law by bam aquino

Sen. Bam: PH start-up bill is passed by Senate

A measure that seeks to empower and encourage Filipino innovators and entrepreneurs to build better solutions for the nation was approved by the Senate on third and final reading, according to its principal author and sponsor Sen. Bam Aquino.

Via an overwhelming 18-0 vote, Senate Bill No. 1532 or the Innovative Startup Act was approved by the Senate, bringing it closer to becoming a law.

“This is great news for our innovators and entrepreneurs! We’re one step closer to giving them the support they deserve,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

“It isn’t easy building a successful start-up, specially in the Philippines. Still, they find ways to bring better solutions to problems in transportation, healthcare, agriculture, and other industries. Tama lang na tulungan sila ng gobyerno,” added Sen. Bam, a former social entrepreneur.

If enacted into law, the measure will provide support to innovative and tech startups, which pertain to businesses that provide unique and relevant solutions to pressing problems, such as transportation, financing, agriculture and healthcare.

“Our country has a number of promising start-ups and we need to provide them with the environment where they can grow and succeed, just like what their counterparts in other countries like United States and Israel are enjoying,” said Sen. Bam.

If enacted into law, innovative startups will enjoy benefits such as tax breaks and grants and other forms of assistance, including a faster process for business registration.

Innovative start-ups could also avail of technical assistance and training programs, use of equipment, facilities and support for patenting or licensing of their product through the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.

The measure also includes a P10 billion Innovative Startup Venture Fund that entrepreneurs can apply for.

Sen. Bam is an advocate of start-up, micro, small and medium enterprise (SMSME) development. During the 16th Congress, he passed the Go Negosyo Act, the Youth Entrepreneurship Act and other laws to empower local businesses.

Sen. Bam to CHED: Heed Senate’s call to implement free college law ASAP

Senator Bam Aquino urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to heed the Senate’s call to implement the free college law in the second semester of school year 2017-18 to help alleviate the plight of Filipino families.

 Last Monday, the Senate unanimously adopted Sen. Bam’s Resolution No. 620, which rallied the Upper Chamber to express a united front in support of the full implementation of the free college law.

 “Nagkaisa ang Senado na manawagan sa CHED na gawing libre na ang tuition pati miscellaneous fees sa SUCs, ipatupad na ang batas as soon as possible,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor and co-author of the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act

“Hindi nila napatupad sa napagkasunduang timeline, kaya ang kompromiso natin ay refund. Dapat lang ibalik ng mga SUC ang anumang tuition fee at miscellaneous fee na siningil nila sa mga estudyante,” Sen. Bam added.

 Sen. Bam reiterated that during the bicameral conference committee for RA 10931, representatives from both Houses of Congress expressly agreed on the legislative intent to implement it by the second semester of 2017-18.

In addition, Sen. Bam reminded CHED of its assurance during the budget deliberation for RA 10931 that the P41 billion budget for its implementation was sufficient to cover the tuition and other fees in SUCs starting second semester of 2017-18.

“May pondo na, ito ang gusto ng parehong executive at ng legislative, nararapat lang na ipatupad na ng CHED ang libreng kolehiyo,” said Sen. Bam.

Principally sponsored by Sen. Bam, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges (LUCs) and TESDA-run vocational schools.  Under the law, students of both public and private college and universities can also apply  for scholarship grants and student loans.

The measure was languishing in the legislative mill for years before it was passed during Sen. Bam’s time as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress. This was Sen. Bam’s 19th law in his four years as senator.


Sen. Bam on Bicam approval of free tuition bill or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act

We are happy to report some good news during these challenging times in our country.

 Our bill providing access to quality higher education has passed the Bicam process.

 This will make tuition and other fees in our SUCs free. It will provide billions of scholarships and loans to students in private higher education institutions.

Pirma na lang ng Presidente ang kailangan para maging batas ang Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

 Malaking panalo ito para sa mga estudyante at pamilyang Pilipino!

 I became a legislator primarily to spearhead reforms that help our countrymen reach their hopes and dreams, so I am very proud to have pushed for this major reform as the main sponsor and co-author in the Senate.

 We’d like to thank and congratulate all the legislators, stakeholders and supporters that contributed to this measure!

 Let’s give every Filipino access to quality education – from kinder to college.

 Bigyan po natin ng oportunidad ang ating mga kababayan na makamit ang kanilang pangarap.

Bam: Happy to pass 2 major reforms before embracing minority role

In just eight months, Sen. Bam Aquino worked for the successful passage of two major reforms in the Senate.

 On Monday, the Senate passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1304 or the ” Affordable Higher Education for All Act “, which provides free tuition in state colleges and universities (SUCs), and Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.

 “Our eight months in the supermajority were very productive. I’m happy we passed two very important bills before embracing our new role as minority,” said Sen. Bam, now the deputy minority leader.

 Recently removed as chair of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam is the sponsor and co-author of the Affordable Higher Education for All Act and defended the bill during the period of interpellations.

 Legislative measures to mandate free tuition in SUCs have been sitting in the legislative mill for at least 6 years.

 Sen. Bam also sponsored the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, which is seen to complement the government’s approved national broadband plan to help improve Internet access across the country.

 “Now that we’re in the minority, our role will change. Pero hindi kami kokontra para lang kumontra.  We won’t just oppose policies that will be good for the country, we will propose improvements and look for better solutions,” said Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam opposes the revival of the death penalty and lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old.

Bam: New players needed to improve PH internet service

Sen. Bam Aquino still sees increased market competition as the quickest, cheapest and best solution to improve the country’s Internet service.

“The national broadband plan is a good step but increasing competition and getting more players in the telco industry is still the quickest, most sustainable solution,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

 In previous committee hearings, Sen. Bam said it was determined by various stakeholders that more players are needed to improve Internet service while keeping prices reasonable.

 “This was the most significant finding during our Senate hearings on our slow and expensive internet in the country,” said Sen. Bam.

“It was true then, it’s true now. We have to make it easier for new internet providers to enter our market,” the senator added.

Aside from pushing for the government’s national broadband plan to improve Internet access across the country, Sen. Bam is also working for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, which he sponsored and co-authored.

Sen. Bam is the co-author and principal sponsor of Republic Act 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act, which encourages healthy and fair competition in local industries by penalizing bad market behavior and abuse of dominant positions.

Senate Bill No. 1277 is expected to hurdle its third and final reading in the Senate next week.

Bam: Boost MFI NGOs to beef up campaign vs loan sharks

While it aggressively pursues abusive loan sharks, the government must also strengthen the country’s microfinance institutions (MFI) to help address the financing needs of the poor, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“As author of the Microfinance NGOs Act, we are supportive of eradicating 5-6 in the Philippines,” said Sen. Bam, referring to Republic Act 10693, which he pushed as co-author and principal sponsor during his term as chairman of Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship in the 16th Congress.

 The senator pointed out there are better alternatives to 5-6, like MFIs NGOs that provide alternative low-interest, no-collateral financing to the poor and would-be entrepreneurs who need loan to start their own business.

 “There are better alternatives to 5-6, whether these are government programs, or led by the private sector. Mas magandang masuportahan ang mga grupo at programang ito na regulated ng goberyno na makapagbibigay rin ng pautang na hindi kasintaas ng mga 5-6 ang interes,” he added.

 Sen. Bam called on the BIR to finalize tax regulation for MFI-NGOs for the law to be fully implemented and fulfill its mandate to give the poor low-interest financing.

 Microfinance NGOs provide Filipinos access to low-interest, no collateral loans to pay for housing, medical, and educational needs as well as loans for small businesses.

 Republic Act 10693 gives incentives to microfinance NGOs to continue helping Filipinos overcome poverty not just through financing but also through financial literacy, livelihood, and entrepreneurship training.

The law also provides microfinance NGOs needed support and incentives that includes access to government programs and projects, technical assistance and exemption from taxes.

 “MFI NGOs aid our poor countrymen in times of inflation and price increases. They also provide financing and training for livelihood and small businesses so families can overcome poverty,” he said.

 In 2013, MFI NGO members of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) had a gross loan portfolio of over 15.26 billion pesos catering to more than 2.7 million micro-entrepreneurs.

 At the same time, Sen. Bam called on concerned government agencies to expedite the release of the implementing rules and regulations for Republic Act 10744 or the Credit Surety Fund Act.

 Aquino, author and sponsor of the measure’s Senate version, said it will institutionalize the CSF program of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which addresses loan requirements ranging from P200,000 to P5 million.


Bam lauds public, private sector for success of Negosyo Centers

Senator Bam Aquino credited the success of Negosyo Centers to the continued cooperation between the legislative and executive branches of government as well as the private sector.

 “Maayos po iyong batas, nakapondo po ito. Ngayon po ipinasa na sa executive. In fairness to our DTI family, buong-buo ang kanilang pagtanggap sa Negosyo Center. They’ve made the Negosyo Center one of their priorities,” said Sen. Bam during the launching of the 400th Negosyo Center in Marikina City.

 Sen. Bam is the principal author and sponsor of the Republic Act No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act in the Senate.

Through the Negosyo Center, Sen. Bam said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) now has a frontline service organization that will cater to the needs of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.

“May 400 na sentro na pong pupuntahan ang ating mga maliliit na negosyante para makahingi ng tulong, kahit saan pa sila bansa,” Sen. Bam pointed out. 

Sen. Bam also lauded the private sector and non-government organizations for its participation in the success of the Negosyo Centers.

“In many areas, the Negosyo Center has become a focal point for support, even NGOs, microfinance groups, basta may kinalaman sa pagtulong sa maliliit na negosyante, ito na ang kanilang bahay,” the senator pointed out.

 The Go Negosyo Act, the first law passed by Sen. Bam in the 16th Congress, mandates the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all municipalities, cities and provinces that will assist micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

 The Negosyo Center will provide access to bigger markets and financing for businesses, training programs, and a simplified business registration process, thus helping ease of doing business and fast-track government processes in putting up a business.

Sen. Bam continues to work closely with the DTI to ensure the effective implementation of the law.

According to the DTI, the number of Negosyo Centers will increase to 420 by the end of 2016.

Sen. Bam: Lower prices of goods, services with IRR for PH Competition Act signed

The signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Philippine Competition Act will soon lead to lower prices and improved quality of goods and services for consumers, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

 “This will bring prices down while improving quality across goods like agricultural products and services like the Internet,” said Sen. Aquino, co-author and principal sponsor of Republic Act 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act.

 “Creating a healthier and more competitive business environment in the Philippines has far-reaching benefits for the start-up community, small businesses, and, ultimately, Filipino consumers,” added Sen. Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

 The IRR of Republic Act 10667 was published in major dailies today (June 3), making the law effective after 15 days or on June 18, 2016.

 Sen. Bam lauded the signing of the IRR, saying “this is another major milestone for everyone that worked on the passage of the Philippine Competition Act.”

 “Congratulations to the Philippine Competition Commission on the signing of the Philippine Competition Act IRR,” he said.

 It took 25 years before Congress finally enacted the Philippine Competition Act into law and it happened under Sen. Bam’s watch as chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

 The Philippine Competition Act will help sustain the country’s ever-growing economy and ensure a climate that provides a level-playing field for all businesses.

 Sen. Bam called the Philippine Competition Act as a “historic, game-changing legislation for the economy” as it penalizes bad market behavior and abuse of dominant positions.

 The Philippine Competition Act is expected to eliminate cartels, and penalize anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players in the markets that lead to high prices of goods and services.

Sen. Bam added that Philippine Competition Act promotes a culture of healthy competition that inspires ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in addressing market needs.

 The senator earlier said that the Philippine Competition Act will be crucial to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s aim to improve the country’s Internet service as the law will encourage the entry of more players in the telecommunications industry.

 The Philippine Competition Commission is also expected to look into the sale of San Miguel Corporation’s telecommunications assets to PLDT and Globe to assess its impact on consumers and the industry.


Sen. Bam: SK Reform Act sparks hope for an anti-political dynasty law

The country now has its first law with an anti-political dynasty provision with President Aquino’s signing of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Act, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“The passing of the SK Reform Act reflects our vote of confidence in the Filipino youth’s ability to lead and participate in our country’s development,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Youth.

 Last Jan. 15, the Chief Executive has signed into law Republic Act No. 10742 or the SK Reform Act, which was co-authored and co-sponsored by Sen. Bam.

“This has the potential to effect genuine change in our electoral system when it comes to youth representation. In fact, it is the first of our laws with an anti-political dynasty provision,” added Sen. Bam.

Under the new law, relatives of elected or appointed officials up to the 2nd civil degree of consanguinity or affinity are prohibited from seeking SK posts.

Aside from its anti-dynasty provision, the new law adjusts age limit of SK officials from 15-17 to 18-24 years old, making them legally capable of entering into contracts and be held accountable and liable for their actions 

Sangguniang Kabataan officials will now be required to undergo leadership training programs to expose them to the best practices in governance and guide their development as leaders.

The new law also mandates the creation of the Local Youth Development Council (LYDC), a council that will support the SK and ensure the participation of more youth through youth organizations.

The LYDC will be composed 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 aims to harmonize, broaden and strengthen all programs and initiatives of the local government and non-governmental organizations for the youth sector,” said Sen. Bam, former chair of the National Youth Commission and youngest senator of the 16th Congress. 

With the enactment of the SK Reform Act into law, Sen. Bam expects a future with a larger, more diverse, and more capable set of public servants in the Sangguniang Kabataan.

P-Noy Thanks ‘Kuya Bam’ for PH Competition Law

President Benigno Aquino III thanked Sen. Bam Aquino for his efforts to pass two crucial legislative measures that will further sustain the country’s economic growth and boost the government’s inclusive growth agenda.

In his speech, the Chief Executive lauded Sen. Aquino, whom he playfully referred to as “Kuya Bam”,  for working for the passage of the Philippine Competition Law and the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, now known as Republic Act 10667 and 10668, respectively.

The measures were signed by the Chief Executive during a ceremony at Malacanang Palace today (July 21).

“Partikular po nating pinasasalamatan, unahin ko na po, pasensiya na po kayo, ‘yung kuya ko si Bam Aquino, at ang marami pang ibang sponsor at may-akda ng dalawang batas na ito,” President Aquino said in his speech.

The President said the Philippine Competition Act, which took almost 25 years to pass into law, would help sustain the country’s ever-growing economy and ensure a climate that provides a level-playing field for all businesses.

“Sa pamamagitan ng dalawang panukalang batas na pinagtibay natin sa araw na ito, tinatanggal natin ang mga baluktot na kalakarang dulot ng kawalan ng kumpetisyon, na walang nadadalang pakinabang sa ating mamamayan,” said the Chief Executive.

The President also stressed the importance of the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, saying that it will lead to lower prices of logistics and lower prices of goods for consumers

“Sa mga amyenda po ninyo, malayang makakapagkalakal ang mga banyagang barko ng kanilang imported at exported na kargamento sa kanilang napiling port of destination. Dahil dito, mapapadali at mapapamura ang export at import ng mga produkto, na magbubunsod ng mas masiglang merkado,” he said.

“Sa pinagtibay nating Philippine Competition Act at Liberalization of Philippine Cabotage, ang pagbabagong tinatamasa natin ngayon ay magpapatuloy hanggang sa mga susunod pang henerasyon,” the Chief Executive stressed.

The Philippine Competition Act levels the playing field for all businesses by penalizing anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players, aside from eliminating cartels.

Under the law, a Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will be established with the Chief Executive appointing a chairperson, four commissioners and an executive director.

As an independent quasi-judicial body, the PCC will look into anti-competitive behaviors, abuses in dominant positions, and anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions.

The Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act allows foreign ships carrying imported cargoes and cargoes to be exported out of the country to dock in multiple ports.

With the approval of these two measures, Sen. Bam now has four laws to his credit. Last year, the President approved the Go Negosyo Act and the Philippine Lemon Law.

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