MANILA — Incoming senators under the 19th Congress started filing their pet bills on Monday, days after the inauguration of new President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
Sen. Loren Legarda, the most senior in the batch having served as a senator for 18 years, was the first to file her bills "in accordance with the principle of seniority in the Senate."
"We just filed the first batch of our priority bills today, which are mostly zeroed in on the edification of the country’s education and livelihood system. We prioritized these measures as we believe they are very timely and that we must act on them immediately to address the pressing needs of our society," Legarda said.
Legarda's proposed measures are the following:
• Senate Bill (SB) No. 1: One Tablet, One Student Act, which seeks to provide each public elementary, secondary, and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) student with a tablet computer to enable them to participate in online learning effectively;
• SB No. 2: Magna Carta of Public School Teachers, which seeks to institutionalize a revised Magna Carta for Public School Teachers that can promote, protect and uphold their rights and capably respond to their current needs;
• SB No. 3: Magna Carta for Private School Teacher, which seeks to promote and improve the social and economic status of private school teachers, their living and working conditions, terms of employment, and career prospects;
• SB No. 4: An Act Upgrading the Minimum Salaries of Public School Teachers and Personnel, which seeks to upgrade the minimum salaries of public school teachers to Salary Grade 15, teaching personnel in higher education to Salary Grade 16, and non-teaching personnel to P16,000;
• SB No. 5: Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), which seeks to strengthen the barangay unit by revising and repealing the existing law in order to recognize and acknowledge the valuable sacrifices and tireless efforts of BHWs;
• SB No. 6: Technical Education, Training and Certification Act of 2022, which seeks to create a Department of Technical Education Training and Certification, which shall replace and absorb the current Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA);
• SB No. 7: BEESO Bill, which seeks to amend Republic Act no. 8759, otherwise known as the Public Employment Service Office Act of 1999, to include entrepreneurship in the scope of the law, to rename the present Public Employment Service Office (PESO) into the Public Employment and Entrepreneurship Service Office (PEESO), and to establish the Barangay Employment and Entrepreneurship Service Office (BEESO) nationwide;
• SB No. 8: Pangkabuhayan Bill, which seeks to institutionalize the livelihood programs of different government agencies for MSMEs under one umbrella program in view of pandemic recovery;
• SB No. 9: Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Law of 2022, which seeks to institutionalize a Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) to reflect environmental inputs and outputs in determining national income accounts; and
• SB No. 10: Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Remittance Protection Act of 2022, which seeks to provide adequate safeguards to further protect the rights and interests of OFWs with respect to their foreign exchange remittances.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joey Villanueva also filed his first 10 bills, most of which geared towards security of tenure and protection of workers.
The following are Villanueva’s top 10 bills:
1. Trabaho Para sa Lahat ng Pilipino Act (Institutionalization of the National Employment Recovery Strategy or NERS Program)
2. End of Endo Act (Security of Tenure in the Private Sector)
3. Public Sector Regularization Act (Civil Service Security of Tenure)
4. Institutionalization of TUPAD Emergency Employment Program
5. Expanding the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Program
6. Alternative Working Arrangements
7. Work From Home for Businesses in Economic Zones (Amendments to the CREATE Act)
8. Freelance Workers Protection Act
9. Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers
10. P100 Billion Stimulus for MSMEs
“Trabaho pa rin po ang trabaho natin sa Senado sa ating pangalawang termino. Oportunidad at kasiguruhan sa trabaho po ang ating isinusulong sa mga panukalang ito para sa katatagan ng bayan laban sa kahirapan at anumang krisis,” said Villanueva.
Sen. Bong Revilla Jr. likewise filed his first 10 priority bills "aimed to promote social justice for the Filipino people."
Revilla said that included in his priority this Congress is pushing for measures that will "uplift the lives of teachers, farmers, senior citizens, laborers, students, and those affected by hunger."
"Ang akin pong unang 10 panukalang batas ay nilalaan ko para iangat ang pamumuhay ng mga ordinaryong Pilipino, na nararapat lamang tulungan ng gobyerno, upang umunlad pa ang kanilang pamumuhay," Revilla said.
The first bill he filed was an amendment to the "Centenarians Act of 2016" that will allow those who have not yet reached 100 years old to enjoy part of the P100,000 cash grant.
"Upon reaching 80 years old and 90 years old, Filipino elderly will already receive part of the amount and will receive the remaining benefit upon reaching 100," Revilla explained in a statement.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada also provided a list of his top 10 bills, namely:
1. An Act further Strengthening the National Wages and Productivity Commission
2. An Act Providing for a Magna Carta for Workers, Enterprises and Organizations in the Informal Economy and Providing Mechanisms for Recognition, Integration and Transition to the Formal Economy
3. An Act Providing for the Condonation of Penalties for Unpaid SSS Contributions of Household Employers Relative to Republic Act No. 7655 and Republic Act No. 10361 or the Batas Kasambahay
4. An Act Providing for a Working Time Flexibilization in the Private Sector and for Other Purposes
5. An Act Providing Protection to Freelancers
6. An Act Instituting the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers
7. An Act Providing Indigent Job Applicants a 20% Discount in Payment of Fees and Charges for Certain Certificates and Clearances Issued by Government Agencies
8. An Act Regulating the Compensation of Public Utility Drivers and Conductors by Requiring Bus Operators to Pay them Fixed Monthly Salaries and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof
9. An Act Establishing the National Manpower Data and Placement Center, and Providing Funds Therefor
10. An Act Establishing the National Employment Assistance Center of the Philippines, and Appropriating Funds Therefor
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she would refile some bills she crafted in the previous Congress, such as the SOGIE Equality and Dissolution of Marriage bills.
Here are Hontiveros' priority bills:
1. SOGIESC Equality Act
2. Anti Hospital Detention
3. Lingap Para kay Lolo at Lola Act (Universal Social Pension)
4. Bantay Dagat Welfare and Incentives Act
5. Rights of Nature Act of 2022
6. Free Dialysis for Senior Citizens Act of 2022
7. Anti-ENDO and Contracting Law
8. Philippine Rise Marine Resource Reserve (PRMRR) Act
9. Dissolution of Marriage Act
10. Maternity Benefit for Women in the Informal Economy Act
Sen. Lito Lapid also named 5 bills he considers his priority for the incoming Congress:
• Monthly Social Pension for Indigent Persons with Disability Act
• Free Professional Examinations Act
• Tourist Protection and Assistance Act
• Climate Resilient Agriculture Act
• Medical Bill Transparency Act
Sen. Bong Go also listed his top 10 priority measures, with the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience at the first one.
The 19th Congress will be officially opened by Marcos during a joint session of the House of Representatives and Senate on July 25.