Month: May 2017

Sen. Bam: Game development, esports gaining momentum in PH

A senator believes that esports and game development in the country are gaining momentum towards being a source of honor and employment opportunities for Filipinos.

Sen. Bam Aquino based his pronouncement on recent developments that put esports and the country’s game development industry on the spotlight.

Recently, esports was included in the Asian Games as demonstration sport in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. In 2022, esports will be an official medal event at the 2022 Hangzhou Games.

 In addition, the Mandaue-based University of The Visayas New School included esports and game development in its Senior High Arts and Design track.

 “I believe that if we strengthen academic-industry linkages and work with our schools to develop the skills and creativity of future Filipino game developers, we will be able to grow this industry more,” said Sen. Bam, a staunch supporter of esports and game development industry in the country.

The university said it will teach game strategy for Dota 2, game design and development animation and 2D and 3D animation and game creation. After two years, the students can either choose to be game creators, designers, or e-sports players in the professional league.

 The senator has been supporting Filipino esports athletes, who have excelled in previous international events, including the prestigious International DOTA 2 Championship event inSeattle where Filipino squad TNC finished eighth.

Sen. Bam helped establish Philippine esports Association (PeSPA) to strengthen the foundation of esports in the country, look after the welfare of cyber athletes and stakeholders and promote esports in the country.

 Aside from this, Sen. Bam is also an ardent of the video game development industry in thePhilippines due to its tremendous potential to create fresh employment opportunities for Filipinos.

“All the ingredients are there to really make this work and primary of which is the Filipinos’ combination of artistry and technical know-how that can be the foundation for the game development industry in the Philippines,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam: PH lacks 19,000 scientists, lags behind in R&D

The Philippines needs 19,000 more scientists working in both government and private sector to turn the country into a significant force in research and development, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.
During the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology, chaired by Sen. Bam, on the Balik Scientist Bill, it was discovered that the Philippines has 189 scientists per million, far from the ideal target of 380 per million.
The country pales in comparison with other countries as South Korea and United States have 5,300 and 3,500 scientists per million, respectively. Malaysia, for its part, has 2,000 scientists per million.
“Paano tayo makakasabay sa ibang bansa pagdating sa research at development kung kulang tayo ng 19,000 scientists,” said Sen. Bam, author of Senate Bill No. 1183 or the Balik Scientist Bill. 
According to Assistant Secretary Teodoro Gatchalian of the Department of Science and Technology, the agency has a budget of P25 million for the Balik Scientist Program. If the bill is approved, the budget will increase significantly, enabling the DOST to attract more Filipinos to return home and serve the country.
Sen. Bam hopes that the measure will help address the lack of scientists, caused by the exodus of scientists and researchers to other countries to look for greener pastures.
“Sa tulong ng panukalang ito, mahihikayat natin ang mga Filipino scientist sa ibang bansa na bumalik sa Pilipinas at tumulong sa pagpapaunlad ng ating research and development,” said Sen. Bam.
The Balik Scientist Bill seeks to provide overseas Filipino scientist with financial benefits and incentives to encourage to return to the Philippines and help boost the country’s research and development.
The measure aims to institutionalize the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which successfully encouraged some of our scientists to return and contribute to research that will address development gaps in the Philippines.

Sen. Bam consults students and AFP to craft effective ROTC program

Sen. Bam Aquino organized a workshop to consult students, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other stakeholders regarding proposals to revive the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in schools to help craft an effective program that “will reflect the true purpose of ROTC”.

“The ROTC is a priority legislation of this government. We want to set aside our pre-conceived notions. We’re here to listen to each other,” said Sen. Bam in his opening address.

“This is an open discussion to learn directly from the people that will be affected by ROTC reforms. By the end of this, we should have a deeper understanding of the needs of our reserve force and find potential improvements to the ROTC program,” added Sen. Bam.

The discussion is also expected to tackle whether Senior High School is the best place to revive the program and whether it should be mandatory or not.

During his eight-month tenure as chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam committed to reach out to different sectors regarding the proposal to revive ROTC in schools.

He visited the Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) of the Philippine Army at Camp Reigo De Dios in Tanza, Cavite to get input from officials and professionals who have been undergoing training as reserve officers.

Sen. Bam met with ARESCOM officials, led by Commandant Rito Petinglay and Col. Bernie Langub, where they discussed the importance of reserve officers’ role in the context of national security in this present situation.

The senator also discussed increasing the budget to provide better training and a better program for the reserve corps. “We talked about modernizing and updating the ROTC, taking into account national security, counter-terrorism and cyber security,” the senator said.

During his visit, Sen. Bam also raised the possibility of professionals beefing up the country’s reserve force.

“We should look to professionals as a source for reserve forces. We can encourage them to join by giving incentives and other benefits,” said Sen. Bam.

In addition, Sen. Bam said there are volunteers who wish to join the reserve corps.

Three bills calling for the revival of the ROTC are pending with the Committee on Education – Senate Bills 1131, 200 and 189, authored by Sens. JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian and Manny Pacquiao, respectively.

The ROTC became optional in 2002 through Republic Act 9163 or the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001.

Sen. Bam urges admin to move faster for National Broadband Plan

With the National Broadband Plan (NBP) expected to take three years to finish, Sen. Bam Aquino urged the government to focus also on getting more competition by encouraging more players to join the market to improve the country’s Internet speed.
“Hindi yata kayang maghintay ng tatlong taon ng mga kababayan natin kaya dapat na itong madaliin ng pamahalaan upang mapakinabangan na ng publiko,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
During the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology, DICT Undersecretary Denis Villorente revealed that the NBP will be put up starting 2018 and it is expected to be fully operational in 2020.
“We need to work on parallel efforts to achieve faster, cheaper and more reliable internet services in our country. Let’s work on the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, but let’s also encourage more players and internet providers,” Sen. Bam pointed out.
Meanwhile, the DICT assured that it can effectively implement the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, even without an NBP in place.
Sen. Bam pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act as principal sponsor and co-author. It was approved by the Senate on third and final reading via 18-0 vote.
“Can the Free Internet Access Act be fulfilled even without a National Broadband Plan? Kaya ba ng iba’t ibang grupo na matupad ang hangarin ng batas na ito?” Sen. Bam asked Villorente, who replied in the affirmative.
The senator explained that the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act has a provision where its purposes should be fulfilled within two years after its passage into law. The NBP, for its part, will be put up starting 2018 and will be fully operational come 2020.
“The failure or success of this law should not be contingent on the National Broadband Plan,” Sen. Bam pointed out, assuring the DICT that funding will be not be a problem once the measure is enacted into law.
Sen. Bam hopes that the NBP, once finished, can be a cheaper option in the implementation of the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.
Meanwhile, the DICT expressed support behind the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act. The agency also committed to work with both Houses of Congress during the bicameral conference committee to craft the final version of the measure.
The House recently passed its own version on third and final reading last week. After both Houses ratify the version from the bicameral conference committee, it will be transmitted to Malacanang for President Duterte’s signature.

BIDA KA!: Lulusot ba si Napoles?

Mga Bida, naalala niyo pa ba ang pagbuhos ng galit ng taumba­yan ukol sa isyu ng maanomalyang paggamit ng P10 bilyong pork barrel fund?

Apat na taon ang nakalipas, ­libu-libo katao ang lumabas sa kalsada upang tuligsain ang katiwaliang ito kung saan nawaldas ang kaban ng bayan at napunta lang sa bulsa ng mga tiwaling pulitiko.

Imbes na pakinabangan ng totoong nangangailangan, si Napoles lang at kanyang mga kasabwat lang ang nakinabang sa salaping dapat sana’y nagamit sa pagbibigay ng pangunahing serbisyo sa taumbayan.

Sino ba ang makakalimot sa mga larawan ng mga kaanak ni Napoles na nakahiga sa bathtub na puno ng pera?

Habang maraming tao ang nagugutom, nakasuot ang mga miyembro ng pamilya ni Napoles ng maluluhong damit at alahas habang nakasakay sa mamahaling sasakyan sa ibang bansa.

Habang maraming Pilipino ang walang bubong na masisilungan, ang isang miyembro ng pamilya ni Napoles ay naka­tira sa mamahaling condominium katabi ang mga sikat na ­celebrity at personalidad sa Amerika.

Kaya naman nagsaya ang taumbayan nang mailagay sa likod ng rehas na bakal si Janet Lim Napoles, ang sinasabing mastermind sa katiwaliang ito bunsod ng kabi-kabilang kaso ng plunder. Para sa atin, ito’y isang napakalaking panalo ­laban sa katiwalian.

Maliban sa santambak na kasong pandarambong, noong 2015 ay nahatulan si Napoles ng reclusion perpetua o habambuhay na pagkabilanggo sa serious illegal detention ng kanyang dating aide na si Benhur Luy.

Nabuhay ang tiwala ng taumbayan sa sistema ng hustisya sa bansa. Sa wakas, may malaking isda nang nabilanggo ­dahil sa katiwalian.



Ilang buwan ang lumipas, nag-iba ang ihip ng hangin dahil kamakailan lang, pinawalang-sala ng Court of Appeals (CA) si Napoles sa kasong serious illegal detention.

Ang masakit dito, administrasyon pa, sa pamamagitan ng Office of the Solicitor General, ang kumilos para maabsuwelto itong si Napoles sa kasong maglalagay sa kanya nang habambuhay sa bilangguan.

May ilang abogado ang nagsabing hindi pa rin lusot si Napoles sa kasong plunder na kanyang kinakaharap. Anila, walang epekto ang desisyon ng CA sa asunto at patuloy pa ring maghihimas ng malamig na rehas na bakal itong sa Napoles.

Para naman sa ibang abogado at legal experts, malaki ang epekto nito sa kasong plunder ni Napoles. Sa desisyon ng CA, sinabi nilang humina ang kredibilidad ni Luy bilang pangunahing saksi at posibleng makalusot si Napoles sa kaso.

Sa gitna ng palitan ng legal na opinyon, lumutang ang bali­tang sweetheart deal sa pagitan ng pamahalaan at Napoles upang siya’y maging state witness. Ngunit mariin na itong itinanggi ng Malacañang.


Tulad ko, napapakamot din ba kayo ng ulo sa nangyaring ito?

Hindi mo talaga maiwasang magtaka at mapailing na lang sa nangyaring ito kay Napoles na binansagang “Pork Barrel Queen”.

Nagsikap ang nakaraang administrasyon upang mapapanagot ang mga nagwaldas ng salapi ng taumbayan, sa pangu­nguna ni Napoles.

Ngunit sa isang iglap lang, nasayang ang kanilang pagod nang mapawalang-sala itong si Napoles.

Mapapakamot ka talaga ng ulo sa nangyaring ito.

Bam: Ensure resiliency of structures, houses against strong tremors

Due to its density, an estimated 23,000 people will perish if the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck Surigao del Norte in February happened in Metro Manila.

According to Sen. Bam Aquino, around half of that number belong to the so-called informal settlers, whose houses are not structurally sound to withstand strong tremors.

Nine people were killed in the Surigao del Norte quake that occurred last February 10, 2017.

“Kung nangyari sa Metro Manila ang lindol na tumama sa Surigao, nasa 23,000 ang namatay. Ang nakakabahala pa rito, karamihan sa mga iyon ay mga kababayan nating informal settlers,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

 Sen. Bam emphasized that this could be avoided if structures and residential houses will only comply with the Building Code, enabling them to withstand earthquakes of up to magnitude 8 to 9.

 “We need to conduct a periodic review of the resiliency of our structures, especially houses, to ensure that it can withstand strong tremors and avoid loss of lives,” he said.

The senator called on concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to make sure that buildings, houses and other structures can withstand strong earthquakes.

 PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum echoed Sen. Bam’s statement, saying he has been pushing for inspection and periodic evaluation of buildings and houses for resiliency.

Sen. Bam also called on Congress to conduct a periodic review of Republic Act 10121 or the Act Strengthening the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System to make it attuned to present needs.

 “Kailangang ang mabilis na aksiyon upang matiyak ang kaligtasan ng mga istruktura sa ating bansa upang maiwasan ang pagkawala ng buhay at malawakang pinsala,” said Sen. Bam.

By virture of Sen. Bam’s resolution, the SciTech Committee conducted the hearing to ensure if scientific data gathered by PHIVOLCS is effectively disseminated to allay fears and combat the prevalence of false information online.

In addition, the probe was aimed at better preparing communities in the occurrence of destructive tremors.

Sen. Bam on CA secret voting, lobby money, secret cell, Napoles acquittal

Transcript of Sen. Bam’s media interview


On Secret Voting Process


Ngayong araw pong ito, magffile po kami ng isang resolution sa Commission on Appointments kung saan pinapa-review po natin yung secret voting process. Mukhang isa po itong proseso na nung una, tingin po ng mga members ay makabubuti pero pagkatapos nung confirmation ni Secretary Lopez parang may mga question dun sa kinalabasan ng boto. So maganda ho sigurong ireview ito at sa madaliang panahon, tignan kung kailangan po itong imodify o baguhin. 

Well, unang una may mga question pagdating dun sa final count at dun sa mga public pronouncements ng ibang mga kasama natin. Dun sa mga hindi pagtutugmang ganoon, kailangan ho sigurong ireview ulit yung secret voting process. Marami rin ho sa publiko na nagsabi na parang hindi ho ata maganda na hindi alam kung ano ang talagang boto namin.

 After all, bilang mga representante ng taong bayan, yung mga boto po namin yung isang rason kung bakit po kami nandito so maganda ngang ireview po ito ulit, tignan ulit ng Commission kung nararapat pa yung ganitong proseso. Not only for the next couple of secretaries na ihahain pero, for the years to come. Kung dapat ba talagang magkaroon ng secret voting process o dapat mas transparent po yung proseso. 

 May gentleman’s agreement o may agreement among the members na kung ano yung kakalabasan ng secret voting, yun rin yung ica-carry during the plenary. At sumunod naman tayo dun sa usapang ‘yon. Pero pagkatapos ng mga news reports, parang lumalabas na merong hindi sumangayon dun sa agreement dahil iba iba rin yung mga lumalabas  dun sa publiko o sa media ng aming mga boto. So palagay ko panahon na nga para ireview yung secret voting process and we’ll push for a more transparent process sa CA.

Mukhang may lumalabas na may nagsinungaling talaga kase hindi po tumutugma yung mga boto at sa palagay ko, yung mas mahalaga, di na kung alamin o imbestigahan kung sino po yung di nagsasabi ng totoo. Ngunit, baguhin natin yung proseso para talagang di na maulit yung ganitong pangyayari.

I think right now, it’s important to review. Some of my colleagues have their concerns pagdating sa physical safety, pagdating sa public pressure or yung lobby, sabi nga po nila. But we have to weigh that with the process which has to be transparent and where were accountable for our votes. 

 Again, hindsight is 20-20 at kinailangan ngang mangyari itong nangyari kay Secretary Lopez para maisip nga na may problema itong prosesong ito. At the time, the reasons of physical safety, and taking us away from the pressures of the different lobby groups seemed to be a good idea but after the vote of Secretary Lopez, parang lumalabas nga na kailangan tong ireview ulit. 

That’s a discussion I wish to have with my fellow members of the CA. Ireview natin, pagusapan kung ano talagang nangyari, obviously there was a huge fallout from it. Iweigh natin yung mga rason kung bakit ito nilagay to begin with at ‘yung mga drawbacks which is the lack of transparency.

 Again, di lang to para sa mga susunod na cabinet secretaries pero sa mga taon na dadating pa. At the end of the day, yung mga boto po namin, ‘yan yung isang rason bakit kame nilagay dito, because of our votes. Yung mga decision namin sa mga bagay-bagay at palagay ko kailangan accountable nga kami sa aming mga boto. Now kung pagmo-modify ay babaguhin ang isa or dalawang provision or tatanggalin ito talaga, yun siguro kailangan pagusapan ng mga miyembro ng CA. 

The minority is fully supportive of this. I have talked to some members of the majority and they agree na panahon na nga na ireview ito. Pagusapan, even before the next vote for the remaining secretaries. 

 Sa totoo lang, di ko alam kung pwedeng i-divulge yung prosesong yan. Basta ang mahalaga siguro is may botohang nangyari, di mo alam kung ano yung boto ng isa’t-isa. Even among each member. The only thing we’re allowed to do is to talk about our own vote. Yun lang talaga yung pwede mong sabihin. Of course, kung may iba namang nagsabi na rin publicly, pwede mo na rin sigurong pagusapan ‘yun. But at the end of the day, ang bawat isa sa amin, in general, di rin talaga namin alam ‘yung boto ng isa’t-isa. So I don’t want to cast doubt or aspersions on my fellow members pero pag sinuma mo na, yung mga nagsalita at yung kinalabasan ng boto, meron talagang hindi pagkakatugma. So kailangan talaga ‘tong ireview at tignan ulit. Maybe we can push for a more transparent process. Palagay ko ‘yun yung hinahanap ng taong bayan. 

 At that time na pinagusapan, that seemed like a good reason. In fact may mga ibang miyembro rin na nagsalita tungkol sa physical threats na itong secret voting will save us from any physical threats na kakalabasan nung aming boto. Those are valid concerns pero meron ding concerns in terms of transparency and accountability at palagay ko kailangang i-weigh ‘yun sa isa’t isa that’s why we’re calling a review of this process. 

That has been raised by some members in the past to the public. But again, ako kasi ang tingin ko, yung transparency and accountability mahalaga. At ‘yung boto namin, sa kahit anumang batas, kahit anumang decision, yan yung rason kung bakit kame nandito, diba? So I think it’s important that we push for transparency but we do need to weigh those concerns by some of the members of the CA. 


On Lobby Money


It’s not my issue, to be frank. Wala naman nagoffer sa’kin ng pera sa totoo lang at bumoto kame para kay Sec. Lopez this might be raised by other members of the CA who felt bad that that was raised in the public.

May lobby na nangyari, noh. Personally wala namang perang inoffer sa’kin sa totoo lang. But of course lobbying on both sides. Yung mga pro-environment groups or pro-Gina groups, nagpadala ng position papers. Yung mga laban sa kanya nagpadala rin ng mga position paper so definitely, there was a lot of lobbying. ‘Di naman po masama ‘yun. Kahit ho sa internet maraming lobbying kung paguusapan natin whether someone is for or against at gusto nilang ipaalam sa mga representante nila nangyayari talaga yan. Now kung may perang involved, yun po yung illegal at hindi maganda. Pero on my part, I can say that no money was offered to us. 

 In fairness to the other members of the CA, wala po tayong naririnig na may perang umikot. In fairness to them. Again, kanya-kanyang boto kame dito eh. We all have our votes, we all have our decisions, but at the end of the day, kailangan panindigan namin yung mga desisyon na ‘yun. Kung no, no. Kung yes, yes. 

 I’m not sure. We have a very short window left. I think tatlong linggo na lang ‘yung session natin. So they’ll be tackled soon enough but hopefully matapos namin at the soonest possible time. 

You have to ask member of the CA who voted no. Sila yung apektado dun sa statement ni President Duterte na ‘yun. Kame naman na pumabor kay Sec. Lopez, di kami apektado sa statement na ‘yan.


On Secret Cell


So we filed a resolution looking into the secret cell. Gusto ho nating malaman unang una na naitigil na ang ganitong gawain. Wala po ibang secret cell sa ating mga ciudad and that it’s clear na yung paggawa ng isang secret cell ay mali.

In fairness kay Gen. Albayalde, he explained to us that they have already done a thorough investigation but pinaka-pakay ko sa kanya is dapat maging malinaw yung PNP sa kanilang response sa pagkakaroon ng pagaabusong ganyan. Dapat clear ang mga ganyan klaseng bagay, mali. Hindi dapat tinutularan, hindi dapat inuulit. Dapat maitigil. That was really our discussion earlier in my office in preparation for the hearing. Na maging malinaw sila sa kung ano yung tama at mali, wag nilang pagtakpan yung mga mali at magkaroon ng aksyon. Hindi lang yung parang papalampasin lang tapos parang wala na lang.

Hinahanap natin sa PNP yung tamang response. Pag may mga grave abuses na nakikita tayo sa harap natin. He also mentioned about yung holistic approach towards the drug war. Na hindi lang pwedeng enforcement, dapat meron ding on the prevention side, meron din dun sa panghuli ng mga drug addicts at drug pushers. At sinabi naman natin sa kanya, we’re very willing to support that. Pero kailangan maging malinaw sila sa kanilang mga gustong gawin dito sa laban ng ating bansa sa droga. 

Yung isa ring napagusapan namin is whether tumutugma ba yung kanilang investigation at yung investigation ng CHR and it seems hindi pa sila naguusap at hindi pa sila nagkakaroon ng palitan ng kuro-kuro tungkol sa mga inbestigasyon na ginagawa nila so the hearing might be a chance for them to actually face each other at mag-exchange ng kanilang mga datos na kanilang naimbestiga. 

So it was a very productive meeting and probably, during the hearing, mapaguusapan pa natin yung ibang mga naimbestigahan nila tungkol sa Secret Cell. 



Q. Bakit kailangan maging malinaw ang patakaran, is it because of the statements made by Dela Rosa?

Yes. Because kung ang mga statement mo ok lang basta hindi na-torture o basta walang kotong, ok lang magka-secret cell. Mas nakakagulo iyan sa taumbayan. We have to be definite kung ano ang mali o kung ano iyong tama dito.

We’re expecting from the PNP, the leadership and the institution, to be very clear na pag may abuses, kailangang itigil yan, at ang mga perpetrators niyan whether kasama sa kapulisan o hindi, dapat managot. That’s the minimum na hinahanap natin sa kanila. Of course, ang hinahanap natin totoong reporma and it goes beyond just dismantling secret cells. Ang hinahanap natin plano talaga na iyong incarcerated, nasa tamang facilities. I agreed with Gen. Albayalde na kawawa talaga ang facilities natin, umaapaw ng tao. In fact sabi nga niya, talagang deplorable ang conditions.

I also shared with him na if there is a proper request to the Senate and Congress at this point that the drug war is practically the main program of the government, kung may hingin silang pondo para diyan, I’m sure bibigay yan. If all the request for drug rehab, for facilities and mga kagamitan na kailangan nila, parang ibinigay naman sa 2017 budget.  

Maybe they have another chance sa 2018 budget na magrequest sila na ayusin ang facilities. Again, ang haba ng range ng reforms na kailangang gawin and again, at the minimum, ang pinaka-basic diyan is masabi man lang na mali ito, hindi na ito uulitin and everybody at fault will be penalized. At the maximum, I think, is to move for genuine change and reforms by looking at how to tackle this problem more holistically tsaka mas nasasakupan ang iba’t ibang aspeto ng problemang ito. 


Q: Schedule niya wala pa?

Sen. Bam: Wala pa but Sen. Lacson has said that maybe in the following weeks we’ll have the hearing.

Q: Si Bato po ba kasama sa hearing o si Albayalde lang?

Sen. Bam: Dapat kasama rin si Gen. Dela Rosa. In fact I was hoping pati inmates kasama. Kasi may conflicting reports na may nagsabi that they mentioned that there was extortion. Ngayon naman daw nag-recant na sila. Gusto kong marinig sa kanila kung ano ang kuwento.

We’ll make that request to the committee on public order. Usually, you provide the request when there’s a date already.


On Napoles Acquittal

Itong pag-acquit kay Janet Napoles, it’s clearly a sign of our times. Nakakabahala, nakakakaba ang mga pangyayaring iyan na ang isang taong convicted na, masabi nating one of the biggest masterminds of one of the biggest scams that we’ve ever seen, napawalang sala sa una niyang kaso. Nakababahala talaga siya.

May ibang abogado na nagsasabi na dahil napawalang sala siya, baka humina ang testimonya ni Benhur Luy. Iyon naman talaga I think ang main, one of the big evidences sa plunder case. I hope hindi manghina ang kanyang plunder case dahil sa nangyaring acquittal kay Napoles.

I think again, it leaves many of us scratching our heads. Nagkakamot na lang tayo ng ulo sa pangyayaring ito. Hindi mo maintindihan ang mga pangyayaring ito. I hope it will not weaken the plunder case against her kasi sa totoo lang, the fact na nakakulong ang isa sa biggest masterminds o isa sa mga nagkasala sa taumbayan, isang mabuting bagay iyan sa ating bansa.

Ngayong napawalang sala siya, it’s terribly unfortunate na nangyari iyon.

Ako naman I’ve always held the stance na kapag ginawa mo ang pagkakasalang iyan, kailangan ka talagang managot. Whoever you are, whatever your party is, kung ginawa mo iyan, kailangang managot ka. That has to be way that we tackle this issue kasi kung selective ang mga pangyayari, whether before or ngayon, talagang humihina ang ating justice system.

Siguro naman, we can tackle that issue while the mastermind or one of the biggest players here is in jail o habang naka-convict siya sa unang kaso. I don’t think na kailangan siyang ipawalang sala para makasuhan ang iba.

Malacanang mentioned that there was no deal struck with her or walang mga usapang ganyan. Tingnan natin kung ano iyong mga mangyayari sa mga susunod na statement niya.


Q: Do you believe what the Palace said?

Sen. Bam: You have to take the statement at face value. Again, siyempre at this point, napawalang sala na siya, talagang you know, she can be used in that way. You take their statement at face value. You’d like to believe na walang secret deal na nagawa.

 On Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s UN presentation

I didn’t see Sen. Cayetano’s presentation so I won’t comment on that. Let me just say na 45 out of 47 countries making a formal request for us to truly investigate this, siguro wake up call na iyan sa atin. Naghahanap ang buong mundo ng accountability on our part. If the request is to have a formal investigation happen, we should grant that request. Kung walang tinatago ang ating bayan, dapat nating payagan na magkaroon ng imbestigasyon dito.

On oversight committee for intelligence fund

Palagay ko, while unang-una we’re one of the minority representatives of the committee, we support the chairman, Sen. Honasan, in the investigation of the intelligence funds.

Mahalagang malaman natin na maayos nga ang paggamit ng ating intelligence funds. Of course, pera iyan ng taumbayan and secondly, hindi iyan under COA so hindi niya na-audit kaya mahalagang malaman natin na tama nga ang paggamit nito.

On UN rapporteur investigation

At the minimum siguro, kung 45 out of 47 nagsasabi na importante ang isyung ito at kailangang imbestigahan, I think it is incumbent upon us to allow this investigation to happen. The administration has always said na wala silang tinatago so payagan na nating mangyari ang imbestigasyong ito na unencumbered, na malaya silang mag-imbestiga.

If I’m not mistaken, the request is to allow the rapporteur to conduct an investigation. Kung iyon ang request, bakit natin hihindian.

The ball is in the court of the administration. There is a formal request provided to us. Ano ang sagot natin doon?

May conditions tayong sinama to the invitation to the rapporteur, which was magdedebate sila in public ni President Duterte at mayroon siyang under oath na sa totoo lang, hindi naman yata pangkaraniwan. That’s a unique invitation, may imbitasyon pero may kondisyon.

I think the request is to allow her to do the investigation na malaya siya, walang mga ibang mga kondisyon. During these investigations, kasama naman ang gobyerno diyan kapag nag-i-investigate ng ganyan.

If 45 out of 47 countries, if this is the request. Why shouldn’t we grant this request at payagan na malayang imbestigahan ang pangyayari sa ating bayan.

On appointment of retired Gen. Roy Cimatu as DENR Secretary

I hope that Gen. Cimatu will be as passionate as Sec. Lopez. Sana ipaglaban niya ang kalikasan na sing-sigla at sing-lakas ni Sec. Gina.

NEGOSYO, NOW NA!: Madramang buhay ni Aling Susan

Mga kanegosyo, si Aling Susan Bantilla ay tubong Padada, Davao del Sur. Kung pakikinggan ang kuwento ng kanyang madramang buhay, puwede itong gawing telenovela na siguradong susubaybayan ng mara­ming Pilipino.

Itinakwil si Aling ­Susan ng mga magulang dahil sa kagustuhan niyang mag-aral. Paniwala kasi ng kanyang mga magulang, hindi na sila kailangang mag-aral dahil pag-aasawa lang ang kanilang kahahantungan.

Sa pagpupumilit niyang makatapos sa kolehiyo, pinalayas siya ng mga magulang at napi­li­tang mangibang-­bayan. Sa kanyang pagsisikap, nakatapos si Aling ­Susan ng kursong Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business.

Makalipas ang ilang taon, nakapag-asawa si Aling Susan at nabiya­yaan ng tatlong anak. Ngunit nasira ang kanyang pamilya nang su­mama sa isang kulto ang kanyang asawa at dinala sa bundok ang tatlo nilang anak.

Sa kuwento ni Aling Susan, plano ng ­kanyang mister na ihandog sa pinuno ng grupo ang ka­nilang bunso na noo’y sanggol pa lang. Mabuti na lang at nailigtas ni Aling Susan ang kanyang mga anak ngunit hindi ang asawa. Mula noon, hindi na niya ito nakita.

Lumipat si Aling Susan at mga anak sa Tacurong sa Sultan Kudarat. Doon niya nakilala ang lalaki na muling nagpatibok ng kanyang puso at tumayong ama ng kanyang mga anak.

Subalit noong Nob­yembre 23, 2009, nada­may ang kanyang asawa sa mga napaslang sa Maguindanao Massacre sa Maguindanao. Sa imbes­tigasyon, napagkamalan ang kanyang asawa na kasama ng mga pulitiko kaya ito pinaslang.

Sa nangyaring ito, naiwan si Aling Susan na walang katuwang sa pagtataguyod sa kanyang mga anak.


Isang araw, inalok siya ng kaibigan na du­malo sa seminar ng CARD sa kabilang lugar. Matapos ang ilang ­beses na pagdalo, noong 2010 ay nagmiyembro na si Aling Susan at ­ginamit ang unang loan na P5,000 para makapagsimula ng sariling negosyo.


Ginamit niya ang nautang na pambili ng magaganda at imported na bulaklak at iba’t iba pang halaman at nagsimula ng maliit na flower shop. Sa kanyang pagsisikap at sa gabay na rin ng mga semi­nar ng CARD, napalago niya ang negosyo.

Nagkaroon na rin siya ng dalawang puwesto na kumikita ng hindi bababa sa P30,000 kada linggo.

Maliban sa pagpapatayo ng sarili niyang bahay, nakapagpatayo rin siya ng paupahang apartment at nakabili na rin ng videoke na kanyang pinaparentahan sa tulong ng dagdag na loan mula sa CARD.

Ngunit ang pinakamalaking biyaya para kay Aling Susan ay ang mapag-aral ang kanyang mga anak sa magandang paaralan at maibigay ang lahat nilang panganga­ilangan. Nagkaayos na rin sila ng kanyang mga magulang na matagal niyang hindi nakita at nakausap.

Bilang pagtanaw ng utang na loob sa tulong ng CARD, sumasama si Aling Susan sa mga semi­nar kung saan ibina­bahagi niya ang kanyang buhay at karanasan sa pagnenegosyo.


Itinuturing na pinakamalaking microfinance institution sa bansa, nagpapautang ang CARD-MRI ng puhunan sa mga nais magsimula ng negos­yo nang walang kolateral at sa mababang interes.

Mayroon na silang iba’t ibang sangay sa Pili­pinas, na ­makikita sa kanilang website na at


Ang Republic Act No. 10644 o Go Negos­yo Act ang kauna-una­han kong batas bilang senador noong 16th Congress. Layunin nito na maglagay ng Negosyo Center sa bawat munisipalidad, siyudad, at lalawigan sa buong bansa.

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

Sen. Bam urges CA to revisit secret voting process

Sen. Bam Aquino described the Commission on Appointment’s secret voting system as “problematic” in the confirmation of Gina Lopez, who was rejected as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Aside from the issue of accountability, there were also issues of honesty with regard to some of the members’ public pronouncements on their vote,” said Sen. Bam, a CA member for the minority together with Sens. Franklin Drilon and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

The senator said he will raise the issue of secret voting to the CA minority bloc to determine if they will push to modify it.

Earlier, Liberal Party senators — including Aquino, Drilon, Pangilinan and Sen. Ralph Recto — manifested that they voted to approve Lopez’s appointment.

“Iyong LP senators nag-decide kami na suportahan si Sec. Lopez, kasama po sina Sens. Drilon, Recto at Pangilinan.  Unfortunately, natalo po kami sa boto at marami pong nag-decide na i-reject po siya,” Sen. Bam said in an earlier interview.

Sen. Bam expressed surprise over the result of the voting, saying it was unusual that members of the opposition supported the appointment of a presidential appointee.

The senator emphasized that the opposition is willing to support any presidential appointee as long as he or she can help the people and the country.

Sen. Bam sees more access to higher education, high-paying jobs for Filipinos

If measure on free tuition in SUCs is enacted into law

If enacted into law, the measure providing free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) will lead to more college graduates and higher paying jobs, giving underprivileged students a chance at a brighter future, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“We’ve already passed the Affordable Higher Education for All Act in the Senate and we’re confident it will become law within the year,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor and co-author of Senate Bill No. 1304.

“Kapag ito’y naisabatas, mas malaki na ang pagkakataon ng ating mga estudyante na makatapos ng kolehiyo at magkaroon ng magandang trabaho,” he added.

During his short stint as chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam defended the measure on the floor during plenary debates and interpellation. The measure was approved by the Senate on third and final reading via an 18-0 vote.

After the House passes its own version of the bill, a bicameral conference committee will be held to consolidate both versions. If the final version is ratified by both Houses, it will be transmitted to Malacanang for the President’s approval.

The measure aims to institutionalize free tuition in SUCs all over the country, giving underprivileged students a chance to earn a college degree.

 It will also streamline and strengthen all Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAP), making it available to students who want to pursue higher education in private institutions, as well as subsidizing other expenses of SUC students.

Sen. Bam clarified that the measure is different from the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) released recently by the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Budget and Management.

The senator said the IRR issued by the CHED and DBM was for the P8 billion earmarked in the 2017 budget for the free tuition fees in SUCs. 

The senator stated that under the currently allotted budget, only around half of the students in SUCs stand to benefit from free tuition.

However, if Senate Bill No. 1304 is passed into law, every SUC student can avail of free tuition. There will also be a mechanism for more financially-abled students to opt to pay for their tuition fee.

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