Sen. Bam: Set aside politics, prioritize welfare of children at risk

Let’s set aside politics and focus first on the welfare of children at risk.

Sen. Bam Aquino issued this call amid the measles outbreak in different parts of the country.

“Tama na po ang turuan at sisihan. Tama na po ang pamumulitika. Unahin po ang mga bata dahil nasa matinding panganib ang ating mga anak,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam made the appeal after the  Department of Health (DOH)  expanded the outbreak declaration to other regions such as Calabarzon, Western Visayas and Central Visayas, in addition to Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

“Kailangan din po tayong matuto sa trahedyang ito na hindi dapat pinupulitika ang kalusugan ng ating mga kabataan,” added Sen. Bam, who called on the government to establish an inter-agency task force that will immediately address the measles outbreak.

The senator said the inter-agency task force should be led by the DOH and joined by other agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

“The inter-agency task force will address the needs of the victims and conduct an aggressive and sustained health promotion drive to get parents to have their kid vaccinated,” said Sen. Bam.

The lawmaker also called on the public to cooperate with the government and help it stop this public menace.

“May mga anak din po ako na bata pa, umaapila po ako sa mga kapwa ko magulang na pabakunahan agad ang ating mga anak,” Sen. Bam said.

Senate Bill No. 694: Pagkaing Pinoy Para Sa Batang Pinoy Act

“You cannot feed the mind on an empty stomach.” This is a truth that millions of Filipinos know and feel all too well. Every day, millions of Filipino children trek to school, underfed and undernourished, yet expected to fully absorb the lessons of the day.

In a study called “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012”, conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a total of 16 million Filipinos were considered undernourished 2010 to 2012, even as the number of chronically undernourished people dropped in all other Southeast Asian countries. Despite our growing economy, there are more underfed people in the Philippines today than there were two decades ago.

Meanwhile, another recent study on “the role of early childhood nourishment and health in connection with human capital accumulation”, published by Dartmouth University in 2012, revealed that the long-term detrimental effects of childhood hunger have a greater impact on school children than the effects of substandard schooling, infrastructure, classrooms, and textbooks.

This is perhaps one of the main reasons why Filipino children continue to lag behind our Asian neighbors in standardized tests. How can we expect them to do well in school when we have not given their brains the proper nourishment and fuel for the tasks that lie ahead of them?

Thus, the proposed “Pagkaing Pinoy para sa Batang Pinoy” bill seeks to alleviate childhood malnutrition in the Philippines through a feeding program for infants, public kindergarten and elementary school children. It will promote the health of children who are most in need, by providing regular and free access to nutritious food within a safe and clean school and community environment.

The benefits of the bill do not end there. To enhance the social value of this proposed measure, the feeding program will utilize, when possible and available, locally- sourced and locally-produced food products in order also to support local farmers and farming communities, and thus provide direct support to local agricultural communities. By providing a regular market for the products of local farmers and small entrepreneurs, this feeding program will help address not only child malnutrition but also poverty in the countryside.

This bill will entail partnerships with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Education (DepEd), and local government units.


Senate Bill No. 715: Solo Parents’ Welfare Act

Raising children and nurturing a healthy family is a major challenge to parents and takes a great deal of time, effort, patience, and learning. For solo parents, the challenge is even more daunting.

To make the situation worse, the financial burden as breadwinner adds to the stress and pressure of solo parents. As such, this measure seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 to add benefits for solo parents, increase penalties for non-compliance, and enhance the effectiveness of the law’s implementation.

Through these amendments, solo parents will be awarded a 10% discount on clothing for their child and a 15% discount on baby’s milk and food up to two years from childbirth.

A 15% discount from medicine and medical supply purchases until 5 years from childbirth as well as a 10% discount from tuition fees will also be awarded.

Lastly, a personal tax exemption of Php50,000 can be claimed by single parents, allowing them to take home a larger portion of their income to invest in their family’s future.

Let us give them the support they need to provide a bright future for families of solo parents.

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


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