Philippine Laws: October 2010

Another month has passed in the presidency of P-Noy and the 15th Congress, and no new law has been approved.  One may wonder, if the rumours were true, why several congressmen took time out to fly to Texas to cheer their fellow congressman, Hon. Emmanuel “Manny, the PacMan” Pacquiao  demolish Antonio “the Tijuana Tornado” Margarito.  But, don’t get me wrong.  The PacMan did all of us proud—he showed the world how good Filipinos can be—not only as a fighter (as he battered a taller and heavier Margarito) but as an honourable man (by allowing Margarito to finish the fight).   It may be interesting to note how the PacMan has fared in the “ring” that is the Halls of Congress.

In his short stint in the House of Representatives, the PacMan (who is Vice-Chairperson of 2 House Committees—on the Millenium Development Goals, and on Youth and Sports Development—and member of 11 other House Committees) has delivered 2 privileged speeches, sponsored/authored 4 bills, and co-authored 19 bills/resolutions.

The PacMan read his first privilege speech on August 10, which dealt with his legislative agenda for his province of Sarangani.  He stressed his intention to (a) diversify the production, post-harvest and marketing processes of corn, rice and coconut; (b) improve the livelihood, health and education of the people; (c) pursue Sarangani’s access to the rest of the country by building RORO ports and putting up satellite government offices at strategic places; (d) adhere to the principles of transparent and accountable governance; (e) implement a reforestation plan; and (f) bring back the clear blue waters and plentiful marine life along the Sarangani coastline.  His second privilege speech, read on August 31, was on the plight of the OFWs and human trafficking.  He encouraged the government to declare an all-out war against human trafficking in and outside of the country, and proposed to (i) increase the budgets for the agencies concerned; (ii) strengthen the anti-trafficking act of 2003; and (iii) give more teeth to the Witness Protection Program.  He also suggested that Congress pass a law to help domestic household helpers.

Of the 4 bills the PacMan sponsored/authored (all with Hon. Emmanuel Dapidran), 3 were of national significance: (a) HB02380, an Act to prohibit cellphone network companies from sending unsolicited material to their subscribers via text or SMS; (b) HB02381, an Act providing for the establishment of Breast Care Centers in every region nationwide; and (c) HB02773, an Act prohibiting the presidential re-nomination or re-appointment of a nominee or appointee whose nomination or appointment had been twice by-passed by the Commission on Appointments.  He also sponsored a local bill (HB 02379) establishing the Sarangani Provincial Hospital.  The most notable of the bills the PacMan co-authored were: (i) HB00093, an Act to strengthen and enhance the use of English as the medium of instruction in Philippine schools; (ii) HB01291, an Act mandating an immediate validation process to determine the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant’s operability, culminating in either the immediate rehabilitation, certification and commercial operation, or the immediate permanent closure and salvage value recovery of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant; (iii) HB02142, an Act upgrading the Minimum Salary Grade of Public School Teachers from Salary Grade 11 to 15; (iv) HB02889, strengthening the Barangay Nutrition Scholar Program; (v) HB03152, an Act declaring December 25-31 and January 1 as special non-working holidays; and (vi) HB03252, an Act creating the Philippine Millenium Development Fund.

The PacMan also co-sponsored a couple of bills relating to sports: (a) HB02188, an Act amending Republic Act No. 6847, otherwise known as “The Philippine Sports Commission Act”; and (b) HB02830, an Act providing for the establishment of a Community Fitness Center in every barangay Nationwide.

The PacMan co-authored a number of resolutions expressing condolence (HR00100, 00101, 00138) and congratulations (HR00055 and 00062 – for the Iglesia ni Cristo on its 96th Founding Anniversary; HR00147 – for Django Bustamante who was elected to the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame; HR00287 – for Venus Raj who won 4th Runner-Up in the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant 2010; and HR00365, for the Philippine Olympic Contingent to the Inaugural Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore).  He also co-authored a couple of resolutions that may be controversial, among others: (i) HR00456, a Resolution of the Members of the House of Representatives representing the Legislative Districts of Mindanao and Party-List Members requesting the urgent release of P5 Million each from their individual allocation in the DPWH Infrastructure Program under the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011, and earnestly seeking counterpart contributions in the same amount from the budget of the Office of the President for the continued use of the Mindanao Peace and Development Fund; and (ii) HR00524, a Resolution urging P-Noy to grant amnesty to all active and former members of the AFP and their supporters who have or may have committed violations of the Revised Penal Code, the Articles of War and other Special Laws in connection with the so-called Oakwood Mutiny, the Manila Pen Incident, and the February 2006 Marine Stand-off and Related Incident.

Let us all cheer the PacMan to continue to train hard in order to champion the Filipino people in the Halls of Congress.

Source: Secretary General’s Office (Members Roster) : Committee on Rules (Committee Membership) : BIS (Bills Information) : Engineering Division (Members’ Room Assignment/Telephone) : PRIB (Members’ Profile Photos) : HRMS (Personal Information) : ICTS (Website Maintenance)