Posted on: Mon, 07/01/2019 - 08:03 By: admin
Senator Sonny Angara

Senators will start filing their bills tomorrow, providing President Duterte “with a deep pool of measures he can support and ask Congress to immediately pass when he delivers the State of the Nation Address later this month,” reelected Sen. Sonny Angara said today. 

Angara urged Malacanang to choose what Senate proposals to officially back “so we can start the legislative year with a common agenda .“

Angara, who has prepared a raft of bills he will pursue, said “policymaking has always been a two-way street, with bills emanating from both the executive branch and the legislature, and these branches improving on each other’s proposals.”

“Hindi rin importante kung galing ang proposal sa majority or sa minority. Authorship is secondary. What we should be looking for are the merits, especially on measures of the non-political kind. Monopoly of ideas leads to bad legislation,” Angara said. 

Once a common legislative-executive agenda is forged, what can be rolled out are the non-contentious ones, Angara said. “Let’s begin with the easy ones, the so-called low-hanging fruits, while we subject complicated measures to more study, debate and improvement.”

Angara said that while he will have “a bill for every sector,” he will concentrate on measures that will be boost social protection, improve access to and quality of education, better health care, guarantee food security, and create economic and job opportunities .  

“Some of these are legacy measures, a continuation of what my father initiated in his four terms in the Senate. Ito yung mga Alagang Angara laws, “ he said.

Among the first bills Angara will file tomorrow is the upgrading of the Salary Grade of public school teachers from 11 to 19, “which jibes with what the President has promised our teachers.”

“We have increased the pay of our soldiers and policemen. It is time to do the same to our public teaching corps who are fighting the war against illiteracy, “ he said.

Another bill Angara will file grants discounts on books, health care, school supplies, and some school fees to poor students in all school levels, including those in technical-vocational institutions.   

Angara will also push for the doubling of the social pension of destitute senior citizens from P6,000 to P12,000 a year. 

“It is time to amend the Expanded Senior Citizens Act to attune it to the needs of the elderly, for the benefits to be truly responsive to the plight of seniors lacking financial and familial support,” Angara said.

At least two Magna Cartas will be filed by Angara, one for Filipino seafarers, and the other for barangay workers 

“The lack of support for our sea-based workers cannot be dismissed as a ‘minor maritime incident.’ It is a big problem that must be addressed, more so that money sent home by Filipinos who sail the seas and man the ships of the world is what helps keep our economy afloat ,“ Angara said.

The proposed Magna Carta for Barangays, on the other hand, will “rationalize and regularize” the salaries, allowances, insurance, medical and dental coverage, and retirement benefits of “our frontline workers.” 

“Kapag may away sa barangay, o krimen, o sunog, ‘pag may aksidente hindi naman ang Presidente, o mga senador, o nasa gabinete, ang unang tinatawag, kundi ang mga taga-barangay. The nation’s first responders are first on the scene but are last when it comes to benefits,” Angara said.  

Aside from these bills, Angara will also file resolutions seeking probes into recent reported anomalies in government offices. 

One of these is the ‘ghost’ dialysis payments made by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. “At a time when we are looking for ways to fund the Universal Health Care Law, we cannot allow leakages to continue. Whatever funds we infuse might be lost to the money hemorrhage caused by scams.”