Bills by Bam Aquino

Sen. Bam vows to work for passage of Trabaho Center Bill to help ensure jobs for graduates

Re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino has committed to pursue the passage of a measure that will help ensure job availability for K-12 and college students once they receive their diploma.

“Kasunod ng pagsusulong natin ng batas sa libreng kolehiyo, nais naman nating tiyakin na may siguradong trabaho ang mga graduate sa tulong ng Trabaho Centers,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor of the Free College Law.

“Nakapaghain na tayo ng batas na maglalagay ng Trabaho Centers sa ating mga pampublikong paaralan. Mahalaga lang na masigurong maisasabatas ito sa susunod na Kongreso,” added Sen. Bam.

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

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

The legislation aims to address the skills mismatch and ensure employability of students upon graduation by using feedback from employers to better develop the school’s curriculum and training programs.
“Sa tulong ng Trabaho Centers, pagtatagpuin ang mga kompanya na naghahanap ng trabaho at mga estudyanteng naghahanap ng trabaho,” said Sen. Bam.

The senator believes that the passage of the Trabaho Center Bill is the next step to ensure employment for all graduates who benefitted from the Free College Law.

“Ang bawat Pilipinong nakinabang sa libreng kolehiyo ay dapat may siguradong trabaho. Iyan ang sisigiruhin natin kung papalarin tayo ng isa pang termino,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam bats for creation of Department of Water to avoid repeat of water shortage

A re-electionist senator has filed a measure establishing a Department of Water to help avoid a repeat of the water shortage that burdened thousands of Metro Manila residents.

“Bilang isa sa pinakamahalagang pangangailangan ng taumbayan, importanteng hindi na maulit pa ang nangyaring water shortage na naging kalbaryo ng maraming residente ng Metro Manila,” said Sen. Bam as he filed Senate Bill No. 2216.

Sen. Bam explained that the recent water shortage underscored the immediate need to create the Department of Water, Irrigation, Sewage and Sanitation Resource Management.

“Ang pagbuo ng Department of Water ay isang long-term solution upang hindi na maulit na ang ganitong problema at hindi na maranasan pa ang water shortage, hindi lang sa kamaynilaan kundi sa iba’t ibang bahagi rin ng bansa,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam explained that the Department of Water, Irrigation, Sewage, and Sanitation Resource Management will rationalize water, irrigation, sewage, and sanitation resource management, including water rights.

Currently, several agencies are responsible for water, irrigation, sewage, and sanitation management, including the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, National Irrigation Administration, local water districts (LWDs) and rural waterworks and sanitation associations (RWSAs).

“With regulation and management of our water resources currently lodged with various units and agencies of the government, we are faced with challenges in terms of implementing national policies and plans on water, sewage, sanitation, and irrigation,” said Sen. Bam.

The senator said that the department will strengthen and coordinate water resource planning and policy-making to ensure sustainable and fair allocation and efficient use of water resources between competing water uses and users, including but not limited to domestic and municipal use, irrigation, power generation, farming, fisheries, commercial, and industrial use.

Sen. Bam seeks additional P1,000 social pension for senior citizens

A senator wants to increase the social pension of senior citizens as gratitude to their valued contribution to the development of the country and to provide them with additional income to help them deal with the prevailing high prices of goods.

In his Senate Bill No. 2142, Sen. Bam Aquino seeks to mandate the government to give a social pension of P1,000 to all senior citizens who do not have social pension or to those receiving a pension not exceeding P3,000.

 “Kailangang-kailangan ng ating senior citizens ang dagdag na pensiyon para makatugon sa kanilang araw-araw na pangangailangan at makatulong sa gastusin ng kanilang pamilya. Mahalaga ito lalo na’t mataas ang presyo ng bilihin,” said Sen. Bam.

 “Napakalaki ng kontribusyon ng ating senior citizen sa pagpapaunlad ng bansa. Panahon na para bigyan natin sila ng karampatang kalinga at pag-aala bilang pagkilala sa kanilang sakripisyo para sa bansa,” said Sen. Bam.

According to Sen. Bam, a study conducted by the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) indicated that social pension contributed on average almost a third of household income.

 However, Sen. Bam said that the same study showed that only 32 percent of eight million senior citizens in the country receive social pension of P500 a month, while 38 percent do not receive any pension at all.

 When it comes to the 1.5 million Social Security System (SSS) pensioners, less than half receives not more than P3,400 per month.

“With no or inadequate pension for many Filipino senior citizens, they are forced to rely on the modest incomes of their families who are also struggling to make a living,” said Sen. Bam.

 “Giving them social pension will greatly help to address their daily needs, and provide some relief to their households,” the senator added.

 Aside from additional social pension for senior citizens, Sen.Bam is also working for the creation of a National Commission for Senior Citizens (NCSC) through his Senate Bill No. 674.

 The bill seeks to amend Section 11 of Republic Act 7432 or the Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2010, abolishing the National Coordinating and Monitoring Board and replacing it with NCSC.

 The council will be spearheaded by a chairperson and commissioners from a list submitted by senior citizens organizations and associations.

Sen. Bam files bill to empower OFWs to start businesses in the PH

Sen. Bam Aquino filed a bill to provide incentives and benefits to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who wish to start a business in the Philippines, following the suggestion of an OFW from Batangas City during a local consultation session.

“Ito’y isang reporma na hiniling mismo ng ating mga OFW. Marami sa kanila ay nais magkaroon ng kabuhayan sa Pilipinas at makapiling ang pamilya,” said Sen. Bam in his Senate Bill No. 2101 or the “Business Incentives for OFWs Act.”

“Isa sa mga pagkukunan ng kabuhayan ng ating OFWs ay ang pagkakaroon ng matagumpay na negosyo. Bigyan natin sila ng pagkakataong magkaroon ng kabuhayan sa Pilipinas upang makasama nila ang kanilang pamilya at makitang lumaki ang kanilang mga anak,” added Sen. Bam.

If enacted into law, OFW-owned enterprises will be given benefits and incentives once they decide to invest their hard-earned money in the Philippines, including exemption from payment of income tax for five years following registration.

Other benefits for an OFW-owned business enterprise include 50-percent reduction on real property taxes and tax and duty free importation of raw materials, capital equipment, machineries and spare parts exclusively used in the operation.

Enterprises owned by OFWs will also receive preferential access to financing from government financial institutions at rates below the market rates for five years following registration.

In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam has filed several measures concerning the welfare of Filipino workers, including OFWs.

Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 648 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Assistance Act to boost support for the OFW community and the families they leave back home.

If passed into law, the measure integrates programs on livelihood, entrepreneurship, savings, investments and financial literacy to the existing efforts of embassies to equip OFWs with knowledge to start their own business.

Sen. Bam has 35 laws to his name, including the landmark free college law and the Go Negosyo Act, which has now established almost 1,000 Negosyo Centers in different parts of the country.

He has been a fierce advocate for entrepreneurship as a means to overcome poverty and provide livelihood to Filipino families.

Sen. Bam to gov’t: Ibasura na ang buwis sa petrolyo!

Sen. Bam Aquino urged the government to support initiatives that aim to stop excise tax on fuel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, saying time is running out as lawmakers have just 15 session days remaining for 2018.

“Wala nang panahon. 47 days na lang ay Pasko na at mayrooon na lang labing-limang session days para maisulong ang ating panukala, pati na ang resolusyon ng minorya at sulat ng mayorya ukol sa pag-alis ng excise tax sa petrolyo,” said Sen. Bam.

“Nagkakaisa ang Senado sa hangaring mapababa ang presyo ng petrolyo at bilihin para sa kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan na nahihirapan na sa mataas na presyo ng bilihin,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo sa Petrolyo Bill last May while minority senators filed Joint Resolution No. 15 calling for the suspension and rollback of excise tax on fuel. Majority lawmakers, for their part, wrote President Duterte asking to suspend excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law.

Congress will resume session on Monday (Nov 12), and will end its session on Dec. 12 (Wednesday).

“Bigyan natin ng konting ginhawa ang mga mahihirap na nalulunod sa taas presyo,” Sen. Bam emphasized, adding that suspending excise tax on fuel under TRAIN Law is the best Christmas gift that the government can give to the Filipino people.

“Pamasko niyo na po sa mahihirap ang pagtanggal ng TRAIN sa petrolyo. Galaw-galaw na po, magpa-Pasko na,” said Sen. Bam, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the TRAIN Law.

The only measure in the Senate that seeks to amend the TRAIN Law, Senate Bill No. 1798 aims to add a safeguard to ensure the suspension in the collection of excise tax on fuel once inflation rate surpasses the government’s inflation target for three consecutive months.

According to Sen. Bam, removing the excise tax on fuel would not only bring down prices of fuel, but also prices of fares, food and other goods in the market.

Sen. Bam added that removing the excise tax on petroleum would translate to additional P87 per day income for public utility drivers (PUV), which they can use to purchase two kilos of rice for their family.

Sen. Bam: Protect commuters and drivers, no jeepney phase-out in March 2019

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) both committed that there will be no phase-out of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) come March 2019. 
“Lahat, pati komyuter, talo sa planong phase-out sa Marso. Kung mawala ang ating mga jeepney, wala ring masasakyan ang ating mga kababayan. Tulungan natin ang mga driver na mag-modernize, imbis na tanggalin lang ang kanilang trabaho’t kabuhayan ng kanilang pamilya,” said Sen. Bam. 
“Plano niyo sanang bawiin ang ang prangkisa ng mga jeep sa Marso, ngunit hindi man lang kinunsulta o tinanong ang transport sector. Gawin natin ito ng tama, huwag muna ituloy itong phase-out,” added Sen. Bam, referring to the Memorandum Circular released by DOTr and LTFRB. 
During the hearing of the Committee on Public Services on the issue of jeepney modernization, LTFRB head Martin Delgra and DOTr Undersecretary Tim Orbos gave their commitment to Sen. Bam Aquino that the phase-out in March will not push through. 
Earlier, Sen. Bam filed a public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization bill with the support of the National Confederation of Transport Union (NCTU), Sentro, ACTO, and Philippine Advocates for Transport Convergence. 
In his Senate Bill No. 2056, Sen. Bam seeks to make jeepneys safer and more efficient for commuters and the environment, while ensuring the livelihood of drivers and their families. 
“Nais natin umunlad at umasenso ang mga sistema ng jeepney at tricycle, bus at tren sa bansa – at naniniwala akong may kakayahan tayong gawin ito. Ngunit kailangan din natin siguraduhin na sa programang ito, walang masasagasaang Pilipino,” said Sen. Bam. 
If passed into law, jeepneys will be tested based on road-worthiness and financial assistance will be given to owners who need to upgrade their jeepneys. Drivers that wish to shift careers will also be given sufficient compensation.

Sen. Bam: Suspindihin, huwag dagdagan ang tax sa gasolina

Alarmed by the latest big-time oil price hike, Sen. Bam Aquino insists on implementing measures to suspend additional P2 excise tax on petroleum products scheduled for January 2019 under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. 

“Kung pumatak o humigit sa $80 kada bariles ang global prices ng krudo sa susunod na tatlong buwan, nasa batas na dapat suspindihin ang pagtaas ng buwis sa Enero 2019,” said Sen. Bam. 

Sen. Bam was referring to a safeguard in the TRAIN Law where the excise tax on fuel will be suspended once the average Dubai crude oil price based on MOPS for 3 months prior to the scheduled increase reaches or exceeds $80 per barrel.

Sen. Bam added that the price of oil increased $80.8 per barrel today (Oct. 2).

“Bantayan po natin ang world prices at sumunod tayo sa nakasaad sa batas,” added Sen. Bam, who introduced the said measure of protection during deliberations on the TRAIN Law. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Bam expressed alarm over statements by Budget Sec. Ben Diokno downplaying the effects of inflation on high prices of goods, especially food. 

“Bigyan naman natin ng kaunting ginhawa ang mga kababayan nating nalulunod sa pagtaas ng presyo. Maghanap tayo ng paraan para arestuhin ang dagdag buwis sa petrolyo,” added Sen. Bam. 

Sen. Bam is also pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo Bill, which will suspend the collection of excise tax on fuel once inflation rate breaches the annual inflation target over a three-month period.

Sen. Bam helped the administration pass the law making college education free in public universities and colleges. He is the principal sponsor of R.A. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. 

Sen. Bam to gov’t: Make affordable rice available, accessible to poor Filipinos

Sen. Bam Aquino wants to ensure that poor Filipinos are priority in the distribution of NFA rice, following the government’s move to sell affordable rice in supermarkets.

“Maganda ang hangarin ng pamahalaan na paramihin ang outlets ng bentahan ng NFA rice at isama ang mga supermarkets,” said Sen. Bam.

“Pero dahil limitado ang NFA rice at napakamahal pa ng commercial rice, mahalaga na matiyak na makikinabang ang pinakamahihirap nating kababayan na isa o dalawang beses na lang ang pagkain ng kanin kada-araw,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam said the initiative will be for naught if the NFA rice will not be accessible to poor Filipinos who are already burdened by high prices of food and other goods.

“Siguraduhin na mayroong murang bigas sa mga pangunahing pinagbibilhan ng mahihirap nating kababayan. Baka maubos ang pinagkakasyang pera sa pamasahe papunta sa mga supermarket,” stressed Sen. Bam, who is pushing for the full implementation the 10-percent discount on NFA rice under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Under the TRAIN Law, Sen. Bam said the government is mandated to provide poor families 10-percent discount when they purchase NFA rice from accredited retail stores, up to a maximum of 20 kilos per month.

In addition, Sen. Bam is calling for the enactment of his Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo Bill that will help ease the burden of poor Filipinos on high prices of food and other goods.

Sen. Bam’s Bawas Presyo Bill aims to suspend the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law when the average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period.

Passing the measure is crucial as it will stop the second round of increase in excise tax on petroleum products under the TRAIN Law in January 2019, according to Sen. Bam.

Aside from pushing for the enactment of the Bawas Presyo Bill, Sen. Bam also called on the government to fully implement other social mitigating measures under the TRAIN Law, such as the unconditional cash transfer program and the Pantawid Pasada Program.

Sen. Bam calls for passage of Bawas Presyo Bill amid rising fuel prices

Sen. Bam Aquino renewed his push for the passage of his Bawas Presyo Bill, following the fresh round of increase in prices of petroleum products.

“Kumilos na tayo. Hindi pwedeng nganga lang ang gobyerno sa sunod-sunod na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” said Sen. Bam, alluding to the latest round of oil price increase on Tuesday.

”Huwag nating kalimutan na may responsibilidad tayo sa bayan, lalo na’t tumitindi ang hagupit sa publiko ng patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam said the government should consider Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo Bill as one of the options in solving the rise in prices of goods and services due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

“Hanggang walang ginagawa ang pamahalaan, lalong malulunod ang taumbayan sa mataas na presyo ng bilihin. Kailangan nang kumilos ang pamahalaan,” said Sen. Bam, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the TRAIN Law.

Sen. Bam’s Bawas Presyo Bill aims to suspend the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law when the average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period.

Passing the measure is crucial as it will stop the second round of increase in excise tax on petroleum products under the TRAIN Law in January 2019, according to Sen. Bam.

Aside from pushing for the enactment of the Bawas Presyo Bill, Sen. Bam also called on the government to fully implement the social mitigating measures under the TRAIN Law to alleviate the burden of the public, especially the poor.

Among them are the unconditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pasada Program and the 10-percent discount on NFA rice.

Sen. Bam pushes LGUs to work with, prioritize Filipino youth

To push for better, more responsive and more innovative governance, Sen. Bam Aquino is encouraging local government units (LGUs) to work with youth leaders and their organizations.

In his amendment to Senate Bill No. 1843 or the Seal of Good Local Governance Act, Sen. Bam wants LGUs to establish youth development programs to ensure the meaningful participation of the youth in nation building.

The senator said LGUs must develop enabling mechanisms and support systems to boost the involvement of the youth in governance.

In his amendment, Sen. Bam has batted for the establishment of a Local Youth Development Council and a Youth Development Office in all LGUs, they can institute policies and programs geared to mold the youth into successful and kind-hearted citizens.

“Bilang mga kinabukasan ng bayan, bigyan natin ng sapat na pagkakataon ang mga kabataan na makilahok sa pagpapatakbo ng pamahalaan at sa pagpapaunlad ng lipunan,” said Sen. Bam, who thanked Sen. Sonny Angara for accepting his amendments to the measure.

Being a former youth leader and Chairman of the National Youth Commission, Sen. Bam is a known advocate of youth empowerment, pushing for enactment of laws that focus on the welfare of the youth.

Among them is the SK Reform Act, which Sen. Bam pushed as co-sponsor and co-author. Also, Sen. Bam worked for the passage of Republic Act 10679 or the Youth Entrepreneurship Act during his term as chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship in the 16th Congress.

The law encourages young would-be entrepreneurs to establish their own business by providing them access to capital and other support. It also creates financial literacy modules in all levels of Philippine education, to inculcate a culture of enterprise development among the Filipino youth.

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