Issues

Sen. Bam to gov’t: Be vigilant against rice smuggling

SAN JOSE, Nueva Ecija — Re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino advised concerned government agencies to be vigilant against smuggling following the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law.

“Kailangang masiguro na hindi iiral ang smuggling. Mahalaga na hindi mangyari ito, dahil kapag may smuggling, mawawala ang taripa na dapat magpapatas doon sa presyo sa local price,” said Sen. Bam, who recently visited the province known as the “Rice Granary of the Philippines.”

Sen. Bam said the government must ensure that farmers will benefit from the 35-percent tariff imposed on imported rice from Southeast Asian neighbors to help make them more productive and competitive.

“Itong pagpasok ng bigas mula sa iba’t ibang bansa. Kailangang ma-manage nang maayos. Napakasakit naman kung ang kikita sa Pilipinas, magsasakang dayuhan at hindi magsasakang Pilipino,” added Sen. Bam.

As the law presents many concerns and challenges, Sen. Bam said the government must focus on ensuring the livelihood of Filipino farmers and their families amid the entry of imported rice in the market.

“Unang-una, in the short term, iyong nakalaan na P10 bilyong pondo para sa mga lugar na apektado ng rice tariffication, dapat makaabot sa kanila,” said Sen. Bam, referring to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

“Dapat matiyak na walang magutom, mabigyan ng subsidiya, at masigurado ang kapakanan ng kanilang pamilya,” he added.

The fund is earmarked to support mechanization, credit assistance, seed development and for extension services for farmers to help them become more productive and competitive against imported rice.

“In the long term, matulungan natin sila na maging produktibo upang mapantayan nila ang presyo ng papasok na bigas,” stressed Sen. Bam, who is running under the Otso Diretso slate.

Various religious groups support Sen. Bam’s re-election bid

Re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino expressed gratitude to the People’s Choice Movement (PCM) for choosing him as one of the 10 senatorial candidates it will support and campaign for in the May elections.

“Taos-puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa People’s Choice Movement sa kanilang pagkilala at tiwala,” said Sen. Bam, who is running under the Otso Diretso slate.

“Napakalaking bagay rin po sa akin na napahalagahan  po nila ang ating mga nagawa sa Senado. Ito po’y magbibigay lakas sa akin magpatuloy kahit sa gitna ng mga paninira,” added Sen. Bam.

Composed of various Catholic, evangelical and Protestant groups, the PCM recently held a convention where more than 100 select leaders participated in the selection process.

The delegates based their selection on character and honor, competence and abilities, faithfulness to public service, faithfulness to God, the Constitution and the law.

Sen. Bam topped the selection process with 120 votes, followed by fellow Otso Diretso bets Chel Diokno and Pilo Hilbay, who both got 118 votes, and Erin Tanada (112).

”Napakamakabuluhan po ng kanilang suporta dahil mula sila iba’t ibang mga faith-based groups na ang pamantayan sa pagpili ay kung ano ang makakabuti sa bayan,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam assured PCM that he will continue defending the welfare, dignity and rights of the Filipino people.

“Magiging inspirasyon ko ang inyong pagtataguyod para patuloy na isulong ang kapakanan at karapatan ng ating mga kababayan lalo na ng mga mahihirap,” Sen. Bam said, adding “kasama nyo po ako sa pagtatanggol ang dignidad at buhay ng tao.”

Former Cong. Neri Colmenares (111), Samira Gutoc (103), Romy Macalintal (97), Gary Alejano (89), Mar Roxas (82) and Sen. Grace Poe (66) also made it to the list.

Sen. Bam: Debate best platform to enlighten voters, combat fake news and black propaganda

As a constant subject of fake news and black propaganda, Sen. Bam Aquino stressed that a debate would be a perfect stage to inform voters about candidates’ accomplishments and their platform and plans for the country.

Also, Sen. Bam said the debate will be an opportunity for him to address the fake news and other black propaganda being thrown at him online.

“Maganda itong paraan upang masagot natin ang lahat ng mga ibinabatong fake news at mga paninira sa atin sa social media,” said Sen. Bam, who is running for re-election under the Otso Diretso slate.

Sen. Bam and other Otso Diretso bets asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to arrange a debate with the administration bets, but the poll body turned down their request.

“Sana payagan na lang na ang mga kandidato na magdebate, iyong kandidato ang magpalitan ng talakayan para makita ng taumbayan, ma-compare ano ba ang mga plataporma namin,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam also shrugged off President Duterte’s criticisms against him and other Otso Diretso bets, saying it is part of the political process.

“Ganyan naman po iyan, that’s normal in any electoral process. May mga manok siya, may mga oposisyon. Pero sa kadulu-duluhan ng lahat, ang taumbayan naman ang pipili,” said Sen. Bam.

However, Sen. Bam maintained that the voters should elect candidates who will fight for their welfare and protect their rights.

“Dapat piliin ng taumbayan ang mga kandidato na kampi sa kanila, na magtatrabaho para sa kanila at walang ibang boss kundi sila,” said Sen. Bam.

“Ihalal natin ang mga kandidatong hindi mangungurakot, hindi pahirap, hindi sunod-sunuran lamang, at higit sa lahat kampi sa mga mamamayan,” the senator added.

Sen. Bam: Ensure fast implementation of subsidy for farmers affected by rice tariffication law

Sen. Bam Aquino urged the government to ensure the immediate implementation of subsidy to rice farmer as he expressed concern about the effects of the rice tariffication law on the livelihood of tillers and their families.

“Mahalaga na ang ating mga magsasaka, mayroong safety net para sa kanila dahil maraming lugar ang mahihirapan sa pagpasok ng imported na bigas,” Sen. Bam said during a meeting with farmers in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan yesterday.

“Ang challenge natin, ngayong na papasok na iyan in the next few months, kailangan ang programa para sa ating rice farmers ay naka-ready na,” the senator added.

The law includes a subsidy for farmers in the form of a Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund to support mechanization, credit assistance, seed development and for extension services for farmers.

Sen. Bam believes the Department of Agriculture (DA) should immediately deliver the subsidy under the law so that the livelihood of rice farmers will not be affected by the expected deluge of imported rice in the market.

“In the short term, baka kailangan talaga ng subsidiya para hindi sila magutom at hindi mawalan ng hanapbuhay,” said Sen. Bam.

In the long term, Sen. Bam said the government should help rice farmers transition to other alternative crops that will help them compete in the market.

While the law paves way for steady supply of affordable rice in the market, Sen. Bam said the government should balance the situation by also ensuring the livelihood of Filipino farmers and strengthening the country’s food security.

“Importante na mababa ang presyo ng bigas sa merkado ngunit mahalaga rin na may sapat na produksiyon ng bigas sa ating bansa upang food secure tayo,” Sen. Bam explained.

Sen. Bam to gov’t: Put welfare, livelihood Filipino fishermen first

Re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino prodded the administration to defend Filipino fishermen following reports that some of them were prevented by Chinese vessels from fishing or landing on the sandbars around Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

In a media interview in Pangasinan, Sen. Bam emphasized that the government should have acted earlier on the issue of harassment of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

“Matagal na pong isyu iyan at matagal na dapat itong inaksiyunan ng gobyerno,” said Sen. Bam, who is eyeing a second term under the Otso Diretso slate.

“Ang hinahanap ng mga Pilipino ay isang gobyerno na sila yung kakampi, palagay ko mahalaga na i-raise na ito formally ng ating gobyerno at huwag nang daanin pa sa pakiusapan,” the senator added.

If Sen. Bam will have his way, he said a formal complaint regarding the harassment of Filipino fishermen by Chinese vessels in Philippine waters should be lodged before multilateral organizations so the issue could be threshed out.

“Kailangang makita naman ng ating mga kababayan na kinakampihan ng gobyerno ang kapwa Pilipino. Hindi po iyong parang mas pinapaboran pa iyong ibang mga bansa,” Sen. Bam emphasized.

On September 19, 2016, Sen. Bam filed Resolution No. 158 seeking to clarify the country’s foreign policy direction and determine the administration’s position on several issues, including the West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise and other dealings with China.

Sen. Bam thanks voters for continued trust amid deluge of fake news

Sen. Bam Aquino thanked the Filipino people for their continued trust and support after he landed in the top 12 of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) senatorial survey.

 “Salamat po sa mga kababayan natin para sa lumalakas na suporta sa kabila ng mga paninira sa akin,” said Sen. Bam, who was in a tie for 10th to 12th places in the SWS survey conducted from February 25 to 28.

Sen. Bam expressed gratitude to the people who fight for the truth amid the prevalence of fake news and trolls that seek to destroy his reputation and accomplishments.

 “Napakahalaga po ng tiwala ninyo sa akin at sa tinrabaho natin sa Senado nitong nakaraang anim na taon,” added Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam called on voters to unite and strengthen their fight for an independent Senate that will protect the welfare of the public.

 “Magkaisa po tayo at palakasin pa natin ang laban para sa isang independent na Senado bilang tunay na kakampi ng taumbayan,” Sen. Bam said.

Focus on creating jobs for Filipinos, not for illegal aliens — Sen. Bam

Sen. Bam Aquino called on the administration to focus on generating jobs for Filipinos, and not for the Chinese, amid the reported influx of workers from China in the country.

“Gamitin sana ni Pangulong Duterte ang pagkasiga niya sa paggawa ng mga trabaho para sa mga Pilipino at mga nasa Pilipinas at hindi para sa mga dayuhan,” said Sen. Bam, who is seeking re-election under the Otso Diretso banner.

According to Sen. Bam, the government should prioritize the employment of Filipinos so they don’t have to seek greener pastures abroad for their livelihood.

“Ang daming Pilipino ang nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa. Ang panaginip ng kanilang pamilya ay dito na sana sa Pilipinas makapagtrabaho ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” said Sen. Bam.

The senator said it would be painful for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who have to leave their families in the Philippines to work abroad, to find out that many legal and illegal Chinese workers are making a living in the country.

“Masakit na mawalay sa pamilya ngunit wala silang magawa dahil walang mahanap na trabaho sa Pilipinas. Subalit mas masakit malaman na dayuhang Tsino pala ang nakikinabang sa mga trabaho rito sa Pilipinas na dapat ay para sa kanila,” said Sen. Bam.

While it is allowable for Chinese workers to work in the country, Sen. Bam said the government should first prioritize the employment of Filipinos before allowing foreign workers to seek employment here.

Earlier, Sen. Bam has committed to bridge the gap between education and employment through the Job Matching Bill, which will address the issues of jobs mismatch and unemployment.

After free college, Sen. Bam focuses on solving unemployment, jobs mismatch

After pushing for the enactment of the Free College Law, Sen. Bam Aquino said he’s focused on addressing unemployment and jobs mismatch through the Trabaho Sigurado Bill.

“Pushing for the Job Mismatch Bill or addressing the job mismatch is the necessary best reform after the free college law,” Sen. Bam, principal sponsor of the free college law, said during the Rappler senatorial candidates’ forum held at the Ateneo de Manila University on Monday.

According to Sen. Bam, one out of five Filipinos are working in jobs that are not suitable to their courses.

“Iyong unang batas na ipa-file natin kung makabalik sa Senado ay ang Trabaho Sigurado Bill para ilapit ang mga estudyante sa mga trabaho na nababagay sa mga kurso nila,” pointed out Sen. Bam, who is seeking re-election under the Otso Diretso slate.

“Kailangan ay nagma-match iyong mga kurso at subjects sa mga pangangailangan sa lugar na kinalalagyan ng paaralan, guro, at estudyante,” he added.

In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 1278 or Trabaho Centers in Schools Act, which seeks to establish job placement offices in public high schools and state universities and colleges (SUCs).

The measure mandates the establishment of a Trabaho Center in every public high school and SUC with main services that include: 1) Industry Matching, 2) Career Counseling, and 3) Employment Facilitation.

The legislation aims to address the skills mismatch and ensure employability of students upon graduation by using feedback from employers to better develop the school’s curriculum and training programs.

Sen. Drilon to fellow Ilonggos: Make Sen. Bam No. 1 senator in Iloilo City

Sen. Bam Aquino’s re-election bid in the May elections received a major boost after he was endorsed by Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon in his hometown of Iloilo City.

In a rally in Iloilo City on Wednesday, Drilon called on his fellow Ilonggos to make Sen. Bam their No. 1 senator in the upcoming polls.

“Dapat No. 1 si Bam dito sa city. Iyan ang hinihiling ni Sen. Drilon sa inyo dito. Dahil makakatulong siya sa kapakanan ng mga Ilonggo,” Drilon told the crowd at the North Fundidor Gym in Molo.

“He’s one of the brightest Senators I’ve worked with. He’s sincere. He’s a man who is sincerely concerned for our welfare- especially sa future ng kabataan,” added Drilon, saying Sen. Bam is the first senatorial candidate in the May elections that he’s endorsed.

Drilon described Sen. Bam and the Aquino family as a dependable ally in the development of the province of Iloilo, citing some projects that were funded during the previous administration.

“Sa aking pananaw, ang ating city kailangan pa ng tulong. Kailangan ko si Bam. Kasi 24 kami. Kung ako lang, mahihirapan ako. Kailangan ko ng maaasahan sa Senado. At si Senator Bam ay maaasahan,” Drilon emphasized.

Drilon also laid down Sen. Bam’s legislative accomplishments, saying he pushed for the passage of several important laws that focus on the welfare of the Filipino people, including the free college law that is being enjoyed by thousands of Ilonggo students.

In a separate interview, Sen. Bam thanked Sen. Drilon for his overwhelming support for his candidacy.

“Napakalaking bagay ng endorsement ni Sen. Drilon dito sa Iloilo. Mahal na mahal sya at nirerespeto ng mga Ilonggo,” said Sen. Bam, who has 40 laws to his name in his almost six years as senator.

Sen. Bam: Only an independent Senate can push country forward, protect its citizens

Only an independent Senate that is not beholden to anyone will push the country forward as it will work for the interest of the Filipino people, Sen. Bam Aquino stressed.

“Kung ang Senado ay sunud-sunuran lamang sa kagustuhan ng administrasyon, walang pipigil sa mga polisiya na nagnanais taasan ang buwis ng mga mamamayan, mga batas na nagpapataas ng presyo ng mga bilihin,” said Sen. Bam, who is running for re-election under the Otso Diretso coalition.

 Sen. Bam said an independent Senate will prevent the passage of any law that is detrimental to the welfare of the public, like the controversial Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law that burdens the Filipino people with high prices of food and other goods.

An independent Senate also ensures check and balance between branches of government and serves as watchdog against corruption, guaranteeing that those involved in anomalies will be punished.

“Ang isang independent Senate ay magbabantay laban sa mga magnanakaw sa pamahalaan at maniniguro na ang mga ito’y mapaparusahan,” stressed Sen. Bam.

An independent Senate will also guarantee that the will of the people is being followed, and not just serve as a rubber stamp of the administration.

 “Napakahalaga ang ibang boses sa Senado dahil ito ang maninigurado na ang sinusunod ay di lang ang kagustuhan ng administrasyon kundi ang kagustuhan ng taumbayan,” said Sen. Bam.

Also, attempts to change the 1987 Constitution to remove term limits of elected officials and change the system of government to fit their political agenda will have no chance under an independent Senate.

 Sen. Bam stressed that an independent Senate can be achieved by selecting candidates that will work for the welfare of the people and not serve the interest of the administration.

“Sa darating na Mayo, kilatisin nating maigi ang mga kandidato para matiyak na sila’y magsisilbi para sa interes ng bayan at hindi para sa kapritso ng administasyon,” said Sen. Bam.

In his almost six years as senator, Sen. Bam has 40 laws to his name, including the landmark Free College Law that he pushed as principal sponsor during his time as chairman of the Committee on Education.

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