counterparts at the House of Representatives led by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to closely monitor and guide the BBL’s progress in both houses of Congress.

Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Drilon have vowed the Lower Chamber’s commitment to pass on third and final reading the pro-workers “Salary Standardization Law of 2015.”

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