Senators deny ouster plot vs Sen. Pimentel

admin   •   January 13, 2017   •   3903

FILE PHOTO: Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III

MANILA, Philippines — Several senators have denied being dissatisfied with Senator Aquilino Pimentel III’s stint as senate president.

This, after a recent statement from Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito about talks of discontent among senators concerning pimentel’s administration as the senate president.

The senators also denied alleged plans of voting for Sen. Pimentel’s replacement.

“That’s not true, I have not heard that, it’s only now. Sa pagkakakilala ko sa mga kasama kong senador, eh isa nga ako sa mga unang makakaalam niyan kung mayroong ganyan,” said majority floor leader Sen. Vicente Sotto III.

(That’s not true, I have not heard that, it’s only now. Based on what I know of my fellow senators, I would be among the first to know if there are such moves.)

“To be honest, I have not heard of those. There are no discussions or chatters among the senators…so as you know, I guess in the political atmosphere, it is highly politically charged,” said Sen. Bam Aquino.

In separate statements, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros said they are not privy to such plans.

De Lima even expressed her confidence in Pimentel as the leader of the Senate.

“I know him to be really a good, honest and decent person and therefore a good, honest and decent leader. He used to be a client of mine, so I know the person of Senate President Koko,” she said.

Even in the closed-door meeting of the senators, there was no discussion about the senate presidency.

Sen. Sotto said the meeting was centered on the senate’s priority bills as it resumes sessions.

These include bills that have been sponsored on the floor such as freedom of information bill, the proposed granting of emergency powers to the President; the expanded Sotto Law for media practitioners; coco levy and the proposed amendments to Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Also included in the priority bills are the 24 “pet bills” of each senator that are not controversial and contentious.

Among them are the upgrade in the Anti-Hazing Law filed by Sen. Sotto; Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment Act of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and Sen. Grace Poe’s proposal for a feeding program in public elementary schools.

The Senate will resume its session next week in which they will tackle these priority bills that they aim to pass in the first two months this year. — Joyce Balancio | UNTV News and Rescue


Senate probes distance learning quality, deferment of proposed resumption of in-person classes

Robie de Guzman   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel will conduct an inquiry on Wednesday on the quality of distance learning, other psycho-social concerns, and the implications of postponing the resumption of face-to face classes amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture, said that during the hearing, he will urge the Department of Education (DepEd) to use all available tools and resources to avert a looming ‘learning crisis’ as part of its next steps in mitigating the “pernicious effects” of distance learning.

Gatchalian earlier expressed fears that a huge chunk of more than 25 million learners in the basic education sector might end up “unprepared” for their next level of schooling.

While DepEd has exhausted all possible steps to provide for continued education amid the pandemic, Gatchalian stressed that several challenges still hound the rollout of distance learning, including the inadequacy of connectivity, lack of enough guidance from teachers, and the quality and effectiveness of self-learning modules, among others.

“Dahil ipagpapaliban muna nating muli ang pagkakaroon ng face-to-face classes, mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng kaliwanagan sa kung ano ba ang magiging pangmatagalang epekto nito sa ating mga mag-aaral, lalo na’t hinaharap nila ang maraming mga hamong may kinalaman sa epektibong pagpapatupad ng distance learning,” Gatchalian said in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.

“Ang ating layunin sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa gitna ng pandemya ay masigurong natututo ang ating mga mag-aaral at maging handa sila para sa susunod na antas ng kanilang pag-aaral,” he added.

Duterte earlier thumbed down fresh proposals to resume face-to-face classes in areas classified as low-risk for COVID-19 transmission.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque relayed the president’s decision not to allow any in-person classes until the vaccination program has been rolled out in the country.

Roque, however, said that face-to-face classes may be considered in August this year after the launch of the immunization drive.

A pilot test of limited face-to-face classes was supposed to be held by the government last January but was ordered suspended by Duterte due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Senate approves proposed COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act

Marje Pelayo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate of the Philippines approved, on third reading, the proposed COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act that seeks to expedite the process of vaccine procurement in the country.

Twenty two (22) senators voted in favor of the measure.

Under Senate Bill 2057, local government units (LGUs) may procure COVID-19 vaccines for 75% of their target population.

Also, the LGUs will be allowed to make advance payments to the vaccine manufacturer.

The bill also provides a COVID-19 national vaccine indemnity fund or payment for damages should the vaccinee experienced serious side effects.

The House of Representatives on Monday (February 22) approved its own version of the bill after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the proposed measure as urgent.

Senate approves Labor Education Act on third and final reading

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Senate has approved the Labor Education Act on the third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. 1513 or the Labor Education Act seeks to mandate all public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) to integrate labor education as part of an elective course.

Under the bill, HEIs and tech-voc training institutes shall hold a Labor Empowerment and Career Guidance conference which graduating students shall attend.

Senator Joel Villanueva, the principal sponsor of the Senate Bill, said around 700,000 students graduate from HEIs every year.

However, these students have little knowledge of their labor rights and access to legal aid or assistance. This makes them vulnerable to labor exploitation, according to the Senator.

“At present, the regions that have the highest number of students enrolled in higher education institutions are also the regions where establishments record dismal compliance to labor laws. Unfortunately, there is no clear core subject in the higher, technical, and vocational education sectors where labor education is comprehensively covered,” he said.

Villanueva also noted the enactment of the bill would ensure that every Filipino worker would be aware of his/her rights which include labor issues such as unemployment and underemployment, problems concerning fair wages, job security, safe workplaces, social protection, and unfair labor practices. -AAC


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