Defining the Filipino Youth: Sen. Bam’s Speech During the TAYO 13 Awarding Ceremony

Magandang umaga po, mga kaibigan, mga kababayan!

To all the judges, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to listen and guide our finalists.

To the mentors who shared their insightful experiences, maraming maraming salamat!

Sa mga partners and sponsors po ng TAYO 13 Awards, maraming salamat! San Miguel Corporation, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, SMART, Lenovo Philippines – our official I.T. partner, Cebu Pacific – our official airline partner, Greenwich Philippines and Jollibee Group Foundation… Thank you for betting on the Filipino youth and supporting their initiatives to make a difference in our country.

To the multimedia arts students of the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, napakaganda po ng mga videos! Thank you for helping us tell these inspiring stories. Palakpakan po natin sila!

To the team who put it all together, to the TAYO Foundation, to the Coca-Cola Foundation, members of the National Youth Commission, and members of my team in the Senate, congratulations on another successful TAYO Awards – the 13th! Thank you for all your hard work and sleepless nights!

And, finally… a heartfelt “thank you” to our beautiful, handsome, and, hopefully, not too nervous TAYO 13 finalists – the reason we are all here today.

Our dear finalists, welcome to Malacañan Palace, the setting of the final leg of your TAYO 13 journey… so take it all in. This is it!

This year’s TAYO Awards is held at a very important time in our country’s history. This year, we will choose our leaders.

Once again, we have the opportunity to place our vote on Filipinos we believe will lift the country to greater heights, not just for ourselves, not just for a chosen few, but for each and every Filipino – especially those that are living in poverty and isolation.

With reforms creeping into the different branches of government and progress within the reach of more and more Filipinos, this year’s referendum will determine whether we continue forging forward, retreat back, or hold the fort for the next 6 years.

And for the pivotal 2016 elections, we find that the vote of the Filipino youth is critical.

Sadly, many have low expectations of young Filipinos, believing that they would be easily swayed by propaganda, entertaining memes, and catchy jingles.

There are many who are doubtful of our young men and women, thinking that a constant barrage of advertisements and the popularity of a candidate’s endorsers are all it takes to win their favor.

There are many who question the ability of the Filipino youth to make earnest and wise decisions during these conspicuous times.

A lot has been said about the youth. Marami tayong naririnig tungkol sa kabataan. At karamihan sa ating naririnig ay nega.

Pinipili raw ng kabataang Pilipino ang mag-selfie at mag-facebook magdamag imbis na pakinggan ang magulang.

 Pinipili raw ng kabataang Pilipino ang mag-DOTA imbis na mag-aral.

Pinipili raw ng kabataang Pilipino ang malulon sa droga at sa bisyo sa halip na makatulong sa pamilya.

Ito ba talaga ang diwa ng kabataan Pilipino? Does this define the Filipino youth?

Let us not forget…

It was our young Filipinos that decided to rebel against foreign conquerors using, not only the art of war, but also the sway of a mighty pen to pierce hearts and win our freedom.

It was the Filipino Youth who decided to renounce fear and raise fists full of yellow daisies to an intimidating military, overthrowing a cruel dictator and mobilizing the most graceful revolution the world has ever seen.

When there is a destructive typhoon, catastrophic earthquake, or devastating flood, it is our young men and women that choose to band together to serve those in the trenches through rescue missions and relief efforts.

Time and time again, in our country’s history, young Filipinos choose wisely, choose selflessly, and choose with the Philippines at heart.

And today, I am addressing young men and women that have chosen to create change and have decided to make history by shaping the future.

The School of Law Advocacy and Community Enrichment (SOLACE) organization has chosen to protect the rights of forgotten Filipino detainees.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, the Philippine Junior Jaycees, Inc., decided to support the livelihood of farmers by conducting seminars, distributing farming supplies, and creating a contingency fund for the residents of Brgy. San Agustin, Palo, Leyte. 

Pinoy Malkhain uses the power of creativity and entertainment to transform the lives of orphans and street children while the Kanlaon Theater Guild uses the same talent to better educate communities on disaster risk reduction and management.

Propelling our Inherited Nation through our Youth (POINTY) and I am Making A Difference (I am M.A.D.) both endeavor to mold the youth into productive members and leaders within our society.

We have the Youth Sports Advocacy Philippines Inc. using sports to instill good values and develop responsible citizens while the UP Circle of Industrial Engineering Majors (UP CIEM) hopes to develop livelihood for more Filipino families.

Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute (ECCRI)-De La Salle Araneta University developed and distributed a device to detect oncoming floods while the Instrumentation and Control Student Society’s (ICSS) invention guards against fires.

The Tobog Youth Organization drastically improved day care facilities in their barangay and students of the University of San Carlos continues to ignite the love for reading in remote public elementary schools.

UP ALCHEMES and the UP Chemical Engineering Society encourages the use of science and technology to solve societal problems while BNCHS-YECS develops entrepreneurial skills as they address the needs of their fellow students.

Keep Hope Alive enhances the living conditions of Mangyan communities in Oriental Mindoro while Youth Working for Change brings together young Filipinos from areas of conflict to provide much-needed water systems to communities in Basilan.

Finally, we have young men and women from Rebirth Outdoors Trekkers and Adventurers (ROTA) using their love for trekking to raise funds for health care while their fellow adventurers, the Tanay Mountaineers, employ charcoal briquetting to improve the health of communities while also protecting the environment.

Each and every one of you deserves a hearty round of applause!

Faced with our TAYO 13 finalists, how can one say that the Filipino youth cannot choose wisely, cannot choose selflessly, cannot choose for the country?

You, all of you, are the reason I can say to all these detractors, all the naysayers, and all those that are cynical about the Filipino youth… I can proudly say to them that young men and women from across the Philippines can make, will make, and are making better decisions for our country, for our future.

Today, I am honored to stand before the exemplars of Filipino youth.


Today, I am humbled to stand before young men and women that show the country, and the world, what Filipinos are made of and what every young Filipino can become.

Today, we celebrate the true spirit of the Filipino youth that is alive within each and every one of us – a bright spirit that lives deep within every Filipino, young and old.

Muli, maraming, maraming salamat sa inspirasyon! Mabuhay ang kabataang Pilipino!



Bam Aquino: Traveling Towards a United Asia

Keynote Speech of Bam Aquino on the Opening Ceremonies of he Ship Opening Ceremonies for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP)

Diamond Ballroom, Diamond Hotel Manila, 11 November 2015


My name is Senator Bam Aquino and SSEAYP changed my life as well! Not because I was a former delegate but because I met my wife through the SSEAYP Program when she was a delegate – a National Capital Region (NCR) Youth Representative on the 31st SSEAYP.

I’m very happy to be here not only because I can say SSEAYP changed my life, but because I am honored to be standing in front of the future leaders of ASEAN and Japan.

 I am very pleased to be here to send you off on an exciting adventure! I am sure that everyone is anxious to get on a ship together, discover new places, and make new friends.

Tens of thousands of years ago, people boarded wooden boats and sailed to the unknown. They would happen upon new shores with strange faces, foreign languages, new spices, treasures to find, and strange customs to witness.

Mountains, oceans, and seas were natural barriers between peoples. But being the curious explorers that we are, we found each other.

We broke through barriers. We overcame mountains with our vehicles and trains; we tamed the savage seas with our ships; and we conquered skies with our planes and rocket ships.

Today, we are more connected than ever. With the Internet, we can meet and interact instantaneously with people from all around the world. Right now, you could be messaging people back home on social media! We can even Google ‘uncontacted’ tribes and learn about how they live in the remotest parts of the Amazon.

Today, indeed, we are more connected than ever. Seeing new faces, learning new languages, and familiarizing ourselves with new customs can be done in the comfort of our own room. Now, more than ever, we can foster multiculturalism and celebrate our diversity.

And still, there are so many areas where we have yet to overcome divisive barriers living within our own minds, our own countries, our own region. Many, unfortunately, still fail to understand one another; many still refuse to embrace our differences.

All over the world, even here in our country, we find areas where conflict is still quite present. There is conflict in many different parts of the world; and in those parts of the world, we find discord, discrimination, and, sometimes, even hatred for one another.

On a macro and a micro scale, we can see discrimination and a failure of many to accept diversity and a failure to respect our differences. 

But where many people fail, dear friends, I am hopeful – and the leaders here in front are hopeful – that you will succeed.

As you spend time with one another and form the bonds of friendship with young men and women around Asia, as you go on adventures together and learn about other parts of the world together, I believe you will open your minds and your hearts, or puso, to the beauty of our differences.

I am hopeful that your exposure to a variety of histories, a variety cultures, and a variety of paradigms and perspectives will allow you to grow, learn, and evolve into the next generation of Asians and global citizens that can steer our world to the path of peace and prosperity for all.

As we usher in a stronger, united Asia, we have this opportunity to honor our varying histories and cultures while building prosperous nations for everyone.

Thanks to the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program, you have the opportunity to be part of this progress and be part of this change. Not only do you have the opportunity to be ambassadors of your respective nations, you are privileged of being representatives of the united Asia, the ideal Asia, in each place you visit.

Together, you can paint a remarkable, colorful image of our diverse region growing in harmony and not in discord.

I would like to leave you with a quote to keep in your back pocket or maybe at the back of your minds as you go on this great adventure. It is a quote from Mark Twain, the author who penned The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

He said, Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

And I hope, dear friends, that as you travel together, you will create and co-create that united Asia that we all want for our countries, our nations, ourselves and the future generations ahead of us.

On that note, I wish you well. I wish you safety. And I wish you fun!

 May you return home with souvenirs of unforgettable memories, lasting friendships, awesome #selfies, and life-changing experiences!

Mabuhay kayong lahat! Mabuhay ang SSEAYP! Thank you and good afternoon!

Sen. Bam’s Sponsorship Speech on the No Shortchanging Act

Senate Bill No. 265 under Committee Report No. 265

An Act Requiring Business Establishments to Give Exact Change to Consumers

 Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV
16th Congress, Senate of the Philippines

Sponsorship Speech, October 6, 2015


Good afternoon, Mr. President and my distinguished colleagues.  Mga kaibigan, mga kababayan, magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

I am pleased to address you today in support of consumer protection and the continued professionalization of our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as I sponsor Senate Bill No. 265, under Committee Report No. 265, entitled An Act Requiring Business Establishments to Give Exact Change to Consumers.

Mr. President and esteemed colleagues, as our economy continues to rise and a mounting number of Filipinos have more purchasing power, weaving decency, integrity, and professionalism into our social fabric becomes increasingly important.

This measure promotes such a culture among our Filipino entrepreneurs by prohibiting the giving of insufficient or no change.

This measure will also require that price tags reflect the exact price, including taxes, and that signs are posted to remind customers to make sure they aren’t shortchanged.

First-time violators shall be fined 500 pesos. The second offense will warrant a three-month suspension of the establishment’s license to operate along with a fine of 15,000 pesos. And a third violation results in the revocation of the establishment’s license to operate and a fine of 25,000 pesos.

In the advent of the ASEAN Integration and our rise to economic power, let us show the world that all Filipinos – from established corporations, medium enterprises and down to our sari-sari stores – can engage in business professionally, honestly, and justly.

 This practice of giving consumers what they are due, down to the last centavo, breeds a culture of precision and fairness that should permeate through all Filipino businesses.

Naniniwala tayo na madadala at mapakikinabangan ng mga negosyanteng Pilipino ang kasanayang ito kapag lumaki at lumago ang kanilang negosyo.

 Inaasahan ko po ang inyong suporta sa pagpasa ng patakarang ito.


 Maraming salamat!




Sen. Bam’s Sponsorship Speech on the Amendments to the Corporation Code

Senate Bill No. 2945 under Committee Report No. 247

An Act Amending Section 144 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 68 otherwise known as the Corporation Code of the Philippines

Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV
16th Congress, Senate of the Philippines
Sponsorship Speech, September 9, 2015



Good afternoon, Mr. President and my distinguished colleagues.  Mga kaibigan, mga kababayan, magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

I am honored to address you today in support of improving and developing the country’s business regulatory practices for the benefit of our local entrepreneurs, as I sponsor Senate Bill No. 2945, under Committee Report No. 247, entitled An Act Amending Section 144 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 68 otherwise known as the Corporation Code of the Philippines.

As the spotlight continues to shine on the country thanks to our robust economic growth, we are challenged to push policies that make investing and doing business in the Philippines easier, more efficient, and more fun.

Kagalang-galang na Pangulo, naipasa na natin ang Go Negosyo Act na siyang pagmumulan ng tulong at tukod para sa maliliit na negosyong Pilipino sa kanilang paglalakbay tungo sa pag-unlad.

Naipasa na rin po natin ang Philippine Competition Act na magbibigay ng pagkakataon sa mga bagong negosyante na makilahok at makipagsabayan sa mas malalaki at mas matatatag na kompanya sa merkado.

Ngayon, may panibagong pagkakataon na suportahan at padaliin ang paglaganap ng mga negosyo sa ating bansa.

Mr. President and esteemed colleagues, the next step in promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the growth of our local businesses is to rethink and reform the Corporation Code of the Philippines, which was enacted in 1980.

For 35 years, we have gathered lessons and insights in order to improve and streamline the country’s Corporation Code for the benefit of both businesses and government agencies.

To strengthen our efforts to catch up to global best practices for the business sector and improve the ease of doing business in the country, we must now make improvements and amendments to the decades-old Corporation Code of the Philippines.

These amendments include the creation of a one-person corporation, allowing for perpetual corporate existence, and stringent measures to ensure corporations are not used for graft and corruption practices – changes that benefit both implementing government agencies and entrepreneurs alike.


One-Person Corporation

At present, the law requires a minimum of five persons in order to incorporate, while entrepreneurs that choose to build a business on their own are left with one option – a sole proprietorship.

However, in a sole proprietorship, personal assets are considered property of the business entity allowing authorities to seize personal assets should the business go asunder.

In an attempt to protect their personal assets, individuals have learned to engage “dummy incorporators”, rendering the policy ineffectual; and thus, encouraging businesses to circumvent the law.

Sa panukalang ito, bibigyan natin ang mga negosyanteng Pilipino ng pagkakataong makapagpatayo ng mga one-person corporation bilang alternatibo sa sole proprietorship.

We aim to give the government less cause for speculation and no need for investigation while encouraging more individuals to invest in their business ideas.


Perpetual Corporate Existence

Mr. President, as we encourage a mindset of entrepreneurship among Filipinos, we also want to encourage them to think long-term, be in it for the long haul and embrace enterprise development as a life and career choice.

But currently, our Corporation Code limits a corporate term to a maximum of only fifty years.

To remedy this, the Amendments to the Corporation Code will allow corporate perpetuity in the Philippines, encouraging corporations to develop long-term plans and generate extensive and sustainable strategies to achieve economic or, more importantly, socio-economic growth.

On the other hand, government agencies need not attend to regular renewals of corporations, eliminating unnecessary workload and taking one less opportunity away from fixers.

This is one of our efforts to promote ease of doing business with government and to truly be a partner in the growth of our business sector.


Good Corporate Governance

Mr. President and respected colleagues, the passage of this bill is also an important step towards realizing our country’s commitment to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). 

It will promote good corporate governance by including stricter measures to safeguard companies from being used in aid of fraud, graft, and corruption.

These measures include imposing criminal liability against corporations, more stringent requirements for directorship, and whistleblower protection.

Ang pag-amyenda ng Corporation Code ay magpapatibay ng laban kontra katiwalian, hindi lamang sa gobyerno pero pati na rin sa mga nagnenegosyo.

These are only few of the many improvements in this policy that seek to update and redesign the current Corporation Code of the Philippines to suit our ever-changing and growing local and global business world.

With so many opportunities for business and commerce in our country, there is no better time to build a successful business in the Philippines; and there is no better time than now to streamline our policies.

Mga kaibigan, sa repormang tinutulak natin ngayon, binibigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang mga negosyanteng Pilipinong magtagumpay at makamit ang kanilang mga pangarap.

Sa repormang ito, mas magiging matapat at epektibo ang ating pamahalaan upang ituloy ang pag-unlad ng bansa para sa bawa’t Pilipino! 

Inaasahan po namin ang inyong suporta sa pagpasa ng Amendments to the Corporation Code!

Magandang hapon at maraming maraming salamat!




Sen. Bam Aquino’s Speech during the IP Peering MOA Signing

 “Magandang umaga po sa ating lahat. Definitely, today is a big step towards achieving our goals of having improved Internet services in the Philippines.

Ngayon po, all of our government websites, at least majority of our government websites, are locally peered.

This means, now that PLDT is connected to the PHOpenIX, our government data, any g to g data doesn’t have to leave the Philippines and can actually just travel locally among our shores.

Can you imagine the issues on national security previous to this day and this partnership? Before, government data had to travel outside of the country and come back to our shores to be able to get back to other government websites.

Today definitely is a huge day and we would like to thank PLDT and DOST for finally working out this partnership. Definitely, we can all sleep more soundly tonight now that this partnership is done.

Malaking bagay po na ang huge player like PLDT is now connected to the PHOpenIX. It does open a lot of opportunities in the future. At the minimum, our government sites are safer and of course would be more efficient Of course, this partnership does open the doors for other partnerships down the line.

What I’ve been harping about IP peering in the Senate hearings regarding IP peering, I think, we’re one step closer to that with this MOA signing.

Hopefully there will be another great announcement before the end of the year when it comes to full IP peering in the Philippines.

Today is definitely a good step, a big step and along the way of trying to improve Internet services in the Philippines, this is one of those days that we will remember as a banner day to be able to get to the goals that we want for our country.

More and more, lumalabas talaga na ang competitiveness of our country, a large part of it, in the next five to 10 years, if not the next two to three years, will be dependent on how good our Internet infrastructure is.

We’re hoping that together, we can really build a much improved Internet infrastructure in the Philippines.

We have a long way to go definitely, but sabi nga nila, each journey begins with one step and this is definitely a good step in the right direction.”

Bam on the Philippine ICT (Keynote Speech at the National ICT Summit 2015)

“I think everyone here knows the importance of the Internet, the importance of ICT in our country, it’s a connection to our economic growth, its connection, of course, in supporting our SMEs. 

I think the advocacy of pushing for Internet, and then actually the title of this forum says it all, “Ugnayan para sa Kaunlaran.” 

If you listen to the speeches of the President, the Secretaries, and some of us in the Senate, we always hear two things – inclusive growth and tuwid na daan. In fact, I think, those two phrases are the two most repeated phrases of this administration. 

The tuwid na daan, which is a push for good governance, and of course inclusive growth, which is a push, such that a growth, our economic growth doesn’t just benefit those in Metro Manila or Cebu or Davao, but would benefit the majority of Filipinos. 

You look at ICT as the great provider, as the great leader. Earlier we talk about the SMEs, how further developed and supported through the right ICT infrastructure. 

When you look at where our country is and when you look at where poverty is, we sometimes look at poverty as lack of access, a lack of access to markets, a lack of access to grocery services. 

But more and more, I think it’s also a lack of access to good quality Internet infrastructure.  The more we progress as a country, the more the world develops, where it’s developing now.

So before we able to really push for Internet in all areas of the Philippines, I think it goes hand in hand with our push for inclusive growth. 

Earlier, Secretary talked about the one store project, where just by putting that supplier all through the net, they were able to access markets.  Take note, that probably, less at least cost to them, they didn’t have to put up a store in a mall in Metro Manila, they nearly have to go online, post their products there and immediately, they were able to find the market. 

The Internet is truly a great equalizer, and when you talk about that in commerce, it’s probably one of the best platforms for our SMEs now. 

I think a lot of SMEs are still looking for cheap capital, but second to cheap capital would probably be that access to markets. That access to markets can be done through to the Internet. 

So when we talk about inclusive growth, it’s impossible not to talk about the Internet as well. As we push for inclusive growth, we need to put these, also, as one of the indicators of how we can achieve inclusive growth and earlier, I was whispering to Sec. Montero, maybe it’s time that we see the Internet in our mega plans, the Philippine National Plan, because we do have a Philippine Development Plan.

I was asking, “Sec., mayroon ba riyang tungkol sa Internet?”  Sabi niya, so far wala pa. We need to put something specific in the Philippine Development Plan with regard to the Internet.

The second is tuwid na daan.  I was reading this article in my phone this morning, and it’s from Forbes.com.  It was a foreign journalist talking about the drop of corruption in the Philippines.  It cited two things, on why it takes dropping of corruption in the Philippines. 

The first he said was, well because, President Aquino, is unlike, the previous presidents, is not willing to play ball when it comes to corruption.

His second reason was, “but maybe even more than that, is the exposure of social media in the Philippines.” 

He points two things on why corruption has been going down, one is, as a major policy push from the president and from the secretaries, and two, is because social media has permeated all of our lives. 

These days, if you see, a congressman, a senator, a mayor, or someone related to them, you know, driving a fancy car, or doing things which are untoward, or unbecoming of their position, you can rest assure, it will be in Facebook and Twitter in a few minutes. 

To be frank, that vigilance, I think, has also stopped corruption. I mean, kung noon nga po ‘di ba, sa mga ibang ahensya, hihingan ka ng pera, lantaran, eh ngayon ilabas mo lang iyong cellphone mo, kinakabahan na iyong gustong humingi sa’yo.

It does make a good point that in our push for tuwid na daan and push for good governance, you know at the end of the day, yes, leadership’s important but it’s also important that the people are involved.

The people are involved should be enabled through ICT.  They’re enabled through social media. They’re enabled through technology, to be as vigilant and to be as participative in the tuwid na daan

So seeing how important it is, for those two standards, I think it’s really time that we make that important sustained push for bearing ICT in the Philippines. 

We did improve, in the World Economic Forum Index, we went from 78 to 76.  Umakyat naman po tayo from 2013 to 2014, but I think all of us here are looking for the leap.  We’re not looking for a two spot increase, we’re looking for a leap that pushes us up in the future. 

So recently, we were able to pass the Philippine Competition Act. This has been the longest running bill in Congress. The first time it was filed was at the 8th Congress, which is about 25 years ago.  But just a few weeks ago, we were able to pass it.

I just found out that today how the Feldman Gray Commission, which will be the counterpart of the Philippine Competition Commission in the Philippines fined Apple for 415 million dollars for anti-competitive practices. 

Maybe, the Philippine Competition Commission can also do that when it is finally created.  They will be able to police our markets, outlaws anti-competitive behaviors, cartels and abuse of dominant positions.

Where we are now, 5 years of good economic growth and another 7 to 10 years of high economic growth, perhaps we might be up at edge of being in the middle income in economy already.

Malapit na po tayo and having that, being in that position, being in that demographic suites far from growth can go have a best economy in the ASEAN, being the second best economy in Asia, next to China.

Currently, sabi ko, this Philippine Competition Act, is a long stance act because how can you enter the big leagues, how can you enter the status of being in middle income economy without even having the right competition policy?

It’s a basic foundation for all of the modern and developed economies. Alangan namang tayo po, we will enter that status without this foundation of law. 

In the same way, I look at that Internet infrastructure in the same way where any with middle-income status we’re becoming, you know, we already are. 

It’s so hard to put more heads, can you imagine, we’re entering this level already and our Internet is the slowest in the ASEAN.  It doesn’t make any sense for me.

Improving our Internet infrastructure and pushing for better IT should be our priority.

The only promise I can give is that we’re committed to make sure that the developments and advancement in this industry is something we will not let go of.

Maraming salamat po! Magandang araw po sa inyong lahat!”

Sen. Bam’s Sponsorship on RESCYouth Act of 2015

Good afternoon, Mr. President and to my distinguished colleagues.  Mga kaibigan, mga kababayan, magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

 It is my great privilege to stand before you today in support of the institutionalization of youth participation in the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or NDRRMC, as I sponsor the Responsive, Empowered and Service-Centric Youth or RESCYouth Act of 2015, or Senate Bill No. 2789, under Committee Report No. 161, entitled An Act Including The National Youth Commission Chairperson As A Member Of The National Disaster Risk Reduction And Management Council, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 10121, Otherwise Known As The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction And Management Act Of 2010.

Our beloved country is one of the most vulnerable nations to the threat of climate change.

According to the Long Term Climate Risk Index (CRI), which ranks countries affected by extreme weather events, the Philippines ranked fifth in the world. And in the 2013 Climate Risk Index (CRI), our country is ranked the number one most affected with over 24 billion US Dollars in losses that year.

As we all know, in 2013, Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan, the deadliest typhoon in our history, affected over 14 million people and took over 6,000 lives in Eastern Visayas. To this day, we are still trying to recover from the tragedy.

 Mr. President, as we are in the receiving end of vicious typhoons, brutal storm surges, earthquakes, and other adverse calamities, we have taken steps and have made leaps in preparing for such occasions.

We have the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) project led by our very own world-renowned scientist Dr. Mahar Lagmay.

Just last week, the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) released the Valley Fault Atlas containing large scale maps of the areas traversed by the West Valley Fault – a starting point in preparing for a potential earthquake in Metro Manila.

The NDRRMC has also released the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (NDRRMP) for 2011 to 2028, which identifies the capacities we need to develop and the roadmap to follow in order to become truly resilient in the face of catastrophe. This plan not only focuses on preparedness and response, but also on prevention and rehabilitation before and after a crisis.

Moreover, we are seeing movements on the ground.  National agencies, local government units and the private sectors have constantly coordinated to be better prepared for disasters by educating our fellow Filipinos, acquiring more equipment for rescue and first aid, and institutionalizing relief operations and quick response teams, among other efforts.

Not surprisingly, the youth is playing a vital role in our pursuit for overall disaster resilience.  They have served as a beacon of hope and catalyst of action. 

Student councils lead schools to become depositories of donations and efficient centers for packing and deployment of relief goods, never running out of willing volunteers.

 In addition, social media turns from a platform of selfies into a nerve center for information, tips and news monitoring during typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic movements.

Mr. President, our youth organizations have also created innovative solutions to help their communities become more resilient, adaptive to the changing climate.

 Sa Cauayan City, Isabela, ang ating Ten Accomplished Youth Organization Awardee na Red Cross Youth and Junior Rescue Team ay nakalikha ng Disaster Management Eco-rafts mula sa recycled plastic bottles para sa mga nakatira sa malapit sa ilog at mga lugar kung saan madalas na binabaha.  

Tuwing may bagyo at umaakyat ang tubig, ginagamit ang mga eco-raft na ito ng mga pamilya roon upang makaligtas sa sakuna.

Mahalaga na may alam at kasanayan ang ating mga kababayan sa basic life support, first-aid training at rescue operations lalo na sa panahon ng kapahamakan. Naranasan ito mismo ng Hayag Youth Organization ng Ormoc, Leyte.

Isang araw, habang sila ay nasa isang mangrove planting activity, biglang tumaob ang kanilang bangka. Nalaman nilang wala sa kanila ang marunong lumangoy! Buti na lang, hindi lampas-tao ang tubig na kanilang nahulugan.

Dahil sa karanasang ito, isinagawa nila ang “Swim for Safety” o “Langoy Para sa Kaluwasan” na isa nilang advocacy sa disaster preparedness.

Mr. President, noong 1991, nagkaroon ng isang matinding flash flood sa Ormoc at libo-libo po ang namatay. Noong tamaan ng bagyong Yolanda ang Ormoc, lahat ng miyembro ng Hayag na tinuruang lumangoy ay naligtas sa delubyo.

Ang Rescue Assistance Peacekeeping Intelligence Detail o RAPID ay malaki rin ang naitulong at marami na ang nailigtas sa kanilang 56-hour training program kung saan itinuturo ang emergency response, first aid, bandaging, evacuation at iba pang kaalaman at kasanayan na kakailanganin tuwing may sakuna.

Ang mga nagtapos sa training program ng RAPID ang mga ilan sa first responders noong typhoon Yolanda, lindol sa Bohol, at pati sa lumubog na barko ng 2Go kung saan isinigawa ng mga trainees ang kanilang natutunan na cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR upang mailigtas ang sanggol na 8-months old pa lamang!

Napakarami na ngayong mga youth groups na nagtuturo ng mga kasanayang ito at kumukuha ng mga volunteers para mas maparami ang may kaalaman sa disaster response and rescue – mula sa Hayag Youth Organization sa Ormoc, Leyte, sa Rescue Assistance Peacekeeping Intelligence Detail (RAPID) sa Cebu, hanggang sa Muntinlupa Junior Rescue Team at The Responders sa South Central Mindanao.

Mr. President and esteemed colleagues, all over the country, young Filipinos are dedicating their time, energy, and skills to build a strong and resilient Philippines ready to take on overwhelming tragedies.  

They are involved in the whole process of disaster reduction and mitigation efforts – from education and prevention, to rescue and first response, to relief and rehabilitation efforts.

The Filipino youth has proven to be key partners in nation building. Let us empower them further by institutionalizing youth involvement in disaster risk reduction and management.

Right now, local government units are already working with the youth, usually as volunteers. The RESCYouth Act of 2015 raises this level of participation and includes the youth in the planning process, identifying strategic efforts, mobilizing communities, and making risk preparedness and disaster resiliency as part of Filipino culture.

This Act includes the National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairman in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and subsequently, involves youth representatives in the local levels by their inclusion in the Regional, Provincial, City, Municipal, and Barangay Disaster Coordinating Councils.

Mr. President, sa RESCYouth Act of 2015, mapakikinggan na sa bawat komunidad – barangay man, lungsod, o probinsya – ang mahalagang boses ng kabataan upang mapabuti ang ating paghahanda para sa kalamidad.

We have received tremendous support for this legislation – from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Local Government Units (LGUs) to the NDRRMC and the National Youth Commission.

Our stakeholders acknowledge the value of involving the youth in disaster risk reduction from the planning stage down to execution.

The NDRRMC, government agencies and local government units, schools, disaster management units, scientists and members of the academe, local businesses and the private sector, youth volunteers and youth groups – all of us, together, can make significant progress in our country’s ability to face calamity head on.

It is in trusting each other’s abilities and uniting all sectors, including the youth, that we can develop a Philippines that is well informed, incredibly prepared, and exceptionally resilient to disaster.

Let’s formally enlist our bright, impassioned, determined, resourceful, and brave young Filipinos by passing the RESCYouth Act of 2015.

Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat, maraming maraming salamat at mabuhay ang kabataang Pilipino!

Sponsorship Speech of Sen. Bam on Microfinance NGOs Act

An Act Strengthening Non-Government Organizations
Engaged in Microfinance Activities for the Poor otherwise known as  
the Microfinance NGOs Act

 Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV

16th Congress, Senate of the Philippines

Sponsorship Speech, 6 May 2015

Good afternoon, Mr. President, my distinguished colleagues, mga kaibigan, mga kababayan.

It is with great privilege that I address you today to support the development and inclusive growth of the poor and marginalized as I sponsor Senate Bill No.    , under Committee Report No.  , entitled An Act Strengthening Non-Government Organizations Engaged in Microfinance Activities, or otherwise known as the Microfinance NGOs Act.

The Philippine economy has grown immensely in the past years. We saw that in the last quarter of 2014, our economy grew at 6.9%, contributing to our annual gross domestic product growth rate at 6.1%[1].  This figure is still one of the highest growth rates in the region.

We are cited as the second fastest growing economy in Asia[2], second only to China. We are the fastest growing economy in the ASEAN. And we expect to sustain this momentum in the next few years.

Moreover, we have been earning improved investment grade ratings from Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor. 

When a decade ago, we were called the “Sick Man of Asia,” now we are among Asia’s “Rising Stars”.[3]

Ngunit sa gitna ng pag-unlad ng ating bansa, marami pa rin sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi nakararanas nito at di nakakatikim ng ginhawang dulot nito.

In the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, our poverty incidence for the first quarter of 2014 is 25.8%.  

Ibig sabihin nito, Mr. President, mayroon pa rin tayong 25 milyong kababayan ang maituturing na mahirap[4].

Habang tuluy-tuloy ang pag-angat ng Pilipinas, ang hamon sa ating lahat ay siguraduhing nakikinabang ang lahat ng sektor ng bayan.

Hand in hand with civil society and the private sector, we need to support and strengthen programs and efforts, private organizations and institutions that aid the poor in their journey to prosperity.

Apart from helping the poor directly through government programs, we also have the opportunity to bolster an entire sector willing to take part in advancing inclusive growth.

The Microfinance NGO Act aims to recognize the microfinance NGO sector, and the crucial role it plays in our struggle to alleviate our fellow Filipinos from poverty and enable the poor to build their own businesses and create their own sustainable livelihood.

Mr. President, time and time again, we have emphasized the important role of the micro, small, and medium enterprises or MSMEs, in our nation’s endeavor to foster inclusive growth.  MSMEs compose 99.6% of total establishments in the Philippines and they have contributed 61.2% of the country’s total employment[5].

Out of this substantial piece of the pie, 91.6% are micro-enterprises[6]. These micro businesses are composed of sari-sari stores, handicraft makers, service shops, and other modest businesses that serve as the main source of livelihood for many Filipinos.

Micro entrepreneurs also include local artisans, market vendors, and farmer entrepreneurs who transform local materials with products and services at greater value for their communities.

Ang maliliit na negosyong ito ay maaaring lumawak at maglaan ng mas mabuting kinabukasan para sa mga pamilyang Pilipino, basta’t bigyan lamang natin sila ng tamang suporta.


Stories of Grit

Mr. President, bilang dating social entrepreneur at ngayon ay Chairman ng Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, marami-rami na tayong narinig na kuwento ng ating mga kababayang nais magnegosyo.

Sa ating patuloy na pakikinig at pakikipag-usap sa kanila, ang paulit-ulit na tanong sa atin ay, “Senator Bam, saan po kami makakahanap ng kapital para makapagpatayo ng maliit na tindahan?  Saan po puwedeng humiram na mababa lamang ang interes para mapalago ko ang aking negosyo?”

Napakahalaga na mabigyan natin ng suporta ang ating mga negosyante, lalo na sa kapital, para mapalago nila ang kanilang mga negosyo at ang kanilang estado sa buhay.

Mr. President, nais kong ibahagi sa inyo ang dalawang kuwento ng ating mga kababayan na dahil sa tulong ng mga microfinance NGOs, ang kanilang mga pangkabuhayan ay lumago at umasenso.

Aling Ester and Pandan Bags[7]

Lumaki sa paghahabi ng mga banig na pandan sina Aling Ester Lumbo at ang kanyang asawa na si Mang Bartolome sa Negros Occidental.  Sila ang unang nagbenta ng mga hinabing pandan bags sa merkado.

Ngunit nang kinailangan ng surgery ang kanilang ikatlong anak sa Maynila, napilitan silang iwan ang kanilang negosyo upang tiyaking bumuti ang kalagayan ng kanilang anak.

 Nang pagbalik nila sa kanilang bayan, naubos ang kanilang pangkabuhayan at nabaon sila sa utang.  Buti na lang at natagpuan nila ang Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), na isang microfinance NGO, na siyang tumulong sa kanilang makabalik sa pagnenegosyo.

Ngayon, sila’y nakakabenta na ng 150,000 na produktong gawa sa Pandan kada-buwan. Nakapagpatayo na rin sila ng bagong bakery. 

 Higit sa lahat, nasustentuhan nila ang kanilang pamilya at nakapagtapos na ng kolehiyo ang kanilang tatlong anak. 

Ate Consuelo and Sabutan Handicrafts[8]

Ang pangalawang kuwento ay tungkol sa pangangailangan ni Consuelo Valenzuela na kumita para sa kanyang pamilya.  Siya ay panlabing-isa sa labinlimang magkakapatid, kung saan ang tatay niya ay isang karpintero at naiwan sa bahay para mag-alaga ng  mga anak ang kanyang nanay sa Baler, Aurora.

Ninais niyang tulungan ang kanyang pamilya nang makatapos siya kaya bukod sa trabaho niya sa munisipyo, nag-isip siya ng iba-ibang mga produkto.  Nakahiram siya ng P5,000 mula sa Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI), isang microfinance NGO, na nagturi sa kaniya ng marketing at sales.  

 Dinala nila ang kanyang mga produkto sa mga provincial at regional trade fairs.  Para kumita, binenta niya nang wholesale ang kanyang mga produkto sa labas ng kanilang probinsya.

Sa ganda ng kanyang mga produkto, nakakakuha na siya ng mga order mula sa California sa Estados Unidos.  Napag-aaral na niya ang kanyang mga pamangkin at nasusustentuhan ang pangangailangan ng kanyang pamilya.

There are many more Aling Esters and Ate Consuelos out there – stories of grit, challenges and struggles from poverty to determination and triumphs of growth through small-scale businesses and community livelihood projects.

These would not have been possible without microfinancing and particularly, microfinance NGOs.

Pangarap ng maraming Pilipino ang magpatayo ng maliit na negosyo at maging lunas ito sa kanilang kahirapan.  Ang tulong na handog ng mga microfinance NGO ang nagiging simula ng landas tungo sa kaunlaran.


Microfinance and the Access to Loans

Mr. President, microfinance is defined by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as,

(Quote) “…the provision of a broad range of financial services such as – deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers and insurance products – to the poor and low-income households, for their microenterprises and small businesses, to enable them to raise their income levels and improve their living standards[9].” (end quote)

Para sa nakararami nating kababayang may maliit na negosyo, napakahalaga ng tulong ng microfinance imbis na lumapit sila sa mga nag-fifive-six.  

Sa sistemang 5-6, sa bawat limang pisong inutang mo, ang kailangang ibalik ay anim na piso bawa’t araw.  In other words, you pay an additional 1 peso per day for every 5 peso loan, which is a monthly rate of 600%!

 Mr. President, this is where microfinance can fill in the gap and address the needs of our small businesses, specifically, our micro entrepreneurs.

Microfinance Institutions and Microfinance NGOs

Mr. President, there is also a need to distinguish microfinance NGOs from other microfinance institutions. In the Philippines, microfinancing services are provided by cooperatives, rural and thrift banks, and non-government organizations or NGOs.

It is important to note that the Microfinance NGO Act covers only microfinance non-government organizations, and does not cover for-profit microfinance institutions.

Microfinance NGOs are non-stock, non-profit entities that share in the State’s goal of inclusive growth and sustainable poverty alleviation. As not-for-profit institutions, the main purpose of a microfinance NGO is to empower the marginalized sector and give them the means to move themselves out of poverty and into financial sustainability.

Microfinance NGOs offer a variety of loans to low-income households with an average nominal interest rate of 2 to 2.5% and a usual loan cycle of 6 months[10].

Loans offered are not limited to business or livelihood loans. Types of loans can range from housing and educational to medical and even energy related [11] .

In 2013, the 23 microfinance NGO members of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) alone had a gross loan portfolio of over 15.26 billion pesos. This catered to more than 2.7 million micro-entrepreneurs[12].

But their services go beyond microfinancing.

The earnings of these Microfinance NGOs are either 1.) used for the sustainability of the organization, 2.) reinvested to expand the services for more to benefit from the loans, or 3.) used to fund other programs towards uplifting the poor, such as research, financial literacy training, capacity building trainings, marketing activities, or other micro-business development services.

Mr. President, more than just reasonable financing programs, microfinance NGOs also provide training programs and seminars to enhance the entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy of their borrowers [13] .

With our push for the passage of the Microfinance NGO Act today, we will recognize these institutions, which help deliver government services to the poor.

Microfinance NGOs as Partners in Development

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has forged partnerships with microfinance NGOs Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Incorporated (ASKI), the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Microfinance (RAFI Microfinance) through its Sustainable Livelihood Program to enhance the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Kinikilala rin ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) ang kahalagahan ng mga microfinance NGOs.  Kasama ng DAR ang Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Inc. (CARD) upang isagawa ang kanilang microfinancing strategy para makatulong sa mga agrarian reform beneficiaries.[14]

Nagsanib-puwersa rin ang Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Coca-Cola Philippines, mga local government units (LGUs), ang ASKI, at Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) sa programang, “Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program.” [15]

The Link to Negosyo Centers

Since we passed the Go Negosyo Law and began building our Negosyo Centers around the country, we have found that the public are most excited about the center’s ability to connect and refer entrepreneurs to legitimate financial institutions willing and able to cater to their needs.

 Microfinance NGOs can work hand in hand with the Negosyo Centers around the country to expand their reach and help even more Filipinos improve their standard of living through improved access to loans, business networks, and effective training programs.

The Microfinance NGO Act will help microfinance NGOs become more effective sources of support for the poor and it will encourage more institutions to help in the promotion of the development of micro businesses all over the country.

In the end, the goal of this measure is to ensure more Filipinos will be able to write their own stories of success and development.

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, I urge you to join us in our continued push to empower our Filipino people with the skills and financial means to lift themselves out of poverty and achieve their own financial security.

Let us support the microfinance NGOs that help make our dream – of prosperity for all – a reality.

Maraming salamat po, at magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

[1] Vera, Ben. 29 January 2015. Philippine Daily Inquirer. “PH GDP Grew 6.1% in 2014, 6.9% in 4th Quarter.” Accessed via http://business.inquirer.net/185733/ph-gdp-grew-6-1-in-2014-6-9-in-4th-quarter last 15 February 2015.

[2] Dancel, Raul. 29 January 2015. The Associated Press. “The Philippines is Asia’s Second Fastest-Growing Economy in 2014 after China.” Accessed via <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/29/the-philippines-asias-second-fastest-growing-economy-2014-after-china.html> last 12 February 2015.

[3] Torres, T. 27 November 2013. The Philippine Star. “Phl Lone Asian Country in S&P List of Rising Stars.” Accessed via http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/11/27/1261217/phl-lone-asian-country-sp-list-rising-stars last on 16 December 2013.

[4] Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). March 6, 2015. “Poverty incidence among Filipinos registered at 25.8%, as of first semester of 2014 – PSA”. Last accessed May 4, 2015. <http://www.nscb.gov.ph/pressreleases/2015/PSA-20150306-SS2-01_poverty.asp>

[5] MSMED Council. Micro, Small and Medium Development Plan 2011-2016. http://www.dti.gov.ph/dti/index.php/msme/smed-plan

[6] MSMED Council. Micro, Small and Medium Development Plan 2011-2016. http://www.dti.gov.ph/dti/index.php/msme/smed-plan

[7] Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. Small Steps to Success: Citi Micro entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Accessed last 13 February 2015.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. “Microfinance.” Accessed via http://www.bsp.gov.ph/downloads/regulations/attachments/2001/circ272.pdflast 14 February 2015.

[10] Information from the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI)

[11] Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc.

[12] Ibid. 

[13] Ibid.

[14] Anjanette Nemiaga. March 25, 2013. “DAR-CARD, Inc. launches microfinance operations”. Last accessed on 2.25.2015 (http://piazampen.blogspot.com/2013/03/dar-card-inc-launches-microfinance.html)

[15] Coca-Cola Journey Staff. “Coca-Cola Philippines Kickstarts Christmas Celebration with Gathering of Women Entrepreneurs”. <http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/5by20/coca-cola-philippines-kickstarts-christmas-celebration-with-gathering-of-women-micro-entrepreneurs>

Sen. Bam Aquino’s Speech During the TAYO 12 Awarding Ceremony

Magandang hapon sa ating lahat, mga kaibigan, mga kababayan.


In February 1986, all of humanity watched as a peaceful revolution in our island nation called the Philippines brought democracy back to our land.


This revolution didn’t happen in a day; nor was it hatched by one single person. This revolution was a result of millions of voices in protest backed by concrete and non-violent action.


That was 29 years ago, and I was only eight years old then, but I recall being a witness and willing participant in a turning point in Philippine history.


Leading up to the EDSA Revolution, the winds of change were already howling.


And the culmination of this revolutionary energy was over 2 million Filipinos, from all ages and all walks of life, taking to the streets amid threats of military action.


I vividly recall eating ice buko and sharing sandwiches my family had prepared with the other protesters at the corner of Annapolis and EDSA during the four days of the People Power Revolution.


Along EDSA, Filipinos found common ground in their yearning for truth, justice, freedom, and, most importantly, peace. The crowd stood their ground, arms linked in solidarity, even as tanks threatened to shoot them down and run them over.


We offered ourselves to the Philippines – to freedom, justice, democracy, and peace.


That was the EDSA People Power Revolution. And the rest, as they say, is history.


That was 29 years ago.


Today, I still have that yearning, as I’m sure many of you do, to build a Philippines that honors truth, upholds justice, and creates prosperity for all, not just the chosen few.


And a lot has changed since the 1980s.


We have evolved from analog to digital, from sending postcards to photo and video messaging, from joining street protests to signing online petitions and sharing #hashtags with a cause.


The spirit of People Power has evolved.


Filipinos who are creative, innovative and resourceful have found many ways to come together to help build, and rebuild, our nation.


Naaalala ninyo pa ba nang nabigla tayo sa matinding pagbabaha noong bagyong Ondoy sa Mega Manila?


O di kaya ang mas sariwang lungkot na naranasan ng Pilipinas noong tumama ang bagyong Yolanda sa Eastern Visayas?


Maraming nawalan ng tahanan at kagamitan.


Maraming nawalan ng bahay at buhay.


Ngunit, hindi nabigo ang sigla ng nakararami.


Punung-puno ang mga unibersidad, mga basketball court, at iba’t ibang mga headquarters ng mga donasyon at volunteers.


Sa tuwing mayroong lindol, bagyo, storm surge o anumang trahediya, wagas ang pagtulong ng mga Pilipino – lumalabas ang diwa ng bayanihan ng bawa’t isa.


Hindi po ba’t People Power iyon?


Tuwing nagsasama-sama ang komunidad, mga magulang, mga guro, mga mag-aaral at iba pa para ihanda ang mga public schools bago magpasukan, para pinturahan ang mga bubong at dingding, linisin ang mga estero at hardin, ayusin ang mga mesa, silya’t blackboard sa Brigada Eskwela ng DepEd.


Hindi po ba’t People Power iyon?


Noong dumating si Pope Francis, kay daming Pilipino ang nagvolunteer, ilang gabing nagpuyat, napagod at nabasa ng ulan para maging maayos at makabuluhan ang pagbisita ng ating Santo Papa


Hindi po ba’t People Power iyon?


Puntahannatin ang ilang past TAYO winners.


Ang Hayag Youth Organization tinuruan nila ang mga kabataan sa Ormoc ng paglangoy, first aid at iba pang disaster preparedness skills.


At nang tumama ang Bagyong Yolanda sa kanilang lungsod, walang nasawi sa kanilang mga miyembro.


Hindi po ba’t People Power pa rin iyon?


Nandiyan din ang Dire Husi sa Cagayan de Oro. Kanilang tinipon ang mga batang kalye at tinuruan sila ng sining upang mailayo sila sa bisyo ng pag-rurugby at krimininalidad.


Hindi po ba’t People Power pa rin iyon?


At ang mga kabataang taga-Cebu na Gualandi Volunteer Service Program, kung saan umiikot sila sa kanilang lungsod na nangangampanya para protektahan ang mga PWDs laban sa diskriminasyon at pang-aabuso –


Hindi po ba’t People Power pa rin iyon?


Buhay na buhay po ang diwa ng People Power sa ating bayan at sa ating kabataan.


Habang mayroong mga Pilipinong nagsasama-sama, kabila ng pagkaka-iba sa paniniwala, upang isulong ang kapakanan ng mga komunidad sa Pilipinas, naroroon ang diwa ng People Power.


The Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards Foundation is a witness to this spirit of nation building.


And on the 29th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, we celebrate the youth organizations that have best exemplified People Power in our communities through the TAYO Awards.


On its 12th year, the TAYO Awards continues to recognize the youth’s efforts to improve the lives of our fellow Filipinos today.


This year alone, we received around 400 entries – each entry, a youth group’s project that contributes to the development of our country; each entry, proof that the spirit of People Power persists in the youth of today.


We would like to thank you, TAYO finalists, for embodying the spirit of People Power and renewing the fire of nation building!


You, who have made a palpable impact on society, can serve as an inspiration to even more people to join the fight for a better Philippines.


People Power led us to victory against an unbeatable foe in 1986.


Today, we oppose even more formidable and seemingly faceless adversaries like poverty, climate change, social injustice, discrimination, indifference, and even hatred.


Buo ang aking tiwala na gaya ng dati, kakayanin natin ang mga ito – kung sama-sama tayo, kung tayo’y magtutulungan, kung ang diwa ng People Power ay buhay sa ating lahat.


Maraming salamat po.


Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Sponsorship Speech on Access of Foreign Ships to Domestic Ports Bill

Senate Bill No. 2486 under Committee Report No. 91
An Act Exempting Carriage of Container Vans from the Provision of Section 1009 of Presidential Decree No 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of 1978 and for other Purposes

 Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV
16th Congress, Senate of the Philippines
Sponsorship Speech, 28 January 2015

Good afternoon, Mr. President, my distinguished colleagues, mga kaibigan, mga kababayan.

It is my great privilege to stand before you today to support the development of the Philippine martitime transport industry, as I sponsor Senate Bill No. 2486, under Committee Report No. 91, entitled An Act Exempting Carriage of Container Vans from the Provision of Section 1009 of Presidential Decree No 1464, or otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of 1978 and for other Purposes, otherwise known as Access of Foreign Ships to Domestic Ports Bill.

Given that the Philippines is an archipelago composed of more than 7,100 islands, the transport of goods relies heavily on sea routes interconnecting the islands.  Shipping costs impact the movement of trade goods, and more importantly, the price that consumers will ultimately pay for.

Currently, inter-island shipping is exclusively reserved for ships bearing the Philippine flag. Internationally, this principle is known as the Cabotage Principle, which is implemented to protect the country’s local shipping industry.

Unfortunately, this exclusive right incurs an extra cost for our importers of raw materials and for Philippine exporters of goods. Thus, we are pushing today for allowing foreign ships coming from international ports to dock into multiple ports all over the country.

This reform will provide our producers and entrepreneurs the following benefits and these are: 1) the lowering of production costs; 2) the easing of doing business in the maritime transport industry; 3) the decongestion of the Manila Port; and 4) the further leveraging of our strategic location in the ASEAN market.

Mr. President, the change that we are proposing today is part of a larger effort in reforming our shipping industry to be more modern, more equipped and more competitive with our ASEAN neighbors.

The reforms also involve an establishment of a better regulatory framework that will ensure that foreign ships will only carry goods that are going in and out of the country.

Lower Production Costs

Firstly, the state think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) emphasizes the need for a comprehensive review and amendments to the Cabotage policy of the country to lower local shipping costs.

Sa kasalukuyan, ang isang exporter mula Cagayan de Oro na nagpapadala ng kargamento papuntang Hong Kong ay kailangang magbayad ng dalawang beses: US$1,120.00 para sa biyahe ng kanyang kargamento mula CDO papuntang Maynila sa isang lokal na barko at US$144.00 pa para sa biyaheng Maynila papuntang Hong Kong sa isang dayuhang barko. 

Ang total shipping cost ng ating exporter sa kasulukuyang pamamaraan ay US$1,264.00.

Kung ipapasa natin ang ating reporma ngayon, ang ating exporter ay magbabayad na lamang ng US$500.00 para sa isang dayuhang barkong didiretso mula CDO papuntang Hong Kong.

 Ang US$764.00 na matitipid ng isang exporter ay maaaring magamit upang mas mapaganda pa ang kaniyang produkto, mas mapalaki pa ang kanyang kapital, at mas mapalago pa ang negosyo nang mas makapagbigay pa siya ng mas maraming trabaho sa kaniyang komunidad.

Ganoon din para sa ating mga importer ng raw materials.  Ang ating importer mula CDO ay kailangang magbayad ng dalawang beses para sa kanyang kargamento: US$159.00 para sa biyahe ng kanyang kargamento mula Kaohsiung sa Taiwan papuntang Maynila sa isang dayuhang barko at US$1,120.00 para sa biyaheng Maynila papuntang CDO sa isang lokal na barko.

Ang total shipping cost ng ating importer sa kasulukuyang pamamaraan ay US$1,279.00.

Kung ipapasa natin ang ating reporma ngayon, ang ating importer ay magbabayad na lamang ng US$360.00 para sa isang dayuhang barkong didiretso mula Taiwan hanggang CDO.

Ang US$919.00 na matitipid ng ating importer ay maaaring magamit upang makabili pa siya ng mas maraming raw materials o di kaya ay mapababa ang presyo ng kanyang binebentang mga produkto sa merkado.

Ayon naman sa Joint United States Government and Government of the Philippines Technical Team, mas mahal ng dalawang daan at limampung (250) porsiyento ang halaga ng lokal na shipping cost kumpara sa Indonesia kada nautical mile.

Ang mga numerong ito ay hindi katanggap-tanggap dahil ang halaga ng shipping costs ay ikakarga lang ng mga negosyante sa kanilang gastusin, at sa huli ay papasanin din ng ating mga mamimili.

Ease of Doing Business

Secondly, Mr. President, although co-loading of goods is already allowed as a practice in the market, the processing of documents and getting clearance from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is necessary to allow foreign cargoes to co-load foreign containers in multiple ports.

To avail of a special permit from MARINA, foreign shipping companies usually take 15 days or more for their papers to be processed. Hence, most foreign shipping agencies would rather avoid this particular step to be more efficient and productive.  In practice, they choose to have a transshipment point rather than get a clearance from MARINA.

For example, instead of dropping cargoes in Manila, securing the necessary approvals and documents, and then, carrying the same set of cargoes themselves to other local ports, foreign ships just choose to drop off their cargoes in Manila.  Then, the cargoes are picked up by local ships to be transported to other domestic ports in the country.

With our proposal, we aim to streamline our processes, make our ports more efficient and easier for doing business.

Thus, if there is a foreign cargo that is intended to be shipped to Manila and Cagayan de Oro, the foreign ship that carries the said cargo, with our reform, will be allowed to go directly to Manila, then CDO instead of the present procedure of unloading in Manila first, then transhipping its goods to a local carrier to CDO.

In the same way, our entrepreneurs who are exporting goods from Subic, Cebu, CDO and Davao, would be able to co-load in one ship before heading out of the country directly in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, instead of, again, having to pass by Manila.

The bill encourages for our micro, small and medium entrepreneurs to think globally since importing raw materials and exporting Filipino goods would be cheaper.

Addressing the Manila Port Congestion

Thirdly, we learned from our recent investigations and hearings that the Manila International Container Terminals (MICT) and the Manila South Harbor, the main hubs for transshipments in the country, have been experiencing congestion in the past few months.

Almost all of the goods in the country are shipped to MICT and to the Manila South Harbor.  Last December, these ports operated at an average level of 75-85%, which is more than the ideal 60% serviceable level.

By allowing foreign ships to go directly to other domestic ports around the country, it will free up space in the container yards in the Greater Manila Area.  This will save time, costs and energy for our exporters and importers in sending their raw materials, and goods and products in and out of the country.

In addition, by allowing more foreign ships to dock on other ports all over the country, there will be an increased economic activity in the countryside.  This will lead to growth for businesses and entrepreneurs in the regions, and more jobs for our Filipino people.  It will then bring us a step closer from achieving our dream of inclusive growth for our countrymen.


Leveraging on the Country’s Strategic Location

And lastly, Mr. President, we need these reforms as part of a larger effort to further capitalize our strategic location in the ASEAN market.

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs published a report entitled, “Formulating an ASEAN Single Shipping Market Implementing Strategy,” which mentions the Philippines’ low investment in ports and road infrastructure, which hampers the promotion of intermodal transport.

The study concludes that our country’s strong cabotage policy that only allows foreign-flag vessels to call at one Philippine port, hinders our economic development.

The report stresses that foreign ships docking on various ports all over the country is needed for the country to achieve sustainable growth, and more importantly, to achieve a single ASEAN market.

In line with the ASEAN Economic Integration this year, the region will be implementing a single shipping market where member-countries are expected to deliver quality service at a competitive price.

Mr. President, kapag ito’y tuluyang naipatupad, mahalaga na magkaroon ng sapat at maayos na imprastruktura at mga pasilidad sa pantalan, magagandang kalsada para sa mas mabilis na paghahatid ng produkto, at higit sa lahat, mababang presyo ng pagpapadala ng mga kargamento.

Kailangan nating makapagpatayo ng mga pantalang na kayang makipagsabayan sa mga pantalan ng Singapore, Thailand at Indonesia – mga modernong pantalan na sytematic at computerized, na kayang mapabilis ang mga pagpoproseso ng mga dokumento at galaw ng mga kargamento.

 Kasama ng repormang ito ang ating pagkilos para hindi na maulit ang pagsisikip ng ating mga pantalan.  Sinimulan na ang NLEX-SLEX connector road upang lalong maibsan ang traffic sa Kamaynilaan at mapabilis ang galaw ng mga kargamento papuntang hilaga o timog Luzon.

Ang pagpapatuloy ng mga repormang ito ang mga hamon na ating kakaharapin sa mga susunod na buwan. Napakahalaga na maabot natin ang mga ito upang makasabay tayo sa mga kapitbahay nating bansa na may mas moderno at mas maayos na sistema sa kanilang mga pantalan.

It will be a win-win situation for both our importers and exporters.

Dadami at mas magmumura ang pagpasok ng raw materials mula sa ibang bansa na mapoproseso ng ating mga kumpanya rito.  

Mas magiging mura ang halaga ng pag-export ng ating mga produkto sa merkado ng mundo.

Sa mas efficient na maritime transport industry, patuloy na tataas ang kalidad ng produkto at serbisyo, patuloy na bababa ang presyo, at ang taumbayan ang siyang panalo.

As we continue to develop from a low-income to a middle-income economy, we need to revisit our policy environment to be able to support this growth that we are experiencing as a country.

This is our first response to the call of the President and various stakeholders to enhance the Philippine maritime transport industry.

This is our first step in our effort to further unlock the industry, let it grow and thrive, and make it as efficient as possible as we anticipate more trade, more economic activity, and real inclusive growth for the Filipino people.

Nang dumating ang mga unang Malay sa ating mga baybayin mula Borneo, nakasakay sila sa mga sinaunang bangka na ang tawag ay balangay. Sa balangay natin hinango ang barangay, na siya nating kinikilala bilang ang ating pormal na komunidad.

Dala-dala ang mga produktong kopra, mais at iba pa, sinuong natin ang karagatan para maabot ang iba’t ibang isla.  Sa karagatan natin nabuo ang ating mga komunidad. Sa paglalayag natin nabuo ang ating bansa. 

At sa reporma na tinutulak natin ngayon, maisasakay natin ang ating mga pamilya, mga komunidad at ang ating buong lipunan sa mga bangkang  patungo sa magandang kinabukasan.

Mga kaibigan, bumibiyahe na tayo ngayon tungo sa kaunlaran.  Iniimbitahan ko kayong lahat na patuloy tayong magtulungan, sama-samang magsagwan upang mabigyang pagkakataon ang mga negosyo ng ating mga kababayan na lumago at makipagsabayan sa mundo.

Dahil ito po ang tamang panahon sa pag-ahon natin bilang isang bansa at marating natin ang baybayin ng kasaganaan para sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino. Maraming salamat po at magandang hapon sa ating lahat!

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