By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today
Over 80 bills have been received by the Office of the Legislative Bills and Index Service on the first working day at the Senate on Monday as veteran senators had the first crack at filing bills on the first day of filing for the 16th Congress.
Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Francis Escudero and Acting Senate President Jinggoy Estrada were the early birds to file their pet bills in the Senate.
Done via lottery, the order of filing was raffled off by Senate Secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes, who was assisted by Edwin Bellen, Deputy Secretary for Legislation and Renato Bantug, Director for Legislation, with Sotto getting the first slot.
First-time Senators Nancy Binay and Grace Poe, the 12th and 19th to file, personally submitted their bills.
Muntinlupa Rep. was among the early filers, and he submitted his proposed National Defense and Security Act that was stamped House Bill 00001.
The bills filed by Sotto included a bill creating a special court to be known as the Dangerous Drugs Court; an Act amending Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002; a bill providing for affordable drug rehabilitation treatment for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation beneficiaries; a bill prohibiting any person from allowing children 12 years old and below to ride at the back of a motorcycle when traveling along public and private roads; and a bill amending Section 150 of R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
Legarda filed the Pantawid Tuition Program, which aims to fund one college scholar for every poor family; the Pag-Asa Modernization bill, which seeks to provide funding for the three-year modernization of the state weather bureau; the Magna Carta for School Teachers; the National Land Use bill, and the creation of the Philippine River Basin System Administration, a bill adopting the integrated river basin management approach as a comprehensive framework in developing and managing the country’s river basin systems.
Marcos, for his part, filed a bill amending Section 6 of Republic Act 10175, a proposed Act defining cybercrime and providing for the prevention, investigation and imposition of penalties therefor; a bill imposing a three-year moratorium on the creation or conversion of state universities and colleges; a bill providing Barangay officials, including Barangay Tanods, members of the Lupon ng Tagamayapa, Barangay health workers and Barangay day care workers a retirement benefit; a bill mandating the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to accelerate national irrigation development program; and a bill increasing pensions under the Social Security System.
Incoming Senator Cynthia Villar, who was the eighth to file her bills, filed the proposed Department of Overseas Filipino Workers Act; the proposed Anti “No Permit, No Exam Policy Act; the proposed Accelerated Irrigation Act; the proposed Investments and Incentives Code, and the Act providing an assistance program for overseas Filipino workers in distress.
Binay, meanwhile, filed the proposed Employers Child Care Centers Act of 2013; the proposed Parents in Jail Act of 2013; the proposed Special Education Act of 2013, the proposed Women’s and Children’s Resource Development and Crisis Assistance Act of 2013; the proposed Indigent Children Free Medical and Dental Service Act; and the proposed Firecracker Safety Law.
Poe, another newcomer, filed the proposed Sustansiya sa Batang Pilipino Act, a nutrition-driven legislation with the objective of providing free nutria-meals to school children in public education, and the proposed Film Tourism Act, which aims to make film tourism a business priority. She also filed two resolutions, calling for the re-examination of the government’s policies and programs for OFWs, and the plight of coconut farmers.
Other Senators who filed bills at the LBIS of the Philippine Senate include Senators Koko Pimentel, who was the sixth to file his bills, followed by Pia Cayetano (7th), Franklin Drilon (9th), Antonio Trillanes (10th), Serge Osmeña (11th).
Osmeña was followed by Senators Bong Revilla (12), former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (13th), Miriam Defensor-Santiago (14th), Sonny Angara (15th), Gringo Honasan sixteenth), while JV Ejercito placed 17th in the line-up of early filers.
Senators Teofisto “TG” Guingona (18th), Manuel “Lito” Lapid (21st) irst), Minority Leader Alan Cayetano (22nd), Ralph Recto (23rd), also filed their bills
Meanwhile, the waiver on secrecy tops the bills filed by Escudero. The measure requires government officials and those seeking public office to make public their financial records through the signing of waivers on the secrecy of bank deposits to accompany the submission of SALNs.
Escudero had filed Senate bill 16 (SBN 16) or the Submission of Waiver of Bank Deposits bill, a legislative measure he filed way back in 2010 that seeks the mandatory signing of bank waivers. The controversy involving the illegal use of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) funds prompted the filing of the bill.
“This is a transparency move I had advocated for several years ago and it is still an advocacy I am bent to pursue in this fresh mandate given to me by the people. When I went around the country during the campaign I promised our people I will continue pursuing measures to fight graft and corruption, I am only making good my pledge by re-filing this bill, my first legislative agenda in the 16th Congress” he said. with Maricel V. Cruz