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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Gordon gets 3 national bills approved before Congress goes on recess

During last Tuesday's session, the second to the last session before Congress adjourns on June 6, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) got his colleagues to approve four measures of national significance, three of which he sponsored.

To the government employees sector, the most significant was the ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the modified Compensation and Position Classification System or the Salary Standardization Law which was principally authored and sponsored by Sen. Edgardo Angara.

Gordon, co-author of the measure, acted as chairman of the bicameral committee, with Quirino Rep. Junie Cua as head of the House contingent and Senators Miguel Zubiri and Pia Cayetano; and Representatives Edsel Lagman (Albay), and Salvador Escudero III (Sorsogon) as members.

The measure provides for a performance-based scheme to reward well-performing exemplary civil servants and institutions.

Gordon's Senate Bill No. (SBN) 3298 or the Girl Scouts of the Philippines Charter of 2009 and SBN 150 or the Food Donation Act, both of which he sponsored on Tuesday, were approved on second reading.

SBN 3298 gives recognition to the contribution of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines to the promotion of positive values, responsible citizenship and volunteerism to young women through its faithful adherence to the fundamental principles of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, an internationally recognized organization.

On the other hand, SBN 150 aims to help out the sixteen million less fortunate Filipinos who cannot provide for their basic food requirements.

Meanwhile, the senator's SBN 2118 or the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Act of 2008 passed on first reading.

This measure, which seeks to convert the Bataan Economic Zone located in the Municipality of Mariveles, Province of Bataan, into the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, is now pending interpellation.

Pending approval on third reading are Gordon's SBN 2454 or the Social Security Condonation Law of 2008 and SBN 3284 or the Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu.

SBN 2454 seeks to authorize the condonation of penalties on delinquent contributions to the Social Security System (SSS).

Gordon said the implementation of a one-time condonation program of contribution penalties not only represents an opportunity to expeditiously settle contribution delinquencies, but also paves the way for resumption of members' entitlement to benefits and loan privileges.

SBN 3284, on the other hand, seeks to declare April 27 as a special non-working holiday through-out the country to commemorate the victory of Lapu-Lapu and his men over the Spanish colonizers led by Ferdinand Magellan in the historic Battle of Mactan on April 17 1521.

"Lapu-Lapu is the first Asian to beat a foreign invader, therefore it is fitting that we should designate a day to honor his courage, bravery and integrity," the senator said.

Statement of Sen. Richard J. Gordon on Con-Ass

Last night, the members of the House of Representatives approved House Resolution No. 1109 with undue haste. The resolution calls on the members of Congress to convene for the purpose of considering proposals to amend or revise the Constitution, upon a vote of three-fourths of all the members of Congress.

Proposing amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution is not bad per se, but such brazen move in the eve of the last session day of Congress suggests a sinister plot in the works.

But they will not succeed. They cannot do it on their own. The Senate, as part of Congress, will not allow it. We will not allow the Senate's voice - and vote - on the matter of Charter Change be diminished or laid aside. The Supreme Court, to which judicial power has been vested, will not allow it. And definitely, the people, with whom sovereignty resides, will not allow such corruption of the Constitution.

Article XVII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution provides that any amendment to - or revision of - the Constitution may be proposed by the Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members. This constitutional provision should not be misconstrued as a provision where both Houses of Congress vote jointly. The Constitution, the fundamental law of our land, is very clear as when Congress may vote jointly, and this excludes Charter Change.

Charter Change must be done right - at the proper time, definitely after the May 2010 elections; for the right reasons, that is, for national interest, not personal and vested interests; and within the legal means under the Constitution.

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