Month: December 2014

Tighten Security Measures – Sen. Bam to Bus Companies

Senator Bam Aquino urges city and provincial bus companies to implement tighter security measures following the bus bombing in Bukidnon that killed 11 people and wounded 21 others.


“Security measures need to be tightened, especially with the expected influx of people who will travel to the provinces this Christmas season,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship


The recent bus explosion occurred last Tuesday in Barangay Mus-wan in Maramag town in Bukidnon. The explosion occurred across Central Mindanao University, at a time when students were going home


Authorities are looking into terrorism or extortion as possible motives behind the bombin.


“Be it an act of terrorism or extortion, we should be alert and vigilant at all times because the lives of passengers are at stake here,” Aquino stressed


At the same time, Aquino calls on bus companies must ensure that their buses are in good running condition before allowing them to travel


“Operators have the responsibility to ensure safe travel for commuters. So it is practical for them to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy before they leave,” Aquino emphasized.


Aside from this, Aquino said operators should check the condition of their drivers if they physically and mentally fit to drive.


“Government agencies and private operators have to work side by side to ensure safe travels for many Filipinos who rely on mass transportation,” Aquino said.



Sen. Bam lauds NHA, DOH for settling PCMC land dispute

All’s well that ends well.

 Senator Bam Aquino lauded the Department of Health and the National Housing Authority for settling their dispute over the land presently occupied by the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

“We would like to thank Secretary Janette Garin of the DOH and NHA administrator Chito Cruz for working together and coming up with a solution,” Aquino said during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Health on the land dispute.

“Officials and employees of PCMC have nothing to worry because the land that they’ve been occupying for decades will finally be theirs,” added Aquino.

During the hearing, the DOH and the NHA informed the committee that they will sign a memorandum of agreement to settle the ownership dispute.

Under the MOA, the DOH will pay NHA an initial P500 million from its 2015 budget for the land. The remaining P400 million will be paid from the agency’s 2016 budget.

The NHA, for its part, will convey the title of the land occupied by the PCMC to the DOH. The housing agency also requested the DOH to implement the 2003 valuation of the land.

“This is an early Christmas gift to the thousands of Filipino children who enjoy free and quality medical service from PCMC,” Aquino added.

Also, Aquino also revealed that the PCMC will receive a total budget of P1.226 billion, P500 million of which will be allocated for the payment of the land.

Aquino said P400 million will be used for the upgrading of the hospital building and P326 million for new equipment and new hospital wing.

Sen. Bam Eyes Best Practices to Prepare for Calamities, Disasters

With the improved performance of government, private sector and non-government organizations in preparation for super typhoon Ruby, a lawmaker wants to institutionalize best practices and effective tools to ensure readiness for future calamities and disasters.

“We should be learning not only from our mistakes but also from a job well done. We must do it by institutionalizing the best practices and tools implemented by government, LGUs and private sector to prepare for future disasters,” Aquino said.

A lawmaker is calling for an inquiry to assess the impact of government’s action to determine best practices and effective tools used in mitigating the effects of super typhoon Ruby to ensure readiness for future calamities and disasters.

In his Senate Resolution 1063, Senator Bam Aquino stressed the need to assess the impact of government’s actions to determine best practices and effective tools used in the disaster risk and reduction programs of local government units (LGUs).

“The country’s experience with typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) has become key opportunities for learning and for improving disaster preparedness coordination, strategies and practices,” Aquino explained.

“Despite the Filipinos’ vulnerability to typhoons, these experiences demonstrate how the government together with the private sector and the communities stricken by calamities can effectively prepare for and mitigate the adverse effects of disasters,” the senator added.

The inquiry will look into the enhanced inter-agency coordination mechanisms of the national government and the pro-active response of LGUs and private sector on disaster preparedness and mitigation in the country.

“The national government should also be able to identify the appropriate and useful strategies for inter-agency coordination in building community awareness, disaster preparedness planning, and ensuring quick response to help ensure readiness of communities for future disasters,” he added.

Aquino noted that proper coordination among national government agencies, LGUs and private sector contributed to the notable decrease in the number of casualties and loss of property compared to last year’s typhoon Yolanda.

As of latest count, Typhoon Ruby claimed 19 lives and damaged more than P3 billion worth of properties. Typhoon Yolanda, for its part, killed 6,092 people and damaged P36.62 billion worth of properties.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNIDSDR) was impressed with the Philippines’ preparations for typhoon Ruby, which involved the pre-emptive evacuation of at least one million Filipinos in the typhoon’s path.

In addition, the ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh commended the country “for its early warning efforts and disaster preparedness plans, which mitigated losses and damages.”

Charge those Behind the Special Treatment of Prisoners – Sen. Bam

“Heads must roll, including those of top prison officials, for making a mockery of the country’s justice system.”

Senator Bam Aquino made this pronouncement as he called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that all those behind the entry of luxurious items, cash and illegal drugs and the special treatment of prisoners at the national penitentiary will be punished.

“With or without their knowledge, top prison officials are still responsible for the presence of contraband and perks given to special inmates inside the prison cells,” Aquino stressed.

“Those accountable officials must be removed for this revelation that severely puts into question our country’s penal and justice system,” he added.

Aquino said the special treatment given to prisoners is unacceptable and unfair, saying they should be serving the punishment for their crimes against society.

“Isn’t it shameful that the system that is supposed to mete out justice mirrors how unjust our society is?  The prisoners who have the money can go around the law and enjoy perks inside the prisons, while the prisoners who are poor endure the worst,” the senator said.

Aquino also lauded Justice Secretary Leila De Lima for her determined effort to reform the country’s prison system.

However, the senator said De Lima’s efforts should not only focus on the NBP but also in other prisons under the Bureau of Corrections and the DOJ.

Aside from the NBP, other prison facilities under the DOJ are Correctional Institution for Women, Davao Prison and Penal Farm, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm and the Leyte Regional Prison.

The senator also called for the immediate implementation of Republic Act 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013 to modernize and professionalize the country’s prison system, as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) have been signed already.

Lower Prices of Goods Perfect Christmas Gift to Consumers – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino urges producers to heed the Department of Trade and Industry’s call to roll back prices of goods and products, saying it will be a perfect Christmas gift to millions of consumers.


“It will be an ideal gift for millions of Filipinos if our producers follow DTI’s call to adjust their prices commensurate to the decrease in prices of oil products,” Aquino said.


“We must give our consumers some reprieve from the high price of goods from the market,” added Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.


Based on a DTI study, Aquino said oil prices in the world market have dropped 30 percent since June this year.


“The 30-percent drop in oil prices should translate to at least a 3-percent decrease in prices of goods,” Aquino emphasized, citing the DTI report.


The DTI is already determining how much should be deducted from the suggested retail price (SRP) of basic necessities and prime commodities that include agricultural and non-agricultural products.


The DTI has already released an initial guideline for a number of basic products where it indicates that a 155-gram can of sardines must go down by P0.2.


The guideline also states that a 370-milliliter (mL) can of evaporated milk should go down by P0.95; a 50-g coffee refill by P0.99; and a 25-kilogram (kg) sack of flour by P25.91.


Also, Aquino reminded consumers to compare prices of Noche Buena products with the DTI’s SRP list posted in supermarkets and other stores all over the country.


“This is to ensure that we are getting the Noche Buena goods at the right price,” Aquino said.


The senator urges consumers to report stores which violate the SRP through DTI’s hotline number (02) 751-3330.

Help Save Lives thru Social Media – Sen. Bam

As Metro Manila anticipates the strong landfall of Typhoon Ruby tonight, Senator Bam Aquino encourages netizens to use social media in mitigating disasters such as typhoons and other occurrences where many lives are at stake.



“Let us use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to aid in the efforts of rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts during calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes and armed conflicts,” said Aquino.



“We can harness the vast power of social media and the Internet to help save lives of fellow Filipinos who are in danger during calamities and other incidents,” the senator emphasized.



Aquino said netizens play a big role during calamities as they can help disseminate relevant news to others though social media, using the right hashtags to get the messages across.



“Let us share relevant information to our social media circles – storm signal warnings, emergency tips, monitoring of rescue operations, and call for volunteers for relief operations,” Aquino added.



“With the advanced technology that we have such as Internet-capable smartphones and cameras, we can play a big part in saving lives during these challenging times for our people,” the senator stressed.



Aquino also urges netizens to follow important agencies like Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine National Police, NDRRMC, PAGASA/DOST and news agencies on Twitter and Facebook for important updates during calamities.



Earlier, Aquino encouraged netizens to be more actively involved in the government’s campaign against illegal activities, saying social media has a key role in preventing and solving crimes.



“We can use the Internet 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 arrest of policemen involved in the daring daytime robbery along EDSA would not have been possible if not for the brave netizen who posted the photo online.



Social media has been a good source of worthy causes, such as the finding of missing persons, reporting of unlawful incidents, lauding local heroism, and fund raising and volunteer recruitment for socio-civic projects.

Ensure Supply of Food, Medicine, Goods in Areas Threatened by Hagupit – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino calls on concerned government agencies to ensure adequate supply of food, medicine and other goods in areas that will be directly affected by Typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit).

“We need to ensure that there’s enough supply of food, medicine and  other important basic goods in areas that will be hit by the super typhoon,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aside from ensuring enough supply, Aquino called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and local government units to strictly monitor prices of goods as some businesses may take advantage of the situation.

“Ensuring supply and prices of food and other basic goods will prevent unscrupulous traders from taking advantage of the situation after the storm,” added Aquino.

In addition, Aquino urged the Department of Public Works and Highways to prepare contingency measures to ensure that important routes are passable after the storm.

“We need to ensure that roads and bridges are passable so that the flow of basic goods to areas hit by the typhoon will not be hampered,” said Aquino.

In most cases, the senator said prices of basic products in areas devastated by typhoons and other calamities increase because of supply problems.

“People need to get back on their feet quickly and businesses need to open so that goods will be available to those affected by the typhoon,” added Aquino.

According to PAGASA, Typhoon Hagupit may make landfall over Samar Saturday morning.

PAGASA said Ruby is packing maximum winds of 195 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 230 kilometer per hour.

Save the Children First During Disasters – Sen. Bam

With the country lying along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a senator underscored the need for the creation of a national program that will provide protection and assistance to Filipino children displaced during disasters.

“Filipino children are most vulnerable and are worst affected during disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flash floods, which regularly happens in the Philippines every year,” Senator Bam Aquino said in Senate Bill No. 2466.

During the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda last year, Aquino said an estimated six million children were affected, according to data from Save the Children.

“The children who survived the onslaught lost their loved ones and some became orphans while most of them experienced psycho-social trauma, difficulties in evacuation centers, loss of classroom time and access to social protection,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

Aquino said existing policies must be reviewed to give better support to Filipino children, especially during disasters, calamities or in armed conflict to help lessen trauma, restore normalcy quickly and build their resilience better.

“A national program is crucial in the most vulnerable areas of the country, where the experience of prolonged displacement would have a profound impact on the children’s sense of security, physical and emotional well being,” the senator said.

In addition, the bill pushes for child-centered training to disaster first responders, teachers, psychologists and other volunteers in disaster recovery, relief and rehabilitation, with special modules for different stages of children and youth development

“Providing the targeted needs of the Filipino children, specifically during times of distress, ensures the long-term security and health of our nation,” Aquino stressed.

Meanwhile, Save the Children, through country director Ned Olney, welcomed Aquino’s bill, saying it is critical to invest in policies that will help provide adequate support and protection for Filipino children during emergencies.

“Once this bill is passed into law, the Philippines will be the first country in South East Asia with a ‘Children in Emergencies’ law to protect the particular needs of children before, during and after disasters,” Jebb said.

Eradicate Dummy Incorporators – Sen. Bam

Dummy incorporators will be a thing of the past if the measure filed by Senator Bam Aquino is enacted into law.

Aquino’s Senate Bill No. 2465 seeks to introduce key amendments to Batasang Pambansa Blg. 68 or the Corporation Code, which was passed in 1980 or more than three decades ago.

The senator said one of the measure’s key amendments is the introduction of a one-man corporation, which will eliminate the use of dummy incorporators in registering with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

At present, a sole proprietor needs incorporators of five to fifteen individuals to be able to register with the SEC.

“If approved, this measure will encourage businessmen to do away with dummy incorporators and declare truthful and transparent information about their businesses,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino also expects the bill to strengthen ease of doing business to encourage entrepreneurs to expand and become a corporation, thus resulting in more jobs and livelihood to more Filipinos and making the country’s growth inclusive for everyone.

“Entrepreneurs must be given all the assistance they need as they serve as the country’s economic backbone, accounting for 99 percent of enterprises and providing 66 percent of jobs in the country,” he added.

Aside from the one-man corporation, the bill also aims to lessen the lifespan of perpetual corporations from the current 50 years to 25 years, giving them a chance to develop long-term plans and look into more sustainable and far-reaching strategies for more economic growth.

The measure also contains other related provisions to make the law relevant and attuned to present times, adopt the global practices, attract more investments and start-ups in the country, and specifically address the needs of entrepreneurs.

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