The Philippine Design Competitiveness Act: Pushing Filipino Creativity and Innovation to Greater Heights

There’s a much brighter future in store for our Filipino designers.

Republic Act No. 10557, or the “Philippine Design Competitiveness Act”, has been enacted and signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III last May 15, 2013.

The Act aims to boost competitiveness of the Filipino design industry with the following objectives: (1) creating forward-thinking and long-range direction and strategy for the design industry; (2) promoting national awareness on the use of design as a tool for economic competitiveness and social innovation; (3) integrating design into other industries and aspects of society; (4) incorporating design as a priority component in national planning and development; and  (5) encouraging innovation and creativity in the use of raw materials and natural resources (see Section 3).

Continue reading

Bridging the Gap: Enhanced Basic Education through K-12

One of the more stirring reforms in the past two decades in the field of education is Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (“Enhanced Basic Education Act”). Passed by Congress on January 30, 2013 and approved by the President on May 15, 2013, the law in its full name stands as “An Act Enhancing the Philippine Basic Education System by Strengthening its Curriculum and Increasing the Number of Years for Basic Education, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.” The law became effective on June 4, 2013.

Much debate accompanied the passage of the law. Primarily, the statute mandates the incorporation of two more years of high school to our basic ten-year education cycle. Critics say the added two years translate only to a financial burden to parents who can barely afford to send their children to school, to say nothing of how it fails to accurately address the lack of quality education in the country. Proponents, on the other hand, suggest that the added time will allow students to learn their lessons with mastery, thereby ensuring their global competitiveness in the long run.  Wherever the debates may lead, the passage of the law urges us to look forward and observe how the new law might create for us new gains in employment and socio-economic growth. The first batch of students to begin the K-12 cycle will finish the full program in 2024. (See http://www.gov.ph/k-12/#Features)

Continue reading

Modernizing the Bureau of Corrections for the Benefit of Inmates

After a long wait, modernization of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) will soon be under way.  Now, there is hope that the rights and general welfare of inmates will be better protected.

President Aquino has recently signed RA 10575 or “The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013,” last May 24, 2013. This law seeks to promote the general welfare and safeguard the basic rights of every prisoner incarcerated in our national penitentiary. It also recognizes the responsibility of the State to strengthen government capability aimed towards the institutionalization of highly efficient and competent correctional services.

Background

The Bureau of Corrections is an agency of the Department of Justice tasked with the rehabilitation and reformation of prisoners.

“Bureau of Prisons” was the old name of this agency before the Administrative Code of 1987 and Proclamation No. 495, issued on November 22, 1989, changed the agency’s name to the current “Bureau of Corrections.”

Continue reading

The Real Golden Years: Making Them Count

More than ten million children under the age of five die each year.  (See The World Health Report 2005, at http://www.who.int/whr/2005/whr2005_en.pdf.) 29,000 children under the age of five die each day – i.e., about 21 each minute – from preventable causes.  (See Goal: Reduce Child Mortality, at http://www.unicef.org/mdg/childmortality.html.)  The numbers are staggering.  In light of this reality, the significance of the newly-enacted Republic Act No. 10410, or “Early Years Act of 2013”, cannot be underestimated.

As its long name states, the Early Years Act is a law recognizing the age from zero to eight years as the first crucial stage of educational development, and strengthening the country’s early childhood care and development system.  It was signed into law on March 26, 2013 and became effective on April 18, 2013.  The Early Years Act seeks to promote the rights of children to survival, development and special protection, with full recognition of the nature of childhood. For this purpose, the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council was established to implement a National System for Early Childhood Care and Development (“ECCD System”) that is comprehensive and multi-sectoral in approach. The ECCD Council is mandated to ensure the building of a strong foundation for development and learning of children from zero to four years, as well as support a full range of health, nutrition and social development programs for the child’s holistic development. The responsibility of ensuring the full development of children in their formative years, i.e. from five to eight years of age, is vested in the Department of Education (Sec. 2).

Continue reading

The Recognizance Act of 2012: Giving the Poor “More in Law”

In our criminal justice system, one kind of injustice, that victimizes only the poor, happens every day whenever an accused, who has the right to post bail to attain liberty during the course of the trial of his criminal case, is not able to enjoy such right because he cannot afford to post bail for his release. This reality tramples upon the social justice mandate of our Constitution and has caused great injustice to the poor, especially those who are wrongly accused of the crime for which they have been charged and arrested.

There is a recent legislation that seeks to address this problem: Republic Act 10389 or the Recognizance Act of 2012 (“RA 10389” or the “Act”), which was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III on March 14, 2013, and which is intended to promote restorative justice amid problems confronting the criminal justice system such as protracted trials, prolonged resolution of cases, inability to post bail bond, and congestion in jails.

Continue reading

Cyberwhat?

When was the last time when you or someone you know shared a bad experience or a complaint about a person in Facebook or Twitter?  A good bet is that a longer time has passed than if this question was asked a year ago.  The reason for this is probably Republic Act No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which President Noynoy Aquino signed into law on September 12, 2012.

A. Cybercrime Offenses

The Act primarily punishes cybercrime offenses, defining “cyber” broadly as “computer or a computer network, the electronic medium in which online communication takes place.”  These offenses are divided into three main groups, namely, a) offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data systems; b) computer related offenses; and c) content related offenses.

Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data systems are composed of 1) illegal access; 2) illegal interception (made by technical means); 3) data interference (includes introduction or transmission of viruses); 4) systems interference; 5) misuse of devices (includes the sale and possession  of devices and password for the purpose of committing a cybercrime; and 6) cyber-squatting.

Continue reading

Making GOCCs relevant

After more than a year of absence, we are back with a blog on new laws passed by Congress. With the impeachment proceedings of the old Chief Justice over and done with, it is time for Congress to focus on making new laws. But, before we write on new laws passed by Congress, it may be worthwhile looking back at one important legislation last year– Republic Act No. 10149 or the “GOCC Governance Act of 2011” enacted by Congress on June 6, 2011

In recent years, there have been various reports about high-ranking officers of government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) being charged with graft for misappropriation of government resources, dispensation of bloated salaries, unauthorized purchase of assets, and abuse of power.

In a move to try to address these ills, the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 was passed to provide greater transparency, periodic disclosure and evaluation of operations and finances, creation of appropriate remuneration schemes, and clear separation between the regulatory and proprietary activities of GOCCs.

The Act actually also applies to Government Instrumentalities with Corporate Powers/Government Corporate Entities, which are instrumentalities or agencies of the government that are neither corporations nor agencies integrated within the departmental framework but are vested by law with special functions or jurisdiction, and government financial institutions and their subsidiaries. The Act however does not cover the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, state universities and colleges, cooperatives, local water districts, economic zone authorities and research institutions (Sec. 4).

Continue reading