Bam lauds teachers’ contribution to nation building

As the country celebrates National Teachers’ Month, Sen. Bam Aquino lauded Filipino educators for their contribution to nation-building by imparting invaluable knowledge to future generation.

 “Teaching is a vocation and to educate is a mission. Tungkulin po ng bawat guro ang pagandahin ang kinabukasan ng bawat batang Pilipino,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education, Culture and Arts.

“Layunin po nilang palitawin ang husay at talino ng kabataan upang paramihin ang dakilang Pilipinong mag-aambag sa kasaganaan ng ating minamahal na bansa,” added Sen. Bam in his co-sponsorship speech of Senate Resolution No. 116, honoring and commending the Ten (10) Outstanding Teachers of 2016 awarded by the Metrobank Foundation, Inc.

 According to Sen. Bam, the teachers’ willingness to step up and strive for excellence is crucial to the reforms being pushed in the Committee on Education, under his stewardship.

 Sen. Bam has filed several measures that will support public school teachers through other means, including Senate Bill No. 173 or the Free Education for Children of Public School Teachers Act.

 If passed into law, free education in state universities nationwide will be given to children of public school teachers in all levels, whether they want to pursue baccalaureate degrees or short-term training courses.

 The subsidy program will cover 100 percent of the tuition fee and other miscellaneous expenses necessary upon the enrollment of the student in a state college or university.

Bam pushes for free Internet in all public schools

Believing that high-quality Internet is a crucial necessity in today’s learning environment, a senator wants to establish free Wi-Fi hotspots in all public schools to help students enhance their personal and academic development.

Sen. Bam Aquino’s Senate Bill No. 1050 seeks to establish an Internet Access Program in all public schools in the country, including State Universities and Colleges.

 “Teachers and students should be given access to the Internet for meaningful research, collaboration, and learning,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture in the 17th Congress.

 Instead of discouraging Internet use at schools, Sen. Bam said students must be trained to engage with World Wide Web in a responsible way that furthers their personal and academic development

 Under the measure, the newly-established Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be tasked to ensure that all public schools provide reliable Internet connection to students, faculty members and other non-teaching personal.

 According to Sen. Bam, this Internet connection must be put up in publicly accessible areas on the premises.

 As chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship in the 16th Congress, Sen. Bam spearheaded the investigation into the slow and expensive Internet connection in the country.


Bam pushes for support for Filipino scientists, business startups

Senator Bam Aquino calls on concerned government agencies to provide necessary support to Filipino scientists to boost the country capability in terms of research and development.
“We want to make sure na ang ating Filipino scientists, hindi lang sila makabalik dito at magkaroon ng opportunities sa ating bansa bagkus pati iyong mga nandito hindi na kailangan lumabas ng Pilipinas,” said Sen. Bam during the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology which he chairs.
Aside from enticing Filipino scientists to return to the country, concerned government agencies must give them more opportunities to thrive through proper benefits and other forms of support.
Sen. Bam said his committee will focus on the passage of Senate Bill No. 679 or the Magna Carta for Scientists to help address the issue.
Aside from the plight of Filipino scientists, the hearing also tackled the measure providing necessary support for business startups to thrive and compete in the market.
“Nakita natin na full support ang DOST, ang DTI, all of the agencies are fully supportive of this bill. This will hopefully unlock our digital startup community,” said Sen. Bam of his Senate Bill No. 175 or the Innovative Startup Act.
Among those who expressed support for the bill were Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Pena, other government officials and private stakeholders.
“Maraming startup sa ating bansa na magagaling. They have very good ideas pero nasasayang dahil nahihirapan magsimula ng negosyo at nahihirapan sa mga regulasyon,” said Sen. Bam.
If enacted into law, Sen. Bam said the Innovative Startup Act will make it easier for tech startups to set up and build successful businesses in our country.


Bam: K to 12 exceeds expectations with 1.5M enrollees in Senior High School

The K to 12 program exceeded expectations with the number of enrollees in Senior High Schools (SHS) surpassing the 1.5-million mark for school year 2016-17.

 This was reported by the Department of Education (DepEd), led by Sec. Leonor Briones, during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture on the status of the K to 12 education program.

 “This figure debunks news reports on inaccessible senior high schools,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

 Of the 1,517,610 SHS enrollees, 1,460,970 were Grade 10 completers, 54,262 were Balik-Aral students and 2,378 were Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) passers.

 According to Sec. Briones, the number of Grade 10 completers who continued to SHS was equivalent to 98 percent of the students who finished Grade 10.

 “The fact that so many continued on to senior high school shows that if the state provides free schooling, Filipinos will seize the opportunity to get an education,” Sen. Bam said.

 However, Sen. Bam stressed that this high turn out brings added challenges like backlogs in classrooms and trained teachers.

 “We need to work quickly to meet these challenges head on and make free access to quality education a reality for every Filipino family,” Sen. Bam asserted.

Bam set to probe status of Martial Law education in schools

Senator Bam Aquino has filed a resolution calling for an inquiry to determine the status of education on Martial Law in basic and tertiary education.

“Sa dami ng maling impormasyon na kumakalat sa Internet, kailangan nating malaman kung paano tinuturo ang Martial Law sa ating kabataan at siguraduhin na ang katotohanan ang nananaig sa ating mga paaralan,” said Sen. Bam in his Senate Resolution No. 29.

 Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress,  stressed that the younger generations must be made aware of the horrors of Martial Law, considered as the darkest years in Philippine history.

“Napansin natin na mukhang nagkaroon na ng pagbabago sa kasaysayan. Ang Martial Law ay sinasabing golden years ng Pilipinas, na malayung-malayo sa katotohanan,” Sen. Bam stressed.

 “Nakakalungkot ang pangyayaring ito dahil tila kinalimutan na ang mga nagsakripisyo ng buhay noong panahon ng diktadurya,” he added.

 According to historical records, 3,257 were killed, while an estimated 35,000 were tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated during the Martial Law rule, which ran from 1972 to 1981.

 Aside from the rampant human rights violation during that time, an estimated $10 billion in government money was stolen, according to Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) records.

Bam ready for challenges as he takes helm of education committee

Sen. Bam Aquino expressed readiness to take on the challenge of improving the Philippine education system after he was appointed chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress.
“I am looking forward to heading the committee on education and concentrating our efforts on ensured access to quality education for all Filipinos,” said Sen. Bam.
“Alam naman natin na ang edukasyon ang isang tiyak na solusyon sa pag-unlad ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino kaya lubos namin itong sineseryoso,” he added.
Even before officially taking the helm of the education committee, Sen. Bam has already filed sixteen education related measures in the 17th Congress, including a resolution to oversee the implementation of major reforms under the K to 12 program.
One of his boldest policies, Senate Bill No. 177, seeks to make tertiary education free in all State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
He also hopes to ensure that graduates are given access to available job opportunities by creating an employment office in every senior high school through the passage of the Trabaho Center in Schools Bill (Senate Bill No. 170).
Another promising measure endeavors to further reduce the number of out of school youth (OSY) in the country through the Abot Alam Bill (Senate Bill No. 171).
Through this bill, Sen. Bam wishes to institutionalize the successful Abot Alam program headed by the Department of Education and the National Youth Commission that has already cut the number of OSYs in half.
Other measures focus on the welfare and benefits of Filipino students and teachers.
“Marami pa tayong isusulong na mga panukala na tutulong sa pagpapaangat ng kalidad at abot-kayang edukasyon sa bansa,” Sen. Bam promised.
“This is a big challenge but with hard work and team work, I believe we can create lasting reforms that will uplift the lives of our young countrymen and their families,” he added.
Overall, Sen. Bam has 15 laws to his credit and has already filed over 100 bills and resolutions for the 17th Congress.


Bam: Over 250 Negosyo Centers, Youth Entrepreneurship Act to help solve unemployment

Sen. Bam Aquino believes two of his laws in the 16th Congress — the Go Negosyo Act and the Youth Entrepreneurship Act – will help address the unemployment problem in the country through the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

 “These two laws are aimed at generating fresh jobs and other livelihood opportunities by providing MSMEs with the right support to help them grow,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

 “By giving MSMEs a conducive environment where they can succeed, confident that they can help generate fresh jobs and other livelihood opportunities for Filipinos,” he added.

 Trade Secretary Mon Lopez, for his part, said the agency will be giving an extra push in creating more entrepreneurs and registering more enterprises that will employ more Filipinos.

 The DTI will also focus on helping MSMEs on many aspects, in terms of money and market access, according to Lopez.

 Sen. Bam was the author and principal sponsor of the Go Negosyo Act (Republic Act 10667), his first law in the 16th Congress, and the co-author and principal sponsor of the Youth Entrepreneurship Act (Republic Act No. 10679).

 Sen. Bam’s pronouncement came after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that some 11 million adults were without work in the first quarter of 2016, about two million more than the previous quarter.

 The SWS first quarter poll pegged the joblessness rate at 23.9 percent, compared to 2015’s fourth quarter rate of 21.4 percent or equivalent to 9.1 million adults unemployed. It was also the highest since 2014’s fourth quarter rate of 27 percent.

 At present, Sen. Bam said 252 Negosyo Centers are already up and running, catering to the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in different parts of the country.

 The Youth Entrepreneurship Act, for its part, encourages young would-be entrepreneurs to establish their own business by providing them access to capital and other support.

 The law creates financial literacy modules in all levels of Philippine education, to inculcate a culture of enterprise development among the Filipino youth.

 Aside from the Go Negosyo Act and the Youth Entrepreneurship Act, Sen. Bam also worked for the passage of other MSME-related laws such as Philippine Competition Act, Microfinance NGOs Act, Credit Surety Act and the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act or Amendments to the Cabotage Policy.

 In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam has already filed the Senate Bill No. 169 or Small Business Tax Reform Act, which provides small businesses with lower income tax rate, VAT exemption and other privileges.

 Sen. Bam has also submitted Senate Bill No. 170 or Trabaho Center in Schools Bill to create a job placement office or Trabaho Center to assist Senior High School graduates who opt to find employment and help them find those opportunities.

Bam: Free tuition in all state universities and colleges

In a bold move as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam Aquino has filed a measure making tertiary education in all State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) free for all students.

 This is one in four bills he filed yesterday to improve access to quality education in the Philippines.

 “In line with the mandate of our Constitution, the State must uphold the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels. This bill seeks to make tertiary education in all State Universities and Colleges free of tuition for its students and fully subsidized by government,” said Sen. Bam in his Free Education in State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) Bill.

 He also filed Free Education for Children of Public School Teachers Bill to ensure that children of all public school teachers are given scholarships in all SUCs in the country.

 Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committees on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and Youth in the 16th Congress, is expected to lead the Committee on Education when the 17th Congress opens on July 25.

 Based on data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Sen. Bam said two out of five high school graduates, or 40 percent, do not pursue tertiary education due to high tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses.

 “Many of them face the choice between working to help their family or sacrificing the education of other siblings so that one may be sent to college,” the senator said.

 Sen. Bam believes that tertiary education is a valuable mechanism that can help Filipino families break out of the poverty cycle, as tertiary degree holders earn twice as much compared to those who do not have postsecondary education.

 By providing free college education to all, Sen. Bam believes that poor and low-income families stand to benefit the most, giving them a chance to be empowered economically and socially.

 Aside from pushing for free tertiary education, Sen. Bam also filed other measures in the 17th Congress that seek to improve the state of education in the country to world-class standards and living condition of public school teachers.

 The Abot Alam Bill seeks to effectively address the needs of Filipino youth aged 7 to 24 who are not attending school.

 It will create a comprehensive national framework designed to achieve the government’s aim to provide education for each and every Filipino, particularly out-of-school youth (OSY).

 In his Trabaho Center in Schools Bill, Sen. Bam wants to create a job placement office or Trabaho Center to assist Senior High School graduates who opt to find employment and help them find those opportunities.


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