These measures include, her press release said, “establishing child care facilities in private and government offices, creating programs for imprisoned parents and their children, mandating gender sensitivity training in the workplace, providing free medical and dental assistance to indigent children, protecting schools from sex offenders, and amending the VAWC Law to include digital forms of violence against women and children are among the 15 proposed bills in the frontline.”
Another incoming Senator, Cynthia Villar, filed bills on 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.
The topnotcher newcomer Senator, Grace Poe has bills on “a 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.”
Three incumbent senators. Vicente Sotto, Ferdinand Marcos and Loren Legarda, filed a combined total of at least 15 bills.
Sotto wants a special Dangerous Drugs Court; affordable drug rehabilitation treatment for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) beneficiaries; to ban kids 12 and below from riding in tandem with an adult and amend Section 150 of R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
Legarda’s bills tackle the Pantawid Tuition Program, which aims to fund one college scholar for every poor family; the Pag-Asa Modernization bill, the Magna Carta for School Teachers; the National Land Use bill, and the creation of the Philippine River Basin System Administration, an integrated river basin management approach as a comprehensive framework in developing and managing the country’s river basin systems.
Marcos’s bills define cybercrime and its prevention and penalties; impose a three-year moratorium on the creation or conversion of state universities and colleges; provide retirement benefits for barangay workers; accelerate irrigation projects, and increase Social Security System pensions.
Congress is the biggest manufacturing industry in the Philippines today. This is on top of gallons of saliva our honorable men produce in and out of Congress which if converted into oil will bring the country immediately to energy self-sufficiency.
The House of Representatives, with 287 members (wow), has tons of bills which if converted into trees would be enough to reforest our balding mountains.
Our laws are now numbered in five digits and will soon outnumber the digits on the Philippine peso. The last republic act was No. 10606 which requires that even squatters have health insurance. This law’s perception of the problem is wrong. The poor must be guaranteed health, not guaranteed health insurance.
As of my last count, the Philippines had 15,000 laws—Commonwealth acts; decrees, executive orders, general orders, letters of instructions and proclamations by presidents; Batas Pambansa (about 881) made by the Batasan from 1973 to 1985, and republic acts (numbering 10,606) by Congresses established from 1987 to 2013. In 12 years, the so-called Marcos rubber-stamp Batasan produced 881 laws – an average of 73 per year. In 26 years, the so-called democratically elected Congress enacted 10,600 laws—an average of 407 laws per year.
Think of any crime or any violation, any act of man or even any act of God (remember Ondoy?), or anything in promotion of God, motherhood and country—that is already covered by an existing law. We have 30,000 lawyers, of whom 15,000 are active. So we have one active lawyer for every law and one law for every active lawyer.
What do we get for all that BS? Nothing. Exactly nothing.
The Philippines is one of the most lawless countries in Asia. Our infrastructure is one of the most decrepit in the region. Our system of justice is one of the worst in the world. Our income inequality is one of the worst in the world.
Filipinos were far better off in the period 1973 to 1985 when only 800 laws were passed than in the quarter century from 1987 to 2013 when 10,600 laws were passed. In 1983, one of the darkest crisis years for the Philippines, unemployment was only 5.9 percent. In 2013, one of the brightest years for the economy, unemployment was reported at 7.8 percent. In 1983, less than 15 million Filipinos were reckoned as poor. In 2013, more than 30 million Filipinos are considered poor.
Who are getting richer? Our congressmen and our senators are the best-paid Filipinos—bar none. Nearly all our senators are billionaires. Almost all our congressmen are multi-millionaires, including the self-proclaimed poor among them. Yet, no more than three—yes, three—senators and congressmen are in the country’s Top 500 largest taxpayers list. That is because Congressman Manny Pacquiao is a boxing billionaire and Senator Manny Villar and his wife are property billionaires.
Outside of their regular salaries and irregular allowances, congressmen receive P70 million a year in pork barrel funds or P210 million in three years. Senators receive P200 million a year in pork barrel or P1.2 billion in six years. Sometimes, a family has two senators – in a country of 22 million families. That family gets P2.4 billion in six years.
This is true of the Cayetanos and the Estradas. Diyos ko bakit sila lang ang mga anak ng Diyos!
Multiply P200 million by 24, you get P4.8 billion. Multiply P70 million by 287 congressmen, you get P20 billion. P20 billion plus P4.8 billion is almost P25 billion. That’s what our so-called lawmakers are costing us, taxpayers, every year.
Did you realize what P25 billion could do? A student of the state University of the Philippines killed herself because the government university didn’t allow her to enroll for failure to pay a P6,000 ($142) tuition loan. Divide P25 billion by P6,000, it can send 4.1 million poor students to the nation’s best university for a semester. The math is quite simple: 4.1 million poor students vs. the number of our legislators —311 (24 senators plus 287 congressmen) who have access to oodles of money.
Every year in this country, the number of jobless increases, the number of squatters increases, the number of hungry increases, the number of poor increases. Every year, Philippine infrastructure deteriorates, basic services deteriorate, and the absence of government in many places becomes more poignant.
We have the world’s longest separatist movement (41 years) and the world’s longest communist insurgency (44 years). Is Congress to blame? Should we padlock Congress?