Month: July 2014

Sen. Bam, Gov’t Agencies, Private Groups Set Up MSMEs Hotline vs. Graft and Corruption


The days of corrupt government officials and employees are now numbered through hotline numbers 16565 and 0908-8816565.

The Office of Senator Bam Aquino (OSBA) and concerned government agencies and private groups have joined forces to form WASAK or the “Walang Asenso sa Kotong” campaign where small businessmen can air their complaints and other issues against government agencies.

“Our office’s main advocacy is to fight poverty and unemployment through entrepreneurship. However, our small businesses have become milking cows for crooked government employees and private individuals,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

The launching of the hotline was held at the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in Quezon City.  It was attended bySen. Aquino, CSC Chair Francis Duque and COO Donald Dee of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Other partners of the campaign include the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Competiveness Council (NCC).

“This hotline gives the micro and small entrepreneurs an avenue to air their complaints and other issues against illegal practices such as graft and corruption, red tape and extortion that are detrimental to their growth,” the senator added.

Aquino said graft and corruption in government must stop because it drives away potential entrepreneurs and other investors and prevents existing businesses from expanding.

The CCB is a platform for citizens to forward their complaints on red tape, kotong and tongpats, and under-the-table incidents through text messages, email and phone calls.

“The hotline also provides an avenue where complaints and issues are resolved in an effective and timely manner. Now, entrepreneurs have a dependable ally in Wasak,” stressed Aquino.

Wasak also seeks to provide developmental advice for micro and small entrepreneurs regarding product development, marketing, business growth and financial management.


New Bus System to Help Stop P2.4B Loss to Traffic – Sen. Bam


Senator Bam Aquino expressed support behind the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Cebu, saying it will serve as an “efficient, safe and modern transport model” that can help address the growing traffic problem in Cebu.

 “Aside from helping modernize and industrialize the transport system, the BRT will also open employment and other livelihood opportunities for Cebuanos,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

 Recently, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced that would bid out the P10.6-billion BRT system by the second quarter of 2015. It will run a 23-kilometer corridor with 33 stations and 176 “high-quality” buses using green technology.

The senator also welcomed the DOTC’s plan to put up another BRT system in different parts of Metro Manila to help solve the perennial traffic woes in the area.

“The BRT could help alleviate the country’s traffic woes, which lead to a revenue loss of P2.4 billion every day, according to recent studies,” the senator said.

Aquino warned that revenue lost due to traffic will grow up to P6 billion a day by 2030 if solutions are not immediately implemented, based on a report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) released two months ago.

Aquino noted that several industrialized countries have already been implementing BRTs in densely populated areas to move people quicker and safer, helping them become more productive.

“The over two hundred (200) BRT systems worldwide have been very effective in reducing travel time by an average of 30 to 40 percent, giving our workers more time to work rather than spend quality time stuck in traffic,” the senator emphasized.

“Bringing efficient transportation solution will not only solve traffic but also result in development to the area,” he added.

Photo source: Rappler



Apply full force of law on hoarders – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino calls on the government to apply the full force of the law on hoarders of rice, garlic and other market products, saying they must be severely punished for their illegal acts that resulted in sudden prices increases.

The senator made the pronouncement even as he lauded Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan for their successful crackdown on several rice hoarders recently.

“Hoarders of rice, garlic and other products must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Their illegal act has resulted in higher prices, placing additional burden on our consumers,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

“The recent success against hoarders should serve as warning to those who are still doing it. The government is serious in going after those who compromise the public’s interest for their own profit,” the senator added.

Aquino lauded Roxas and Pangilinan for personally spearheading the government’s campaign against rice hoarders.

Recently, the two government officials led the inspection and raid of several warehouses where they discovered that NFA rice were being repacked and sold as commercial rice.

The campaign led to the confiscation of an estimated 4,000 metric tons of rice and the filing of charges against a company for violation of Presidential Decree No. 4 for diversion of price and price manipulation under the Price Act.

“If found guilty, hoarders face five to 15 years imprisonment under the Price Act,” said Aquino.

Aquino said the passage of the Fair Competition Act of 2014 will end monopolies, cartels and other trade practices that affect businesses, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The senator stressed that the bill’s passage is long overdue since the Philippines is one of only few countries that don’t have a competition policy that will protect its consumers and private industries.


Photo source:


E-Commerce Law to Improve Ease of Doing Business, Internet Connection – Sen. Bam


If properly developed, Senator Bam Aquino believes that Republic Act 8792, better known as the E-Commerce Law, would improve ease of doing business and provide cheaper and faster Internet connection.

 Passed in 2000, the senator said the law mandates several government agencies, led by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), to promote and implement a framework that will result to cheap and fast broadband and wireless accessibility, which will allow trade online.

“If implemented to the letter, the E-Commerce Law will be a big help in our mission to give the public cheaper and faster Internet connection to allow them to explore livelihood online,” explained Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino recently spearheaded the inquiry into the slow and expensive Internet connection in the country.

The senator stressed that the law will help address the country’s problem in terms of ease of doing business as it mandates the establishment of an electronic online network that connects all government agencies down to the regional level.

“With all government agencies connected by a single network, processing of documents will be easier, faster and cheaper because you don’t have to jump from one office to another,” Aquino explained.

E-Commerce could also boost job generation with the high demand in online-related jobs such as business process outsourcing (BPO), gaming and animation, and online marketing.

“Also, we are now starting to see the arrival of jobs that can be done without leaving home, such as online writing, design and document analysis,” Aquino explained.

Aside from this, E-Commerce will also empower online entrepreneurs who promote and sell their products on the Internet.

“E-Commerce could provide more opportunities for livelihood and earning, locally and globally. With Filipinos being online savvy, the world is our market and our opportunities are limitless,” he added.

In line with this, Aquino filed a resolution seeking to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the development of the country’s national industrial roadmap for E-Commerce since it was passed 14 years ago.

“We want to know where we are in terms of ICT and if the law has been effective in carrying out plans, program and reforms to boost E-Commerce in the country,” said Aquino.

In the latest World Economic Forum Global Information and Technology report, the Philippines showed a marked improvement with a rank of 78 out of 148 countries from its previous ranking of 86.

“In order to sustain this development, there is a need to assess the roadmap for the E-Commerce sector through the aid of appropriate government agencies to promote innovation and further improve the industry’s growth,” Aquino added.


Decongest Manila Port – Sen. Bam


The Port of Manila has been experiencing congestion and logistical problems, which has resulted in higher prices of goods in different parts of the country, according to Senator Bam Aquino.

“The Manila Port has had logistical nightmares recently and thus, delay in the delivery of goods and services to the provinces,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino said he received reports of shortage in medical equipment such as dental needles and anaesthetics in Mindanao due to the slow movement of shipments from Manila.

“The prices of dental needles went up from P600 to almost P2,000. Even if you have the money, still you cannot find one in drugstores and other medical companies because of delay in arrival of supplies from Manila,” Aquino stressed.

Logistical problem has also affected the manufacturing sector due to the late arrival of needed raw materials, hampering their production and delivery schedule.

The delay in the delivery of shipment of rice, garlic and onions also contributed to the high prices of such goods in the market.

“Businesses are affected by delays in the delivery of their shipment, forcing them to increase prices to recoup losses. The increase will then be shouldered by the helpless consumers,” the senator said.

The senator called on the administration of the Manila Port, local government of Manila, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other stakeholders to find a “win-win” solution that will address supply problem, reduce prices of commodities and solve the perennial traffic problem, all at the same time.

“I believe that all of our major problems are addressed when stakeholders gather together to solve it,” said Aquino.

Aquino said stakeholders should consider using other ports, such as the Port of Batangas, Subic and Davao, as alternative unloading points for cargo and shipments to decongest the Port of Manila.

“If the cargo is headed to Pangasinan or La Union, it would be wise to have it unloaded in Subic. This way, time and money will be saved,” Aquino said.

“If these cargoes are diverted to other ports, the number of trucks roaming around Manila will be reduced, resulting to better traffic conditions. It will be a win-win solution for everybody,” Aquino said.



Law Needs More Bite Vs. ‘Brutal’ Frats – Sen. Bam


Senator Bam Aquino bats for the amendment of the Anti-Hazing Law to give it more teeth and make it more effective in reducing, if not totally eliminating, hazing-related deaths and injuries.

“We need to revisit and introduce necessary amendments to Republic Act 8095 or the Anti-Hazing Law and give it more bite because it has failed to prevent hazing-related deaths and injuries since it was passed almost two decades ago,” said Aquino, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

Aquino said he would file a resolution seeking to investigate hazing-related deaths in the country and find ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

The senator made the move following the death of Guillo Cesar Servando, an 18-year-old student of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde who allegedly died during initiation rites.

“This culture of violence will not stop unless we make the necessary changes to the law that will instill fears among fraternity members,” Aquino said.

Passed in 1995, Republic Act No. 8049 criminalizes hazing and imposing penalties on persons who inflict injuries or cause death during the process.

The law imposes the appropriately stiff penalty of Reclusion Perpetua for a hazing-related death, or imprisonment ranging from four years to 17 years, depending on the extent of the injuries of a victim.

“Despite the severe punishment imposed by the law, there are fraternities who still cross the line, resulting to senseless deaths of young and innocent lives,” the senator said.

Earlier, the senator strongly denounced the use of inhumane means because it has no space in a civilized and modern society where we live in.

“Violence is not the way to foster brotherhood and camaraderie. There are other more humane ways where we can cultivate brotherhood and unity,” he said.

Aquino also called on authorities to ensure that those behind this senseless act be brought to justice and punished for their crimes.



Statement of Sen. Bam Aquino on Senate President Franklin Drilon’s Call for Probe on High Prices

Lubhang naapektuhan ang kakayang bumili ng publiko, lalo na ang mahihirap, dahil sa biglaan at hindi maipaliwanag na pagtaas ng presyo ng bawang, bigas at iba pang pangunahing bilihin.

Kaya kaisa ako sa panawagan ng Senate President na imbestigahan ang ugat ng biglaang pagtaas ng presyo at magbalangkas ng mga solusyon upang agad na matugunan ang problema at mapagaan ang pasanin ng mamimili.

Dapat gawin ang lahat upang malaman kung nagkaroon ng sabwatan sa pagitan ng market players na nauwi sa artipisyal na kakulangan ng supply at pagsirit ng presyo. Ang sinumang mapatutunayang nagmanipula sa presyo at supply ay dapat papanagutin sa batas.

Handa ang Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship na pangunahan ang imbestigasyon.

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