2 out of 5 Legacy Laws from Neophyte Senator

In his first two years as legislator, Senator Bam Aquino worked on two of the five most important measures that were enacted into laws by the current administration.

Sen. Bam principally sponsored and co-authored the Philippine Competition Act, now known as Republic Act 10667, and principally sponsored the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act or Republic Act 10668.

The twin measures were signed into laws by President Aquino. Moreover, the Chief Executive mentioned them as two of the five most important legislations passed by his administration during his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“Dahil sa Kongreso, naipasa ang mga batas na kikilalanin bilang haligi ng transpormasyong sinisimulan natin ngayon…salamat sa Philippine Competition Law…at sa pag-amyenda sa Cabotage Law,” the Chief Executive said.

Aside from the two, the President also cited the Sin Tax Reform Act, the Responsible Parenthood Act and the Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks.

President Aquino described the measures as part of the administration’s campaign, “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”

“Hinabol natin ang mga corrupt at nilinis ang sistema, na nanganak ng kumpiyansa sa ating mga merkado. Pumasok ang negosyo, lumawak ang oportunidad… nakikitang meron nang level playing field; naaasahan ang pag-asenso nang hindi kailangang mandaya,” the President said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, for his part, said that the Philippine Competition Act would address the nation’s long-standing absence of a comprehensive competition law in effect during his speech on the opening of the 3rd regular session of the 16th Congress.

Drilon also noted that the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act would widen the market and is expected to lower the cost of transport of agricultural goods and other local produces, which ultimately would affect prices of products sold to consumers.

Stakeholders, such as the Makati Business Club, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, also hailed the passage of the twin laws, saying these would boost the competitiveness of Philippine enterprises and help sustain economic growth.

Dean Tony La Vina, head of the Ateneo School of Government, believes that the Fair Competition Act is the “antidote to the adverse effects of monopolistic behemoths that make our economy less competitive vis-à-vis other Asean member countries.”

“It is a measure that will position us better in the forthcoming Asean economic integration. If well implemented, fair competition will certainly result in prosperity,” he said in his newspaper column.

Furthermore, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) head and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the Philippine Competition Act would reinforce the country’s economy.

“As the bill levels the playing field among businesses, we can expect an increased level of confidence among the international business community, and thus lead to a surge of investments and economic activity, and an expanded logistical capacity,” Balisacan said.

Overall, Sen. Bam now has four laws to his credit. Last year, the President approved the Go Negosyo Act, which was principally authored and sponsored by Sen. Bam, and the Philippine Lemon Law.

The President is also expected to sign the Youth Entrepreneurship Act soon, making it five laws for Sen. Bam, the youngest senator in the 16th Congress.

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