philippine senate

Sen. Bam thanks Senate President Sotto, fellow re-electionist senators for support

Nagpapasalamat tayo sa mga kasama nating re-electionist at kay Senate President Sotto sa tiwala, tulong at suporta. 
Taos-puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa suporta nila sa pagsabatas ng libreng kolehiyo. 
Dahil po sa ating batas na bunga ng aming pagkakaisa, kahit kapos makakatapos.
Ibaiba man po ang aming partido kinabibilangan basta para sa ikakabuti ng bayan, kami po ay nagtutulungan at nagkakaisa.
Mahalaga na sa panahon na ito, sa kabila ng pagkakaiba sa politika, kaya nating magkaisa para sa bayan.

Sen. Bam: Independent Senate to safeguard welfare of Filipino people

Sen. Bam Aquino warned against a rubber-stamp Senate, stressing that an independent Upper Chamber will ensure that the welfare and interest of the Filipino people are protected.
“Hindi ito kampihan sa administrasyon o oposisyon. Dapat kinakampihan natin ang mga Pilipino,” said Sen. Bam, who is running for re-election under the Otso Diretso banner.
“Kailangan po nating tiyakin independent ang susunod na Senado para sa kapakanan ng taumbayan,” added Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam underscored the importance of an opposition in the Senate, saying the country and the Filipino people will suffer if the Upper Chamber will simply give in to every desire of the administration.
“Hindi po makakabuti sa bansa kung ang lahat ng nasa Senado ay susunod na lang lagi sa gusto ng administrasyon. Kailangan na may titindig para sa interes ng taumbayan,” Sen. Bam said.
In the case of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, Sen. Bam said he voted against its ratification despite the heavy pressure coming from the administration as he is convinced that it will burden the Filipino people with high prices of food and other goods.
“Hindi po ako tumutol sa TRAIN Law dahil nasa oposisyon tayo. Tumutol po ako dahil responsibilidad ko na bantayan ang kapakanan ng taumbayan na siyang pahihirapan ng batas na ito,” said Sen. Bam.
However, Sen. Bam clarified that he’s willing to work with the administration when the welfare of the Filipino people is at the forefront.
Proof of this is the free college law, which Sen. Bam pushed as principal sponsor during his time as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress.
“Ganyan po ang ginawa natin kaya naisabatas ang Free College Law. Dahil sa pakikipagtulungan, kahit kapos makakatapos,” said Sen. Bam, who has 35 laws to his name in almost six years as legislator.

MRT 40-Minute Waiting Time Unacceptable – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino urged concerned government and private entities to work together to reduce the waiting time for thousands of commuters to ride the MRT-3 from 40 minutes to 10 minutes.

Aquino made this call after he was informed that the waiting time for passengers before they could alight the trains will go down by 75 percent if the proposed rehabilitation plan worth P6.8 billion for the MRT-3 is fully implemented.

“Let’s work together to achieve this 10-minute waiting time. We owe it to the thousands of commuting Filipinos to make life easier for them everyday,” Aquino said after the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on the MRT-3 accident that injured more than 30 people last Aug. 13.

Aquino expressed disappointment when he was informed that the rehabilitation plan could take up to two years with all the legal wrangling between the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), a private entity.

Aquino branded the Metro Rail Transit-3 as a failed public-private partnership (PPP).

“This is not a good example of PPP, with what happened to our MRT,” Aquino stressed.

Aquino advised DOTC officials to learn from the MRT-3 experience to avoid problems in the future.

 “Can we say that we have learned from experience already and this would not happen again?” Sen. Bam asked DOTC officials, to which they replied ‘yes.’

At the same, the senator also urged the transportation officials to earmark the needed funds to rehabilitate a critical component that causes the MRT-3’s frequent malfunction at the soonest possible time.

The DOTC revealed the trains’ traction motors are the main cause of MRT breakdown as they have reached its limit of usage of 1.5 million kilometers.

 However, Aquino noticed in the presentation that the P94,500,000 fund needed for replacement of traction motors is earmarked in the 2016 budget.

“If this is the main reason why our trains have stopped, how come it wasn’t in the budget last year?” Aquino asked.

Abaya said he has already requested the Department of Budget and Management to include the needed funds in the supplemental budget for 2014.

“If it’s not successful, it will be included in the 2015 budget,” Abaya guaranteed. 

2015 Budget to Undergo Tight Scrutiny – Sen. Bam

In the wake of controversies brought by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), expect the 2015 national budget to undergo tight scrutiny in the Senate down to its last centavo.

“We must be vigilant and careful in scrutinizing next year’s budget to ensure every centavo of public’s money will go to its intended use and not in somebody’s pocket,” said Senator Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee of Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

 “Controversies have taught us to put our budget under the microscope to avoid a repeat of issues such as PDAF and DAP. We also must be on guard against illegal insertions by crooked individuals who may try to pull a fast one,” the senator added.

Last year, Aquino actively participated in budget hearings and even presided over deliberations for agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Earlier, Malacañang said it would submit a proposed P2.606 trillion budget for 2015 to Congress. The amount was 15 percent higher than the 2014 national budget.

(PRIB Photo by Joseph Vidal)

Sen. Bam Supports Calls for Special Audit of DAP


Senator Bam Aquino has supported calls on the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to, once and for all, remove doubts and other controversies hounding it.

“A special audit is needed so that doubts regarding DAP’s use will be put to rest,” said Aquino during the hearing of the Senate finance committee on DAP.

Through a special audit, Aquino said it would be determined if funds really went to legitimate projects or if somebody benefitted illegally from it.

“If somebody irregularly gained from it, then he or she should be prosecuted,” Aquino emphasized.

Aquino also stressed that DAP should not be associated with the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was scrapped after the P10-billion scam was uncovered last year.

“The DAP helped boost the economy through projects that benefited the Filipino people while P10 billion from PDAF went to ghost non-government organizations and pockets of several politicians,” Aquino stressed.

The senator also lauded the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) posting all documents related to DAP on the agency’s website for transparency and accountability.

“We invite everyone to take a look and scrutinize where the funds went,” Aquino said.

Meanwhile, Aquino expressed support behind the government’s move to file a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter.

“I hope the SC will weigh the President’s position on the DAP’s constitutionality and act favorably on the matter,” the senator said.

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