The Philippine Constitution has ample laws and regulations that aims for the country to improve, progress and flourish – but it all depends on the implementation process for one law to be fully attained. But even House and Senate bills reflect on the future of the country, it leaves marks and impact to the people.
In our country, laws are called Republic Acts; the Official Gazette defines it, as “a piece of legislation used to create policy in order to carry out the principles of the Constitution. It is crafted and passed by the Congress of the Philippines and approved by the President of Philippines. It can only be repealed by a similar act of Congress.”
Each and every republic act that is carried out, strongly and directly affects every citizen in the country, it’s why we should be vigilant about what the Congress and Senate is brewing.
To start, here are 5 bills which we should watch out for:
(1) Senate Bill 1304 or the Free Higher Education for All Act
This Bill 1304 pursues to institutionalize the tuition-free policy, proposed with a funding of P15-billion to be appropriated from the Presidential Social Fund for the SUC Tuition Subsidy Fund – a fund to be used solely for implementing the proposed measure’s full tuition subsidy.
In a sponsorship speech Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV stated that “if they pass SBN 1304, the Free Higher Education for All Act, they’re investing in the future of promising young Filipinos.”
This bill has passed the 3rd and final reading on the Senate last March 13, 2017.
(2) House Bill No. 1 or Death penalty
The House justice committee approved House Bill No. 1 or the Death Penalty Bill last year on December 7. This seeks to repeal Republic Act 9364 (removed death penalty), and amend the Revised Penal Code on the punishments for offenses.
One of the update that stirred controversies was when the Congress limited the list of crimes punishable by death. The initial list of 21 crimes that included rape, treason and plunder was cut to drug-related crimes and offenses. The House passage of the death penalty bill on March 8, 2017, with 217 Lawmakers voting yes to resurrect the death penalty bill, and 54 of them voting no, while 1 chose to abstain, also stirred public outrage.
(3) House Bill No. 3237 or Freedom of Information
The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) Act aims to mandate the disclosure of public documents. The proposed bill also outlines the exceptions for public disclosure and the procedures for accessing public documents.
This has been in the sidelines of today’s news, but rest assured this is one of the bills that’s been refiled in the 17th Congress. On February 2017, (FOI) bill hurdled the committee level in the House of Representatives.
The President Rodrigo Duterte may have signed an ‘Executive Order mandating full public disclosure of all offices under the executive branch’ on July last year, this does not fully complete the rights of the people to access public documents, a lot of limitations still pushes the fight for FOI’s passage till the end.
(4) Senate Bill 230 or the “Anti-Political Dynasty Act.”
HB 166states that a political dynasty is present when 3 or more individuals within the second degree of consanguinity hold or run for national and local posts in simultaneous or overlapping terms.
This bill has been fighting its way to be a law for 3 decades now, in the last Congress, the anti-dynasty bill reached the plenary in the House of Representatives, this 17th Congress we hope it pushes through farther than that and finishes to become a law.
(5) House Bill 1351, or the Employment Relation Law
This bill aims to abolish contractualization or “endo.” The workers should have “the right to security of tenure to the effect that all employees shall not be dismissed without cause and due process.”
This was one of the famous promises of President Duterte, but complications arose and now it’s stil a promise left undone. On the other hand, due to conflicts and issues some labor groups has offered an alternative solution, why not impose House Bill 444 or the Security of Tenure Act, instead? (Chrixy Paguirigan)