Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen -
Thus, in record time and despite many contentious issues which we successfully resolved, we finalized and approved yesterday the 2012 proposed national budget. Through this budget, we seek to realize two things: first,efficiently fund social programs such as the expanded Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program that nurture the potential of those previously neglected and currently marginalized, and second, stifle the source of and the opportunity for corruption through an itemized budget. When we return in session after a brief break, we hope to finally enact, with the Senate's concurrence, a national appropriations act for next year. The timely passage of our national budget should engender stability amidst the great uncertainty brought about by developments outside the country.
We likewise approved a number of significant legislation. We passed on third reading the Hazardous and Radioactive Waste Management Act as well as the measure banning plastic bags thinner than 15 microns. These twin measures are essential in protecting our environment, the destruction of which cause greater damage on the poor who have less resources and therefore lower adaptive capacity.
We also passed on third reading the measure implementing open learning through distance education. Distance education is an alternative system of learning which provides wider access to quality higher education. It is designed to lower the cost of education through, among others, digital interconnection. This measure will therefore support our quest to further develop our human resources, and improve the efficiency and employability of the members of our labor force.
Earlier, today, approved the bill fixing the country's maritime zone.
Last Monday, we also approved the bicameral conference committee report on the measure imposing a fixed term for ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. By doing so, we put a lid on the revolving door policy which rendered insecure our national security.
Apart from our accomplishment in plenary work, our committees continued to act on a number of our legislative priorities. Their diligence and perseverance allowed us to approve 208 measures on third reading, and eight bills approved on second reading, including the proposed Creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology which should further help boost the growth of our Business Processing and Outsourcing Sector. The BPO sector has become an important contributor to the employment of our people, and a pillar of our economy. We also adopted 166 resolutions.
There are also four priority measures for Committee Report Preparation, 25 priority measures approved at the Committee level, another 25 priority measures for or under technical work group deliberation and 20 priority measures for or under committee deliberations.
With the conclusion of our first Legislative Summit last September 29, we hope to accomplish more as we complete our term. The Summit gave us an opportunity to explore and thresh out common legislative priorities with the Senate, and to reduce deadlocks between our chambers. It also gave us an opportunity to discuss the possibility of amending certain economic provisions of our Constitution in order to make our economy more competitive and responsive to the needs of the present globalizing world.
As we adjourn therefore, I once again thank our deputy speakers and majority and minority leaders for their assistance in facilitating our work in plenary.
I give special mention to the Hon. Joseph Abaya, Chair of the Committee on Appropriations, and his able Vice Chairs, for competently sponsoring and shepherding the budget.
Thank you as well to all our members whose presence and participation has made it possible for this House to accomplish so much in so little a time.
To the Secretariat, House officials, and congressional staff who unselfishly shared their time and skills, we also owe our debt of gratitude.
And to the Filipino people who continue to give us their trust and confidence, makakaasa kayo sa aming patuloy na pagpupunyagi para sa ikabubuti ng ating bayan.
Thank you and a pleasant evening to us all.