Month: September 2014

Senate Bill No. 2366: Nurse in Every Public School Act

Delivering quality education isn’t just a matter of delivering instructional modules inside the classroom. Quality education, that every Filipino child deserves, is holistic in nature. It is concerned with the whole self – physical, mental and spiritual.

With a fifth of the Filipino populace under the poverty line, health-related issues of school children abound, thus hampering their ability to learn and retain lessons and skills. Some students might even be forced to skip school days due to sickness, further impeding their ability to learn.

Thus, this measure proposes that students’ access to basic heaIth care services in schools be assured by requiring every public school to employ at least one registered nurse to look after the health and nutritional needs of its students.

Nurses are as important as other support personnel in the school system.1 They attend to the physical and mental-health needs of students. They can even spearhead programs to promote nutrition and contribute health-related content in the curriculum.

Having a nurse in every school emphasizes the value of health, nutrition and well-being as part of the formation of our Filipino children.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.



Senate Bill No. 2367: National Amateur Sports Training Center

The development of grassroots sports in the country has long been overdue. Despite the Filipinos’ love for sports and athletics, support to achieve sustained excellence in sports from the private and public sector has been lacking.

With limited resources, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has sought to support our national athletes with a proper support system, international exposure, monthly training stipends and adequate training equipment. One major gap is a state-of-the-art facility where budding athletes can be turned into national champions and world icons.

Thus, the bill proposes the establishment of the National Sports Training Center (NSTC) to provide amateur athletes the facility they need for a more apt, focused and scientific training with the hope of nurturing our next generation of world-class athletes.

The NSTC would not only serve as the offiCial venue of training for athletes, but it would also be the center for sports science research and development.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.


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S.B. 2369: Student’s Rights and Welfare Act of 2014

As education plays a vital role in shaping any nation, it provides young citizens the key knowledge, skills and attitudes to be able to participate and contribute meaningfully to the growth of society.

While there is an effort to improve the technical content and curriculum, and the delivery and instruction, there is also a need to reform the non-academic side of education.

This bill proposes to broaden the focus of education institutions towards a more holistic formation of students. By providing a national framework for students’ rights and welfare, this measure seeks to create a conducive atmosphere to maximize their learning and growth.

Service-learning modules provide the chance for students to learn about empathy and compassion; volunteer organizations present the world outside the four walls of the classroom and show the faces of poverty and injustice.

Student-governments and campus publications are spaces where students are able to strengthen values of leadership, integrity, transparency and accountability. Dialogues and consultations with school administrations further enhance the value for respect and critical thinking among future leaders of the country.

Students are no longer just the future of the country. We count on them to be leaders in tneir communities in the here and now.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.



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S.B. 2370: An Act Providing for a Magna Carta for the Poor

The country’s economic performance in recent years has been impressive and unprecedented. Our 7.2% GDP growth in 2013 was the highest in the ASEAN earning the country improved investment grade ratings. Its economic climate is now attractive, viable and profitable for investors to come in.

Despite these accomplishments, our country still faces a myriad of challenges – millions of ~ilipinos do not have jobs and a fifth of the populace is still poor.

The daunting task for the State is how to capitalize on its outstanding growth, the critically acclaimed reform efforts and the renewed global confidence, in order to make growth more inclusive and felt by all of the one hundred million Filipinos.

In the midst of this economic progress, it is essential for the State to craft policies so that every Filipino family is recognized regardless of the socio-economic status of its members, and their needs be taken cared and provided for.

The proposed measure thus seeks to ensure the protection and promotion of five basic rights of every Filipino: the right to food, employment, education, shelter and basic health care. It supports the creation of a just and dynamic environment where prosperity is shared through the provision of adequate social services, enabling a rising standard of living and improved quality of life for everyone.

As the Philippines grows, no Filipino should be left behind.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.


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Sen. Bam Lauds Brave Netizen Behind ‘Hulidap’ Photo, Urges Others to be Vigilant

Senator Bam Aquino lauded the bravery and vigilance of a netizen who took and posted a photo of several police officers in the act of robbing and abducting two employees of a businessman in broad daylight along EDSA.

“If not for the bravery and vigilance of this unidentified netizen, the police officers involved could have gotten away scot-free,” said Aquino even as he urged other netizens to be more actively involved in the government’s campaign against illegal activities.

“We have to harness the vast power of the Internet by using it in meaningful activities like helping the government in its quest to lessen, if not completely eradicate, crimes in our society,” the senator said.

Aquino said the recent arrest of several police officers involved in kidnapping and extortion activities with the help of social media proves that Internet has a key role in preventing and solving crimes.

 “With the advanced technology that we have such as Internet-capable smartphones and cameras, we can play a big part in keeping our streets safe,” the senator stressed.

Aquino added the arrest of the rogue police officers might serve as warning to other criminals that they cannot get away with their illegal activities with the help of concerned netizens.

“That’s why I enjoin all netizens to be more vigilant as crime may happen anytime and anywhere,” he added.

Police have so far tagged 12 suspects in the controversial heist. Two policemen, PO2 Jonathan Rodriguez and Chief Inspector Joseph De Vera, were already arrested while Senior Inspector Alan Emlano surrendered.

 Aside from crime prevention, Aquino said social media sites could also be used in other activities such as fund-raising for sick people and raising funds for worthwhile projects.

“The Internet has a lot of unlimited potential that, if tapped for a worthy cause, can make a difference in our society,” Aquino said.

 Last month, the Office of Senator Bam Aquino and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) launched a hotline — dubbed as WASAK or Walang Asenso sa Kotong — that will cater to business-related complaints.

Micro, small and medium (MSMEs) businessmen in the country can air grievances and other issues against erring government officials through hotline numbers 16565 and 0908-8816565. 

Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino During the Budget Hearing of DTI

On Port Congestion


SECRETARY GREGORY DOMINGO: The problem came in three phases and each phase had a different sort of problem although they were quite interrelated. The first phase was when the Manila truck ban was imposed in February and for the next month or so, the problem was the movement of trucks in and out of the port.

When we talk about the port congestion, tatlo iyon. One is the truck capacity in and out. The second is the container yard capacity and third is the ship site capacity, which is the loading and unloading of vessels.

Sa first phase po, ang problema doon ay truck capacity. Nalimit ang ikot ng truck so nangyari po, ang ship site di tumigil dahil padating pa rin ang barko so na-affect ang container yard capacity.

Umakyat po nang umakyat iyong number of containers sa port so iyon po ang second phase naman.

Una, iyong truck capacity ng impact for one month. After one month, napuno po ang ating container yard so it became a container yard limitation. Plus, the truck capacity limitation tapos nung naresolba na iyong mga truck ban tsaka nakagawa ng ruta, we moved to the third phase, which was about a month ago wherein the truck capacity limitation were basically improved drastically.

Ngayon, ang lakas na po ang daloy ng truck. Before Thursday, Friday last week, we were doing 9,000 trips per day from a low of 3,000 a day during the truck ban.

Pero ang nangyari po ngayon is, ang problema ngayon nag-iba na. Iyong ship site ang naging problema because there are more containers being brought in than being taking out.

Ngayon, ang container yard capacity umakyat po ang utilization. ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services, Inc.) is about 100 percent while ATI (Asian Terminals, Inc.) is about 92 percent.

Pag masyadong mataas ang container yard utilization, lalagyan na naman nila ng containers ang circulation roads which limit the movements of the crane, movements of the truck. Baka ma-affect na naman ang throughout ng trucks so doon po tayo.

Ang solution po dati ay utilize Batangas port. Now Batangas port is now fully utilized. Gamit na gamit po ang Batangas port ngayon.

Pangalawa po, we are now using the port five out of seven days a week. That’s a 20 percent limitation on capacity. We are now encouraging the companies at saka mga brokers and everybody to utilize the extra two days.

Kung magawa po ang extra two days na iyon, then ma-stabilize ang situation po. Then pagdating ng first quarter during the lean season, then we can clear a lot of the congestion sa port.

Pero now na ‘ber’ months na tayo where iyong dating ng containers ay napakalaki, mahirap nating ma-reduce ang port congestion. All we can hope for is really optimize it para hindi ma-hamper masyado ang movement ng goods.


Sen. Bam Aquino: During our hearing, napag-usapan iyong pagbabawas ng mga containers and I think the goal was x thousand a day na mailalagay sa PEZA zones.


Has that helped out? Nabawasan ba ang containers natin because of those new areas?

A: From our last hearing po, lahat po ng nasabi roon, karamihan nagawa na po. Like the movement of containers to the port, iyong movement of seized containers ng Customs so that’s in fact some is ongoing still. Iyong pagbukas po ng container yards outside the port, gaya sa PEZA, nangyari na po. So marami na pong nadagdag na container yard capacity.


Q: But has that lessen the number of containers? If I’m not mistaken, 80,000 containers ang capacity. And you wanted it to bring down to 60 to 65 thousand right?

A: Nasa mga 78,000 yata po tayo ngayon.


Q: So by three thousand natin naibaba because ber months na, mas dumarating ang mga ships basically?

A: Oho, tsaka hindi nailalabas ang containers. Let’s say mag-unload tayo ng 4,000 containers, pero mag-lo-load tayo 3,000 lang kaya nadadagdagan per day. Kailangan mag-usap talaga ay with the shipping lines but they have to cooperate.


Q: How about domestic shipping lines natin?

A: Hindi po affected.


Q: So the port congestion issue, you’re saying, will continue until 2015?

A: Opo.


Q: We’re hoping na kapag nag-lean months in the first quarter of 2015, doon tayo mas magbabawas ng containers

A: Opo, during the first three months of 2015.


Q: The traffic in NLEX that happened for a few days, that’s a direct consequence of us opening up the lanes sa port?

A: Ang understanding ko po hindi nasunod ang ruta. Na-divert to smaller roads kaya nagkabuhol-buhol po ang traffic.

I guess we didn’t have enough enforcers so it was being ran by the local city government iyong enforcement. So now ang dinecide po ng Palasyo is that the routes going from NLEX to the port will be manned by MMDA and the national police.


Q: That special route will be there until 2015?

A: Until ma-resolve po ito. Hopefully, first quarter of next year.


Q: There’s no other way to speed up the process of taking out the containers?

A: Kung magawa natin seven days a week. Napaka-critical po iyon. If we’re able to use the additional 20 percent, that will solve almost all of our problems.


Q: From the time we had a hearing, di pa rin operational ang port ng weekends and Monday morning?

A: We’ve been pushing. The chambers are part of the task force. Hindi rin nila matulak.


Q: Kanina, secretary you mentioned the 9,000 trips?

A: In and out po.


Q: Roughly we can only do maximum 4,500 na release per day? We cannot increase that 4,500 to a higher amount?

A: Puwede po. May nakita na po akong report na umakyat ng 9,300. I think hanggang 10,000.


Q: So we need to basically, kung one, we need to work during the weekends and that’s dependent on the private sector and our processes need to double out para pabawas tayo at hindi padagdag.



Speed Up Decongestion of Port to Ease Traffic – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino called on the government to speed up the process of port decongestion so as not to further burden the motorists and commuters who are already affected by the everyday traffic jams in Metro Manila.

“While decongesting Port of Manila is important, we must also guarantee that the public interest and welfare will not be compromised,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

At the same time, the lawmaker called on concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to ensure that traffic enforcers are in place to help alleviate the traffic problem.

Aquino also appealed to the public to bear with the heavy traffic in the next two weeks due to the government’s campaign to decongest the Port of Manila.

“We ask the public to further stretch their patience as the government solves the port decongestion problem that we are facing right now,” said Aquino.

Aquino said the government has no other recourse but to implement drastic measures to decongest the country’s main port, saying this problem will worsen if not immediately addressed.

“Many businesses will be affected and prices of goods will go up if this port congestion problem persists and we must not allow this to happen,” the senator explained.

Aquino said the public would ultimately benefit once the port congestion problem is solved.

From September 8 to 21, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will implement the last mile route, which will enable trucks to ply main roads, even during truck ban hours, provided that they carry cargo for shipment to their designated end-points.

Last month, Aquino’s committee investigated the port congestion problems and came up with several proposals to help solve the problem.

During the hearing, the city of Manila agreed to open more trade lane routes for trucks while concerned government agencies committed to work during weekends to hasten the releasing process in the port.

Sen. Aquino’s committee is expected to visit the Port of Manila later this month to check if there are improvements or if additional changes are necessary.

National Sports Training Center to Boost Olympic Gold Dream – Sen. Bam

After a strong showing of the Gilas Pilipinas, Azkals and the Philippine Dragonboat teams in international tournaments, a senator is pushing for the establishment of a National Sports Training Center (NSTC) that will further provide right, focused and scientific training to amateur athletes as they strive to become the next big names in the sports world.

In his Senate Bill No. 2367, Senator Bam Aquino said the NSTC would not only serve as the official venue of training for athletes, but it would also be the center for sports science research and development.

“The development of grassroots sports in the country has long been overdue.  Despite the Filipinos’ love for sports and athletics, support to achieve sustained excellence in sports from the private and public sector has been lacking,” Aquino said.

Aquino stressed that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), despite its limited resources, has been trying to support national athletes with a proper support system, international exposure, monthly training stipends and adequate training equipment.

However, Aquino said one major gap is a state-of-the-art facility where budding athletes can be turned into national champions and world icons.

“Through this center, we hope to produce another Lydia de Vega, Elma Muros-Posadas and Felix Barrientos, who made the country proud in the international stage,” said Aquino.

“Also, our basketball team Gilas Pilipinas, football team Azkals and the dragon boat squad will have a permanent center for training and conditioning in preparation for international events.”

The training center shall have the following sports facilities and amenities for the following non-water based sports such as archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, contacts sports  (Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, Wrestling), cycling (Velodrome), dance sport, football, gymnastics, handball, lawn tennis, sepak takraw, shooting, softball, squash, table tennis, volleyball, wall climbing and weightlifting.

The center will also have other amenities, including an archery multipurpose gymnasium, administration building, athletes’ dormitory, sports science building, mess hall, recreation hall, library, weight training building, school building and conference/ seminar hall.

Teachers in Perpetual Cycle of Debt! – Sen. Bam

Despite being hailed as modern-day heroes for inspiring and shaping the youth to become productive citizens of the country, teachers still experience financial woes because of their meager salaries and small take-home-pay.

“With the increasing cost of living, teachers tighten their belts to get by on their modest salaries. They turn to loan agents and loan sharks, government and private, to make ends meet,” said Senator Bam Aquino.

“Worse, come pay day, they have little income to take home because they have automatic deductions from loans and other payments, leaving them little for their daily sustenance,” the senator added, “which forces them to borrow again and having them buried neck-deep in debt.”

Aquino said many teachers find creative means to augment their meager take-home pay by selling meat, beauty and health products.

“How can these critical players in nation building impact the next generation if they are bombarded with financial woes,” Aquino emphasized.

To address this problem, Aquino has filed a bill that will set a minimum net take-home pay for teachers and other government employees.

“This bill seeks to ensure that teachers and other government employees are able to meet their families’ basic needs and reduce their need to take on debts,” Aquino said of his Senate Bill No. 2333.

 Under the bill, teachers and other government workers will be assured of a take-home pay of at least 30 percent of their monthly salary.

“Setting a minimum take-home amount allows an appropriate control for teachers to be able to properly budget for their households expenses,” he said.

Aquino said the measure contributes in the efforts of leaving no one behind, especially the country’s public servants, in the progress and development of the country.

Under the measure, authorized deductions are prioritized in the event that total authorized deductions will reduce the government employee’s mandatory minimum monthly take-home pay.

Any deficiency in loan payments of government employees as a result of the mandatory minimum take-home pay may be addressed through direct payment arrangements to be voluntarily made by the employee to the lending institutions.

Filipino UN Peacekeepers New Action Heroes – Sen. Bam

When you need peace in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?

A senator dubbed the Filipino peacekeepers as the new action heroes of the world for their bravery and resolve during a standoff with Syrian rebels in Golan Heights.

“Our soldiers’ brave front only proves that Filipinos will not back down from any challenge that we face,” said Senator Bam Aquino

Aquino has filed Senate Resolution No. 877 to commend and to recognize the Filipino peacekeepers’ resolve in carrying out their mission.

“Their bravery and courage reflect the professionalism and competence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Aquino said.

The Filipino peacekeepers form an integral part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) Mission that monitors a ceasefire agreement between Syria and Israel.

Aside from the Philippines, other countries contributing troops to the UNDOF Mission include Fiji, Ireland, Nepal and the Netherlands.

The tension escalated after Syrian rebels entered the UN-patrolled buffer zone between Syria and Israel last August 28, capturing 44 Fijian peacekeepers and demanding the surrender of Filipino peacekeepers.

Surrounded by the Syrian rebels, the Filipino peacekeeper refused to surrender their arms and continued to defend their position, leading to a four-day standoff.

The first group of 35 Filipino peacekeepers stationed at Position 69 was rescued by Irish and Filipino forces.

The second group of 40 Filipino peacekeepers held their ground at Position 68 and kept about 100 Syrian rebels at bay.

After seven hours under heavy fire, the Filipino peacekeepers successfully planned and implemented their escape on August 30 under the cover of darkness.

They walked for nearly two hours to meet up with other UN forces who escorted them to safety. They are now safely repositioned to Camp Ziuoani behind UN lines.

Despite the incident, the Filipino peacekeepers will stay until October 2014, in fulfillment of the country’s commitment to international security.

“We continue to support the speedy resolution of the Syrian conflict to stop the violence that has left thousands of families devastated by war,” Aquino said.

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