House okays bill requiring students to plant 10 trees before graduation
Marje Pelayo • May 16, 2019 • 3430
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) approved on third and final reading a measure that requires all graduating students to plant 10 trees each as a prerequisite for graduation.
House Bill 8728 or the “Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act” aims to move the youth into action to “promote environmental protection, biodiversity, climate change mitigation, poverty reduction, and food security,” according to the bill’s authors Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Bacoor, Cavite Rep. Strike Revilla.
The bill enumerates areas where the tree planting would be executed.
These include forestlands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, inactive and abandoned mine sites, among other suitable areas.
Concerned agencies shall be the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in cooperation with the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), among others.
The agencies shall be responsible in seedling production, site preparation, nursery establishment, monitoring and evaluation, as well as technical support and extension services.
They should also provide for the students’ transportation, security and medical needs on the course of the tree planting activity.
The bill is now for transmission to the Senate for action. – Marje Pelayo
MANILA, Philippines — Seven lawmakers who previously held key positions in the House of Representatives (HOR) coined the slogans “Back to Service” and “Bayanihan, Tapang at Serbisyo” as their newest advocacy — these also coincidentally form the acronym “BTS”.
BTS is more popularly known as the acronym for Bangtan Boys, a South Korean pop group that is considered the biggest boy band in the world right now.
Meanwhile, the newly formed BTS political bloc in Congress — spearheaded by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano — claims that the Lower House is not in its proper order of business nowadays.
The group wants to bring focus on more pressing issues such as economic recovery, COVID-19 response and prompt delivery of government services.
“Kung inuna niya ang hearing sa vaccination at sa PhilHealth, wala tayong problema. Inuna ang Cha-Cha,” Cayetano said of his successor House Speaker Allan Velasco.
Laguna Representative Dan Fernandez echoed the same sentiments.
“Kasi very important yung problema ng pandemic and that’s the reason why wala kaming sinasayang na oras. Pero ngayon isang buwan kaming bakasyon at magsisimula ang Kongreso sa Lunes wala kang narinig na hearing,” he said.
All seven of them said they are part of a much larger group of colleagues in Congress who support their initiative.
“We are a bigger group. We have many sympathisers, supporters that are currently part of the leadership of the House. Marami kaming kasama na committee chairmen,” said Anak Kalusugan Partylist Mike Defensor.
They believe the HOR has lost its glory and they want to reinstate it through this advocacy.
“We want to bring back the House of Representative being the house of the people rather than the house of politics,” noted Camarines Sur Representative L-Ray Villafuerte.
“Pinatibay namin iyong grupo namin dahil iisa ang nararamdaman namin. Kailangang maramdaman ng mga tao na ang House of Representatives ay kasama nila sa anumang nararamdaman nila,” added Batangas Representative Raneo Abu.
On the other hand, Senior Deputy Speaker Doy Leachon defended Velasco’s push for charter change as he believes it can solve and improve the current state of the country’s economy.
“Cha-Cha is sincere to deal only with economic provisions and supported by party leaders because this is the most opportune and right time to address the high unemployment rate and closure of business as the constitutional amendments seek to address infusion of massive investment opportunities,” he said.
Leachon in a statement called Cayetano’s group “ungrateful” and “selfish”.
He said Cayetano should have been thankful that Velasco did not touch the “bloated budget” that the former inserted and crafted into the 2021 national budget.
“Moreover, Speaker Velasco, despite their demeaning personality attacks on him, didn’t even raise a finger for 15 months and just waited for the right time to assume as the head of Congress based on the term-sharing agreement. Yun ang tularan nila- maginoo,” Leachon said.
“Their BTS launch is insignificant as to derail the Velasco’s legislative agenda because the current leadership under Speaker Velasco has earned the respect of the members of the supermajority because they lucidly see a decent man, not vindictive, working leader who has also a gentle heart to feel the needs of the House members. Hindi barkadahan lang,” he added.
Leachon advised the group not to ride on the popularity of the K-pop group BTS because their acronym might end up standing for: ‘Bitter Talaga Sila.’ MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to suspend the increase in the premium contributions of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) scheduled for this year.
“We laud President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for suspending the increase in PhilHealth premium contributions amid the COVID-19 crisis,” Velasco said in a press statement.
“The President has once again proved his sincere and genuine regard for the welfare of the Filipino people, especially in this time of pandemic,” he added.
Duterte on Monday night said the PhilHealth premium hike should be deferred amid the global health crisis.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go earlier said the president expressed willingness to sign a measure that will hold off the contribution hike, and approve additional funds for PhilHealth.
Under the Universal Health Care Law, the state insurer’s monthly rates will increase to 3.5% in January 2021 from 3% last year.
Velasco said the House of Representatives is ready to review the Universal Health Care Law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, particularly the provisions on incremental premium rate hike for direct PhilHealth contributors.
“We urge the PhilHealth and the Department of Health to work closely with the legislature to ensure that our citizens and hardworking Filipinos will not further be exposed to this unnecessary burden while still grappling with the pandemic,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Monday expressed confidence that members of the House of Representatives will “do the right thing” on the impeachment complaint filed against him.
Leonen issued the statement after an impeachment rap was filed before the lower House by one Edwin Cordevilla of a group called the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government.
Cordevilla accused Leonen of committing “culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust,” and slow case disposition.
Leonen said he has received information about the complaint but has yet to receive a copy of it.
“Given the urgent and pressing needs of our people during the time of crises, we are confident that our leaders will do the right thing,” the justice said.
“Certainly, this may not be to attend to false issues raised by some clearly personal or vindictive reasons,” he added.
Cordevilla filed the complaint with the assistance and representation of lawyer Larry Gadon.
The complaint against Leonen was endorsed by Ilocos Norte Representative Angelo Marcor Barba, cousin of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“Regardless, we wish everyone the best for this season of kindness and compassion. May we all continue to help others who are still truly in need,” Leonen said.
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