Month: February 2019

Sen. Bam’s bills for startups, scientists and students one signature away from becoming laws

Three measures principally sponsored and/or authored by Sen. Bam Aquino moved closer to becoming laws after their bicameral conference committee reports were ratified by the Senate late Wednesday. 
On the last day of regular session, the Senate adopted and ratified the bicameral conference committee report on Senate Bill No. 1532 or the Innovative Startup Act and Senate Bill No. 1534 or the Magna Carta for Scientists.
The Senate also ratified the bicameral conference committee report on Senate Bill No. 1597 or the Student Fare Discount Act, which was principally authored by Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1532 as principal author and sponsor and of Senate Bill 1534 as principal sponsor during his time as chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
The three measures will be transmitted to Malacanang for President Duterte’s signature. 
If enacted into law, Senate Bill No. 1532 will provide support to innovative and tech startups, which pertain to businesses that provide unique and relevant solutions to pressing problems, such as transportation, financing, agriculture and healthcare.
Under the measure, host agencies, including DOST, DICT and DTI, are authorized to provide subsidies to innovative startups to help defray the costs of business registration, and the use of space, facilities, equipment and other services for their operations. Start ups will also receive subsidies for travel costs related to their participation in local and international start up events and competitions. 
In addition, the law creates a Start Up Grant Fund administered by DOST, DICT, and DTI to provide grants-in-aid for research, training, expansion, or scaling up and a Start Up Venture Fund administers by DTI to fund match investments in start ups by investors.
Senate Bill No. 1534 eyes to remove set limits on additional honoraria sourced from externally funded grants for S&T professions and foster ease in accessing benefits for S&T personnel in departments and agencies other than the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
“Malaking tulong ang dalawang panukalang ito upang lalo pang mapalakas ang sektor ng Science and Technology at para mabigyan ng tamang suporta ang entrepreneurs na may hatid na solusyon sa mga problema sa bansa,” said Sen. Bam.
Senate Bill No. 1597, for its part, grants mandatory 20-percent fare discounts to students on all land, air and water transportation, even during weekends and holidays.
In almost six years as lawmaker, Sen. Bam has 35 laws to his name, including the landmark free college law and the Go Negosyo Act.

Sen. Bam: Ensure enough funds for BOL transition

Sen. Bam Aquino called on fellow lawmakers to allot enough funds for the full implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to ensure the fulfilment of its mandate to bring peace and order in Mindanao.

“Dapat tiyakin na sapat at hindi kulang ang suporta para sa BOL,” said Sen. Bam, a co-author and co-sponsor of the BOL.

“Ang tagal na nitong pinangarap at inilaban ng mga kapatid nating Moro. Dapat hindi mabinbin ang transition dahil sa kakulangan ng budget,” added Sen. Bam, whose mother grew up in Mindanao, particularly Davao City.

Republic Act 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law mandates that the current appropriation for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

Sen. Bam said the ARMM’s 2019 approved budget of P31.1 billion won’t be enough as the transition to BOL needs around P59 billion. 

The Senate version of the 2019 budget has allotted around P30 billion additional budget for the BOL, which Sen. Bam hopes to hurdle the bicameral conference committee.

If there will be a re-enacted budget for 2019, the President can issue a supplemental budget, subject to the certification of the Treasurer of the Philippines that there’s enough fund for the purpose.

“Sayang naman kung hindi natin bibigyan ng tamang pondo ang BOL. Itodo na natin ang suporta upang maabot na ng mga kababayan natin sa Mindanao ang inaasam nilang kapayapaan at kaunlaran,” said Sen. Bam.

“Kinakailangan ang sapat na budget para makalikha ng iba’t ibang trabaho para sa mga kababayan natin doon,” the senator added.

Sen. Bam: Don’t leave teachers hanging

The hard work and invaluable contribution of public school teachers should be properly recognized as they are essential to the success of the 2019 elections, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“Dapat bigyang halaga ang pagsisikap at paghihirap ng mga teacher sa halalan. Sa totoo lang po, sila ang tunay na bayani ng darating na eleksyon,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam issued the statement after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned that teachers who will serve in the 2019 elections won’t receive their honoraria in case of a re-enacted budget in 2019.

Sen. Bam, vice chairman of the Committee on Finance and member of the Senate bicameral conference committee on the proposed 2019 budget, said Congress is determined to pass the General Appropriations Act next week.

In case of a re-enacted budget in 2019, Sen. Bam said Congress can pass a supplemental budget for the payment of the teachers’ honorarium.

“Gagawin natin ang lahat para masigurong mababayaran ang ating mga guro sa kanilang trabaho sa darating na halalan. Biyan natin sila ng karampatang pagkilala at huwag ibitin ang mga kompensasyon at benepisyong itinakda ng batas para sa kanila,” said Sen. Bam.

“Sayang naman ang batas na ating isinulong kung hindi mapakikinabangan ng mga guro,” Sen. Bam added, referring to Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA) that he pushed as principal author in the 16th Congress.

The law increases the honorarium and other election service benefits and makes election service optional for public school teachers. It also increases honoraria for board of election inspector (BEI) and their support staff.

Under the law, compensation for BEI chairman will be increased to P6,000 from P3,000 while BEI members will receive P5,000 from P3,000.

From P3,000, DepEd supervisor/official will earn P4,000 while support staff will receive P2,000 from P1,500.

The teachers and all persons who rendered election service would also be entitled to a travel allowance of P1,000 each.

All government officials and employees serving as members of the electoral boards, DepEd supervisor/official and support staff will be given five days of service credit.

The ESRA also increases the death benefits from P200,000 to P500,000 and the medical assistance in such amount as may be “sufficient to cover for medical and hospitalization expenses until recovery” of injuries sustained while in the performance of election duties.

Sen. Bam breaks into top 12 in SWS survey

Sen. Bam Aquino improved significantly in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, climbing to 11thspot from 14th place in December.

Sen. Bam garnered 33 percent, up from 24 percent last month, in the SWS survey conducted from January 23 to 26, 2019.

The SWS survey marked the second straight time that Sen. Bam made it to the top 12.  The incumbent senator placed 10th to 16th in the Pulse Asia poll conducted from Dec. 14 to 21, with 32.6 percent.

In a statement, Sen. Bam thanked his supporters for his significant improvement in the SWS poll, but stressed that the fight still has a long way to go.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa mga patuloy na nagtitiwala at sumusuporta sa atin. Subalit mahaba pa po ang ating laban na ating susuungin,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam also underscored the importance of scrutinizing the track record and accomplishments of all the candidates so they select the right candidate in the 2019 elections.

“Mahalagang suriin ng ating mga botante ang mga nagawa ng isang kandidato upang mapili nila ang tamang tao na titingin sa kanilang kapakanan,” added Sen. Bam.

In almost six years as lawmaker, Sen. Bam has 35 laws to his name, including the landmark free college law and the Go Negosyo Act.

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