Senators in 18th Congress start filing pet bills
MANILA, Philippines — Senators in the 18th Congress started filing their priority bills on Monday.
The first round of filing of bills and resolutions started on Monday, July 1, and will continue until Thursday, July 4.
The order of filing of bills and resolutions determined according to the lawmakers’ seniority or length of service.
Senators can file up to 10 proposed bills and resolutions.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III was the first to fill his bills. Among the bills he filed is the one seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility, one combating fake news and terrorism, and one pushing for the 14th month pay for private sector employees.
Bills increasing teachers’ salary
Several senators filed bills seeking to increase the salaries of public school teachers.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan filed a bill seeking additional compensation of P10,000 per month for public school teachers, which would be paid in three tranches.
He also proposed additional support in the form of allowances and remuneration from local board funds, a medical allowance of P1,000, and an annual Magna Carta bonus.
Meanwhile, Sen. Nancy Binay filed a bill seeking to raise the monthly salaries of teachers and nonteaching personnel to P28,000 and P16,000, respectively.
She also filed two others bills — one seeking to exempt from the income tax those public school teachers serving as members of the electoral board during elections and one seeking additional “educational assistance” to public school teachers.
Sen. Sonny Angara filed a bill aiming to increase the salary of public school teachers’ from P19,077, which is under Salary Grade 11, to P36,409, which is under Salary Grade 19.
Under the bill, the salaries of 800,000 teachers will be increased over a period of five years to allow the Department of Budget and Management to make the necessary budgetary adjustments.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ramon “Bong Revilla Jr. also filed a bill seeking to grant an allowance to public school teachers for teaching supplies.
Sen. Joel Villanueva is also set to file a measure that seeks to increase school teachers’ benefits.
Sotto filed several bills against illegal drugs.
Among these is the measure aiming to establish a detention program and facility for high-level drug offenders within the national penitentiary system and another bill seeking to create a dangerous drugs court.
Sotto also wants to amend a provision in the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, seeking to create the Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority.
Among the measures that focused on health care is Revilla’s bill that wants to exempt drugs and for mental health conditions from value-added tax (VAT).
Binay also filed a bill that would require all government and private hospitals and medical centers to give free medical and dental assistance to indigent children.
Revilla and Villanueva have similar bills that push for the establishment of a hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Education, student benefits
Angara is set to file a bill 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.
Villanueva will also file a bill that will increase the benefits of state universities and technical-vocational institutes.
Revilla filed a bill that provides for the Books for the Barrios program.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto refiled his “One Town, One Doctor” bill, which seeks to establish a scholarship program where the government funds the schooling of one medical student from one town.
The second round of filing of bills and resolutions will be from July 8 to 11. Senators may file another set of 10 bills and resolutions.
Starting July 15, the filing of bills and regulations will be on a “first come, first served” basis.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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