Legaspi: Priority bills | SunStar

Legaspi: Priority bills

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Legaspi: Priority bills

Thursday, May 04, 2017

THE Duterte administration is pushing for the “pro-people bills.” The House of Representatives has already scheduled the hearings of these bills. They will devote our money to the debates and passage of these bills in support of Duterte’s political agenda. These bills will be transformed into laws soon and the Filipino people have to be very vigilant as to the effects of these laws in our lives. For sure, we will be hearing legal, paralegal, and non-legal opinions about these laws but once passed, it will be hard for one to battle a law. Take the K to 12 or the Enhanced Basic Education Law of the Aquino administration.

The 14 priority bills involve, among others, free internet access in public places, free higher education, mental health, amendments to the Philippine Passport Act, Revised Penal Code indexation, occupational safety and health standards, enhanced universal healthcare, community service in lieu of imprisonment for the penalty of arresto menor, refusal of hospital and medical clinics to administer medical treatment in emergency cases, free irrigation services, enhanced universal healthcare, and barangay elections.

In my future articles, my comical mind will dig deeper into the effects of these bills (laws) today and to the future generations.

Free internet access in public places is a very good welcome for the netizens and the millennials. This generation has seen the need for Wi-Fi connections. We have to ask – who will provide our networks? Who will pay for the services? Will this affect our private access? Will this greatly affect our social life?

Free higher education should have been free quality higher education. We need to ask these questions: Where will this administration get the money to pay the teachers? Are our state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) ready to just wait for the national government to feed them? How much will one SUC get? Will the government subsidy be sufficient to finance SUCs? Do we have quality education in our public higher education institutions (HEIs)?

Bills on mental health, occupational safety and health standards, and enhanced universal healthcare are good for the people but we have to be critical on these issues. We have to ask: Who will once again get the big slice? Will these be for all or for just again the “poor”?, Will these not be used as political springboard for candidates? Will these benefit the whole nation or just a few?

Amendments to the Passport Act is a great welcome for most Filipinos who have the passion to travel but for those who want to stay behind, this is a useless bill. The ordinary hand-to-mouth Filipino does not need a passport. We ask: Who shall benefit from this? Why will our taxes go from this? Who needs a passport?

Revised Penal Code indexation and community service in lieu of imprisonment for arresto menor are two bills that would really put fangs, if not false teeth to the existing laws. We have to challenge these bills. We have to ask; Will the lowering down of criminal responsibility age solve the rising crime rate in the country? Do we have the facility to cater to these erring minors (criminals)? What type of community service shall we impose? Will it be commensurate to the crime that one had committed? Who shall determine?

In my next article, I will devote the topic to interesting bills like the postponement of “mysterious” barangay elections.

*****

St. Ezekiel Moreno, St. Pedro Calungsod and St. Lorenzo Ruiz, Pope St. John Paul II, Mons. John Liu and John Su, Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR and Manoy Bill, and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.

Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 04, 2017.

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