RESCYouth to Boost DRR Knowledge Among Youth

In an effort to educate and equip the youth with the proper knowledge in disaster risk reduction (DRR), the Office of Senator Bam Aquino has organized a consultation and design thinking workshop that will be held in Balamban, Cebu from Nov. 6-7.

Dubbed as “RESCYouth: Responsive, Empowered and Service-Centered Youth,” the two-day workshop will be held at the RAFI Kool Adventure Camp.

“As observed in the past, the youth sector is always at the forefront of relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation during disasters such as the Cebu earthquake and typhoon Yolanda,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

“The manpower and innovative ideas they share with communities help contribute to the fast and efficient emergency relief operations, making them a key partner in disaster management,” the senator added.

Around 100 youth organizations from different parts of the country and have existing DRR programs and projects are expected to attend the workshop.

During the workshop, youth organizations will have an active exchange of ideas regarding best DRR practices, leading to the creation of new schemes that will enhance present DRR management program in different areas of the country.

“As we remember the victims and survivors of Yolanda this week, we need to equip our young people with tool and skills to better prepare and respond for disasters,” Aquino added.

The workshop is also aimed at equipping participants with DRR knowledge and information that they can share to their respective communities.

Aside from Senator Aquino, other speakers during the workshop are Mayor Leonardo “Sandy” Javier of Javier, Leyte, Gawad Kalinga’s Mark Lawrence Cruz and Mario Urrutia III of Reporter’s Notebook, GMA7.

GMA-7’s resident meteorologist Nathaniel Cruz, Hapinoy Executive Director TJ Agulto and Zak Yuson of Rappler’s MovePH are also expected to impart their knowledge and experience during the workshop.

The speakers will discuss different topics, ranging from best practices of local government units (LGUs) during disasters, tapping the spirit of volunteerism during relief and rescue operations and the role of media as information dissemination arm.

Sen. Bam Pushes Passage of SK Reform Bill to Meet Election Deadline

Senator Bam Aquino urges colleagues to pass the measure seeking to reform the current Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), saying it will help shape the country’s youth to become better and more effective public servants in the future.

“It is urgent and important that we reform the Sangguniang Kabataan, as a platform for engaging the youth in the grassroots level, and where the youth will be honed to become better and more effective public servants in the future,” said Aquino.

 Aquino made the pronouncement during his co-sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 2401 or the Youth Development and Empowerment Act of 2014, where his ‘Liga ng Bayaning Kabataan (LBK)’ bill was consolidated.

Aquino pushed for the suspension of the SK elections last year so that needed reforms can be introduced, instead of having it abolished. 

He also actively worked for the passage of the measure in the committee level to meet the deadline by February 2015.

In his speech, Aquino stressed that as a country where half of the population are 15-30 years old, an enabling environment for the youth must be provided for them to participate in nation building.

“The Filipino youth have the innate energy, creativity and innovative ideas that would come up with new solutions to address the age-old problems of the country,” the senator stressed.

Aquino said the measure will harness the youth’s potential as a partner in the development of our country, encourage their active participation in programs and projects of communities and engage them in transparent and accountable governance.

Among the reforms being pushed by the measure is the expansion of age limit, creation of local youth development councils and to ensure more relevant SK programs and projects all over the country.

The measure proposes to expand the age range from 15 to 30 years old, in accordance to Republic Act 8044 or the Youth in Nation Building Act of 1994 and to peg the age of officers between ages 18 to 24.

“The reform in age range will enable a greater number of youth to participate and give officials more independence in their affairs, such as signing contracts, disbursing money and making them more accountable for their actions,” Aquino said.

The bill also pushes for the introduction of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that will support the Sangguniang Kabataan and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.

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

The LYDC is now being implemented in several major cities such as Pasay, Naga and Cebu to encourage the youth to participate LGU-initiated projects.

“We are pushing for the enumeration of clear themes of the programs and projects that can be explored by the LYDC and the SK in formulating their Youth Development Plans, to weed out tokenistic projects for the sake of having programs for the youth,” the senator said.

Aquino hopes that the bill will clarify the relationships between the Sangguniang Kabataan, the National Youth Commission and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“By doing so, we ensure that the programs and policies that they will come up with will truly be relevant and impactful for the sector they are supposed to serve,” he said.


Outlaw Exam Ban on Students for Non-payment of Tuition Fees — Sen. Bam

Banning students from taking examinations for failure to pay tuition fees will be outlawed once a measure filed by Senator Bam Aquino is enacted into law.

If enacted into law, Aquino’s Senate Bill No. 2369, or the “Students’ Rights and Welfare Act of 2014,” will punish violators of imprisonment of up to five years and fine of up to P100,000.

If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president, treasurer, secretary or any officer or person responsible for the violation.

“If the offender is a public officer or employee, the Court shall, in addition to the penalties above, order his or her dismissal from government service,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

 Explaining his measure, Aquino stressed that while education plays a vital role in shaping the youth as future leaders of the country, they must be equipped with more than just knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them to contribute meaningfully to society.

“While there is an effort to improve the technical content and curriculum, and the delivery and instruction, there is also a need to reform the non-academic side of education,” said Aquino, who, during his time as a student council president, Aquino fought for the rights and welfare of his fellow students.

“When I was in the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral in the Ateneo de Manila University, we worked on the student handbook that discussed the rights and welfare of students, and encouraged the student body to join the different volunteer organizations,” the senator said.

Aquino said the bill seeks to broaden the focus of education institutions towards a more holistic formation of students.

“By providing a national framework for students’ rights and welfare, this measure seeks to create conducive atmosphere to maximize their learning and growth,” the senator said.

 “Students are no longer just the future of the country. We count on them to be leaders in their communities in the here and now,” he added.

 The bill seeks to strengthen students’ rights, including the right against discrimination in educational institutions, right to competent instruction and accessible, quality, relevant education and the right to organize.

Also, Aquino said the students’ right to establish a student council or government, right to adequate welfare services and academic facilities and have a representation in the school’s highest policy-making body would be assured.

Other students’ rights that will be strengthened by the bill are right to information, freedom of expression, academic freedom, academic procedure, privacy, access to school records and issuance of official certificates and the right against illegal searches and seizures.

The students’ welfare will also be safeguarded through the banning of firearms in schools and the prohibition of unauthorized school fees and other tariffs.

SK to Return to Clutches of Partisan Politics if Reforms Not Passed – Sen. Bam


Senator Bam Aquino warned that the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) would return to the clutches of partisan politics if proposed reforms are not immediately passed.

“If not passed on time, all the reforms that we are working on will go down the drain. Congress should buckle down and work for the passage of the pending SK reform bills,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

Last year, Congress approved the postponement of the SK elections for one year without holdover with the goal of passing an SK reform bill before October 28, 2014. Lawmakers also agreed to hold the next polls between Oct. 28, 2014 and February 23, 2015.

Aquino, author of Senate Bill No. 1090 or the “Liga ng Bayaning Kabataan (LBK)” Bill, said the postponement was approved to give Congress enough time to finalize much-needed reforms in the country’s youth representation system

“The reforms we are pushing are crucial as they will harness volunteerism among the youth and pull them away from clutches of partisan politics,” the senator said.

Among the reforms being pushed by Aquino in his measure include the increasing the age of SK officials from the 15-17 years old to 18-24 years old.

Also, Aquino also wants elected youth leaders to undergo mandatory leadership and entrepreneurship trainings to equip them with the proper knowledge needed for their positions.

“The youth sector should actively lobby for these reforms so they can be put in place before the SK elections next year,” said Aquino.

Earlier, Aquino stressed that poor participation of leaders in consultations in different parts of the country has delayed the approval of the bill.

Aquino’s LBK bill is aimed at overhauling youth representation system and instills the true spirit of volunteerism on the youth.

The bill replaces the current form of the SK with a body composed of representatives of youth organizations.

The measure also calls for “bottom-up budgeting” and “end-to-end transparency, accountability, good governance, and community youth participation” for all LBK projects.

“The bill is anchored on the twin beliefs that youth organizations are a potent force in nation-building, and that the power of young Filipinos is strongest when they work with people who share their values and goals, and in an environment of teamwork and collaboration,” the senator said.



Law Needs More Bite Vs. ‘Brutal’ Frats – Sen. Bam


Senator Bam Aquino bats for the amendment of the Anti-Hazing Law to give it more teeth and make it more effective in reducing, if not totally eliminating, hazing-related deaths and injuries.

“We need to revisit and introduce necessary amendments to Republic Act 8095 or the Anti-Hazing Law and give it more bite because it has failed to prevent hazing-related deaths and injuries since it was passed almost two decades ago,” said Aquino, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

Aquino said he would file a resolution seeking to investigate hazing-related deaths in the country and find ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

The senator made the move following the death of Guillo Cesar Servando, an 18-year-old student of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde who allegedly died during initiation rites.

“This culture of violence will not stop unless we make the necessary changes to the law that will instill fears among fraternity members,” Aquino said.

Passed in 1995, Republic Act No. 8049 criminalizes hazing and imposing penalties on persons who inflict injuries or cause death during the process.

The law imposes the appropriately stiff penalty of Reclusion Perpetua for a hazing-related death, or imprisonment ranging from four years to 17 years, depending on the extent of the injuries of a victim.

“Despite the severe punishment imposed by the law, there are fraternities who still cross the line, resulting to senseless deaths of young and innocent lives,” the senator said.

Earlier, the senator strongly denounced the use of inhumane means because it has no space in a civilized and modern society where we live in.

“Violence is not the way to foster brotherhood and camaraderie. There are other more humane ways where we can cultivate brotherhood and unity,” he said.

Aquino also called on authorities to ensure that those behind this senseless act be brought to justice and punished for their crimes.



Sen. Bam Challenges the Me-Generation to be We-Generation

Senator Bam Aquino challenges the youth, known as the ‘me-generation’, to prove that they’re more than just selfies and gimmicks by engaging themselves in nation-building programs and projects.

“Sad to say, the perception is that majority of today’s youth are synonymous with parties, selfies and video games,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Youth.

“The youth must dispel these negative perceptions by actively participating in nation-building initiatives that will help improve the country we live in,” added Aquino.

The senator cited the Gualandi Volunteer Service Program, Inc., a youth-led non-government organization based in Cebu City, which leads the fight against sexual assault of deaf children and women.

The group started the Break the Silence Network Project to help hearing-impaired children and women who are victims of sexual assault.

The senator also mentioned the Tagum-based TC Youth Laboratory Cooperative, which teaches youth the value of savings and financial security by “bringing the bank to the schools.”

These two groups were among the winners of the 11th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) awards last year.

Aquino said other youth organizations would be given a chance to join the circle of TAYO winners, announcing that registration of entries for TAYO 12 is now open until September 30, 2014.

“This is a chance for youth groups that have contributed to the development of local communities, schools and workplaces through innovative and valuable projects to be recognized,” said Aquino, one of the TAYO co-founders.

The senator said search is open to all groups, organizations, clubs and societies whose membership and leadership are composed of at least 15 members 15 to 30 years old.

Interested groups may submit a recently concluded project or an ongoing program. A project entry (or one that started in 2012) must either be completed, or a major portion must have been undertaken by the deadline.

Participants will be judged based on the following criteria: 1. Impact of project entry on stakeholders; 2. Harnessing the spirit of volunteerism and citizenship; 3. Creativity and Innovation; and Sustainability and Effective use of Resources.

To know more about the search, information is available in

An online entry form can be filled out at the TAYO website. For inquiries, TAYO Secretariat can be contacted through text at 0917 TXT-TAYO (898-8296) or e-mail at

Since its inception in 2002, the TAYO Awards Foundation has successfully gained credibility as an institution that recognizes and supports the outstanding contributions of youth organizations to the country.

It has attracted more than two thousand youth organizations from all over the Philippines to join the search.

The winning organizations will receive a grant of P50,000 that they can use to fund new projects or continue their long-term programs, aside from the trophy sculpted by Mr. Toym De Leon Imao for the event.

TAYO was co-founded by Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

Try Tech-Voc Courses for Better Employment Chances – Sen. Bam to Students

Amid the rising unemployment rate due to job mismatch, Senator Bam Aquino called on high school and college graduates to try technical-vocational courses because of their high demand on the job market.

“We need to adjust to current demands by the labor sector. If we don’t do that, then we’ll end up at the back of the unemployment line,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino made the call after the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate in Southeast Asia, mainly because of job mismatch.

The ILO said the Philippines has an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent compared to six percent by Indonesia and 3.7 percent by Brunei.

Myanmar has an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, Malaysia has 3.2 percent and Singapore has 3.1 percent. At the bottom of the list are Vietnam (1.9 percent), Laos (1.4 percent) Thailand (0.8 percent) and Cambodia (0.3 percent).

According to the latest labor force survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO), unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent or 2.969 million jobless Filipinos from 7.1 percent in January 2013 and 6.5 percent last October.

Aquino said the high number of jobless Filipinos is a result of a surge in new entrants to the labor sector and job mismatch dilemma that has been hounding the country in recent years.

The senator mentioned a recent report from the Department of Labor and Employment, showing that 35.8 percent of applicants were rejected because of lack of competencies.

The senator also cited another DOLE report saying that majority of skills required by 3.8 million job vacancies is technical-vocational related, such as services, information technology and communications.

“Schools produce more four-year college graduates but the current labor market demands for more skills-related workers that can only be filled by technical-vocational graduates,” Aquino stressed.

At the same time, the lawmaker also advised students to dismiss the stigma that goes with technical-vocational courses and instead focus on what career path will give them a brighter future.

Aside from addressing job mismatch, Aquino said the government should strengthen its support on micro, small and medium enterprises to boost employment opportunities.

Aquino recently filed the Youth Entrepreneurship Bill to help address the problem of high unemployment among the youth.

The senator said would-be youth entrepreneurs should be given access to financing, training, market linkages, and other means of support that will help them run and develop their own businesses.


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Ensure Quality of Education Before Any Tuition Fee Increase – Sen. Bam to CHED

Senator Bam Aquino has asked the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to consider quality of education in determining whether a tuition fee increase is justified.

Aquino made the pronouncement after the CHED revealed that a total of 353 private universities and colleges have filed petitions to increase their tuition and other fees this coming school year.

“Quality of education should be one of the criteria before allowing a school to increase tuition fees,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Youth.

“How can a college explain to parents that they need to pay more when their children aren’t getting the quality education they deserve?” stressed Aquino.

Aquino called on CHED to add the passing rate of colleges in board exams, employability of the graduates and other criteria to measure quality of education in allowing the universities and colleges to raise their tuition fees.

“We must ensure the employability of graduates as way of addressing the country’s high unemployment rate,” the senator said.

Aquino also revealed that he plans to file a resolution to call on CHED and the representatives of the private universities and colleges to address the issue.


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Tired of Graft, Corruption? Register! – Sen. Bam on Youth

Tired of graft, corruption and red tape? Register!

Senator Bam Aquino encourages the three million youth voters to register so they can exercise their constitutional right to suffrage and be an instrument of change in the country’s political system.

“Don’t waste your right to vote. This is one way you can effect positive change in the country’s political system,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Youth.

Aquino said new registrants have 17 months or from May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015 to register and be counted for the 2016 national and local elections.

“In 2016, you will play an important part in selecting next president and other leaders who will chart the country’s course. Don’t waste this opportunity,” the senator said.

At the same time, Aquino called on the 9.6 million registered voters who have no biometric data to update their records with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the registration period so they can vote in 2016.

According to Republic Act No. 10367, or the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act, a voter without biometric record will be removed from the list and will not be able to vote in the next election.

The senator also encouraged local officials to assist the Comelec’s efforts in the registration of voters by providing transportation to their constituents living in far-flung areas.

However, Aquino said local officials should bring their constituents to the Comelec office early and not wait on the last day to avoid chaos.

Aquino reminded new registrants to bring one valid ID, like a driver’s license, and any government, company, school ID or passport.

He also reminded registrants that Comelec offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be closed only on either Friday or Saturday.

Sen. Bam: Better Opportunities for Mindanao Youth

A bright future awaits Mindanao youth with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) expected to provide them more educational and employment opportunities.

“The CAB signing will open more opportunities to the Mindanao youth that will help them chart their future, especially in terms of education and employment,” said Senator Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth.

In the past, Aquino said thousands of students were restrained from going to school because of armed conflicts in different parts of the region.

“Many of these students were forced to stay in evacuation centers far from conflict areas, depriving them a chance to finish their studies and become productive citizens,” he added.

Aquino said students could expect continuous education because the new agreement is focused on achieving long-term peace and order in the region.

“Students now have the chance to acquire the knowledge they need to have a brighter future without worrying about their safety,” Aquino stressed.

Aquino added that more employment opportunities await youth workers with the expected influx of businesses and investments in the region.

As of 2012, the senator said 300,000 of the country’s more than 1.4 million unemployed youth are in Mindanao.

“With new businesses and investments expected to put up shop in Mindanao, our young workers will have the chance to put their skills and knowledge to good use,” Aquino said.

Also, Aquino said his “Go Negosyo Act” could help young workers become entrepreneurs through the establishment of their own small business.

The Act, which was passed on third reading by the Senate, calls for creation of Negosyo Centers, under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in each city and municipality around the country.

Aquino said these Negosyo centers are designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to register and start up their businesses, as well as gain access to sources of financing.

The Negosyo Centers will also provide courses and development programs, training, give advice on business conceptualization and feasibility, financing, management, capability building, human resources, marketing and other support services.


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