Bills by Sen. Bam Aquino

Senate Bill No. 171: Open Access in Data Transmission


We live in the information age where instantaneous access to reliable data can save you money, get you your dream concert tickets, save lives in times of calamity, and even spark a political revolution witnessed all around the world.

Technology has refashioned our world, empowering us with information at our fingertips.

What many of us don’t see are the multiple levels and layers that data zips through to move from one point to another, from one user to the next.

If this complex data network is not designed and managed properly, it may cost users’ time and money. And for a nation with a pressing problem with slow and expensive Internet services, it is imperative that we explore all avenues to improve data transmission.

This measure sets the regulatory framework to promote effective data transmission, taking into account the ever-changing nature of technology.

This bill will bolster the powers of the National Telecommunications Commission to create a healthy environment for the development and growth of data networks and their associated industries to improve access to information for every Filipino.

In view of the foregoing, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought.


3 out of 6 Major Bills in 2015 c/o Bam

Sen. Bam Aquino, the youngest senator of the 16th Congress, made an impact during the second regular session as he sponsored three out of the six major measures ratified during the period.

Foremost of Sen. Aquino’s bills was the Philippine Competition Act, a landmark measure seeking to level the playing field for all business, and eliminate anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players in the market.

The Philippine Competition Act was finally passed under Sen. Bam’s watch as chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship after 25 years of gathering dust in the legislative mill.

Sen. Bam also co-authored and sponsored the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act and the Youth Entrepreneurship Act.

 The Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act will now allow foreign ships carrying imported cargoes and cargoes to be exported out of the country to dock in multiple ports. This will reduce logistics costs and lead to lower prices for consumers.

In addition, it will also lead to more efficient port operations and a more competitive Philippines in the ASEAN integration.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Act, for its part, is seen as an effective tool to address the growing number of jobless young people in the country, which currently stands at 1.32 million.

Financial literacy and entrepreneurship courses will now be included in all levels of education to build an entrepreneurship culture among Filipinos.  A youth entrepreneurship fund shall also be made available to cater to youth entrepreneurs in the country.

Last year, Sen. Bam’s Go Negosyo Act and the Philippine Lemon Law were enacted into laws and are now awaiting for the said three bills to be signed by the President.  Once signed, Sen. Bam’s portfolio will consist of five laws in two years. 

 “Hindi mahalaga kung neophyte o beterano sa senado. Ang mahalaga ay kung makakagawa ka ng mga panukala na makakapagpabuti sa buhay ng nakararaming Pilipino,” Sen. Bam said.

Aside from these three measures, the 16th Congress also ratified measures ensuring the safety of children aboard two-wheeled motorcycles travelling along public and private roads, protecting the amateur nature of student-athletes in the country and the establishment of an open high school system in the country.

Stronger Consumer Act to Empower Citizens – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino stressed the importance of adding more teeth to the Consumer Act, saying it will empower and protect citizens more against substandard goods and services.

 “Strengthening the Consumer Act will further empower our citizens in their purchase of goods and services,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Aquino made the pronouncement after the Department of Trade and Industry’s call to beef up Republic Act (RA) 7394, also known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

“Our consumers have worked hard to earn a living and they deserve to get value for their money,” Aquino added.

The senator said his committee will act immediately when it receives a draft bill from the DTI that contains the needed amendments for the Consumer Act.

“This must not wait because consumer protection is paramount and should be prioritized,” the senator stressed.

Aquino’s office has been deluged with different consumer complaints, ranging from substandard quality of products and inefficient service.

In an interview, Trade Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba said the agency will push several amendments that will give more teeth to the Consumer Act.

Among the amendments eyed by DTI is the inclusion of heavier fines for violators of the Consumer Act, from the existing minimum penalty of P500 to P50,000, to P300,000 to P1 million.

The DTI also wants to expand the membership of the private-public National Consumer Affairs Council to make it more effective in policy framing and addressing the needs of consumers.

Also, the DTI also wants to include online commerce-related practices in the scope of the law and the regulatory duty of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) over all financial transactions.

 The Senate recently passed its first pro-consumer measure in the 16th Congress – the Philippine Lemon Law – which protect car buyers from defective vehicles, was sponsored by Aquino.

Sen. Bam lauds Malacanang for Including Measures for Small Businesses in Priority Legislation

Senator Bam Aquino has lauded Malacanang for including his two priority measures that will further help in the development of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country in its legislative agenda.

 “We thank Malacanang for including the Cabotage Law and the Fair Competition Act in its legislative agenda,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

 “Through this, I expect the swift passage of these measures that I see as crucial to our economic growth, job generation and level playing field for all businesses,” the senator stressed, adding that he is committed to work for the passage of the two measures.

“These measures have been in the legislative pipeline for a long time. Finally, some political will to get difficult reforms passed which are pro-poor, pro-business and will lower cost of goods,” he added.

Passed by the Senate on third and final reading, Senate Bill No. 2282 or the Fair Competition Act of 2014 aims to shield small business owners and consumers from companies engaged in unfair business practices, which usually lead to increase in prices of basic goods and services.

Aquino said a fair competition policy will level the playing field for Filipino businesses and allow more Filipinos to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit.

 “The bill puts in place measures that will protect the welfare of businesses and protect honest, hard-working entrepreneurs against abuse of dominance and position, and other unfair practices that put both Filipino businesses and their consumers at risk,” Aquino said.

If passed into law, the senator said Filipinos will enjoy a wider range of high-quality products and services at reasonable prices.

Aquino also filed Senate Bill No. 2364, which seeks to amend Section 1009 of the Presidential Decree No. 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of 1978, to lower local shipping cost in the country.

If enacted into law, foreign ships will be allowed to call in multiple ports provided that their cargoes are intended for import or export and duly cleared by the Commissioner of Customs, leading to lower cost.

The senator has filed the bill in response to President Aquino’s call to relax the country’s policies on cabotage.

It was discovered that it is cheaper to send products from other countries to the Philippines than to ship goods within the country.

For example, the cost of shipping a 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) from Kaoshiung, China to Cagayan de Oro is $360 or P16,000 only.

However, the cost of shipping the same cargo from Manila to Cagayan de Oro will take $1,120 or almost P50,000.

“We’d like to put these policies in place this year to sustain the momentum of our growth we’ve experienced the past few years,” Aquino added.

Senate Bill No. 2365: Basic Education Teachers Pay Increase Bill of 2014

Accompanying the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, education reforms that were jumpstarted in recent years have been encouraging. These reforms sought to address backlogs in the building of classrooms and facilities, reorient systems for purchasing textbooks and other school supplies to curb corruption, and add teaching and non-teaching personnel to address the growing needs of schools. Truly, it is an exciting time for the Philippine public school system, with growing recognition that the Filipino student must be given the best education and learning experience to compete in the tough job market.

Unfortunately, our public school teachers, on whom we depend on to facilitate this experience, have been largely left out of these reforms. Even if education has the highest allocation in the national budget, teacher salaries have remained the same, forcing teachers to be creative in their monthly subsistence.

With the increasing cost of living, teachers and other school personnel must tighten their belts to get by on their modest salaries. They turn to loan agents, both formal and informal, to make ends meet. They go into debt in order to provide for their families’ needs, even to the extent that the entirety of their salary end up going to loan payments. This dire situation makes it unattractive for our brightest graduates to take on a public school education career. Furthermore, seasoned educators are forced to leave their vocation for practical reasons – to seek greener pastures in other industries or even abroad.

It is pivotal for national development to add support and proper compensation for our teachers, as they shape and form the country’s future. Additional benefits would make a public education career not only noble, but practical and sustainable as well. Moreover, it helps enable our best and the brightest teachers to stay true to their calling and make a significant contribution to nation-building.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.



Filed: August 19, 2014





Senate Bill No. 2366: Nurse in Every Public School Act

Delivering quality education isn’t just a matter of delivering instructional modules inside the classroom. Quality education, that every Filipino child deserves, is holistic in nature. It is concerned with the whole self – physical, mental and spiritual.

With a fifth of the Filipino populace under the poverty line, health-related issues of school children abound, thus hampering their ability to learn and retain lessons and skills. Some students might even be forced to skip school days due to sickness, further impeding their ability to learn.

Thus, this measure proposes that students’ access to basic heaIth care services in schools be assured by requiring every public school to employ at least one registered nurse to look after the health and nutritional needs of its students.

Nurses are as important as other support personnel in the school system.1 They attend to the physical and mental-health needs of students. They can even spearhead programs to promote nutrition and contribute health-related content in the curriculum.

Having a nurse in every school emphasizes the value of health, nutrition and well-being as part of the formation of our Filipino children.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.



Senate Bill No. 2367: National Amateur Sports Training Center

The development of grassroots sports in the country has long been overdue. Despite the Filipinos’ love for sports and athletics, support to achieve sustained excellence in sports from the private and public sector has been lacking.

With limited resources, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has sought to support our national athletes with a proper support system, international exposure, monthly training stipends and adequate training equipment. One major gap is a state-of-the-art facility where budding athletes can be turned into national champions and world icons.

Thus, the bill proposes the establishment of the National Sports Training Center (NSTC) to provide amateur athletes the facility they need for a more apt, focused and scientific training with the hope of nurturing our next generation of world-class athletes.

The NSTC would not only serve as the offiCial venue of training for athletes, but it would also be the center for sports science research and development.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.


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S.B. 2369: Student’s Rights and Welfare Act of 2014

As education plays a vital role in shaping any nation, it provides young citizens the key knowledge, skills and attitudes to be able to participate and contribute meaningfully to the growth of 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.

This bill proposes 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 a conducive atmosphere to maximize their learning and growth.

Service-learning modules provide the chance for students to learn about empathy and compassion; volunteer organizations present the world outside the four walls of the classroom and show the faces of poverty and injustice.

Student-governments and campus publications are spaces where students are able to strengthen values of leadership, integrity, transparency and accountability. Dialogues and consultations with school administrations further enhance the value for respect and critical thinking among future leaders of the country.

Students are no longer just the future of the country. We count on them to be leaders in tneir communities in the here and now.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.



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