Bam Aquino

Teachers in Perpetual Cycle of Debt! – Sen. Bam

Despite being hailed as modern-day heroes for inspiring and shaping the youth to become productive citizens of the country, teachers still experience financial woes because of their meager salaries and small take-home-pay.

“With the increasing cost of living, teachers tighten their belts to get by on their modest salaries. They turn to loan agents and loan sharks, government and private, to make ends meet,” said Senator Bam Aquino.

“Worse, come pay day, they have little income to take home because they have automatic deductions from loans and other payments, leaving them little for their daily sustenance,” the senator added, “which forces them to borrow again and having them buried neck-deep in debt.”

Aquino said many teachers find creative means to augment their meager take-home pay by selling meat, beauty and health products.

“How can these critical players in nation building impact the next generation if they are bombarded with financial woes,” Aquino emphasized.

To address this problem, Aquino has filed a bill that will set a minimum net take-home pay for teachers and other government employees.

“This bill seeks to ensure that teachers and other government employees are able to meet their families’ basic needs and reduce their need to take on debts,” Aquino said of his Senate Bill No. 2333.

 Under the bill, teachers and other government workers will be assured of a take-home pay of at least 30 percent of their monthly salary.

“Setting a minimum take-home amount allows an appropriate control for teachers to be able to properly budget for their households expenses,” he said.

Aquino said the measure contributes in the efforts of leaving no one behind, especially the country’s public servants, in the progress and development of the country.

Under the measure, authorized deductions are prioritized in the event that total authorized deductions will reduce the government employee’s mandatory minimum monthly take-home pay.

Any deficiency in loan payments of government employees as a result of the mandatory minimum take-home pay may be addressed through direct payment arrangements to be voluntarily made by the employee to the lending institutions.

MRT 40-Minute Waiting Time Unacceptable – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino urged concerned government and private entities to work together to reduce the waiting time for thousands of commuters to ride the MRT-3 from 40 minutes to 10 minutes.

Aquino made this call after he was informed that the waiting time for passengers before they could alight the trains will go down by 75 percent if the proposed rehabilitation plan worth P6.8 billion for the MRT-3 is fully implemented.

“Let’s work together to achieve this 10-minute waiting time. We owe it to the thousands of commuting Filipinos to make life easier for them everyday,” Aquino said after the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on the MRT-3 accident that injured more than 30 people last Aug. 13.

Aquino expressed disappointment when he was informed that the rehabilitation plan could take up to two years with all the legal wrangling between the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), a private entity.

Aquino branded the Metro Rail Transit-3 as a failed public-private partnership (PPP).

“This is not a good example of PPP, with what happened to our MRT,” Aquino stressed.

Aquino advised DOTC officials to learn from the MRT-3 experience to avoid problems in the future.

 “Can we say that we have learned from experience already and this would not happen again?” Sen. Bam asked DOTC officials, to which they replied ‘yes.’

At the same, the senator also urged the transportation officials to earmark the needed funds to rehabilitate a critical component that causes the MRT-3’s frequent malfunction at the soonest possible time.

The DOTC revealed the trains’ traction motors are the main cause of MRT breakdown as they have reached its limit of usage of 1.5 million kilometers.

 However, Aquino noticed in the presentation that the P94,500,000 fund needed for replacement of traction motors is earmarked in the 2016 budget.

“If this is the main reason why our trains have stopped, how come it wasn’t in the budget last year?” Aquino asked.

Abaya said he has already requested the Department of Budget and Management to include the needed funds in the supplemental budget for 2014.

“If it’s not successful, it will be included in the 2015 budget,” Abaya guaranteed. 

Sponsorship Speech of Sen. Bam Aquino on PRESENT Bill

It is my honor and privilege to stand before you today to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2210 under Committee Report No. 24, otherwise known as the Poverty Reduction Through Social Enterprise or PRESENT bill

It is my honor and privilege to stand before you today to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2210 under Committee Report No. 24, otherwise known as the Poverty Reduction Through Social Enterprise or PRESENT bill.

The objective o f this measure is to empower our marginalized sectors and provide them with the proper infrastructure where they can get the right opportunities to grow and progress. We need to create an environment where they can stand on their own, and be able to fully participate in our economy and our society. These conditions are to be inclusive and fair, where individuals and communities are able to think o f new ways o f solving ever-growing complex problems of poverty and injustice.

Sa kabila po ng nababalitang economic growth, marami p a rin tayong kailangang gawin para maibahagi natin ang growth na ito sa ating mga kababayan. Tinatayang may 2.969 milyong Pilipino ang walang trabaho ngayong taon, at dagdag pa dito ang mga nagsipagtapos na mga estudyante noong nakaraang buwan sa mga walang trabaho. Paano nila masasabing umuunlad ang bansa samantalang makikipagbuno sila sa pagha- hanap ng trabaho upang makatulong lang sa kanilang mga pamilya? Paano nalin matu-tulungan ang aling maliliit na negosyanle, ang mga tindera sa palengke, ang mga may-ari ng sari-sari store, mga magsasaka at mangingisda upang mapalago ang kanilang kinikita upang lalong masustentuhan nila ang kanilang mga pamilya?

Kaya’t, mga kaibigan, kailangan ay patulay tayo sa ating pagtugon upang malagpasan po nalin ang ating mga pagsubok at kahinaan.

If we are to take on the challenge to join in the movement to decrease our poverty rate, bridge the big divide between the rich and the poor, and be able to spread the wealth to more Filipinos, there is a need for us to think of creative and innovative solutions to address inequality in our country.

Kailangang bigyan ng pantay-pantay na pagkakataon at access sa trabaho at kapital para umangat ang estado at quality of life ng lahat ng Pilipino.

Through the Poverty Reduction through Social Enterprise or PRESENT Act of 20 14, the existing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council, which is attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), shall be strengthened and expanded to become the National Enterprise Development Council or NEDC to effectively spur the growth

A social enterprise, or SE, is a social mission-driven organization that conducts economic activities o f providing goods and services directly related to its primary mission of improving the well-being of the poor and marginalized sectors. Ang pangunahing motibo ng mga Social Enterprise ay tulungan ang mga komunidad na masolusyonan ang kanilang deka-dekadang problema ng kahirapan gamit ang mga makabagong modelo sa pagnenegosyo at sa pagsugpo sa kahirapan.

The NEDC will develop and implement a comprehensive program that will progressively improve the lives and economic situation of the poor and the marginalized. It shall identify strategic economic subsectors with the potentials for growth, considering where the poor are concentrated so they can playa major role in their own development. In the process, it shall identify key SEs and resource institutions as partners in providing transactional and transformational services towards poverty reduction. SEs shall be developed as vehicles to ensure that the poor benefit the most from the sustainable subsector development.

DTI shall establish a center where it will implement policies, plans and programs that will promote social enterprise initiatives, and identify sources of financing for the social enterprise sector for enterprise incubation, start-up and expansion.

It will provide capacity building and sustain- ability programs, supported by a Social Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF).

It will also provide research and development services for poverty reduction and assistance for the market expansion of social enterprises in both domestic and foreign markets.

The bill encourages the establishment o f more social enterprises by promoting greater access to appropriate financing and insurance mechanisms, and providing greater participation in public procurement.

With this Act, we do not just aim to support one or two social enterprises but we wish to develop a social enterprise sector engaged in poverty reduction in our country.

Alam po ninyo, bago ako naging senador, ako ay naging isang social entrepreneur.

Sa programa po namin noon na “Hapinoy,” tinulungan namin ang mga nanay na may-ari ng mga sari-sari store na mapalaki ang kanilang negosyo.

Ang lokohan nga po nila, noong panahong iyon, ay hindi naman sa sari-sari store, kundi sara-sara store dahil sa mga balakid na naranasan nila sa pagnenegosyo.

Ngunit sa pamamagitan ng dagdag na training at mentoring, wastong pagpapautang at market linkage, dahan-dahang lumago ang kanilang mga negosyo.

At pagkatapos ng ilang taon, ang mga nanay na mismo ang siyang naging mga trainor ng aming mga programa. Sila mismo ang nagbahagi ng kanilang mga success stories para ma-inspire at matulungan ang ibang mga nanay.

Hindi lamang umunlad ang kanilang negosyo, nabigyan din sila ng kumpiyansa sa kanilang sarili, at sa kanilang pinaghirapan no kabuhayan.

Noong nakaraang linggo naman po, bumisita kami sa San Jose, Nueva Ecija para makipagkwentuhan sa Kalasag Farmers Producers Cooperative. Sila po ang ating mga magsasaka ng sibuyas doon sa Nueva Ecija.

Sa aming kwentuhan, nabanggit nila na dati raw, pana-panahon ang presyo ng kanilang sibuyas. Hindi pa sigurado kung may bibili ng kanilang ani. Kaya hirap na hirap silang iangat ang kanilang kabuhayan pati na rin ang kalagayan ng kanilang pamilya.

Ngunit nagbago ang kanilang buhay nang mai-ugnay sila sa isang malaking kumpanya dito sa Maynila na nangangailangan ng malaking order ng sibuyas.

Tinulungan po sila ng isang NGO na nagsilbing social enterprise. Ang pangalan po noon ay Catholic Relief Services na konektado po sa simbahan. lnorganisa po sila, tinuruan ng makabagong paraan ng pagsasaka, nabigyan ng access sa capital, at higit sa lahat, tinulungan silang magbenta ng kanilang mga produkto sa mas malaking merkado.

Lumaki po ang kanilang kita, nabigyan ng trabaho ang kanilang mga kapitbahay at nabigyan ng marangal na buhay ang kanilang pamilya.

Ngayon po, noong nagkuwentuhan kami noong isang araw, napag-aaral na raw nila ang kanilang mga anak hanggang college, napasemento na nila ang kanilang mga bahay at nakapaghuhulog na sila para mabayaran ang isang tricycle para sa kanilang pamilya. At siyempre, noong kami ay mag-aalisan na at magkokodakan na, naglabasan ang kanilang mga smart phone at tablet at kita namang may asenso na sila ngayon.

Ito po ang layunin ng PRESENT Act – na bumuo ng mas maraming organisasyong magpapatupad ng mga makabago at modernong solusyon na tutugon sa kahirapan.

Let us empower our poor communities and bring pride to themselves by helping them realize how integral they are in the inclusive growth goals of our country.


Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview Regarding the 2015 Budget

Maraming tao ang nakakalimot that the power of the purse is with the Congress and the Senate. At the end of the day, ang pag-submit ng executive sa amin is still up to our approval.

Even though in the past, masabi natin that they submit is very close to what comes out, there’s still that five-month process kung saan puwede talagang usisain ng bawat congressman at senador, siguraduhin na iyong mga priorities ng ating gobyerno at priorities ng ating bayan ay nagre-reflect sa ating budget.


Q: Gusto ng Palace na within six months na kapag hindi pa nagagamit ang funds ay puwede nang i-declare as savings.

A: I think we’ll be undergoing some deliberations on that. Kasama na rin ako sa nagtawag na we put to rest the issue and really define savings once and for all. If we’re able to define savings, really put guidelines there, iyong mga prosesong ganyan can actually be given more credibility and more legitimacy.

What happened doon sa DAP, na kung saan nagkaroon ng iba’t ibang interpretation ang branches of government, can be avoided. Kapag malinaw na talaga kung paano dine-declare ang savings, kung anong pondo ang puwedeng ideklarang savings, kailan ito dinedeklara.

I’m probably sure that throughout this budget process, there will be a parallel process calling for the definition of savings in the Congress.


Q: Malinaw naman sa GAA na dapat after one year, why redefine?

A: Maybe it’s not redefine. Maybe it’s going into further detail. Kasi iyong ibang mga nakita rin ng Supreme Court, baka nagkulang rin iyong GAA sa pagbibigay ng more detail sa proseso.

In the past, we left it to the executive to actually determine that. Not just in this administration but in the last.

Now that this controversy broke out, palagay ko the legislative can step in, define things further and make sure there will be no further conflicts of interpretation in the future.


Q: Hindi ba malinaw iyan na babangga dahil sinabi na sa GAA na after one year, then we can say its savings.

A: Hindi siya babangga because siyempre when you define something new, it supersedes everything in the past.

I think there’s a need to go into further detail doon sa proseso ng pag-declare ng savings at paggamit ng savings. That will I think at least put to rest a lot of these issues sa DAP and we can move with a clear understanding among all the parties.

I think kinakalimutan din ng tao na it’s the job of Congress and Senate define matters. The executive implements the law, the Supreme Court interprets the law but we actually define the laws.

So hindi rin naman masabi na remiss kami sa aming duty, so that we can actually stop any of these controversies from happening again, we should put it into law already and define it as clearly as possible and of course, make sure everyone follows the specifics of those laws.


Q: Compared sa mga nakaraang budget deliberations, mas magiging istrikto ba kayo this time?

A: Ako, istrikto naman ako even the last time.

Ang hinanap namin last time are all the budgets concerned with inclusive growth, support for micro entrepreneurs, tulong sa maliliit na negosyante sa ating bayan.

I think every senator who of course, has their own pet advocacies and areas of expertise, everyone will really be looking at the budget from that perspective and trying to see that there is money behind these priorities.

Para sa akin, we just passed the Go Negosyo Law noong July 15 and I don’t think that’s budgeted yet because nabuo ito (2015 budget) even before July.  So ako hahanapin ko iyon na itong batas na enacted na, although I have to admit ginagawa pa lang ang IRR, this law if this is passed in December, it will be after the IRR, so hahanapin ko dito na mayroong pondo para makatulong sa malilit na negosyante sa ating bayan.

That goes I think for every senator. Hahanapin talaga. We have senators who work for the environment, really focusing on education.

Each and everyone of us really need to look at this document and make sure na iyong pera ng bayan, napupunta talaga sa priorities ng ating bayan.


Q: Nasilip ninyo na ba iyong lump sum fund o malaking special purpose fund?

A: I saw it already. Actually if you go further doon sa bawat item, malinaw naman kung saan ito pupunta. May contingency fund, mayroong support for local governments, mayroong disaster, relief and rehabilitation fund.

I think iyong mga definition na iyon means that it can be used for that purpose, kaya siya special purpose. Malinaw kung saan paggagamitan. But you have to admit that those types of funds hindi mo puwedeng idetalye dahil hindi pa nangyayari ang disasters at pangangailangan ng local government.

For example, may nangyaring delubyo sa isang area or nagkaroon ng something very specific sa isang local government na masamang nangyari, they need to have some amount of funds to be able to support that area.

Palagay ko, there is still that need for some leeway and for some space. We’ll just have to make sure na hindi siya kalakihan at kahit papaano, accountable ka pa rin sa pondong iyon.


Q: Some leeway meaning?

A: Some leeway, meaning there are some things that happen throughout the year and therefore we need to also trust the executive to be able to use the fund properly.  As much as you want to detail it, talagang may mga bagay-bagay talaga na maiiwan talaga siya sa special purpose.

But if you look at the development of the budget through the years, makikita mo talaga na kumokonti talaga itong mga lump sum. In fact, in the last year’s budget, I remember one of the senators asking na ayaw lang namin iyong classroom, gusto namin talaga pag tinanong ka sa hearing, puwede mong idetalye kung saan classroom ito pupunta o kung anong classroom ang bubuuin.

That goes for most of the budget items but of course, there will always be some level of leeway given to the executive. But I think if we look at other items that in the past are lump sums, these days mayroon ka nang performance based budgeting, mayroong kang targets na nakadikit, mayroong kang outcome na ini-expect per line item.

I think these are reforms that we also need to acknowledge na malayo na rin ang narating ng budget na ito. You’ve been covering this for so many years, I’m sure mapi-pinpoint ninyo ang pinagkaiba ng budget na ito doon sa budgets in the past.


Q: May unlimited pork daw sa budget na ito. Sinasabi ng mga solons na bottomless pork nga daw ang nakalagay.

A:  Wala akong nakitang item na bottomless pork but I guess you really have to understand the different roles of each of the branches of government.

Bakit masama ang pork barrel sa legislators. Masama ang pork barrel sa legislators because we are not implementors. We make the laws, we don’t implement the law.

But when you talk about project funds or funds na gagamitin mo para mag-implement, of course nasa executive iyan, di ba.

To actually equate a pork barrel, medyo confusing iyon, or they’re trying to confuse the issue there. I will have to agree, pagdating sa pork barrel sa legislators, hindi talaga iyon dapat sa amin.

But if you’re talking about funds to build bridges, build roads that should really be with the executive dahil iyon ang trabaho nila. Trabaho namin ang gumawa ng batas at hindi mag-implement ng proyekto.


Q: Ano ang safeguards to make sure magagamit ang lump sum nang maayos?

A: Kapag nag-he-hearing ka, kailangan mong tanungin kung saan mo nagamit iyan last year.  And if you feel that wasn’t used properly, babawasan mo ang budget. At the end of the day, iyong kapangyarihan ng bawat senador at congressman, kung tingin namin hindi importante ang isang bagay, puwede mong i-zero budget iyan o lessen the budget. That again goes back to the power of the purse of the legislative.

When you look at the budget process, siguro ang isang maganda na rin sa mga kontrobersiyang ito, napag-uusapan ano ba iyong papel ng bawat sangay ng gobyerno.

In our case, its our responsibility is to make sure that every single budget item here is really towards the priorities of the people at hindi sa priorities ng iilang tao lang or pabor lang sa kokonting tao.

This should be in favor of the majority of the Filipino people.  That’s what we will to make sure through this five-month or six-month process.


Q: Nagwo-worry daw kayo na magkaroon ng illegal insertions, what do you mean by that sir?

A: Again in the process of this budget pag may nakapasok diyan, kailangan pati iyon usisain natin. We need to make sure it goes to the right process. Once this is signed and put into law, every congressman, every senator, nandito ang mga pangalan at pirma namin.

We need to be proud of this document and we need to be sure that every single peso here does go to the people.

And if it doesn’t go to the people, that’s where the judiciary comes in, that’s where our investigations come in and that’s where you make sure iyong accountability naman ng executive sa paggamit ng perang ito.


Q: Illegal insertions, what do you mean by that?

A: Every single item there, dapat may justification iyan. Dapat pabor iyan sa karamihan ng Pilipino. Dapat tumutulong iyan sa mahihirap sa ating bansa. If there’s anything new that comes here, dapat pasok pa rin sa criteria na iyon.

Na walang masisingit diyan na para lang sa iilang tao, or pabor sa mga pekeng NGO. We need to make sure that each item here does indeed go to the benefit of the Filipino people.


Q: Mas strict ba kayo ngayon after DAP and PDAF issues?

A: Even last time, medyo istrikto naman kami. I’m hoping now ang taumbayan natin makikilahok. When the budget season happens, it’s a lengthy process here in the Senate and Congress.

Usually inaabot tayo ng umaga diyan, Kayo rin inaabot in the wee hours of the morning. I think, with all of these controversies, panahon na ang taumbayan natin get involved in the process. If I’m not mistaken, this should be uploaded already sa Internet.

Usisain ng taumbayan at tingnan talaga nila. Let them be involved in the process and make this a participatory type of budget process. Ang mga senador naman, nakikinig iyan sa taumbayan.

Lets go over it. Huwag nating payagan na iyong mga usual komentarista lang or ang oposisyon o administrasyon lang ang nagsasalita. Let people go over it and tingnan talaga nila iyong mga pangangailangan ng ating lugar, ng aking komunidad, naso-solve ba ng budget na ito. That’s why we have public hearings and long process to allow people to come in also and be part of this process.

I’m hoping with all of these controversies, magkakaroon ng partisipasyon ang taumbayan natin dito. Ako naman, if we look at the priorities, I’m hoping that the top priorities — education, health, support services and of course, my own advocacy, which is support for our micro and small entrepreneurs.

Iyong tulong sa mahihirap sa ating bayan, hopefully makita rin natin na tuluy-tuloy ang tulong na ito and its really felt by the people.

Sen. Bam Supports Calls for Special Audit of DAP


Senator Bam Aquino has supported calls on the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to, once and for all, remove doubts and other controversies hounding it.

“A special audit is needed so that doubts regarding DAP’s use will be put to rest,” said Aquino during the hearing of the Senate finance committee on DAP.

Through a special audit, Aquino said it would be determined if funds really went to legitimate projects or if somebody benefitted illegally from it.

“If somebody irregularly gained from it, then he or she should be prosecuted,” Aquino emphasized.

Aquino also stressed that DAP should not be associated with the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was scrapped after the P10-billion scam was uncovered last year.

“The DAP helped boost the economy through projects that benefited the Filipino people while P10 billion from PDAF went to ghost non-government organizations and pockets of several politicians,” Aquino stressed.

The senator also lauded the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) posting all documents related to DAP on the agency’s website for transparency and accountability.

“We invite everyone to take a look and scrutinize where the funds went,” Aquino said.

Meanwhile, Aquino expressed support behind the government’s move to file a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter.

“I hope the SC will weigh the President’s position on the DAP’s constitutionality and act favorably on the matter,” the senator said.

Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview after the WASAK: Walang Asenso sa Kotong Campaign Launch

On WASAK Hotline

Actually, ang pag-launch natin ng WASAK campaign, binuo natin ito para makatulong talaga sa ating malilit na negosyante. Usually kasi, iyong mga civil servant, other government officials o kaya si city hall mismo ang mga may members na humihingi ng kotong o under the table, usually ang komento nila walang matakbuhan.

Ni-launch po namin ito para ngayon kung mayroon man kumukotong, under the table o red tape, puwede na pong puntahan o itext ang ating WASAK number 0908-881-6565.

Ito po ay upang may matakbuhan ang ating entrepreneurs kapag sila’y hina-harass o hinihingan ng under the table para maramdaman nila na mayroong tutulong sa kanila.

We have all the different agencies here, ranging from the CSC to the DOJ, DTI and DILG kasi bawat hakbang po niyan, iba iba po ang posibleng penalty. It could be administrative, meaning Civil Service Commission.

It could actually be a criminal case kaya kasama po natin ang DOJ dito.

We’re hoping na isa itong paraan para maramdaman ng ating mamamayan na mayroon silang kasangga, katulong laban sa korupsiyon sa ating bayan.


On President Aquino’s DAP speech

Para sa akin, nilinaw ng Presidente ang mga dahilan niya kaya niya itinaguyod ang DAP. Sabi nga niya na hindi lang ito legal, and of course he cited the Administrative Code of 1987, pero nasabi niya na sa kanyang posisyon, kaya ba niyang hintayin pa ang isang taon bago makatulong sa ating taumbayan. That was, of course the main reason for running the program.

And I’m hoping na ang Supreme Court ay makinig din sa kanyang request, sa kanyang mga dahilan, at ang taumbayan din natin, sikapin din na intindihin din kung ano ba talaga ang nasa likod ng programang ito.

Nasabi niya kahapon na ang nadatnan niyang budget noong 2010 halos ubos na.

Noong 2011, maraming mga ahensiya ang talagang may leakage o may corruption issues. They needed to do some changes in the budget to be able to fulfill the needs of the people.

Palagay ko, ang nasabi niyang iyon ay mula sa kanyang puso, and I’m hoping na ang taumbayan natin at iyong Supreme Court ay makinig sa kanyang speech kahapon at sa kanyang motion for reconsideration.


On Possible Constitutional Crisis

I don’t think so. Huwag nating kalimutan na wala na ring DAP. It’s already done.

Ang constitutional crisis is an ongoing act. Patuloy iyang ginagawa habang ang isang branch of government naman ay sinasabi na itigil na ito.

But in fairness, natigil na ito dahil na-correct na ang kailangang gawin sa budget.  By 2013, it was already done.

I think a constitutional crisis will only continue if patuloy na ginagawa ang isang bagay habang pinapatigil naman ng ahensiya ng gobyerno iyon. At this point, wala nang DAP.

Palagay ko hindi constitutional crisis ang posibleng mangyari. Siguro di pagkakaunawaan o di tanggapin ang posibleng sabihin ng Supreme Court.

But at this point, I think everyone is looking at the motion for reconsideration. Siguro kailangan din nating Hintayin ang isasagot ng Supreme Court sa MR na ihahain ng gobyerno.


Hypothetically, in case ma-deny ang MR, should the administration just accept it? Kasi medyo combative ang tono ng Presidente?

ANSWER: Nandoon ako. On the contrary, para sa akin hindi combative. Nagtataka nga ako kung bakit lahat ng diyaryo sinasabi combative.

I actually felt it was very sober. He was in good spirits.

Iyon iyong dating sa akin, hindi siya combative. Nagtataka nga ako, challenges, fights, goes to war, I think all of these really are exaggerations.

Palagay ko ang nangyari kahapon, inexplain niya ang side niya. Hopefully, ang taumbayan ay nakinig dito, pati na rin ang Supreme Court.

Hintayin natin kung ano ang sasabihin ng Supreme Court. I’m still hoping na there are some things na hindi nila nakita. In fact, the President cited several provisions na hindi na-cite ng Supreme Court.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to look at those provisions and see things in a different light.


QUESTION: Itinigil na naman ang DAP, why the need to challenge the Supreme Court?

ANSWER: Alam ninyo, pag gumagawa ka kasi ng tama tapos sinasabihan ka na mali ang ginagawa mo, mahirap talagang tanggapin iyon.

Honestly, I really believe kung saan nanggagaling si Presidente even si Secretary Abad – there is a definite need na ayusin ang budget process, itigil ang corrupt practices, gamitin ang budget nang mas maayos, palagay ko ang kanilang pagnanais na gawin iyan para sa taumbayan, mahirap tanggapin na sabihin na mali iyon.

Even the President used the metaphor na mahirap na kinakasuhan ka na hindi mo naman alam na bawal pala iyon. He did cite legal provisions to back up what they did sa DAP.

Palagay ko sa isang tao na nagsisikap gumawa ng tama, pag sinasabihan na mali ang ginagawa mo kahit maganda naman ang nangyayari, mahirap talagang tanggapin iyon. I think that’s the reason na itutuloy nila ang MR and hope for the best.


QUESTION: Do you think the speech last night would improve his ratings?

ANSWER: For a few weeks, I think, Malacanang just allowed all detractors to really just speak and this the first time that he speak after the ruling came out.

I’m hoping na ang taumbayan natin, pakinggan ang kanyang explanation at maghusga for themselves kung ang reason ng Presidente ay katanggap-tanggap sa kanila.

Si PNoy, sa pagkakaalam ko sa kanya, whatever public perception is, gagawin niya ang tama. That’s the type of president we have.

So, maybe public perception probably ay secondary sa kanya.

Ang pinaka-primary talaga, ginagawa niya ang tingin niyang kailangan ng taumbayan.

Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview at Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel

On Constitutional Change/Entry on Foreign Ownership on Businesses

A. To be frank, I don’t think we need to change the Constitution. We can actually get the investments even without changing the Constitution. Changing the Constitution is too large an endeavor to do in 2014 right before 2016.

That will probably mean the next president will be the one tackling changes to the Constitution. Alam ko po si Speaker Belmonte is very adamant about it but in the Senate, there’s really not much movement in terms of any constitutional changes.

I don’t think we’ll have that in the next two to three years. Probably the next president will undergo that if that’s the priority of the next president.

In the meantime, if you’re waiting for that before you move, it’s a moving target. We really have to do the reforms that can be done currently within our constitution.

Get the investments in.  In other countries, they have even stricter but they were able to get the investments.

It’s a matter of balancing your incentives, the investments you want to get in the country in the next two to three years.


On government Relying Too Much on OFWs Remittances

A. Remittances are big part of our economy and in fact, malaking bagay po siya. We have to thank our OFWs for that.

But the drive to go from consumption to production goes through increasing jobs and supporting enterprise kaya iyon po ang aking pinaka-focus. Kailangan po ng mas may production dito.

That’s why DTI is moving to revitalize our manufacturing sector.

Ang ating BPO industry is trying to go beyond voice and go into other services that it can provide. Definitely, there is a push for jobs and enterprise here and that will actually balance our dependency on remittances.

If you look at our portfolio and the things that we have pushed for, our Microfinance bill, our Go Negosyo bill, our Youth Entrepreneurship bill, lahat ng mga tinutulak natin, it all leads to that.

To try to have a stronger economy here that is more equitable, recognizing our growth and at the same time, making sure this growth reaches the poorest Filipinos.


On Controversies Hounding Senate

A. Well ang trabaho ng senador o kongresista ay gumawa ng polisiya at batas para sa kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino.

Without PDAF, it really forces you to focus on legislative work. Iyan na ang nagiging focus namin but then again, just because wala ka nang PDAF, it doesn’t mean you cannot engage in programs.

May nagtanong sa akin noon, Senator, paano po ba ibabalik ang tiwala sa Senado ngayong bagsak na bagsak ang tiwala sa inyo?

No amount of words will get the people’s trust back.  It’s really your output and your work. Kapag nakikita na nagtatrabaho ka para sa kapakanan ng tao, maybe at some point babalik ang tiwala nila sa iyo.

We just committed to work hard and make sure na ang mga naipangako natin noong campaign ay gagawin natin.


Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview after the Hearing on the Slow and Expensive Internet Connection

Q: Kumusta po ang inyong hearing?

A: Marami pang kailangang pag-usapan, to be frank. We just suspended the hearing but you can expect that in a few months, we will have another hearing on this because marami pang unresolved issues.


Changes in Advertising

We talked mostly about the problems today but I really want to talk about solutions. One I think iyong changes sa ating advertising, I think that would be quite good for our consumers na mas malinaw kung ano ang nakukuha nila pagdating sa Internet.


Pangalawa iyong pagdating sa congestion. We’ve instructed NTC to actually check if indeed congestion is the main problem kung bakit mabagal ang Internet.

Sabi ko nga, kung congestion ito na once in a blue moon, then maybe you can say ok at that particular time, mahina ang Internet. But if it a regular type of congestion, araw-araw mong nararanasan, that’s something that has to be addressed regularly.

Value-Added Service vs. Basic Service

Now, NTC has said na Internet natin is considered as a value-added service, hindi siya basic service meaning hindi siya makapagregulate nang todo-todo dahil hindi ito kasama sa basic services natin.

I think that can be one of the laws that could be amended na gawin nating basic service ang Internet. It is already recognized as a human right and if we make it a basic service, at least puwede talaga nating bantayan kung paano ito puwedeng maikalat sa maraming Pilipino, at the right cost and at the right service level.

Next Step: Technical Working Group

The TWG will probably tackle this more in detail. Hopefully aantabayanan po natin iyan kung paano gumalaw.

Kasi ang nagiging problema sa maraming hearing, nag-uusap-usap pero walang nangyayari.

Hindi natin iiwanan ang isyung ito.

Every quarter we can have this hearing and make sure that we get closer to affordable and quality Internet for our country.


Q: Puwede bang babaan ang charges sa Internet na mabagal?

A. Sa totoo lang, NTC cannot regulate even on that because it’s not a basic service.

It is a market driven system right now.  If we’re able to make Internet a basic service, it can one of the services which is regulated.

Alam naman natin na sa ating bansa, may mga regulators tayo, they can basically dictate the prices for certain services and if we’re able to make Internet a basic service, puwede nang gawin iyan. Puwede nang mag-regulate.


Q: Sir ano ang mga standards that you want to set?

A: In fact, in the Philippine Digital Strategy, nakalagay doon na by 2016, kailangang 80 percent na ng ating mga kababayan ang mayroong internet access and nasa minimum of 2 MPBS.

Mayroon na tayong standard na kailangang sundan. This Philippine Digital Strategy was made by DOST in 2010.

In fact, binabantayan natin kung umaabot tayo sa standards na iyon. According to the private sector and NTC, mukhang maaabot naman ang 80 percent access by 2016.

But iyong regularity of speed and iyong cost ang dapat bantayan, na dapat affordable pa rin ito at tuluy-tuloy at hindi dapat pawala-wala.


Q: Sino ba dapat magre-regulate? Dapat pa ba tayong mag-create ng regulator?

We have a regulator and that’s the NTC. So alam ninyo iyong isang na-reason kanina ay do we need new laws or just have NTC regulate.

In some cases, puwede na silang mag-regulate but in case of the Internet, na hindi considered as basic service, kailangan itong gawing basic service.


Q: Sir, how do we do that?

We’ll amend the Public Service Act, which is a 1936 law.

Isipin mo, we’re talking about high-tech information age and we’re still using a 1936 law.

So it’s about time that we update this law and we use those amendments to really push for better access, more affordable internet in the Philippines.


Q: This means powerless po ang government?

No that’s not right. In fact, we asked NTC to come up with standards for Internet. Initially, walang pa silang standard na sini-set because this is a value added service.


To respond lang sa hinaing ng maraming Pilipino, kahit iyong ibang senador may hinaing na rin sila, it’s just right that they come up with standards to check the infrastructure kung talagang kaya ng infrastructure natin ang pinapangakong speed ng ating Internet.

Kung hindi, pilitin natin ang private sector na ma-match ang standards na nakalay-out na at gagawin ng NTC.

Responsibility of Users

Iyong kabaligtad din dito I think, we must be responsible users of the Internet just to be fair. Earlier nga na-mention na iilang tao lang na heavy users, apektado ang lahat.

Kung 24/7 ka sa mobile, panay ang download mo, nakakaapekto sa mga kasama mo.


Q: Sir in your next hearing ano po ang tututukan ninyo?

A: First we’ll have a TWG. All of the resource speakers, the NTC, DOST, DTI and telco partners. We’ll invite the other ISPs. I think mahalaga rin dito ang ating local government units.


Puro Salita

Himayin natin ang discussion natin and come up with specific recommendations and from there, we’ll give it maybe two to three months to have another hearing para ma-track natin kung may nangyayari ba o wala.

Ang masakit kasi, puro salita at walang nangyayari. By the next hearing, after three months, we can check already, mayroon ba tayong solusyon na naihain o nagawa na o wala pa rin.


On Local Government Units

Iyon isa ring siguro na na-raise ay iyong sa local government units. Sinasabi ng ating telcos, hindi pare-pareho ang pagtrato sa kanila ng LGUs. There are some LGUs who will charge a really high amount, ang iba naman will charge less.

Nahihirapan sila (telcos) na i-roll out ang kanilang services. Kaya it’s important also to have the DILG, League of Cities and the League of Municipalities to have a common stand that when it comes to Internet and providing, kailangang tulung-tulong tayo rito.

On Congestion

Standards when it terms to congestion. At the minimum, they can actually show kung iyong infrastructure natin nagma-match sa population or Internet usage, para kung congestion nga ang problema, makita natin kung ano ang paraan kung anong ma-decongest natin.

Q: What’s the issue with Internet peering?

A: Well this is something NTC is already working on. We’ll ask for an update on the next hearing or during the TWG.

Ibig sabihih nito nagko-connect locally ang ating mga nodes. To be frank, maybe a technical answer might be better.



Simply put, kunyari galing akong Quezon City pupunta akong Makati, dadaan akong EDSA. Hindi na ako iikot sa Manila Bay, pupunta pa sa Cebu at babalik pa bago makarating sa Makati.

This makes the nodes faster. I think NTC is already working on this, and we’ll look for updates after three months on this issue.


Q. Kasama po ba ang mga text na pinapadala ng network na may promo sa resolusyon ninyo?

A: It’s not part of the resolution but we can add it.


Q: Kung minsan matutulog ka na lang may magtetext, akala ko importante.

A: I can have that checked. Pag nandoon na ang NTC puwede nating patanong iyon. But primarily kasi, the question is more on the expensive Internet.

Compared to other countries, medyo lumalayo na ang presyo. So we’re hoping kung ma-refer na siya sa aming committee today, we’re hoping to have the hearing next week.


Q: Hindi magkakalayo ang mga rates nila, so puwede ba nating sabihin na maaaring may cartel rin sila?

A: Hard to say that that’s a crime.


Fair Competition

But babalik din tayo diyan sa competition policy. That’s one of the bills we’re pushing for.  If you have better competition, you have more people in the market, mas competitive, mas bababa ang presyo.


Roadmap for Internet

Primarily gusto naming tanungin sa NTC, ano ang roadmap natin.

Technically, regulated industry iyan, NTC should have a roadmap in terms of the price and quality.

Unfortunately, napag-iwanan na tayo ng ibang mga bansa so we want to see. Antabayanan natin kung anong sasabihin nila.

Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview on the Slow, Expensive Internet

Q. Kasama po ba ang mga text na pinapadala ng network na may promo sa resolusyon ninyo?

A: It’s not part of the resolution but we can add it.

QUESTION: Kung minsan matutulog ka na lang may magtetext, akala ko importante.

ANSWER: I can have that checked. Pag nandoon na ang NTC puwede nating patanong iyon. But primarily kasi, the question is more on the expensive Internet.

 Compared to other countries, medyo lumalayo na ang presyo. So we’re hoping kung ma-refer na siya sa aming committee today, we’re hoping to have the hearing next week.

QUESTION: Hindi magkakalayo ang mga rates nila, so puwede ba nating sabihin na maaaring may cartel rin sila?

ANSWER: Hard to say that that’s a crime.

But babalik din tayo diyan sa competition policy. That’s one of the bills we’re pushing for.  If you have better competition, you have more people in the market, mas competitive, mas bababa ang presyo.

 Primarily gusto naming tanungin sa NTC, ano ang roadmap natin. Technically, regulated industry iyan, NTC should have a roadmap in terms of the price and quality.

Unfortunately, napag-iwanan na tayo ng ibang mga bansa so we want to see. Antabayanan natin kung anong sasabihin nila.


QUESTION: Kailan iyon?

ANSWER: If it is referred today, we can have that (investigation) next week. Kung ma-refer siya today.

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