"We are proud of what we have done. We can see people in the eye, criticism or otherwise, because we know we did not succeed, "says Franklin Drilon, the head of the Senate Minority.
MANILA, Philippines – When the 17th congress ended, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said between 2016 and 2019 the achievements of the six-member opposition bloc.
In addition to Drillon, the members of the minority bloc in the Senate were Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Despite attacks on them, as well as the detention of one of its members, Drilon said that minority senators still managed to become productive at the 17th Congress, which led the adoption of important legislation.
»17. The Congress of the Opposition was not easy. It's hard on the opposite side today, "Drilon said.
"We saw our fellow Senator De Lima, who was detained. Everyone in the minority was exposed to criticism and attacks. Despite all this, we have resisted and the rest have focused on one goal: to make things for people, "he added.
Drilon said that the achievements of the minority bloc prove that the opposition "was not an obstacle to the adoption of important legislation and policy making".
"We are proud of what we have done. We can watch people in the eye, criticize or otherwise, because we know that we did not succeed, "Drilon said.
The Union will lose two members at the 18th Congress. Trillanes ended two consecutive terms while Aquino failed in his re-election.
Drillon wrote three major laws at the 17th Congress: amendments to the revised Criminal Code, Philippine Law on the Identification System, and the Revised Corporate Code of the Philippines.
He was also the author of the new Central Bank Act and is among the authors of the Department of Housing Law.
In discussions in the Senate and in the bicameral conference committee Drilon also assured that the Bangsamoro organic law would be established.
Drilon's proposal also helped to solve the budget gap between the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Aquino, who was the deputy head of the minority, was chairman of the education committee.
He sponsored the Law on Free Education and advocated the Law on Scientific Practice of Balik and the Free Wi-Fi Act in Public Spaces.
Aquino also wrote and sponsored a law on the protection of personal property, which permits personal characteristics, not only land rights, as collateral for bank loans.
Senator Pioneer, Hontiveros was chairman of the Health Committee and then Vice-President.
She endorsed the Law on Extended Maternity Leave and the Law on Mental Health and the General Health Care Act, which was drafted by Pro-Tempore President Ralph Recto.
Hontiveros also endorsed the adoption of the Safe streets and public spaces Act, which punish crimes and sexual harassment in the streets, schools and workplaces.
She also advocated a breakthrough law against the hospital and the Philippine Law on HIV and AIDS.
Pangilinan, the former president of the Senate Committee for Food and Agriculture, was the main author and sponsor of the recently adopted Sagip Saka Act.
The law increases the income of farmers by empowering them and linking them to the market.
Pangilinan is the main author of the law on free access to the Internet in public places.
He also pushed and defended the Coconut Levy Trust Fund Act, which the Senate later divided into two laws. These measures would allow the return of multi-billion coconut products to farmers, but President Rodrigo Duterte is vetoed invoices. (READ OUT: "Na-Duterte kami:" Why do farmers feel betrayed because of coconut tax credits)
Pangilinan, also chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Changes and Code Revisions, led presentations on the proposed amendment to the Charter.
President Rodrigo Duterte's strongest criticism supported the adoption of the Law on the Pathology of Speech Languages, the Philippine Occupational Therapy Act of 2018, the Philippine Criminology Act of 2018 and the Philippine Law on Food Technology, among others.
He was also co-author of the established Philippine Law on the Identification System.
Trillanes also advocated the Magna Carta of the poor, which protects and supports the rights of the poor to appropriate food, decent work, education and health.
The action was sponsored by Trillanes on behalf of DeLime, the chairman of the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.
He was also co-author of amendments to the Ombudsman Act and amendments to the Law on the Employment and Training System of the Police.
Despite having been in prison since February 2017, De Lima has been able to take measures such as the institutionalization of the Pilates Pilatid Program (4P) and Magna Carta poor.
DeLima continues to bring resolutions calling for investigations into alleged corrupt practices and irregularities.
In his closing address, Senate President Vicente Sotto III praised De Limo for her "professionalism", which says she works despite being in detention.
De Lima was detained in a custody center at Camp Crame since February 2017 for alleged illicit charges of illicit drugs. De Lima rejected the accusations and said that Duterte had been made to get him back to investigate extrajudicial killings in Davao's murder in the city of Davao when he was still a mayor. – Rappler.com