WITH only two days left in his term, President Benigno Aquino III has yet to act on more than 20 bills approved by Congress, which will have to be refiled in the 17th Congress if he doesn’t sign them into law before noon of June 30.
Senator Vicente Sotto III said that if Aquino does not sign the 22 enrolled bills before he steps down, they will be deemed “unacted” and will have to go through the entire legislative mill again in the 17th Congress.
Among the unsigned bills are an anti-carnapping measure, the proposed Foreign Ownership Act and the Basic Education Act.
A few days from the end of his term, Aquino signed four measures, including the Centenarians Act and the NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act.
The Centenarians Act grants a P100,000 cash incentives and additional benefits and privileges to each Filipino centenarian. It does not, however, include a provision that would have granted them 75 percent VAT exemption.
Senator Nancy Binay, a sponsor of the bill in the Senate, lauded its passing and thanked the President for recognizing and respecting the contribution of senior citizens.
Senator Loren Legarda hailed the enactment of the NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act, which she helped draft.
The law mandates the modernization of the NBI through acquisition of state-of-the-art intelligence and forensic equipment, and maintaining an elite and competent personnel through the provision of competitive compensation packages, including training, insurance benefits and scholarship grants for NBI agents and employees.
“Amid increasing demands upon the NBI in the investigation of high profile and complex cases such as human trafficking, cyber pornography, drug cartels and rice smuggling, we really need to modernize and reorganize the agency,” she said.
“The NBI must maintain a modern work system, as well as competent and highly trained personnel who will be at par with their foreign counterparts, especially in light of the constantly evolving modus of crimes and to ensure that it can effectively carry out its mandate,” Legarda said.