Senate of the Philippines

New Law to Help More Filipinos to Get out of Poverty

Non-government organizations (NGOs) that provide micro financing to the poor who want to start their own business stand to receive more assistance from the government after the Microfinance NGOs Act was signed into law by President Aquino.

Last Nov. 3, the Chief Executive signed Republic Act No. 10693 or “An Act strengthening Non-government Organizations (NGOs) engaged in Microfinance Operations for the Poor”.

“This new law will inspire and encourage more microfinance NGOs and institutions to contribute in the promotion of the development of micro businesses all over the country,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, co-author and principal sponsor of the measure in the Senate.

The new law provides microfinance NGOs needed support and incentives that includes access to government programs and projects, technical assistance and preferential tax treatment.

Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, said the new law “is a victory for all microfinance NGOs, which have been helping the government’s poverty alleviation program for decades without getting anything in return”.

“This is a recognition of the crucial role they play in lifting our fellow Filipinos from poverty and enabling the poor to build their own businesses and create their own sustainable livelihood,” said Sen. Bam, who worked with poor communities before becoming a senator.

Microfinance NGOs provide no collateral financing to those who want to start their own small business, luring them away from loan sharks or more commonly known as “5-6”.

Aside from loans, microfinance NGOs also offer training programs and seminars to enhance the entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy of their borrowers.

“Nais pa nating paramihin ang mga tumutulong sa ating mahihirap nating kababayan,” he shared. 

The Microfinance NGOs Act is the 6th law of the neophyte senator in the 16th Congress.

After Long Wait, Congress Ratifies Act Penalizing Cartels, Abuse of Dominant Positions

“Historic, game-changing for our economy,” Sen. Bam Aquino describes the Philippine Competition Act after its ratification.

 After three decades of waiting and 30 hours of bicameral conference hearing, Congress has finally ratified the Philippine Competition Act that penalizes bad market behavior and abuse of dominant positions.

“If enacted into law, the measure will create a level playing field, whether big or small, when it comes to market opportunities,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

For almost thirty years, the Philippines has remained one of few countries that does not have a valid competition policy that will protect its consumers and private industries.

“It has been one of the longest running bills in our history,” Sen. Bam said, as the first competition policy was filed in the 8th Congress.

After World War II, Japan passed its Original Antimonopoly Law in 1947 while the United Kingdom passed its Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act in 1948.

Other ASEAN countries have also passed their respective competition laws, starting with Indonesia and Thailand in 1999, Singapore in 2004, Vietnam in 2005, and Malaysia in 2012.

“This is primary a huge victory for millions of consumers, who, in the end, will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this measure,” added Sen. Bam, whose Senate Bill No. 1027 or the Philippine Competition Act was among the measures consolidated under Senate Bill No. 2282.

President Aquino is expected to sign the measure into law as it is one of his administration’s urgent measures.

Sen. Bam said 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.

“In addition, the Philippine Competition Act promotes a culture of healthy competition that inspires ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in addressing market needs,” Sen. Bam said.

“We need more players in our markets, so that the quality of products and services increases, and prices of goods would then go down,” Sen. Bam added.

 The measure will also prohibit anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant position that distort, manipulate, or constrict the operations of markets in the Philippines.

“We thank the hard work of our fellow senators and our congress counterparts in coming up with a solid bill that will further help our economy down the road,” Sen. Bam emphasized.

Sen. Bam also credited the late Rep. Henry Cojuangco for actively pursuing the bill’s House version. Cojuangco died from aneurysm, hours before the bill hurdled the second reading at the House of Representatives last May 12. 

“Panalo ang taumbayan dahil sa pagpasa ng panukalang ito,” the senator highlighted.

“We would like to tell the world that with the Philippine Competition Act, our country is now open for business,” Sen. Bam happily declared.

Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino During the Budget Hearing of DTI

On Port Congestion


SECRETARY GREGORY DOMINGO: The problem came in three phases and each phase had a different sort of problem although they were quite interrelated. The first phase was when the Manila truck ban was imposed in February and for the next month or so, the problem was the movement of trucks in and out of the port.

When we talk about the port congestion, tatlo iyon. One is the truck capacity in and out. The second is the container yard capacity and third is the ship site capacity, which is the loading and unloading of vessels.

Sa first phase po, ang problema doon ay truck capacity. Nalimit ang ikot ng truck so nangyari po, ang ship site di tumigil dahil padating pa rin ang barko so na-affect ang container yard capacity.

Umakyat po nang umakyat iyong number of containers sa port so iyon po ang second phase naman.

Una, iyong truck capacity ng impact for one month. After one month, napuno po ang ating container yard so it became a container yard limitation. Plus, the truck capacity limitation tapos nung naresolba na iyong mga truck ban tsaka nakagawa ng ruta, we moved to the third phase, which was about a month ago wherein the truck capacity limitation were basically improved drastically.

Ngayon, ang lakas na po ang daloy ng truck. Before Thursday, Friday last week, we were doing 9,000 trips per day from a low of 3,000 a day during the truck ban.

Pero ang nangyari po ngayon is, ang problema ngayon nag-iba na. Iyong ship site ang naging problema because there are more containers being brought in than being taking out.

Ngayon, ang container yard capacity umakyat po ang utilization. ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services, Inc.) is about 100 percent while ATI (Asian Terminals, Inc.) is about 92 percent.

Pag masyadong mataas ang container yard utilization, lalagyan na naman nila ng containers ang circulation roads which limit the movements of the crane, movements of the truck. Baka ma-affect na naman ang throughout ng trucks so doon po tayo.

Ang solution po dati ay utilize Batangas port. Now Batangas port is now fully utilized. Gamit na gamit po ang Batangas port ngayon.

Pangalawa po, we are now using the port five out of seven days a week. That’s a 20 percent limitation on capacity. We are now encouraging the companies at saka mga brokers and everybody to utilize the extra two days.

Kung magawa po ang extra two days na iyon, then ma-stabilize ang situation po. Then pagdating ng first quarter during the lean season, then we can clear a lot of the congestion sa port.

Pero now na ‘ber’ months na tayo where iyong dating ng containers ay napakalaki, mahirap nating ma-reduce ang port congestion. All we can hope for is really optimize it para hindi ma-hamper masyado ang movement ng goods.


Sen. Bam Aquino: During our hearing, napag-usapan iyong pagbabawas ng mga containers and I think the goal was x thousand a day na mailalagay sa PEZA zones.


Has that helped out? Nabawasan ba ang containers natin because of those new areas?

A: From our last hearing po, lahat po ng nasabi roon, karamihan nagawa na po. Like the movement of containers to the port, iyong movement of seized containers ng Customs so that’s in fact some is ongoing still. Iyong pagbukas po ng container yards outside the port, gaya sa PEZA, nangyari na po. So marami na pong nadagdag na container yard capacity.


Q: But has that lessen the number of containers? If I’m not mistaken, 80,000 containers ang capacity. And you wanted it to bring down to 60 to 65 thousand right?

A: Nasa mga 78,000 yata po tayo ngayon.


Q: So by three thousand natin naibaba because ber months na, mas dumarating ang mga ships basically?

A: Oho, tsaka hindi nailalabas ang containers. Let’s say mag-unload tayo ng 4,000 containers, pero mag-lo-load tayo 3,000 lang kaya nadadagdagan per day. Kailangan mag-usap talaga ay with the shipping lines but they have to cooperate.


Q: How about domestic shipping lines natin?

A: Hindi po affected.


Q: So the port congestion issue, you’re saying, will continue until 2015?

A: Opo.


Q: We’re hoping na kapag nag-lean months in the first quarter of 2015, doon tayo mas magbabawas ng containers

A: Opo, during the first three months of 2015.


Q: The traffic in NLEX that happened for a few days, that’s a direct consequence of us opening up the lanes sa port?

A: Ang understanding ko po hindi nasunod ang ruta. Na-divert to smaller roads kaya nagkabuhol-buhol po ang traffic.

I guess we didn’t have enough enforcers so it was being ran by the local city government iyong enforcement. So now ang dinecide po ng Palasyo is that the routes going from NLEX to the port will be manned by MMDA and the national police.


Q: That special route will be there until 2015?

A: Until ma-resolve po ito. Hopefully, first quarter of next year.


Q: There’s no other way to speed up the process of taking out the containers?

A: Kung magawa natin seven days a week. Napaka-critical po iyon. If we’re able to use the additional 20 percent, that will solve almost all of our problems.


Q: From the time we had a hearing, di pa rin operational ang port ng weekends and Monday morning?

A: We’ve been pushing. The chambers are part of the task force. Hindi rin nila matulak.


Q: Kanina, secretary you mentioned the 9,000 trips?

A: In and out po.


Q: Roughly we can only do maximum 4,500 na release per day? We cannot increase that 4,500 to a higher amount?

A: Puwede po. May nakita na po akong report na umakyat ng 9,300. I think hanggang 10,000.


Q: So we need to basically, kung one, we need to work during the weekends and that’s dependent on the private sector and our processes need to double out para pabawas tayo at hindi padagdag.



Sponsorship Speech of Sen. Bam Aquino on PRESENT Bill

It is my honor and privilege to stand before you today to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2210 under Committee Report No. 24, otherwise known as the Poverty Reduction Through Social Enterprise or PRESENT bill

It is my honor and privilege to stand before you today to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2210 under Committee Report No. 24, otherwise known as the Poverty Reduction Through Social Enterprise or PRESENT bill.

The objective o f this measure is to empower our marginalized sectors and provide them with the proper infrastructure where they can get the right opportunities to grow and progress. We need to create an environment where they can stand on their own, and be able to fully participate in our economy and our society. These conditions are to be inclusive and fair, where individuals and communities are able to think o f new ways o f solving ever-growing complex problems of poverty and injustice.

Sa kabila po ng nababalitang economic growth, marami p a rin tayong kailangang gawin para maibahagi natin ang growth na ito sa ating mga kababayan. Tinatayang may 2.969 milyong Pilipino ang walang trabaho ngayong taon, at dagdag pa dito ang mga nagsipagtapos na mga estudyante noong nakaraang buwan sa mga walang trabaho. Paano nila masasabing umuunlad ang bansa samantalang makikipagbuno sila sa pagha- hanap ng trabaho upang makatulong lang sa kanilang mga pamilya? Paano nalin matu-tulungan ang aling maliliit na negosyanle, ang mga tindera sa palengke, ang mga may-ari ng sari-sari store, mga magsasaka at mangingisda upang mapalago ang kanilang kinikita upang lalong masustentuhan nila ang kanilang mga pamilya?

Kaya’t, mga kaibigan, kailangan ay patulay tayo sa ating pagtugon upang malagpasan po nalin ang ating mga pagsubok at kahinaan.

If we are to take on the challenge to join in the movement to decrease our poverty rate, bridge the big divide between the rich and the poor, and be able to spread the wealth to more Filipinos, there is a need for us to think of creative and innovative solutions to address inequality in our country.

Kailangang bigyan ng pantay-pantay na pagkakataon at access sa trabaho at kapital para umangat ang estado at quality of life ng lahat ng Pilipino.

Through the Poverty Reduction through Social Enterprise or PRESENT Act of 20 14, the existing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council, which is attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), shall be strengthened and expanded to become the National Enterprise Development Council or NEDC to effectively spur the growth

A social enterprise, or SE, is a social mission-driven organization that conducts economic activities o f providing goods and services directly related to its primary mission of improving the well-being of the poor and marginalized sectors. Ang pangunahing motibo ng mga Social Enterprise ay tulungan ang mga komunidad na masolusyonan ang kanilang deka-dekadang problema ng kahirapan gamit ang mga makabagong modelo sa pagnenegosyo at sa pagsugpo sa kahirapan.

The NEDC will develop and implement a comprehensive program that will progressively improve the lives and economic situation of the poor and the marginalized. It shall identify strategic economic subsectors with the potentials for growth, considering where the poor are concentrated so they can playa major role in their own development. In the process, it shall identify key SEs and resource institutions as partners in providing transactional and transformational services towards poverty reduction. SEs shall be developed as vehicles to ensure that the poor benefit the most from the sustainable subsector development.

DTI shall establish a center where it will implement policies, plans and programs that will promote social enterprise initiatives, and identify sources of financing for the social enterprise sector for enterprise incubation, start-up and expansion.

It will provide capacity building and sustain- ability programs, supported by a Social Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF).

It will also provide research and development services for poverty reduction and assistance for the market expansion of social enterprises in both domestic and foreign markets.

The bill encourages the establishment o f more social enterprises by promoting greater access to appropriate financing and insurance mechanisms, and providing greater participation in public procurement.

With this Act, we do not just aim to support one or two social enterprises but we wish to develop a social enterprise sector engaged in poverty reduction in our country.

Alam po ninyo, bago ako naging senador, ako ay naging isang social entrepreneur.

Sa programa po namin noon na “Hapinoy,” tinulungan namin ang mga nanay na may-ari ng mga sari-sari store na mapalaki ang kanilang negosyo.

Ang lokohan nga po nila, noong panahong iyon, ay hindi naman sa sari-sari store, kundi sara-sara store dahil sa mga balakid na naranasan nila sa pagnenegosyo.

Ngunit sa pamamagitan ng dagdag na training at mentoring, wastong pagpapautang at market linkage, dahan-dahang lumago ang kanilang mga negosyo.

At pagkatapos ng ilang taon, ang mga nanay na mismo ang siyang naging mga trainor ng aming mga programa. Sila mismo ang nagbahagi ng kanilang mga success stories para ma-inspire at matulungan ang ibang mga nanay.

Hindi lamang umunlad ang kanilang negosyo, nabigyan din sila ng kumpiyansa sa kanilang sarili, at sa kanilang pinaghirapan no kabuhayan.

Noong nakaraang linggo naman po, bumisita kami sa San Jose, Nueva Ecija para makipagkwentuhan sa Kalasag Farmers Producers Cooperative. Sila po ang ating mga magsasaka ng sibuyas doon sa Nueva Ecija.

Sa aming kwentuhan, nabanggit nila na dati raw, pana-panahon ang presyo ng kanilang sibuyas. Hindi pa sigurado kung may bibili ng kanilang ani. Kaya hirap na hirap silang iangat ang kanilang kabuhayan pati na rin ang kalagayan ng kanilang pamilya.

Ngunit nagbago ang kanilang buhay nang mai-ugnay sila sa isang malaking kumpanya dito sa Maynila na nangangailangan ng malaking order ng sibuyas.

Tinulungan po sila ng isang NGO na nagsilbing social enterprise. Ang pangalan po noon ay Catholic Relief Services na konektado po sa simbahan. lnorganisa po sila, tinuruan ng makabagong paraan ng pagsasaka, nabigyan ng access sa capital, at higit sa lahat, tinulungan silang magbenta ng kanilang mga produkto sa mas malaking merkado.

Lumaki po ang kanilang kita, nabigyan ng trabaho ang kanilang mga kapitbahay at nabigyan ng marangal na buhay ang kanilang pamilya.

Ngayon po, noong nagkuwentuhan kami noong isang araw, napag-aaral na raw nila ang kanilang mga anak hanggang college, napasemento na nila ang kanilang mga bahay at nakapaghuhulog na sila para mabayaran ang isang tricycle para sa kanilang pamilya. At siyempre, noong kami ay mag-aalisan na at magkokodakan na, naglabasan ang kanilang mga smart phone at tablet at kita namang may asenso na sila ngayon.

Ito po ang layunin ng PRESENT Act – na bumuo ng mas maraming organisasyong magpapatupad ng mga makabago at modernong solusyon na tutugon sa kahirapan.

Let us empower our poor communities and bring pride to themselves by helping them realize how integral they are in the inclusive growth goals of our country.


Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview Regarding the 2015 Budget

Maraming tao ang nakakalimot that the power of the purse is with the Congress and the Senate. At the end of the day, ang pag-submit ng executive sa amin is still up to our approval.

Even though in the past, masabi natin that they submit is very close to what comes out, there’s still that five-month process kung saan puwede talagang usisain ng bawat congressman at senador, siguraduhin na iyong mga priorities ng ating gobyerno at priorities ng ating bayan ay nagre-reflect sa ating budget.


Q: Gusto ng Palace na within six months na kapag hindi pa nagagamit ang funds ay puwede nang i-declare as savings.

A: I think we’ll be undergoing some deliberations on that. Kasama na rin ako sa nagtawag na we put to rest the issue and really define savings once and for all. If we’re able to define savings, really put guidelines there, iyong mga prosesong ganyan can actually be given more credibility and more legitimacy.

What happened doon sa DAP, na kung saan nagkaroon ng iba’t ibang interpretation ang branches of government, can be avoided. Kapag malinaw na talaga kung paano dine-declare ang savings, kung anong pondo ang puwedeng ideklarang savings, kailan ito dinedeklara.

I’m probably sure that throughout this budget process, there will be a parallel process calling for the definition of savings in the Congress.


Q: Malinaw naman sa GAA na dapat after one year, why redefine?

A: Maybe it’s not redefine. Maybe it’s going into further detail. Kasi iyong ibang mga nakita rin ng Supreme Court, baka nagkulang rin iyong GAA sa pagbibigay ng more detail sa proseso.

In the past, we left it to the executive to actually determine that. Not just in this administration but in the last.

Now that this controversy broke out, palagay ko the legislative can step in, define things further and make sure there will be no further conflicts of interpretation in the future.


Q: Hindi ba malinaw iyan na babangga dahil sinabi na sa GAA na after one year, then we can say its savings.

A: Hindi siya babangga because siyempre when you define something new, it supersedes everything in the past.

I think there’s a need to go into further detail doon sa proseso ng pag-declare ng savings at paggamit ng savings. That will I think at least put to rest a lot of these issues sa DAP and we can move with a clear understanding among all the parties.

I think kinakalimutan din ng tao na it’s the job of Congress and Senate define matters. The executive implements the law, the Supreme Court interprets the law but we actually define the laws.

So hindi rin naman masabi na remiss kami sa aming duty, so that we can actually stop any of these controversies from happening again, we should put it into law already and define it as clearly as possible and of course, make sure everyone follows the specifics of those laws.


Q: Compared sa mga nakaraang budget deliberations, mas magiging istrikto ba kayo this time?

A: Ako, istrikto naman ako even the last time.

Ang hinanap namin last time are all the budgets concerned with inclusive growth, support for micro entrepreneurs, tulong sa maliliit na negosyante sa ating bayan.

I think every senator who of course, has their own pet advocacies and areas of expertise, everyone will really be looking at the budget from that perspective and trying to see that there is money behind these priorities.

Para sa akin, we just passed the Go Negosyo Law noong July 15 and I don’t think that’s budgeted yet because nabuo ito (2015 budget) even before July.  So ako hahanapin ko iyon na itong batas na enacted na, although I have to admit ginagawa pa lang ang IRR, this law if this is passed in December, it will be after the IRR, so hahanapin ko dito na mayroong pondo para makatulong sa malilit na negosyante sa ating bayan.

That goes I think for every senator. Hahanapin talaga. We have senators who work for the environment, really focusing on education.

Each and everyone of us really need to look at this document and make sure na iyong pera ng bayan, napupunta talaga sa priorities ng ating bayan.


Q: Nasilip ninyo na ba iyong lump sum fund o malaking special purpose fund?

A: I saw it already. Actually if you go further doon sa bawat item, malinaw naman kung saan ito pupunta. May contingency fund, mayroong support for local governments, mayroong disaster, relief and rehabilitation fund.

I think iyong mga definition na iyon means that it can be used for that purpose, kaya siya special purpose. Malinaw kung saan paggagamitan. But you have to admit that those types of funds hindi mo puwedeng idetalye dahil hindi pa nangyayari ang disasters at pangangailangan ng local government.

For example, may nangyaring delubyo sa isang area or nagkaroon ng something very specific sa isang local government na masamang nangyari, they need to have some amount of funds to be able to support that area.

Palagay ko, there is still that need for some leeway and for some space. We’ll just have to make sure na hindi siya kalakihan at kahit papaano, accountable ka pa rin sa pondong iyon.


Q: Some leeway meaning?

A: Some leeway, meaning there are some things that happen throughout the year and therefore we need to also trust the executive to be able to use the fund properly.  As much as you want to detail it, talagang may mga bagay-bagay talaga na maiiwan talaga siya sa special purpose.

But if you look at the development of the budget through the years, makikita mo talaga na kumokonti talaga itong mga lump sum. In fact, in the last year’s budget, I remember one of the senators asking na ayaw lang namin iyong classroom, gusto namin talaga pag tinanong ka sa hearing, puwede mong idetalye kung saan classroom ito pupunta o kung anong classroom ang bubuuin.

That goes for most of the budget items but of course, there will always be some level of leeway given to the executive. But I think if we look at other items that in the past are lump sums, these days mayroon ka nang performance based budgeting, mayroong kang targets na nakadikit, mayroong kang outcome na ini-expect per line item.

I think these are reforms that we also need to acknowledge na malayo na rin ang narating ng budget na ito. You’ve been covering this for so many years, I’m sure mapi-pinpoint ninyo ang pinagkaiba ng budget na ito doon sa budgets in the past.


Q: May unlimited pork daw sa budget na ito. Sinasabi ng mga solons na bottomless pork nga daw ang nakalagay.

A:  Wala akong nakitang item na bottomless pork but I guess you really have to understand the different roles of each of the branches of government.

Bakit masama ang pork barrel sa legislators. Masama ang pork barrel sa legislators because we are not implementors. We make the laws, we don’t implement the law.

But when you talk about project funds or funds na gagamitin mo para mag-implement, of course nasa executive iyan, di ba.

To actually equate a pork barrel, medyo confusing iyon, or they’re trying to confuse the issue there. I will have to agree, pagdating sa pork barrel sa legislators, hindi talaga iyon dapat sa amin.

But if you’re talking about funds to build bridges, build roads that should really be with the executive dahil iyon ang trabaho nila. Trabaho namin ang gumawa ng batas at hindi mag-implement ng proyekto.


Q: Ano ang safeguards to make sure magagamit ang lump sum nang maayos?

A: Kapag nag-he-hearing ka, kailangan mong tanungin kung saan mo nagamit iyan last year.  And if you feel that wasn’t used properly, babawasan mo ang budget. At the end of the day, iyong kapangyarihan ng bawat senador at congressman, kung tingin namin hindi importante ang isang bagay, puwede mong i-zero budget iyan o lessen the budget. That again goes back to the power of the purse of the legislative.

When you look at the budget process, siguro ang isang maganda na rin sa mga kontrobersiyang ito, napag-uusapan ano ba iyong papel ng bawat sangay ng gobyerno.

In our case, its our responsibility is to make sure that every single budget item here is really towards the priorities of the people at hindi sa priorities ng iilang tao lang or pabor lang sa kokonting tao.

This should be in favor of the majority of the Filipino people.  That’s what we will to make sure through this five-month or six-month process.


Q: Nagwo-worry daw kayo na magkaroon ng illegal insertions, what do you mean by that sir?

A: Again in the process of this budget pag may nakapasok diyan, kailangan pati iyon usisain natin. We need to make sure it goes to the right process. Once this is signed and put into law, every congressman, every senator, nandito ang mga pangalan at pirma namin.

We need to be proud of this document and we need to be sure that every single peso here does go to the people.

And if it doesn’t go to the people, that’s where the judiciary comes in, that’s where our investigations come in and that’s where you make sure iyong accountability naman ng executive sa paggamit ng perang ito.


Q: Illegal insertions, what do you mean by that?

A: Every single item there, dapat may justification iyan. Dapat pabor iyan sa karamihan ng Pilipino. Dapat tumutulong iyan sa mahihirap sa ating bansa. If there’s anything new that comes here, dapat pasok pa rin sa criteria na iyon.

Na walang masisingit diyan na para lang sa iilang tao, or pabor sa mga pekeng NGO. We need to make sure that each item here does indeed go to the benefit of the Filipino people.


Q: Mas strict ba kayo ngayon after DAP and PDAF issues?

A: Even last time, medyo istrikto naman kami. I’m hoping now ang taumbayan natin makikilahok. When the budget season happens, it’s a lengthy process here in the Senate and Congress.

Usually inaabot tayo ng umaga diyan, Kayo rin inaabot in the wee hours of the morning. I think, with all of these controversies, panahon na ang taumbayan natin get involved in the process. If I’m not mistaken, this should be uploaded already sa Internet.

Usisain ng taumbayan at tingnan talaga nila. Let them be involved in the process and make this a participatory type of budget process. Ang mga senador naman, nakikinig iyan sa taumbayan.

Lets go over it. Huwag nating payagan na iyong mga usual komentarista lang or ang oposisyon o administrasyon lang ang nagsasalita. Let people go over it and tingnan talaga nila iyong mga pangangailangan ng ating lugar, ng aking komunidad, naso-solve ba ng budget na ito. That’s why we have public hearings and long process to allow people to come in also and be part of this process.

I’m hoping with all of these controversies, magkakaroon ng partisipasyon ang taumbayan natin dito. Ako naman, if we look at the priorities, I’m hoping that the top priorities — education, health, support services and of course, my own advocacy, which is support for our micro and small entrepreneurs.

Iyong tulong sa mahihirap sa ating bayan, hopefully makita rin natin na tuluy-tuloy ang tulong na ito and its really felt by the people.

Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview at Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel

On Constitutional Change/Entry on Foreign Ownership on Businesses

A. To be frank, I don’t think we need to change the Constitution. We can actually get the investments even without changing the Constitution. Changing the Constitution is too large an endeavor to do in 2014 right before 2016.

That will probably mean the next president will be the one tackling changes to the Constitution. Alam ko po si Speaker Belmonte is very adamant about it but in the Senate, there’s really not much movement in terms of any constitutional changes.

I don’t think we’ll have that in the next two to three years. Probably the next president will undergo that if that’s the priority of the next president.

In the meantime, if you’re waiting for that before you move, it’s a moving target. We really have to do the reforms that can be done currently within our constitution.

Get the investments in.  In other countries, they have even stricter but they were able to get the investments.

It’s a matter of balancing your incentives, the investments you want to get in the country in the next two to three years.


On government Relying Too Much on OFWs Remittances

A. Remittances are big part of our economy and in fact, malaking bagay po siya. We have to thank our OFWs for that.

But the drive to go from consumption to production goes through increasing jobs and supporting enterprise kaya iyon po ang aking pinaka-focus. Kailangan po ng mas may production dito.

That’s why DTI is moving to revitalize our manufacturing sector.

Ang ating BPO industry is trying to go beyond voice and go into other services that it can provide. Definitely, there is a push for jobs and enterprise here and that will actually balance our dependency on remittances.

If you look at our portfolio and the things that we have pushed for, our Microfinance bill, our Go Negosyo bill, our Youth Entrepreneurship bill, lahat ng mga tinutulak natin, it all leads to that.

To try to have a stronger economy here that is more equitable, recognizing our growth and at the same time, making sure this growth reaches the poorest Filipinos.


On Controversies Hounding Senate

A. Well ang trabaho ng senador o kongresista ay gumawa ng polisiya at batas para sa kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino.

Without PDAF, it really forces you to focus on legislative work. Iyan na ang nagiging focus namin but then again, just because wala ka nang PDAF, it doesn’t mean you cannot engage in programs.

May nagtanong sa akin noon, Senator, paano po ba ibabalik ang tiwala sa Senado ngayong bagsak na bagsak ang tiwala sa inyo?

No amount of words will get the people’s trust back.  It’s really your output and your work. Kapag nakikita na nagtatrabaho ka para sa kapakanan ng tao, maybe at some point babalik ang tiwala nila sa iyo.

We just committed to work hard and make sure na ang mga naipangako natin noong campaign ay gagawin natin.


Transcript of Sen. Bam Aquino’s Interview after the Hearing on the Slow and Expensive Internet Connection

Q: Kumusta po ang inyong hearing?

A: Marami pang kailangang pag-usapan, to be frank. We just suspended the hearing but you can expect that in a few months, we will have another hearing on this because marami pang unresolved issues.


Changes in Advertising

We talked mostly about the problems today but I really want to talk about solutions. One I think iyong changes sa ating advertising, I think that would be quite good for our consumers na mas malinaw kung ano ang nakukuha nila pagdating sa Internet.


Pangalawa iyong pagdating sa congestion. We’ve instructed NTC to actually check if indeed congestion is the main problem kung bakit mabagal ang Internet.

Sabi ko nga, kung congestion ito na once in a blue moon, then maybe you can say ok at that particular time, mahina ang Internet. But if it a regular type of congestion, araw-araw mong nararanasan, that’s something that has to be addressed regularly.

Value-Added Service vs. Basic Service

Now, NTC has said na Internet natin is considered as a value-added service, hindi siya basic service meaning hindi siya makapagregulate nang todo-todo dahil hindi ito kasama sa basic services natin.

I think that can be one of the laws that could be amended na gawin nating basic service ang Internet. It is already recognized as a human right and if we make it a basic service, at least puwede talaga nating bantayan kung paano ito puwedeng maikalat sa maraming Pilipino, at the right cost and at the right service level.

Next Step: Technical Working Group

The TWG will probably tackle this more in detail. Hopefully aantabayanan po natin iyan kung paano gumalaw.

Kasi ang nagiging problema sa maraming hearing, nag-uusap-usap pero walang nangyayari.

Hindi natin iiwanan ang isyung ito.

Every quarter we can have this hearing and make sure that we get closer to affordable and quality Internet for our country.


Q: Puwede bang babaan ang charges sa Internet na mabagal?

A. Sa totoo lang, NTC cannot regulate even on that because it’s not a basic service.

It is a market driven system right now.  If we’re able to make Internet a basic service, it can one of the services which is regulated.

Alam naman natin na sa ating bansa, may mga regulators tayo, they can basically dictate the prices for certain services and if we’re able to make Internet a basic service, puwede nang gawin iyan. Puwede nang mag-regulate.


Q: Sir ano ang mga standards that you want to set?

A: In fact, in the Philippine Digital Strategy, nakalagay doon na by 2016, kailangang 80 percent na ng ating mga kababayan ang mayroong internet access and nasa minimum of 2 MPBS.

Mayroon na tayong standard na kailangang sundan. This Philippine Digital Strategy was made by DOST in 2010.

In fact, binabantayan natin kung umaabot tayo sa standards na iyon. According to the private sector and NTC, mukhang maaabot naman ang 80 percent access by 2016.

But iyong regularity of speed and iyong cost ang dapat bantayan, na dapat affordable pa rin ito at tuluy-tuloy at hindi dapat pawala-wala.


Q: Sino ba dapat magre-regulate? Dapat pa ba tayong mag-create ng regulator?

We have a regulator and that’s the NTC. So alam ninyo iyong isang na-reason kanina ay do we need new laws or just have NTC regulate.

In some cases, puwede na silang mag-regulate but in case of the Internet, na hindi considered as basic service, kailangan itong gawing basic service.


Q: Sir, how do we do that?

We’ll amend the Public Service Act, which is a 1936 law.

Isipin mo, we’re talking about high-tech information age and we’re still using a 1936 law.

So it’s about time that we update this law and we use those amendments to really push for better access, more affordable internet in the Philippines.


Q: This means powerless po ang government?

No that’s not right. In fact, we asked NTC to come up with standards for Internet. Initially, walang pa silang standard na sini-set because this is a value added service.


To respond lang sa hinaing ng maraming Pilipino, kahit iyong ibang senador may hinaing na rin sila, it’s just right that they come up with standards to check the infrastructure kung talagang kaya ng infrastructure natin ang pinapangakong speed ng ating Internet.

Kung hindi, pilitin natin ang private sector na ma-match ang standards na nakalay-out na at gagawin ng NTC.

Responsibility of Users

Iyong kabaligtad din dito I think, we must be responsible users of the Internet just to be fair. Earlier nga na-mention na iilang tao lang na heavy users, apektado ang lahat.

Kung 24/7 ka sa mobile, panay ang download mo, nakakaapekto sa mga kasama mo.


Q: Sir in your next hearing ano po ang tututukan ninyo?

A: First we’ll have a TWG. All of the resource speakers, the NTC, DOST, DTI and telco partners. We’ll invite the other ISPs. I think mahalaga rin dito ang ating local government units.


Puro Salita

Himayin natin ang discussion natin and come up with specific recommendations and from there, we’ll give it maybe two to three months to have another hearing para ma-track natin kung may nangyayari ba o wala.

Ang masakit kasi, puro salita at walang nangyayari. By the next hearing, after three months, we can check already, mayroon ba tayong solusyon na naihain o nagawa na o wala pa rin.


On Local Government Units

Iyon isa ring siguro na na-raise ay iyong sa local government units. Sinasabi ng ating telcos, hindi pare-pareho ang pagtrato sa kanila ng LGUs. There are some LGUs who will charge a really high amount, ang iba naman will charge less.

Nahihirapan sila (telcos) na i-roll out ang kanilang services. Kaya it’s important also to have the DILG, League of Cities and the League of Municipalities to have a common stand that when it comes to Internet and providing, kailangang tulung-tulong tayo rito.

On Congestion

Standards when it terms to congestion. At the minimum, they can actually show kung iyong infrastructure natin nagma-match sa population or Internet usage, para kung congestion nga ang problema, makita natin kung ano ang paraan kung anong ma-decongest natin.

Q: What’s the issue with Internet peering?

A: Well this is something NTC is already working on. We’ll ask for an update on the next hearing or during the TWG.

Ibig sabihih nito nagko-connect locally ang ating mga nodes. To be frank, maybe a technical answer might be better.



Simply put, kunyari galing akong Quezon City pupunta akong Makati, dadaan akong EDSA. Hindi na ako iikot sa Manila Bay, pupunta pa sa Cebu at babalik pa bago makarating sa Makati.

This makes the nodes faster. I think NTC is already working on this, and we’ll look for updates after three months on this issue.


Q. Kasama po ba ang mga text na pinapadala ng network na may promo sa resolusyon ninyo?

A: It’s not part of the resolution but we can add it.


Q: Kung minsan matutulog ka na lang may magtetext, akala ko importante.

A: I can have that checked. Pag nandoon na ang NTC puwede nating patanong iyon. But primarily kasi, the question is more on the expensive Internet.

Compared to other countries, medyo lumalayo na ang presyo. So we’re hoping kung ma-refer na siya sa aming committee today, we’re hoping to have the hearing next week.


Q: Hindi magkakalayo ang mga rates nila, so puwede ba nating sabihin na maaaring may cartel rin sila?

A: Hard to say that that’s a crime.


Fair Competition

But babalik din tayo diyan sa competition policy. That’s one of the bills we’re pushing for.  If you have better competition, you have more people in the market, mas competitive, mas bababa ang presyo.


Roadmap for Internet

Primarily gusto naming tanungin sa NTC, ano ang roadmap natin.

Technically, regulated industry iyan, NTC should have a roadmap in terms of the price and quality.

Unfortunately, napag-iwanan na tayo ng ibang mga bansa so we want to see. Antabayanan natin kung anong sasabihin nila.

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