laws by bam aquino

SBN-3208: Increasing Penalties on Erring Telcos


For years, Filipinos have been suffering from slow and expensive internet as they struggle to communicate with loved ones living abroad, forge deals with potential business partners and clients around the world or simply get work done and sent quickly and efficiently.


Our collective frustrations over our country’s internet quality has been justified by studies on Internet speed and cost per country, putting the Philippines as slowest and most expensive in the region.


Being the fastest growing economy in the ASEAN, this is clearly unacceptable and measures to improve our Internet quality while driving down its cost must be prioritized.


One of the many steps we must take is to update current policies to ensure that internet providers are held accountable for their activities.


Thus, this measure seeks to empower the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) by increasing the penalties and fines for violations against the authority of the NTC and its released certificates, orders, decisions, resolutions, or regulations. With heavier penalties, NTC can expect greater compliance from Internet providers to standards and regulations that have been set to advance Internet quality in the Philippines.


When it comes to public services, we must do more than just keep up with the development of our neighbors, but exceed them. Let us band together to significantly improve our Internet services in the Philippines.


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



Bam: Increased Benefits for Public School Teachers During Elections Nears Law

Election service benefits will soon increase for public school teachers once the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA) principally authored by Sen. Bam Aquino is signed into law.

In last week’s bicameral conference committee, the House has adopted the Senate version of the measure, which will now be transmitted to Malacanang for President Aquino’s signature.

The measure makes election service optional for public school teachers and increases honoraria for board of election inspector (BEI) and their support staff that will take effect in this year’s elections.

Sen. Bam said compensation for BEI chairman will be increased to P6,000 from P3,000 while BEI members will receive P5,000 from P3,000.

From P3,000, Department of Education (DepEd) supervisor/official will earn P4,000 while support staff will receive P2,000 from P1,500.

The teachers and all persons who rendered election service would also be entitled to a travel allowance of P1,000 each.

Sen. Bam said any person who causes the delay in the payment due to the BEI members beyond the prescribed period of 15 days from the election date will be liable for an election offense.

The measure also gives five days of service credit instead of three to all government officials and employees serving as members of the electoral boards, DepEd supervisor/official and support staff.

The ESRA also seeks to increase the death benefits from P200,000 to P500,000 and the medical assistance in such amount as may be “sufficient to cover for medical and hospitalization expenses until recovery” of injuries sustained while in the performance of election duties.

In case of lack of personnel, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may appoint any registered voter to the BEI in the following order of preference: private school teachers, national government employees (DepEd non-teaching personnel), other national government officials and employees holding regular or permanent positions, excluding uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

 Members of Comelec-accredited citizen’s arms and other civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations can also do election duties in lieu of public school teachers who opt not to participate in the electoral process.

Bam: Senate OKs Bill Protecting Children Against Disasters

The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill creating a national program that will provide protection and assistance to Filipino children affected by disasters, calamities and armed conflicts.

According to Sen. Bam Aquino, a co-author of Senate Bill No. 3034 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, children will be given utmost priority during and after every disaster.

“We will continue to work in protecting our Filipino children during disasters, calamities, or armed conflict, but also to reduce trauma and build their resistance to these threats,” Sen. Bam said.

As an archipelago lying along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Sen. Bam stressed that the country is one of the most vulnerable to the threat of climate change.

“While we have already made big improvements in the field of disaster risk reduction on a national and local level, now we have the opportunity to target our Filipino children, one of the most vulnerable sectors during times of calamity,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Youth.

In filing the measure, Sen. Bam underscored the need to focus on Filipino children as they are the most vulnerable and are worst affected during disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flash floods.

During the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda, Aquino said an estimated six million children were affected, according to data from Save the Children. 

If enacted into law, existing policies will be reviewed to give better support to Filipino children, especially during disasters, calamities or in armed conflict to help lessen trauma, restore normalcy quickly and build their resilience better.

“A national program is crucial in the most vulnerable areas of the country, where the experience of prolonged displacement would have a profound impact on the children’s sense of security, physical and emotional well being,” Sen. Bam said.

The measure also pushes for child-centered training to disaster first responders, teachers, psychologists and other volunteers in disaster recovery, relief and rehabilitation, with special modules for different stages of children and youth development.

“Providing the targeted needs of the Filipino children, specifically during times of distress, ensures the long-term security and health of our nation,” Aquino stressed.



Sen. Bam Welcomes APEC’s ‘Stamp of Approval’ on MSMEs

Sen. Bam Aquino called the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) recognition of micro, small and medium enterprises’ role in poverty eradication as “stamp of approval” on the Senate’s work to strengthen entrepreneurship in the country.
In a joint communiqué at the conclusion of the APEC Summit, the 21 APEC leaders recognized the significance of MSMEs in poverty eradication and inclusive growth and committed to work for their globalization.
“Practically, lahat po ng tinututukan namin sa Senado, inclusive finance, support for MSMEs at E-commerce, nahagip siya sa APEC na ito. Nagkaroon siya ng stamp of approval na itong ginagawa ninyo, talagang mahalaga ito sa kapakanan ng ating bayan at APEC economies,” said Sen. Bam.
A former social entrepreneur and a staunch advocate of MSMEs as chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Sen. Bam said APEC’s recognition solidified his long-standing belief and advocacy that empowering MSMEs can help eradicate poverty.
Sen. Bam pushed for the passage of Republic Act No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act, which provides for the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all provinces, cities and municipalities in the country to help MSMEs.
“Through some of our programs like the Negosyo Centers, sinisikap po natin na nandiyan ang support for our MSMEs. Sa ngayon, mayroon na tayong 116 Negosyo Centers sa buong Pilipinas,” the senator said.
“Nandiyan po iyan para magbigay ng training, capacity building, market linkage at financing sa ating MSMEs,” he added.
Aside from the Go Negosyo Law, Sen. Bam also worked for the passage of other laws that support MSMEs in the country.
Among them are Republic Act No. 10693 or the Microfinance NGO Act, Republic Act No. 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act, Republic Act No. 10668 or the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act and Republic Act No. 10679 or the Youth Entrepreneurship Act.

2 out of 5 Legacy Laws from Neophyte Senator

In his first two years as legislator, Senator Bam Aquino worked on two of the five most important measures that were enacted into laws by the current administration.

Sen. Bam principally sponsored and co-authored the Philippine Competition Act, now known as Republic Act 10667, and principally sponsored the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act or Republic Act 10668.

The twin measures were signed into laws by President Aquino. Moreover, the Chief Executive mentioned them as two of the five most important legislations passed by his administration during his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“Dahil sa Kongreso, naipasa ang mga batas na kikilalanin bilang haligi ng transpormasyong sinisimulan natin ngayon…salamat sa Philippine Competition Law…at sa pag-amyenda sa Cabotage Law,” the Chief Executive said.

Aside from the two, the President also cited the Sin Tax Reform Act, the Responsible Parenthood Act and the Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks.

President Aquino described the measures as part of the administration’s campaign, “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”

“Hinabol natin ang mga corrupt at nilinis ang sistema, na nanganak ng kumpiyansa sa ating mga merkado. Pumasok ang negosyo, lumawak ang oportunidad… nakikitang meron nang level playing field; naaasahan ang pag-asenso nang hindi kailangang mandaya,” the President said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, for his part, said that the Philippine Competition Act would address the nation’s long-standing absence of a comprehensive competition law in effect during his speech on the opening of the 3rd regular session of the 16th Congress.

Drilon also noted that the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act would widen the market and is expected to lower the cost of transport of agricultural goods and other local produces, which ultimately would affect prices of products sold to consumers.

Stakeholders, such as the Makati Business Club, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, also hailed the passage of the twin laws, saying these would boost the competitiveness of Philippine enterprises and help sustain economic growth.

Dean Tony La Vina, head of the Ateneo School of Government, believes that the Fair Competition Act is the “antidote to the adverse effects of monopolistic behemoths that make our economy less competitive vis-à-vis other Asean member countries.”

“It is a measure that will position us better in the forthcoming Asean economic integration. If well implemented, fair competition will certainly result in prosperity,” he said in his newspaper column.

Furthermore, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) head and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the Philippine Competition Act would reinforce the country’s economy.

“As the bill levels the playing field among businesses, we can expect an increased level of confidence among the international business community, and thus lead to a surge of investments and economic activity, and an expanded logistical capacity,” Balisacan said.

Overall, Sen. Bam now has four laws to his credit. Last year, the President approved the Go Negosyo Act, which was principally authored and sponsored by Sen. Bam, and the Philippine Lemon Law.

The President is also expected to sign the Youth Entrepreneurship Act soon, making it five laws for Sen. Bam, the youngest senator in the 16th Congress.

Four Laws in Two Years for Bam

Four laws in two years.

These were just some of the accomplishments of Sen. Bam Aquino, the youngest senator in the 16th Congress, during his first two years in office.

Included in the four laws authored, co-authored and principally sponsored by Sen. Bam is the landmark Philippine Competition Act or Republic Act 10667, which was passed under his watch as chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, after it gathered dust in the legislative mill for almost 25 years.

Recently signed into law by President Aquino, the Philippine Competition Act will level playing field for all businesses by penalizing anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players, aside from eliminating cartels that control supply and prices of goods in the market.

Aside from the Philippine Competition Act, the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act was also signed into law by the Chief Executive.

The Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act or Republic Act 10668 will allow foreign ships carrying imported cargoes and cargoes to be exported out of the country to dock in multiple ports.

The law aims to reduce logistics costs for producers, create a more efficient import and export system, and lead to lower prices for consumers.  It will also help in decongesting the major ports in the country.

Last year, the Go Negosyo Act and the Philippine Lemon Law were signed into law by President Aquino.

Sen. Bam’s campaign promises of spurring jobs and enterprise development, levelling the playing field, and ease of dong business were further fulfilled with these macro economic reforms together with the establishment of Negosyo Centers all over the country through the Go Negosyo Act.

“Just as we promised, we have worked tirelessly for the passage of these measures that will create jobs and livelihood for fellow Filipinos and a better business climate for our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” said Sen. Bam.

In addition, the President is also expected to sign the Youth Entrepreneurship Act soon.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Act, co-authored and principally sponsored by Sen. Bam, is touted to be an effective tool to solve the growing number of jobless youths in the country, which currently stands at 1.32 million.

The enactment of this into law will make Sen. Bam’s portfolio of laws to five in two years.

“Hindi mahalaga ang edad, kung bagito ka man o beterano sa posisyon natin. Ang mahalaga, kailangang nagtatrabaho tayo para sa kapakanan ng sambayanan na siyang naglagay sa atin sa trabahong ito,” added Sen. Bam.

Moreover, the Responsive, Empowered, Service-Centric Youth Act, which aims to institutionalize youth participation in disaster risk and reduction planning, was passed on third reading.

He was also able to file a committee report on the Mircofinance NGOs Act, which aims to empower the sector that provides microfinancing services to micro businesses.

Aside from his legislative work, Sen. Bam also initiated an investigation into the country’s expensive and slow Internet connection.

The investigation has produced several victories that will help improve the country’s Internet service. It encouraged telecommunication companies to embrace IP peering with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) while the Department of Justice (DOJ) has released guidelines against deceptive or misleading Internet print, TV and radio advertisements.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), for its part, is also expected to craft a memorandum circular that will set the quality of standards for all telecommunication companies to follow, be it broadband or DSL.

Sen. Bam also looked into the port congestion that hounded the Port of Manila early this year. After several hearings, port operations went back to normal, with utilization rate now between 70 to 80 percent.

Lastly, Sen. Bam worked together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), local governments, the academe, business clubs and other private groups in the establishment of Negosyo Centers that will assist small businesses.

Through the Go Negosyo Act, the Negosyo Centers aim to provide ease of doing business, access to business training & education, development services and financing for the growth of MSMEs.

As of this month, 61 Negosyo Centers have been established and 50 more are expected to be put up by the end of the year.

Bam on Foreign Ships Co-Loading Bill (Transcript of Interview)

Senator Bam Aquino (third from left), chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, poses with (from left) Reps. Anthony del Rosario, Mark Villar, Miro Quimbo, Teddy Baguilat Jr., Raneo Abu and Cesar Sarmiento after the Foreign Co-Loading of Cargoes Act hurdled the bicameral conference committee.

“We were able to finish the bicameral conference committee regarding the bill allowing foreign vessels to dock in multiple ports and co-load.

We’re quite happy with this bill. We’re hoping that the objective of this bill, which is to lower the cost of logistics in the Philippines, can be achieved.

This is quite a landmark bill in terms of opening up our shipping industry to foreign players, which hopefully can bring down prices of goods as well, which will be to the benefit of our consumers.

There were some cleaning up of language, harmonization of definition of terms but more or less, it was the same spirit from our committee report.

 Initially, the House version was only for container vans. The Senate version was for all foreign cargoes. We had a larger scope from theirs and we were able to harmonize by accepting the Senate version which is having a larger scope for foreign cargoes.

This is a landmark bill so we’re hoping it would be signed into law as soon as possible.”

Republic Act No. 10644: Go Negosyo Act



The Go Negosyo Act gives Filipinos – from a simple housewife to ordinary employee – a chance to establish their own business that will help sustain their everyday needs and for their families.

The Act mandates the creation of Pinoy Negosyo Centers, under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in each city and municipality around the country. These Pinoy Negosyo centers are meant to make it easier for entrepreneurs to register and start up their businesses, as well as gain access to sources of financing.

In addition, the Pinoy Negosyo Centers will provide courses and development programs, training, give advice on business conceptualization and feasibility, financing, management, capability building, human resources, marketing and other support services.









Republic Act 10905: Closed Caption Broadcasting of Television Programs

An act requiring all franchise holders or operators of television stations and producers of television programs to broadcast or present their programs with closed captions option, and for other purposes.


Republic Act No. 10756: Election Service Reform Act of 2014

About 250,000 public school teachers sit as chairmen or member of the board election inspectors when Filipinos elect their president, vice president, senators, and members of Congress, governors, mayors and councilors.

Taking part in upholding the right of the Filipino to suffrage is not that Simple for these teachers. After tirelessly working for the preparation, conduct and counting of votes of the elections, teachers receive insufficient compensation for their service. This is further aggravated by the delay in the release of their honoraria, even taking months.

Teachers are also exposed to high security risks as they perform their election duties, having alarming instances of harassment, violence and death, especially in election hotspot areas. According to a national paper, there were five casualties among the teachers in the 2010 elections.

Moreover, about a hundred teachers end up getting charged before Comelec by losing candidates. These candidates contest the results as they complain about the teachers’ conduct of the elections.

In addition, their mandatory duties have prevented the teachers from voting because most of them are assigned in precincts that they are not registered as voters.

It is essential that assistance be provided to the teachers who have selflessly performed this important task every election year, even as they have developed a moral responsibility for doing it.

The BEl reform bill has had earlier versions in the past Congresses. HB 4096 promoted the voluntary election services and HB 6528 promoted an insurance package for BEl members. This bill aims to integrate the provisions of the two earlier versions into a comprehensive package of reform policy.

The bill attends to the key problems of the BEl members; they are to receive a minimum honoraria, insurance, equitable legal package commensurate of their service, and voting privileges.

The proposed amendment also gives the teachers the liberty to choose whether or not to serve in the elections. This allows them to protect themselves from political pressures and consider their personal welfare.

As teacher training and election operations are straining for the Department of Education’s resources, the rich reservoir of civic volunteers can be tapped as alternative source of manpower for BEl members and poll staff.

Due to their experience in election monitoring the past elections, they have the competence and integrity operating the polls. The government then allows its citizens to further participate in the ensuring the legitimacy of the election process.

The proposed amendment builds on the recognition of its teachers as they play an important role in the conduct of the democratic processes of the Filipinos and extends the space where citizens can actively participate in the reform of institutions.

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



Scroll to top