No Delay in the Nueva Camarines Bill Deliberations

25 September 2012

sponsorship_speechNuevaCamarines-300x226There is no truth to the allegations that the Senate Committee of Local Government has been delaying the approval of the bill creating the new province of Nueva Camarines.

The Committee has conducted three hearings: on 22 March and 31 May 2012 in the Senate; and on 2 August 2012 at the Naga City Coliseum. The Committee had to schedule three hearings just to wrap up the lengthy debates and arguments, and to put on record the so many voices that had wanted to be heard on the proposal. An out-of-town hearing was likewise had to be conducted, in order to hearken the call of the Bicolanos to bring the debates back to their native land, as well as to accommodate numerous panelists that could not come to Manila. At all these hearings, the Committee already realized the highly controversial and debatable nature of the legislative proposal.

One month later, on 12 September 2012, the Committee on Local Government reported its findings and recommendations to the plenary, submitting therewith its version of the bill or the Committee version. 17 out of the 21 Committee members signed the Report. Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Chairman of the Committee, sponsored the bill on the floor.

Several Senators signified their intention to interpellate Senator Marcos on his sponsorship of the bill. Senators Manuel Villar, Antonio Trillanes IV, Allan Peter Cayetano, and Aquilino Pimentel III have made known their desire to interpellate the sponsor. Senators Sergio Osmeña III and Joker Arroyo have initially reserved to interpellate, but already withdrew.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was the first interpellator and was able to take the stand on 19 September 2012, but has yet to finish his three-part interpellation.

Before the interpellation stage even concluded, the Committee already opened the amendment stage and introduced its 248 Committee amendments, 19 of which have come from the House of Representatives. Several of the amendments were minor ones that had to do with gender-sensitive designations, typographical errors, and other matters of style. As for the major ones, the amendments were necessary to make the provisions consistent with the Committee proposal, as well as with the Local Government Code and other existing laws. After the interpellations shall have terminated, the other Senators may already care to introduce their individual amendments.

Once the bill becomes in the desired final form after amendments, it shall then be voted upon by the Senators on third reading.

Proceedings on the bill came to a temporary halt, as the Senate adjourned on 21 September 2012, in accordance with its Third Regular Session calendar. However, the Senate shall resume considerations of the bill when it convenes again on 8 October 2012, Monday.