Month: February 2018

Sen. Bam on the President’s affirmation of dictatorship style

Hindi kailangan ng Pilipino ang isang diktador. 
Diktadurya ang nagdulot ng karahasan at pagpatay, kawalan ng trabaho at kalayaan, korupsyon at napakalaking pagkakautang. 
Lumaban ang bayan noong People Power dahil hindi dictatorial style ang dudulot ng sapat na kita para sa bilihin, kalidad na edukasyon, at kaligtasan ng pamilya na inaasam-asam ng mga Pilipino. 
Hindi diktador ang kailangan, sa halip ay pinunong may kakayahan at tunay na malasakit sa buong bayan, lalo na para sa mahihirap nating kababayan.

Sen. Bam repeats call for immediate financial assistance for Filipinos amid rapid rise in prices

Alarmed by the rapid increase in prices of goods and services due to the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, Sen. Bam Aquino renewed his push for the immediate implementation of financial assistance to poor Filipinos. 

“This is the reason I keep pushing for the immediate implementation of financial assistance. Alam na namin ang kahihinatnan ng tax reform ng nagbotohan, kaya ako kumontra sa TRAIN,” said Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam’s pronouncement came after the country’s inflation rate reached four percent, the highest in four years, due to the effects of the TRAIN Law. 

Republic Act No. 10963 mandates financial assistance to 10 million poor Filipinos to counter the expected increase in prices of goods. In 2018, they will receive P200 monthly followed by a P300 monthly cash subsidy in 2019 and 2010.   

 During the measure’s period of amendments in the Senate, Sen. Bam pushed for the immediate implementation of the financial assistance program to help poor Filipinos absorb the expected increase in the prices of goods and services. However, Sen. Bam’s proposal was not accepted.  

 “The government is failing the Filipino people, especially the impoverished. We must implement a sufficient financial assistance program immediately to cushion the blow of TRAIN and the price increases,” Sen. Bam said.   

 Recently, Sen. Bam filed Senate Resolution No. 597, urging the appropriate Senate committee to scrutinize the implementation of the unconditional cash transfer to ensure that it is sufficient to cover the increase in prices of goods and other services. 

 Sen. Bam is also calling on the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to check if household incomes are enough to absorb these rising costs. 

“Gusto rin natin alamin kung sapat na ang 200 pesos kada buwan na cash transfer, lalo na ngayong tumataas na rin ang presyo ng kuryente at bigas,” said Sen. Bam.   

Sen. Bam is the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and passed several measures to provide livelihood by supporting small, local businesses in the country. He is also the principal sponsor of the free college law passed last year.  

Sen. Bam voted no to the ratification of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Sen. Bam: Execute pay hike for teachers, not just “tokhangers”

Senator Bam Aquino expressed disappointment over the government’s pronouncement that public school teachers and other government workers will have to wait until 2020 to enjoy an increase in their meager salaries, saying many of them are buried in debt amounting to P171 billion.

“If we can do it for policemen, we must also increase pay for our teachers, nurses and other government workers,” said Sen. Bam, referring to the recent salary hike given to members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Our teachers play a major role in ensuring our graduates are job-ready and poised for success. By educating our youth, teachers can influence the fate of the country,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam said teachers cannot afford to wait until 2020 for an increase in salary as they are experiencing personal burdens, including debt problems.

According to Sen. Bam, the P171 billion debt of teachers from legitimate lending institutions is due to a confluence of factors, including inadequate wages, delayed salary while some use the money to cover the cost of their teaching materials.

“Tulungan naman natin ang ating mga guro, nars at iba pang government workers na mapagaan ang kanilang buhay sa pamamagitan ng dagdag na suweldo, lalo na ngayong tumataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 704 or the Basic Education Teachers Pay Increase Act, which provides a P10,000 increase across the board increase to all teaching and non-teaching personnel of the country’s public school system.

Sen. Bam also filed Senate Bill No. 916 or the Comprehensive Nursing Act, and Senate Bill No. 663 or the Nurse in Every Public School bill.

Sen. Bam: Research ships and Balik Scientist Act, victory for Filipino scientists

Sen. Bam Aquino said today marked two big wins for Filipino scientists.

“Masaya ang araw na ito para sa ating mga Pinoy scientists at researchers. Sa wakas, nabibigyan na sila ng tamang pansin at halaga,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, the Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

On Tuesday, Malacañang announced plans to purchase research ships for local scientists studying the Philippine Rise.

Meanwhile, the Balik Scientist Act hurdled the bicameral conference committee in the Senate and is now closer to becoming a law.

The Senate contingent, led by Sen. Bam Aquino and the House panel, headed by Erico Aumentado, ironed out the disagreeing provisions of their respective versions.

Once the Senate and House ratify the approved version of the measure, it will be transmitted to Malacanang for President Duterte’s signature.

“Once enacted into law, this should encourage Filipino scientists to return to the country and help in the nation’s research and development,” said Sen. Bam, principal author and sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

Sen. Bam said this will also address the lack of science professionals caused by the exodus of scientists and researchers to other countries.

The measure aims to provide overseas Filipino scientists with financial benefits and incentives to encourage them to return to the Philippines and help boost the country’s research and development.

It seeks 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 help address development gaps in the Philippines.

A Balik Scientist is a science and technology expert or professional, as certified by the DOST, who is currently or who was formerly a Filipino citizen or a foreigner of Filipino descent, residing abroad, and contracted by the government to return and serve in the Philippines along his or her field of expertise under short, medium, or long term engagement.

Sen. Bam is also the principal sponsor and co-author of the Amendments to the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, and Researchers bill and the Innovative Start-up Act, currently in the period of amendments in the Senate.

Sen. Bam Aquino has passed 19 laws in over 4 years as a senator.

Sen. Bam welcomes suspension on foreign explorations in Benham, pushes for Senate investigation

Senator Bam Aquino welcomed President Duterte’s order a stop to the maritime scientific exploration by foreigners on Benham Rise, but insisted that the government should come up with a sound plan for exploring the 13-million-hectare underwater plateau.

“The President’s pronouncement is a welcome development. Now we must determine our policy and plans for Benham Rise,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology. 

Sen Bam also expressed hopes that the President will strictly and consistently enforce his order.

Despite Duterte’s pronouncement, Sen. Bam said he plans to pursue an investigation and get the input and updates from Filipino scientists about their ongoing research and exploration on Benham Rise, now known as Philippine Rise.

“In a Senate hearing, our scientists and experts will have the opportunity to present their current findings and plans to study and develop the Philippine rise,” added Sen. Bam.

It was earlier reported that several Filipino scientists have already conducted maritime research in the area. The probe will give them an avenue to present their research findings and future plans and the necessary equipment and resources to further explore the area.

“Let’s support our local scientists in their exploration missions and provide them with the resources they need,” said Sen. Bam.

In an earlier statement, Sen. Bam insisted that Filipinos should be the ones to explore Philippine Rise as it forms part of our territory.

Free nutritious meals for students get full support in Senate

Kindergarten and elementary schools students will soon enjoy free nutritious meals after the Senate approved on third and final reading a measure that will establish a national feeding program in public schools.

 Sen. Bam Aquino, principal sponsor and co-author of the measure, thanked his colleagues for unanimously approving Senate Bill No. 1279, otherwise known as the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act, via an 18-0 vote.

 “Ito’y napakalaking tulong para mabigyan ng sapat na nutrisyon ang ating mga estudyante para sila’y mabusog, lumusog at lalong tumalino,” said Sen. Bam, who pushed for the measure’s passage during his term as chairman of the Committee on Education.

 Aside from addressing malnutrition among schoolchildren from kindergarten to Grade 6, the measure also aims to boost the livelihood of local farmers, where the needed supplies for the feeding program will be sourced from.

 “Kasabay ng pagtugon natin sa problema sa malnutrisyon, binibigyan din natin ng kabuhayan ang mga lokal na magsasaka. Makatutulong ang programang ito para magkaroon sila ng regular na pagkakakitaan,” said Sen. Bam.

 If enacted into law, Sen. Bam said that a National School-Feeding Program that is properly funded will be established.

 The senator added that an initial appropriation would be sourced from the initial budget allocation of Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Aside from Sen. Bam, the bill was also authored by Senators Grace Poe, Gregorio Honasan II, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villa, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

Sen. Bam: Free college is a courtesy, not hush money

The government should not use free education to gain political loyalty or prohibit students from exercising their right to free expression and dissent, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

 “Walang kapalit ang libreng kolehiyo. Hindi dapat nilalagyan ng pamahalaan ng limitasyon ang karapatan ng mga estudyante kapalit ng libreng edukasyon sa pampublikong unibersidad at kolehiyo,” said Sen. Bam, principal sponsor and co-author of RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

 “The free college law is a form of benefit to the Filipino people, and should not be used for blackmail or as hush money,” added Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam stressed that students in SUCs must not surrender their right to speak and dissent just to enjoy free education.

 “We commend the Filipino youth who continue working for a cause, speaking up and speaking out against policies that are counter to their values and beliefs,” said Sen. Bam.

Also, Sen. Bam is confident that Filipino students are responsible enough to know their limitations or if their actions are affecting their studies or not.

 “Tiwala ako na responsable na ang ating mga estudyante. Hindi nila hahayaang makaapekto ang kanilang pagpapahayag ng saloobin sa kanilang pag-aaral,” said Sen. Bam, allaying fears that protesting students are a waste of taxpayers’ money.

 The Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act provides free education to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges (LUCs) and TESDA-run vocational schools. Aside from tuition fees, the government will shoulder miscellaneous and all other mandatory fees.

 Scholarship grants will be made available to students of both public and private college and universities. It also provides a new and improved student loan program, where students can apply for financing for other education expenses.

Also, the law allows students taking post-graduate studies to avail of the new and improved student loan program and scholarships under the law.

Sen. Bam is one of the co-authors and the sole principal sponsor of the free college law in the Senate.


Sen. Bam, GK set up feeding programs for Mayon evacuees

The Office of Sen. Bam Aquino and Gawad Kalinga (GK) have partnered to establish Kusina ng Kalinga to help feed thousands of residents affected by the eruption of Mayon Volcano in Legazpi, Albay.

Sen. Bam visited evacuation centers in Camalig and Guinobatan in Albay on Wednesday (January 31) to personally observe the food distribution to thousands of evacuees, who were forced to leave their homes due to Mayon’s eruption.

”Personal nating tiningnan ang kondisyon ng mga pamilyang lumikas mula sa danger zone. Kailangang tiyakin na naibibigay ang kanilang pangangailangan, lalo na sa pagkain,” Sen. Bam said in a radio interview.

Sen. Bam also met with local officials of Albay, led by Governor Al Francis Bichara, to determine the situation and the needs of municipalities affected by the eruption of Mayon Volcano.

“Nagko-coordinate kami sa local officials. Kailangan magtulungan ang lahat upang maibigay ang pangangailangan ng mga kababayan nating lumikas sa kanilang mga tahanan,” Sen. Bam said.

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