14th month pay, anti-'false content' bills among Sotto priority bills

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2019 04:06 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday filed the Senate’s first 10 bills under the 18th Congress, including one seeking 14th month pay for employees in the private sector and another outlawing the peddling of “false content.”

Following the seniority rule, Sotto was accorded the privilege of filing the first set of bills ahead of the opening of the 18th Congress on July 22.

Sotto’s Senate Bill No. 9 punishes the creation or publishing of “false” information and allows the Department of Justice to order its takedown.

Senate Bill No. 10, meanwhile, mandates private sector employers to give 14th month pay to its employees regardless of their employment status, designation, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid.

Sotto also filed bills providing medical scholarships in state universities and colleges to qualified students; creating a detention program and facility for high-level drug offenders; creating the Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority; creating dangerous drugs court; lowering the minimum age of criminal liability to 12 from 15; amending the Human Security Act of 2007; providing for hybrid elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; and increasing the penalty for perjury.

Meanwhile, reelected Sen. Sonny Angara said he will concentrate on measures that will “boost social protection, improve access to and quality of education and better health care, guarantee food security, and create economic and job opportunities.”

Angara said he will seek to upgrade the salary of public school teachers from Salary Grade 11 to 19.

He will also file a bill granting discounts on books, health care, school supplies, and some school fees to poor students in all school levels, including those in technical-vocational institutions.

He is also pushing for the increase of monthly social pension senior citizens; creation of Dialysis Center; Magna Carta for Seafarers; Magna Carta for Barangays; and Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act.

Angara will also file resolutions on the fraud involving the insurance claims at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and the creation of a “Tatak Pinoy” branding for products made in the Philippines.

Returning Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., meanwhile, was set to file bills aimed at improving the lives of impoverished Filipinos.

Revilla will file bills providing for a P125 across-the-board salary increase for workers in the private sector; lowering the mandatory and optional retirement age of government employees; establishing a special hospital for overseas Filipino workers and their dependents; directing the conversion of Sangley Point in Cavite City into an international logistics hub; and institutionalizing the grant of teaching supplies allowance for public school teachers.

Revilla is also seeking to exempt drugs and medicines prescribed for mental health conditions from Value-Added Tax; provide barangay officials, health workers and daycare workers with retirement benefits; establish a “Books for the Barrios” Program; put a permanent item for a disaster officer in every local government unit; and establish on-site and in-city resettlement program for informal settler families.

Sen. Nancy Binay, who succeeded in her reelection bid, will file bills defining “electronic violence” under the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”; regularizing barangay officials; establishing an internet education program in schools; increasing the monthly minimum wage of public school teachers and non-teaching personnel; and regulating the use of plastic bags.

Binay is also pushing for measures allowing women to revert to their maiden surname; exempting from income tax the compensation given to teachers serving as members of the electoral board; providing educational assistance to public school teachers; requiring all public and private hospitals to give free medical and dental assistance to indigent children; and instituting the Magna Carta for Child Development Workers.

The first round of filing of bill and resolutions will be on July 1 to 4 while the second will be on July 8 to 11. Each senator can file up to 10 bills each per round.

After Sotto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is the second who can file his priority measures, followed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Francis Pangilinan and Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto.

They will be followed by returning senators Manuel "Lito" Lapid, Pia Cayetano and Revilla, Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Next would be re-elected Senators Binay, Grace Poe, Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara Jr. and Cynthia Villar, and incumbent Sens. Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Leila de Lima, and Manny Pacquiao.

The last to file would be neophyte Senators Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Francis Tolentino, Imee Marcos and Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa.