Month: December 2016

Sponsorship Speech: Trabaho Center in Schools Act

Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV
17th Congress, Senate of the Philippines
Sponsorship Speech, December 13, 2016


Good afternoon, Mr. President and my distinguished colleagues.  Mga kaibigan, mga kababayan, magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

I am honored to address you today as I sponsor a policy that seeks to empower every Filipino graduate with gainful employment by bridging our schools and industries.

 Senate Bill No. 1278, Under Committee Report No. 20 entitled: An Act Establishing Job Placement Offices in Public High Schools to Provide Career Services to the Youth also known as the Trabaho Center in Schools Act seeks to ensure that every high school graduate in the Philippines can join the workforce and build a successful career by institutionalizing job placement offices in our public schools and State Universities and Colleges.

 “Nag-aral. Nag-apply. Nabigo.” Isa po ito sa mga sikat naming post sa Facebook.

 Marami po ang nag-like, nag-share, at nag-comment ng kanilang karanasan sa paghahanap ng trabaho. Marami po ang nagsikap sa pag-aaral, gumaan ang loob sa pagtatapos at pag-graduate, ngunit nahirapan pa ring makahanap ng trabaho. Marami po ang naka-relate sa pagkabigo sa job hunt.

 Unfortunately, Mr. President, graduating from high school – even earning a college degree – is not a guarantee of finding a job and kickstarting a career.

As you know, one of the promises of the K to 12 Program is that even high school graduates should be ready and able to seize employment opportunities right after Grade 12. Ngunit marami pa rin po tayong maaaring gawin para masigurado ang pangarap na ito.

 Mr. President, in data released by the Philippine Statistics Office, the unemployment rate is at 4.7% with over 2 million jobless Filipinos. The number of underemployed Filipinos is also quite staggering – 7.51 million Filipinos. Clearly, there is a need, not only to generate employment opportunities, but also to address the jobs mismatch in the country.

 Let’s make sure that all the hard work of our students, their parents, and their teachers do not go to waste. Let’s ensure that there are suitable jobs waiting for students – and that our students are ready to take them on once they graduate.

 Mr. President, the Trabaho Center in Schools Act will serve as that bridge between the job market and the supply of graduates. It mandates the establishment of a Trabaho Center in every public high school and SUC with main services that include: 1) Industry Matching, 2) CareerCoaching, and 3) Employment Facilitation. The key to success of the Trabaho Center is its relationship with – and knowledge of – potential employers and industries in their area.

 The Trabaho Centers will link with industries to create a functional academic-industry partnership so there can be continuous checking and updating of curricila and courses offered to our students, especially on the tech-voc track in our K to 12 system. They must maintain an updated database of employers, contacts, and job opportunities in the locality and use this data to provide students coaching on what fields of study are available and what specific jobs they can expect to apply for upon graduation. With an updated database and a deep understanding of the needs of companies and employers, these Trabaho Centers can move beyond the usual aptitude tests and vague, conceptual career advice. Career coaching in our Trabaho Centers must be well informed and practical.

 Knowing the needs of the job market and being aware of the skills and knowledge of students, Trabaho Centers can also go beyond job fairs and pre-employment seminars when it comes to employment facilitation. Our responsive Trabaho Centers can address the skills mismatch from within our schools, giving feedback for teaching modules and even working with TESDA to better develop the skills of graduates and ensure employability upon graduation. These Trabaho Centers will not only provide information on the available jobs, but also help schools improve their approaches and regularly update their lessons.

This simple intervention can strengthen the link between education and employment, and can build a steady bridge for our graduates to cross over to stable jobs and sustainable livelihood. With Trabaho Centers in every school, a diploma will be more than a symbol and a graduation will be more than a milestone. With Trabaho Centers in every school, graduates are ensured gainful employment and can look forward to a secure future.

Nag-aral at nagtapos. Nagtrabaho at umasenso. ‘Yan po ang pangarap natin para sa bawat Pilipino!

Siguraduhin po natin na may trabahong naghihintay para sa bawat graduate. Siguraduhin natin na may sapat na kaalaman at kakayahan ang mga bagong graduate na punuan ang mga job vacancies. Siguraduhin natin na maipapasa ang Trabaho Center in Schools Act!

 Mr. President and distinguished colleagues, let’s come together and rally for the future of every Filipino student! Let’s bridge that gap between free, quality education and a secure career so that we can finally beat poverty and bring forth prosperity for every Filipino! Maraming, maraming salamat po! Magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

Sponsorship Speech: Pagkaing Pinoy para sa Batang Pinoy Act

Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV
17th Congress, Senate of the Philippines
Sponsorship Speech as delivered, December 13, 2016


Magandang hapon po sa ating lahat! Mr. President and my distinguished colleagues, good afternoon!


I stand before you today as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education to sponsor Senate Bill No.1279 in substitution of Senate Bill Numbers 23, 123, 160, 220, 406, 416, and 694, Under Committee Report No. 21 entitled: An Act Creating a National School Feeding Program to Combat Hunger and Undernutrition for All Public Basic Education Students, and For Other Purposes, otherwise known as the “Pagkaing Pinoy Para Sa Batang Pinoy Act”.

Mr. President, yesterday, we lost an exemplary Filipino and a true advocate for prosperity – Mr. Manny Perlas of Lifebank – that’s him right there with the white hair. Manny Perlas was one of the first benefactors of GK’s Kusina ng Kalinga and the group credits his leadership in the establishment of this feeding program back in 2014.

 Mr. President, this is a photo of Mr. Manny Perlas during the opening of the first ever Kusina ng Kalinga in Alang-Alang Leyte. Manny’s Kusina ng Kalinga or KnK has always been a program that brings smiles to people’s faces – whether students, teachers or volunteers!

 Mr. President, nagsimula po ang KnK sa Leyte bilang relief effort para sa public school na apektado ng Typhoon Yolanda – ang Alang-Alang I Central School, kung saan po itinayo ang unang kusina.

 Mr. President, nalaman po nila na ang numero-unong dahilan kung bakit hindi pumapasok ang isang mag-aaral ay dahil sa gutom – gutom na madali namang pawiin sa simpleng feeding program. Noong nakita nila na dahil sa KnK ay mas masigla at mas bibo sa klase ang mga estudyante, itinuloy po nila ang proyekto!

 Kumuha ang KnK ng tatlong regular na kitchen staff at nakakakuha rin sila ng sampu hanggang labinlimang volunteer na magulang sa bawat araw ng pagpasok. Kinausap ho nila ang mga lokal na magsasaka upang mag-supply ng mga ingredients, tulad ng malunggay.

 And Mr. President, thanks to Kusina ng Kalinga in Alang-Alang, Leyte, thanks to parent volunteers, and thanks to local farmers, about 2,600 students are fed nutritious meals in 4 schools (in Leyte) – Alang-Alang I Central School, Binongtoan Elementary School, M Casaus Elementary School, and San Roque Day Care Center.

 Based on their data, the number of severely malnourished children in their schools dropped from 268 to 47, that’s 11% down to 2%, spanning one school year, 2015 to 2016 (Start of Year Report vs. End of Year Report, SY 2015-2016).

 Since they started the project in Leyte in 2014, Kusina ng Kalinga now covers 61 schools and feeds over 18,000 Filipino children around the country. And, Mr. President, I’m happy to learn that Kusina ng Kalinga is not the only successful feeding program in the country.

 There are smaller movements like our friends from Navotas High School with a current program that feeds 120 students. Advancement for Rural Kids or ARK also has a feeding and livelihood program that has helped 10 communities and over 2,400 kids. There are also larger movements like Jollibee Foundation’s Busog, Lusog, Talino School Feeding Program that has covered 1,500 schools, feeding over 140,000 students from 2007 to 2014. And Mr. President, there are even more feeding programs around the Philippines!

 But unfortunately, all of these efforts are still not enough. In The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO, it was revealed that 16 million Filipino children are considered undernourished. Mr. President, labing-anim na milyong batang Pilipino ang undernourished. Iyan po ay isang numero na napakalaki at nakakabahala.

 Sa kabilang dako naman po, ang ating mga mangingisda at magsasaka ay patanda ng patanda at pabawas ng pabawas. The average age of the 11 million Filipino farmers and fishermen is 57 years old and the average annual income of a farmer is only 20,000 pesos.

 In fact, if you look at these 3 sectors – our fishermen, farmers, and children – you will find that these sectors have the highest poverty incidence. For fishermen it is at 39.2%, for farmers it is 38.3% and 35.2% for children, according to the Philippine Statistics Office. All of this is in 2012, Mr. President.

 Kailangan nating gawan ng paraan na matulungan ang mga batang Pilipinong nahihirapang mag-aral dahil sa kumukulong tiyan. Kailangan rin po natin bigyan ng sapat, regular, at pangmatagalang kabuhayan ang ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda.

 Mr. President and honored colleagues, aren’t these two problems pieces of the same puzzle that fit perfectly together?

 On one hand, we have children who need nutritious food and on the hand we have farmers and fishermen producing food without the means to sell. Today, we’re given the opportunity to bridge this gap and fulfill our duty to uplift the lives of our poorest countrymen. The Pagkaing Pinoy Para sa Batang Pinoy Act can be that link between hungry young Filipinos and anxious farmers and fishermen.

 The Pagkaing Pinoy Para sa Batang Pinoy Act will bring the progress we’ve seen in Alang-Alang, Leyte of Kusina ng Kalinga to more and more students and more and more communities across the country. The Pagkaing Pinoy Para sa Batang Pinoy Act will institutionalize an effective feeding program, sustained by local gardens, farmers and fishermen, and powered by community engagement and volunteerism.

 Through this policy, school children in the kindergarten and elementary levels will enjoy free access to nutritious food with the DepEd ensuring that students from kindergarten to grade 6 are provided with proper meals.

 In addition, this measure includes a Gulayan sa Paaralan program to promote gardening in schools and households, which will help augment the food needs of the program and instill a sense of appreciation for food production within the community. Sa programang Gulayan sa Paaralan, matututunan po ng mga mag-aaral na pangalagahan ang pagtatanim ng pagkain at ng pagsasaka. The goal of this measure is not just to feed our hungry Filipino children but to nourish them with healthy food sourced from the community, sourced local farmers, and fishermen.

 Mr. President, when our students are healthy and fed, they grow even hungrier for knowledge and learning! Thanks to the nutritious meals, they joyfully go to school and gladly participate in the classroom.

 Sa Pagkaing Pinoy para sa Batang Pinoy Act, lalaki ng malakas, matalino at malusog ang kabataang Pilipino habang umaasenso naman po ang buhay ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda!

 Suportahan po natin ang pagpasa ng Pagkaing Pinoy Para Pa Batang Pinoy Act para sa kabataang Pilipino, para sa ating mga mangingisda at magsasakam para sa ating komunidad, at para sa ating bayan! Maraming, maraming salamat po!

Aquino, Poe push for approval of feeding program in public schools

A senator urged colleagues to hasten passage of the proposal seeking to address hunger of students in public schools and provide additional livelihood for farmers and fisherfolk.

Sen. Bam Aquino made the call during his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 1279 or the Pagkaing Pinoy Para sa Batang Pinoy Act, that institutionalizes an effective feeding program for students of basic education.

 ​​​Being a staunch advocate of addressing hunger, ​Sen. Grace Poe co-sponsored the measure​.

 According to Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education, these feeding programs will be sustained by local gardens, farmers and fishermen, and powered by community engagement and volunteerism.

 “Through this policy, infants and school children in the basic education will enjoy free regular access to nutritious food,” said Sen. Bam, author of Senate Bill No. 694, which was consolidated in Senate Bill No. 1279 together with Senate Bill Nos. 23, 123, 160 and 548.

 If enacted into law, Sen. Bam said Department of Education will be mandated to ensure that students from basic education are provided with proper meals.

 “Through this policy, school children in the basic education will enjoy free regular access to nutritious food with the Department of Education ensuring that students are provided with proper meals,” he said.

 The proposal will utilize locally sourced and locally produced food products to support local farmers and fishermen, providing them with regular income and livelihood.

 “Sa Pagkaing Pinoy para sa Batang Pinoy Act, lalaki nang malakas, matalino at malusog ang kabataang Pilipino habang umaasenso ang buhay ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda,” said Sen. Bam.

 Based on 2012 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 16 million Filipino children are considered undernourished.

 Studies also show that the average age of the 11 million Filipino farmers and fishermen is 57 years old while the average annual income of a farmer is only about 20,000 pesos.

 “The Pagkaing Pinoy Para sa Batang Pinoy Act can be that link between hungry young Filipinos and anxious farmers and fishermen,” said Sen. Bam.

 The measure also pushes for the “Gulayan sa Paaralan” program to promote gardening in schools and households, which will help augment the food needs of the program and instill a sense of appreciation for food production within the community.

 After sponsoring the measure, Sen. Poe thanked Sen. Bam for his speedy action on the bill and several other senators also lauded his efforts. In turn, Sen. Bam thanked his colleagues for their support behind the enactment of the measure into law.

 “With the full support of fellow lawmakers, we can definitely pass this measure quickly and, finally, feed our poor and hungry students across the country,” said Sen. Bam.

Bam: P8B budget for college tuition, good sign for free higher ed law

The additional P8 billion budget for free tuition in colleges and universities is a good sign that we will pass the Free Higher Education for All bill, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

  “The Senate initiative to make colleges and universities tuition-free is a major reform that will greatly benefit Filipino families and the approved 8-billion peso budget for SUCs is a good sign that our bill will pass,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education.

During Tuesday’s bicameral conference committee, lawmakers approved the additional P8 billion budget to be distributed to different SUCs in 2017.

As chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 177 or the Free Higher Education for All Act giving free tuition fee to all students in SUCs.

 Earlier, Sen. Bam expressed confidence that the measure will be enacted into law next year due to the Senate’s overwhelming support for its passage.

 “Mahalaga na mabigyan ng tulong ang ating mahihirap na estudyante at pati ang kanilang mga magulang. Marami sa amin ang talagang tinutulak ito,” said Sen. Bam.

 During a recent hearing, several sectors pushed different methods to implement the measure. Some groups want to focus on specific courses while others believe that it should be based on the student’s capacity to pay.

 Different groups also raised the possibility of expanding the measure’s coverage by providing poor students with miscellaneous expenses, transportation expenses and living expenses, in addition to a free tuition fee.

 Aside from improving access to tertiary education, Sen. Bam said he will also work to improve the quality of public education in the Philippines and address underemployment and jobs mismatch through Trabaho Centers.


NEGOSYO, NOW NA!: FabLab ng Bohol Negosyo Centers tagumpay (2)

Mga kanegosyo, sa nakaraan nating kolum, tinalakay natin ang mga natamong tagumpay ng mga lumapit sa dalawang Negosyo Center sa lalawigan ng Bohol.

Sa huling bilang, nasa 4,000 na ang natulungan ng dalawang Negosyo Center sa FCB Main Branch Bldg., CPG Avenue at sa kapitolyo ng lalawigan, na parehong makikita sa Tagbilaran City.

Ang paglalagay ng Negosyo Center sa bawat munisipalidad, siyudad at lalawigan sa buong bansa ay bahagi ng Republic Act no. 10644 o ang Go Negosyo Act, ang aking kauna-unahang batas bilang senador.

Isa sa mga susi ng tagumpay ng Bohol Negosyo Centers ay ang kauna-unahang digital fabrication laboratory o FabLab sa Pilipinas na makikita sa Bohol Island State University (BISU).

Ang FabLab ay nakatutulong sa entrepreneurs sa pagdidisenyo ng kanilang mga ideya sa negosyo gamit ang makabagong fabrication machines, tulad ng 3D printer, laser cutter, printer at cutter.


Isa sa mga natulungan ng FabLab ay ang Bohol Dairy Producers Association (BoDPA), isang grupo na nakabase sa munisipalidad ng Ubay at kilala sa produkto nilang gatas ng kalabaw.
Maliban sa gatas ng kalabaw, nais ng asosasyon na dagdagan ang kanilang produkto kaya nagtungo sila sa FabLab.

Sa FabLab, nabuo ang ideya na gumawa ng sabon galing sa gatas ng kalabaw. Maliban sa paggawa ng milk soap, tinulungan din sila ng FabLab na magdisenyo at gumawa ng hulmahan para sa nasabing sabon.

Dito na nagsimula ang Ubay Milk Soap, na ibi­nebenta na sa iba’t ibang tindahan sa Bohol.
Nakikipag-usap na rin ang BoDPA sa Department of Tourism (DOT) upang maibenta ang produkto sa mga tindahang malapit sa tourist destinations ng bansa.



Kamakailan lang, nagbigay din ng seminar ang DTI sa FabLab sa ilang kababaihan mula sa 15 barangay ng Tagbilaran City para sa paggawa ng raw materials para sa craft at souvenir items mula sa tuyong dahon.

Kabilang sa mga itinuro sa kanila ay ang leaf board making o paggawa ng kahon mula sa mga tuyong dahon.

Ang mga nalikhang kahon ay gagamitin na package ng isang lokal na produkto ng tsokolate sa Bohol — ang Ginto Chocolates.

Ang Ginto Chocolates ay kilalang luxury chocolate na sinimulan ni Dalariech Polot, na tubong Bohol.

Ang mga magulang ni Dalareich ay nagtitinda ng tablea sa Bohol. Dito nila kinuha ang panggastos sa araw-araw na pa­ngangailangan kaya naging mahalagang parte ng buhay ni Dalareich ang tsokolate.

Noong 2014, napili siyang mag-aral sa Ghent University sa Belgium kung saan natuto siya mula sa pinakamagaling na chocolatiers sa mundo.

Pagbalik niya sa Pilipinas, sinimulan ni Dalareich ang Ginto Choco­lates, na ngayo’y isa sa mga kilalang brand ng luxury chocolate sa mundo.


Mga kanegosyo, sa ngayon ay mayroon nang 400 Negosyo Centers sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa na handang tumulong sa mga nais magnegosyo.

 Upang malaman ang pinakamalapit na Negosyo Center sa inyong lugar, magtungo sa

Bam: Microfinance NGOs Act to help eradicate “5-6”

The Microfinance NGOs Act will help the government’s plan to eliminate loan sharks or “5-6” as it will provide the poor with alternative low-interest, no-collateral financing, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.


“Sa Microfinance NGOs Act, may alternatibong malalapitan ang mahihirap at maliliit na negosyante para makakuha ng pautang sa mababang interes,” said Sen. Bam.


“Sa batas na ito, mailalayo ang mahihirap sa malaking interest na sinisingil ng loan sharks at masusuportahan ang pagnanais ng gobyerno na mabura ang 5-6,” the senator added.


During the 30th anniversary of 30th Anniversary of Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions or CARD-MFI, one of the biggest MFI-NGO in the Philippines, Sen. Bam hailed the MFIs’ role in helping Filipino women entrepreneurs.


“When you look at the stories na lumalabas, apat na milyong kababaihan ang natutulungan na magnegosyo at makakuha ng tulong para sa kanilang, mas malaking income para sa kanilang mga anak,” said Sen. Bam.


“Maganda mapag-usapan ang kuwentong ito na nagdadala ng pag-asa sa kabila ng kuwentong patayan at tungkol sa drugs,” added Sen. Bam, who worked closely with MFIs as a social entrepreneur prior to being a senator.


Sen. Bam pushed for the passage of the Microfinance NGOs Act or Republic Act 10693 as co-author and principal sponsor in the Senate during his term as chairman of Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship in the 16th Congress.


In turn, MFI NGOs give Filipinos access to low-interest, no collateral loans to pay for housing, medical, and educational needs as well as loans for small businesses.


The law gives incentives to microfinance NGOs to continue helping Filipinos overcome poverty not just through financing but also through financial literacy, livelihood, and entrepreneurship training.


The law also provides microfinance NGOs needed support and incentives that includes access to government programs and projects, technical assistance and exemption from taxes.


“MFI NGOs aid our poor countrymen in times of inflation and price increases. They also provide financing and training for livelihood and small businesses so families can overcome poverty,” he said.


“Now that the MFI NGOs Act has been passed and the IRR signed, let’s push for its quick and effective implementation,” he added.


In 2013, MFI NGO members of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) had a gross loan portfolio of over 15.26 billion pesos catering to more than 2.7 million micro-entrepreneurs.


Bam: Strengthen justice system instead of death penalty

Instead of reviving the death penalty, shouldn’t we fix and strengthen the country’s justice system? This question was posed by Sen. Bam Aquino.

“Alam naman natin na may problema ang ating justice system at dehado dito ang mga mahihirap,” said Sen. Bam during a media interview in Naga City.

“Hindi ba dapat prioridad na ayusin ang ating sistemang panghustisya imbis na bigyan ng kapangyarihang magpataw ng death penalty,” he added.

Most of the time, Sen. Bam said poor people emerge as casualties of the weak justice system because they cannot afford the services of a lawyer who can defend them in court.

“Dahil sa kawalan ng kakayahang kumuha ng abogado, ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap ang nagiging biktima ng mahinang sistema ng hustisya sa bansa. Pero kung drug dealer ka gaya ni Espinosa, naka-life imprisonment ka, pero makakalabas dahil sa technicality,” Sen. Bam stressed.

With the gravity of the issue, Sen. Bam assured the public that the Senate will look into the death penalty proposal with due diligence.

“Buhay ang nakataya rito kaya hindi ito puwedeng madaliin. Kailangan talaga itong pag-usapan at pagdebatihan ang mga mahahalagang isyu rito,” said Sen. Bam.

“Isa ito sa mga bagay-bagay na dapat iniiwan na lang sa konsiyensiya ng bawat senador o bawat mambabatas. Hindi ho basta-basta ang pagbabalik ho ng death penalty sa ating bansa,” he added.

The lawmaker also wants to give the public – where for or against death penalty — a chance to speak on the matter, whether in schools, church and other venues.

“Kailangan nating makuha ang pulso at pananaw ng taumbayan ukol dito para magabayan tayo sa ating mga susunod na hakbang,” Sen. Bam pointed out.

Bam on Duterte’s statement on policemen involved in Espinosa killing, VP Leni

Transcript of media interview in Iriga City


Q: Reaction sa ginawa ni Digong na hindi niya ipakukulong (ang mga pulis na involved sa Espinosa killing)?


Sen. Bam: Alam mo, pabagu-bago ang statements niya tungkol diyan. I think, binago na rin ng Malacanang ang sinabi niya.

But definitely, kung talagang may nakita tayong mga pulis na gumawa ng masama, dapat silang makulong.

 That’s the rule of law. Hindi puwedeng mapawalang-bisa iyon nang basta-basta na lang.

To be frank, may sinabi siya kahapon. Binago today. Alam niyo, hindi ko na rin alam kung ano ang mga ibig sabihin talaga.

 Siguro, iyong panigan na lang natin is kung may sala na ginawa, na mukha namang meron. The NBI has said it, internal affairs, iyong medico legal, iyon rin po ang sinabi na rubout ito, dapat talaga managot ang mga pulis na iyon.


Q: Kumusta po ang Liberal Party?


Sen. Bam: Lahat kami ay nakasuporta kay VP Leni. Ang mahalaga po ay matuloy niya ang kanyang misyong tumulong sa ating bayan.

She said it many times in the past na hindi naman kailangan ng gobyerno upang makatulong sa ating bayan.

If you remember, medyo late na rin siyang nakapasok sa Gabinete at nakaplano na rin kung paano makatutulong sa mga nasa laylayan kahit walang government agency.

 Ngayong wala na siya sa Housing, I think what’s important is tayong sumusuporta sa kanya, we help her to be able to do her mission na tumulong sa nasa laylayan ng lipunan.

The party is solidly behind her sa kanyang desisyon at sa mga susunod na hakbang na matuloy ang kanyang misyon na tulungan ang mahihirap kahit wala na sa Gabinete.


 On bill against “no permit, no exam policy


Sen. Bam: Masyado yatang grabe na hindi mo papa-eksaminin ang bata dahil hindi lang makabayad. We want to make this illegal, gusto nating pagmultahin ang mga guro, administrador at mga eskuwelahan na gumagawa nito. We want to make sure na ang hindi makatarungang gawain na iyan ay matigil na. We’re hoping na mapasa natin ito sa ating committee para matigil na ang practice na ito na hindi makatarungan sa mga kabataan.


Q: Ang problema po ng ating mga estudyante sa high school, elementary at nursery ay ang mga field trip, film showing, among others. May magagawa ba kayo para ito’y matigil na dahil ito’y lumalabas na anti-poor dahil nasa public school na nga, papagastusin pa ang mga magulang?


Sen. Bam: We’ll try to find a way na mabalansehin po iyan. Ang ganyang extra-curricular activities, maganda rin iyan for the development ng mga bata pero kung hindi na siya ma-afford, hindi na siya maganda.

Narinig na rin namin iyan na maraming bata ang hindi nakakapunta. We’ll try to find a way to balance that out kasi pag in-outlaw naman natin o tinanggal natin completely, hindi naman iyon maganda rin.

We’ll try to find a balance. Magandang mabigyan ng subsidy ang ating mga eskuwelahan para mas marami ang maka-avail nito.


Q: Kanina sa program ko, may nag-text. Baka puwede mo ring sabihin kay Sen. Aquino na ang public schools, baka puwede maging free, as in free, sa mga bayarin. Bukod sa PTA dues, marami pa ring hinihingi sa mga pupils like homeroom projects, tours, sarsuela, tickets etc. Baka puwede rin silang maglaan ng funds per student sa mga public school.


Sen. Bam: Iyong mga sarsuela at non-essential matters, dapat hindi na ituloy o di na gawing requirement. Ang public school system natin, gusto ho natin libre iyan. Ang alam ko ho ngayon, ang mga gastusin na lang ngayon ay iyong uniform.

 Ang iba pang fees gaya ng field trip at film showing, gusto ho nating ma-minimize natin iyan at mabigyan ng tsansa ang bata na maka-experience niyan nang hindi malaki ang ginagastos.

 But again, it’s about finding a balance. Most of the expenses sa ating schools, subsidized na po iyan. I would even say, more like 90 percent or 95 percent may subsidiya na po. Ang palagay ko, maganda pong tingnan iyan.

Ang sinisikap naman natin ngayon, maging free rin ang tuition fee natin sa state universities and colleges. Iyon ang next natin na binibigyan ng pansin. We’re hoping to pass that by next year.

BIDA KA!: Bida ang PWDs

Mga bida, isa sa mga isinulong­ natin noong 16th Congress ay ang kapakanan ng Persons with ­Disabi­lities­ (PWDs).

Tumayo tayo bilang co-author ng Republic Act 10754 o ang batas­ na nag-aalis ng VAT sa mga may ­kapansanan.

Maliban sa pag-alis ng VAT, binibigyan din ng batas ng insentibo sa buwis ang sinumang may kamag-anak na PWDs, hanggang sa tinatawag na fourth civil degree.


Ngayong 17th Congress, naitalaga man tayo bilang chairman ng Committee on Education at Science and Technology, patuloy pa rin ang ating hangaring bantayan ang kapakanan ng mga kapatid nating PWDs.

Sa huling ulat ng Philippine Statistics Authority, tinatayang nasa 1.5 milyon ang PWDs sa buong bansa.

Kamakailan, naghain tayo ng Senate Bill No. 1249 na ­layong amyendahan ang Republic Act 7277 o ang Magna ­Carta for Disabled Persons upang mabigyan ng dagdag na ­trabaho ang PWDs.

Kapag naisabatas ang panukalang ito, aatasan ang mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan na maglaan ng dalawang porsiyento ng ­kabuuan nilang empleyado para sa PWDs.

Aatasan naman ang mga pribadong kumpanya na kunin ­mula sa PWDs ang isang porsiyento ng kanilang mga empleyado.

Ang panukalang ito ay magbibigay sa ating PWDs ng ­kabuhayan, benepisyo at trabaho tulad ng iba pang kuwalipikadong empleyado at mas malaking papel sa lipunan.


Bukod pa rito, lalawak pa ang kaalaman ng publiko ukol sa karapatan ng PWDs.


Isinumite rin natin ang Senate Bill No. 356 na nagbibigay ng Philhealth coverage sa ating PWDs.

Binuo natin ang panukala upang mabigyan ng kaukulang serbisyong pangkalusugan ang lahat ng mga nangangailangan sa lipunan, lalo na ang PWDs.

Sa pagbibigay ng Philhealth coverage sa PWDs, naniniwala­ tayo na malapit nang matupad ang hangarin nating matugunan ang lahat ng pangangailangan ng mahihirap na Pilipino.

Sa panukala, aamyendahan ang Republic Act 7277 o ang “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability” upang maidagdag ang PWDs sa mga sakop ng Philhealth coverage.


May mga panukala rin tayo para sa mga kababayan nating­ may problema sa pandinig  ang Senate Bill No. 966 at ­Senate Bill No. 967.

Sa Senate Bill No. 966 o Filipino Sign Language Act, isinusulong nating maideklara ang Filipino Sign Language (FSL) ­bilang pambansang sign language ng mga kababayan nating may diperensiya sa pandinig.

Kapag naisabatas, ang FSL ay magsisilbing opisyal na ­wikang gagamitin ng pamahalaan sa lahat ng transaksyon sa mga kababayan nating may diperensiya sa pandinig. Itatakda rin ng panukala na gamitin ang FSL sa mga paaralan, trabaho at sa broadcast media.

Ang FSL din ang gagamiting opisyal na wika para sa mga kapatid nating may suliranin sa pandinig sa lahat ng public hearing at iba pang transaksyon sa mga hukuman, quasi-judicial agencies at iba pang uri ng hukuman.

Nagbago man tayo ng komite, tuloy pa rin ang ating pagtatrabaho para maisulong ang kapakanan at karapatan ng mga kapatid nating PWDs.

Bam calls on local and int’l players to work with the DICT for better Internet

Sen. Bam calls on Internet companies here and abroad to work with the DICT to improve the quality of internet services in the Philippines.

“The success of our National Broadband Plan to improve Internet services lies in strong partnerships between government and the private sector,” said Sen. Bam after leading the Committee on Science and Technology’s hearing that looked into the initial details of the government’s national broadband plan Tuesday.

During the hearing, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) revealed initial details of its P75-billion national broadband plan, which is implementable in about 2 to 3 years.

The DICT stated that their preferred option is to invest in Internet infrastructure, like fiber optic cables, especially in underserved and hard-to-reach areas.

Under this option, the government will also use the existing infrastructure of current players while encouraging new entrants to develop new Internet infrastructure.

According to Sen. Bam, the DICT will come out with a final national broadband plan by the 2nd quarter of 2017.

 “Kapag maayos ang pagkagawa ng plano at siguraduhin na maayos ang pag-implement nito, magkakaroon tayo ng sapat na imprastraktura para tumaas ang kalidad ng internet at bumaba pa ang presyo nito,” said Sen. Bam.

 On top of the national broadband plan, Sen. Bam said the recently passed Philippine Competition Act will help create a climate that will attract foreign players to partner with Filipino companies, while the Free Internet Access in Public Spaces bill includes a provision to cut red tape for permits.

  “The policies we’re working on will also create a more competitive environment and promote ease of doing business to make it easier for new players to come,” added Sen. Bam.

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