Month: March 2018

Sen. Bam: No reason for delay, push through with barangay elections in May

Senator Bam Aquino slammed the move to postpone Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from May to October, saying it will further delay the people’s chance to select their new leaders.

“Huwag natin hayaang nakawin muli ang karapatan nating iboto ang ating lokal na pinuno,” said Sen. Bam. “Walang dahilan para ipagpaliban pa ito. Ituloy na ang Barangay at SK election.”

On Monday, the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms voted 14-2 to postpone the Barangay and SK elections from May 14, 2018 to October to coincide with the plebiscite on a new Constitution.

 Sen. Bam has been pushing for the holding of the barangay and SK elections, saying the selection of new village leaders is long overdue.

 “Marami nang nangyaring pagpapaliban ng halalan. Panahon nang matuloy ang halalan upang mabigyan ang taumbayan ng tsansang makapili ng karapat-dapat na lider sa kanilang barangay,” Sen. Bam stressed.

Also, Sen. Bam wants to witness the full implementation of Republic Act 10742 or the SK Reform Act, the first law in the country that has an anti-political dynasty provision. Sen. Bam pushed for its passage as co-author and co-sponsor during his time as chairman of the Committee on Youth in the 16th Congress.

“Pagkakataon rin ito para makita natin kung epektibo ang SK Reform Act at kung makatutugon ito sa pangangailangan ng kabataan,” said Sen. Bam.

 Under RA 10742, the age limit for SK officials is adjusted from 15-17 to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions.

 The SK Reform Act also requires SK officials to undergo leadership training programs to expose them to the best practices in governance and guide their development as leaders.

The new law also mandates the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that will support the SK and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.

 The LYDC will be composed of representatives from the different youth organizations in the community – student councils, church and youth faith groups, youth-serving organizations, and community-based youth groups.

Sen. Bam: Freedom for drug lords a grave injustice to over 20,000 dead

Ano pa ang halaga ng pagpatay sa libu-libo nating kababayan, kung pakakawalan din lang ang mismong pinagmumulan ng droga? 

Ngayong pinalaya na ang drug lord na tumestigo at umamin sa kaniyang paglahok sa drug trade, may duda sa giyera kontra droga ng administrasyon.

Sa pagpapalaya ng mga nahuling drug lord, klaro na ang tokhang ay para lamang sa mga mahihirap na Pilipino at hindi para sa may pera at koneksiyon.

Ang hustisya sa bayan ay tila para sa iilan lamang at hindi para sa bawat Pilipino.

Tama na ang pagpatay sa kapwa Pilipino. Itigil na ang pagpatay sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan.

Sen. Bam to probe job threats in BPO sector

Sen. Bam Aquino will examine the threats to jobs in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the effects of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

After receiving reports that the BPO sector may need to reduce their workforce or set aside expansion plans in the country, Sen. Bam set a second hearing on the issue on Monday (March 12).

“The BPO sector is a major source of livelihood for Filipino families. We cannot afford to give away job security and job opportunities, especially with the rising prices of goods,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam revealed that several BPOs may relocate, abort expansion, or re-shore workers due to the effects of the TRAIN Law.

“When we first conducted the hearing last year, AI emerged as the main threat to our BPO industry. Now, we saw the need to include the government tax reform program as it is also taking a toll on the sector,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

During the TRAIN’s period of amendments, Sen. Bam pushed for the retention of a special tax rate for regional operating headquarters and regional headquarters (ROHQs/RHQs). However, the provision was vetoed by Malacanang, much to the dismay of the BPO sector.

Sen. Bam said the veto will lead to an increase in cost of doing business, which will affect the status of 5,000 workers and prevent other BPOs from setting up shop in the Philippines.

On the part of artificial intelligence, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) mentioned that they are anticipating a decline in demand for low-skilled jobs in the IT-BPO industry of about 43,000 jobs by 2022.

However, Sen. Bam allayed fears by calling on government agencies and private companies to work together to upgrade skills and abilities of Filipino workers through training and education.

Sen. Bam emphasized the opportunity presented in the IBPAP report that if the existing IT-BPO workforce and if fresh college graduates are re-skilled and up-skilled, “we can meet the anticipated increase in demand of 388,000 jobs for mid-skilled tasks, and 309,000 jobs for high-skilled tasks in 2022.”

Sen. Bam on quo warranto case vs Chief Justice Sereno

Handa na ang Senado na maging isang tapat na husgado na walang kinikilingan.

Klaro sa Konstitusyon at klaro sa amin na impeachment process lang ang makakapag-alis sa isang Chief Justice.

A Supreme Court decision to uphold the Constitution and follow due process can only strengthen the institution and our country’s democracy.

Sen. Bam to CHED: Refund students for miscellaneous fees, implement free college law

A senator criticized the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for its inaction on the Senate’s call to implement Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act in the second semester of school year 2017-18, and demanded a refund for students charged with miscellaneous fees in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

 “We demand that CHED immediately implement free education in our public universities and colleges and reimburse students for miscellaneous fees charged during the 2nd semester of the current academic year,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, principal sponsor and co-author of RA 10931.

“Obligasyon ng CHED na sagutin at tugunan ang resolusyon ng Senado at ipatupad ang batas na magbibigay lunas sa problema ng milyon-milyong mga estudyanteng Pilipino at kanilang mga pamilya,” added Sen. Bam.

 Last February 15, the Senate unanimously adopted Sen. Bam’s Resolution No. 620, which urged the Upper Chamber to express a united front in support of the full implementation of the free college law. However, CHED has yet to act on the Senate’s move.

“Nagkaisa ang Senado na nararapat lang ipatupad ng CHED ang batas para sa libreng kolehiyo dahil epektibo na ito noon pang Agosto 2017 at may nakalaang 41 bilyong piso para rito,” said Sen. Bam

 “Looks like the Senate’s call has fallen on deaf ears, because until now, we have yet to hear from CHED regarding our push for the law’s implementation in the second semester of 2017,” added Sen. Bam.

 During the bicameral conference committee for RA 10931, Sen. Bam insisted that representatives from both Houses of Congress expressly agreed on the legislative intent to implement it by the second semester of 2017-18.

Furthermore, Sen. Bam said CHED assured during budget deliberation for RA 10931 that the P41 billion budget for its implementation was sufficient to cover the tuition and other fees in SUCs starting second semester of 2017-18.

Principally sponsored by Sen. Bam, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges (LUCs) and TESDA-run vocational schools.

Under the law, students of both public and private college and universities can also apply for scholarship grants and student loans.

 The measure was languishing in the legislative mill for years before it was passed during Sen. Bam’s time as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress. This was Sen. Bam’s 19th law in his four years as senator.

Sen. Bam: DTI should file nakaw load cases against fraudulent VAS providers

Unscrupulous value-added services (VAS) providers that deprive subscribers of their prepaid loads should be dealt the full force of the law, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

In a radio interview, Sen. Bam said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other concerned government agencies will work together to file criminal cases and punish these deceitful VAS providers.

“Lumalabas na may mga pasaway na VAS providers na nandadaya ng subscribers,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

 During the committee hearing on the issue of the disappearance of prepaid loads, a resource person testified that clicking “X” on a pop-up resulted in an opt-in to the unwanted VAS.

 “Dapat habulin ng DTI ang mga manlolokong VAS provider. Hindi tama na pagpindot mo ng ‘x’ ay opt-in na pala iyon sa VAS. Panloloko ito sa mga subscriber,” stressed Sen. Bam.

One telecommunications provider signified its plan to conduct a system refresh where all of its subscribers will be opted-out of their VAS subscriptions and will have to register again through stricter means.

 Another telco said it is already implementing a two-step verification process to protect its subscribers.

 During the hearing, Sen. Bam emphasized that transparency is the first step to solving the sudden disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or “nakaw load”.

Sen. Bam said telcos should issue notifications to their subscribers when load is credited or deducted to their account. This way, Sen. Bam said subscribers will have a way monitor their load spending and will allow them to immediately cancel services they do not wish to avail.

 Instead of waiting for a legislation to be passed into law, Sen. Bam encouraged telcos to just comply with the proposed solution, which will help them address the problem of “nakaw load.”

“Ang batas, isang taon iyan bago mabuo. Mas maganda siguro kung uunahan na nila upang mabigyan na ng agarang solusyon ang matagal nang problemang ito,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam to gov’t: Where is financial assistance for rising prices?

With effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act now being felt by the public coupled with the rise in the price of rice and lack of affordable NFA rice in the market, Sen. Bam Aquino urged the government to immediately implement the cash transfer program for poor Filipinos.

“Tumataas na ang presyo ng mga bilihin dahil sa tax reform, na sinabayan pa ng pagkawala ng NFA Rice sa merkado. Nasaan na ang financial assistance para sa mga mahihirap na pamilyang Pilipino?” said Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam made the pronouncement amid the increase in prices of basic goods due to TRAIN and the sudden rise in prices of rice in the market due to lack of supply of NFA Rice.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also announced on Tuesday that the country’s inflation rate in February was at 4.5 percent, the fastest in over three years.

 “Masyado nang mabigat ang pasaning dala ng ating mga kababayan dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin. Panahon na upang madaliin ng pamahalaan ang paglabas ng tulong para sa sampung milyong mahihirap nating kababayan,” said Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam was referring to the financial assistance mandated by Republic Act No. 10963 or TRAIN Act 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, prompting him to reject the ratification of the measure.

 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.

 In his resolution, Sen. Bam also called 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 to telcos: Establish complete transparency on Nakaw-Load

Senator Bam Aquino emphasized that transparency on the part of telecommunications companies is the first step to solving consumer complaints about disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or “nakaw load”.
During the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology on the issue, Sen. Bam said that the immediate solution is for telcos to issue notifications to their subscribers when load is credited or deducted to their account.
“There was a clear solution presented during the hearing. Sa bawat load na pumasok at ibinawas sa atin, dapat may matatanggap na tayong libreng notification,” said Sen. Bam, who led the hearing as chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
Sen. Bam said the notifications could help subscribers monitor their load spending and will allow them to immediately cancel services they do not wish to avail.
“Kapag may notification at nakita natin na hindi tama, may pagkakataon tayong magreklamo agad-agad at muling makuha ang load na ibinawas sa atin,” added Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam hopes that telecommunications companies should comply with the proposed solution, saying it’s a simple way to solve the long-standing problem of disappearing prepaid load.
“It’s a good solution at hindi rin iyan malaking gastos. Ang pinakamahalaga, alam natin kung saan napupunta ang ating pera,” Sen. Bam said.
Sen. Bam also urged telecommunication companies to conduct a complete audit of all their value-added subscriptions (VAS), to protect consumers against unwarranted deductions from their prepaid load.
One telco already admitted that they are looking to suspend some 3rd party providers of value-added services (VAS).
In the hearing, a resource person testified that clicking “X” on a pop-up resulted in an opt-in to an unwanted VAS.
“Mahalagang makasuhan ang VAS providers na nanloloko sa ating mga kababayan sa kanilang mapanlinlang na proseso sa pagpaparehistro,” added Sen. Bam.
The senator also welcomed one telco’s move for a system refresh that will opt-out all of their subscribers to all VAS subscriptions and, thereafter, implement a stricter procedure when availing of these extra services. Another telco promised to consider this move.
The lawmaker also called on concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), to get their acts together in addressing consumer complaints.
“Madalas nalilito ang ating mga kababayan kung saan napupunta ang kanilang load kaya kailangan nang ipatupad ang load notifications. Mahalaga rin na ibalik sa subscriber within 24 hours ang load deduction na ireklamo nila,” said Sen. Bam.
The hearing was called on Sen. Bam through Senate Resolution No. 595, directing the committee to determine the capacity and readiness of relevant government agencies and regulators to implement rules that will protect prepaid mobile subscribers.

Sen. Bam to probe consumer complaints on ‘nakaw load’

In response to the numerous complaints about the disappearance of prepaid mobile loads or “nakaw load”, Sen. Bam Aquino will conduct an investigation on Monday (March 5) to determine steps to address the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

Sen. Bam filed Senate Resolution No.  595, directing the Committee on Science and Technology to determine the capacity and readiness of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), other relevant government agencies and regulators to implement rules that will protect prepaid mobile subscribers.

 Expected to attend the hearing are representatives from consumer groups, IT advocacy groups, DICT, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telecommunication companies Smart, Globe and PLDT.

 As the country’s primary agency for communications technology, Sen. Bam said the DICT is mandated under Republic Act No. 10844 or the DICT Act of 2015 to provide oversight over agencies governing and regulating ICT sector and ensure consumer protection and welfare.

According to the NTC, around 97 percent, or around 126 million, of the country’s 130 million mobile phone owners are prepaid subscribers.

 “Huwag natin hayaang manakawan ng pera ang ating mga kababayan. We cannot ignore these consumer reports of the disappearance of prepaid mobile credits, including mischarges, hidden charges and errors in opt out mechanisms,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

 With the Department of Trade and Industry and the NTC both mandated to protect consumers of prepaid mobile credits, Sen. Bam said it is important that these two agencies are well-coordinated and must sufficiently facilitate and address consumer complaints.

“Let’s check and ensure that our government agencies and regulators are equipped with the systems, equipment and technical capacity to determine the compliance of telcos,” said Sen. Bam.

 In addition, concerned government agencies such as the DTI and NTC should have the capacity to respond to complaint related to the abrupt expiration or disappearance of prepaid mobile credits.

Sen. Bam is the current chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology. He is the principal sponsor and a co-author of Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet in Public Places Act.


Sen. Bam: Filipino Scientists vindicated with President’s statements

Senator Bam Aquino called President Duterte’s directive to fiercely protect the Philippine Rise and implement stricter measures, a win for Filipino scientists.

“President Duterte’s pronouncement is a victory for our Filipino scientists,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, which recently conducted a hearing on the Philippine Rise.

“Tama lang na pagdating sa foreign scientists, mas mahigpit tayo sa mga permits at pagpapatupad ng ating sovereign rights. Importante rin na bigyan ng matinding suporta ang ating Filipino scientists at armed forces na naka-assign sa Philippine Rise,” added Sen. Bam.

During the Senate hearing, it was revealed that China conducted hydrographic surveys in the Philippine Rise without required consent of the Philippine government and named the five discovered features through the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

To avoid any violation of Philippine sovereign rights and ensure that Filipino scientists are equipped to conduct independent missions, Sen. Bam is batting to increase support for Filipino scientists and personnel from different government agencies, who are working on and protecting the Philippine Rise.

“In total, additional support for local scientists and security forces will go up to the billions. But we are studying if this can be given over a period of time and not all at once,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam has committed to work with different agencies and the Senate Finance Committee, of which he is a vice chairman, to reflect the additional funding in the 2019 budget.

The senator added that the government should intensify its efforts to protect Philippine Rise, especially now that there are moves for joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“Ngayon na tila isinuko na natin ang WPS, mas matindi pa dapat ang pagprotekta natin sa Philippine Rise,” said Sen. Bam.

Scroll to top