Month: January 2015

Showcase Filipino Spirit of Volunteerism during Papal Visit – Sen. Bam

Showcase the spirit of Filipino volunteerism during the visit of Pope Francis.


Senator Bam Aquino made this call to the Catholic faithful, saying all eyes will be on the Philippines during the five-day stay of the Holy Father from Jan. 15-19.


“With all eyes on the Philippines during this special occasion, let us showcase the spirit of volunteerism while we celebrate the presence of the Holy Father and fulfill our devotion to the Catholic faith,” said Aquino.


The senator said that Filipinos can help in many ways by volunteering in different activities during the Papal visit, especially in health services, cleanliness and maintenance of peace and order.


“With some Manila policemen and MMDA officers still tired from the feast of the Black Nazarene, the public can help them by being extra vigilant against any danger that may arise,” the senator said.


“Citizens can also volunteer in their small little way by bringing extra food and water for policemen and other volunteers during the Pope’s visit,” Aquino stressed.


Also, Aquino urged the Catholic faithful to exercise utmost discipline during public events that will be attended by Pope Francis.


Pope Francis will attend several public activities in different parts of the country, such as the Meeting with the Families at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on January 16.


The next day, the Pope travels to Leyte where he will have lunch with some of the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda at Archbishop’s Residence in Palo and attend the blessing of the Pope Francis Center for the Poor.


On January 18, the Pope will meet with different religious leaders and the youth at the University of Santo Tomas and celebrate Holy Mass at Rizal Park.


“Let us do our share in keeping peace and order by exercising utmost discipline during these events and fully cooperating with the security measures laid down by authorities,” the senator said


The senator also echoed the earlier call by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to devotees to wear proper clothes during the Pope’s public events.

Stronger Consumer Act to Empower Citizens – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino stressed the importance of adding more teeth to the Consumer Act, saying it will empower and protect citizens more against substandard goods and services.

 “Strengthening the Consumer Act will further empower our citizens in their purchase of goods and services,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino made the pronouncement after the Department of Trade and Industry’s call to beef up Republic Act (RA) 7394, also known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

“Our consumers have worked hard to earn a living and they deserve to get value for their money,” Aquino added.

The senator said his committee will act immediately when it receives a draft bill from the DTI that contains the needed amendments for the Consumer Act.

“This must not wait because consumer protection is paramount and should be prioritized,” the senator stressed.

Aquino’s office has been deluged with different consumer complaints, ranging from substandard quality of products and inefficient service.

In an interview, Trade Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba said the agency will push several amendments that will give more teeth to the Consumer Act.

Among the amendments eyed by DTI is the inclusion of heavier fines for violators of the Consumer Act, from the existing minimum penalty of P500 to P50,000, to P300,000 to P1 million.

The DTI also wants to expand the membership of the private-public National Consumer Affairs Council to make it more effective in policy framing and addressing the needs of consumers.

Also, the DTI also wants to include online commerce-related practices in the scope of the law and the regulatory duty of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) over all financial transactions.

 The Senate recently passed its first pro-consumer measure in the 16th Congress – the Philippine Lemon Law – which protect car buyers from defective vehicles, was sponsored by Aquino.

Sen. Bam lauds Malacanang for Including Measures for Small Businesses in Priority Legislation

Senator Bam Aquino has lauded Malacanang for including his two priority measures that will further help in the development of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country in its legislative agenda.

 “We thank Malacanang for including the Cabotage Law and the Fair Competition Act in its legislative agenda,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

 “Through this, I expect the swift passage of these measures that I see as crucial to our economic growth, job generation and level playing field for all businesses,” the senator stressed, adding that he is committed to work for the passage of the two measures.

“These measures have been in the legislative pipeline for a long time. Finally, some political will to get difficult reforms passed which are pro-poor, pro-business and will lower cost of goods,” he added.

Passed by the Senate on third and final reading, Senate Bill No. 2282 or the Fair Competition Act of 2014 aims to shield small business owners and consumers from companies engaged in unfair business practices, which usually lead to increase in prices of basic goods and services.

Aquino said a fair competition policy will level the playing field for Filipino businesses and allow more Filipinos to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit.

 “The bill puts in place measures that will protect the welfare of businesses and protect honest, hard-working entrepreneurs against abuse of dominance and position, and other unfair practices that put both Filipino businesses and their consumers at risk,” Aquino said.

If passed into law, the senator said Filipinos will enjoy a wider range of high-quality products and services at reasonable prices.

Aquino also filed Senate Bill No. 2364, which seeks to amend Section 1009 of the Presidential Decree No. 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of 1978, to lower local shipping cost in the country.

If enacted into law, foreign ships will be allowed to call in multiple ports provided that their cargoes are intended for import or export and duly cleared by the Commissioner of Customs, leading to lower cost.

The senator has filed the bill in response to President Aquino’s call to relax the country’s policies on cabotage.

It was discovered that it is cheaper to send products from other countries to the Philippines than to ship goods within the country.

For example, the cost of shipping a 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) from Kaoshiung, China to Cagayan de Oro is $360 or P16,000 only.

However, the cost of shipping the same cargo from Manila to Cagayan de Oro will take $1,120 or almost P50,000.

“We’d like to put these policies in place this year to sustain the momentum of our growth we’ve experienced the past few years,” Aquino added.

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