“Don’t you think these teledramas, telenobelas, talk-fest, military psy-warfare orgies, legal nitpicking, national breastbeating, fingerpointing, and litanies of warning messages have gone on long enough? It’s time to strive to return to normalcy, and go back to work.” These were words my late father Max Soliven would often say when both Houses go off track.
From the time Senator Manny Pacquiao made separate motions on the removal of Senators Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino and Riza Hontiveros, stripping them of their committee chairmanships, the Senate became an arena of an even more dizzying and unbelievable caucus.
Hearings and inquiries abound in the Senate: the Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo slay; the death penalty bill; the Jack Lam and Bureau of Immigration issue; the case of the self-confessed Davao death squad member, retired Senior Police Officer 3 Arthur Lascañas, and most probably coming up soon is the probe on the alleged irregularities and indiscretions committed by actor Cesar Montano as chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board.
It’s time they stop all these investigations in aid of legislation. Apart from the tremendous costs and time wasted, it has created a maleficent force in both Houses. What has become of them? Congress is not a detective bureau! It is not their job to get to the bottom of any crime, plot to destabilize the country or any conspiracy. The Senate, on the other hand, has become the Court ready to judge and convict the criminal! Susmariosep! Senators and Congressmen are legislators. They are not detectives nor judges!
In this country, it is a given, that every time the political leadership shifts from one major political party to the other in both chambers, the majority holds the reign of power and dissenting opinions often quashed.
These nonsensical hearings have become the norm at the Senate. What makes it worse is the line of questioning done by our esteemed solons. Sanamagan! Their self-serving antics are quite embarrassing. The Senate, the once noble and honorable institution and what it stands for is long gone!
The Duterte administration has started purging both Houses. GMA has been ousted for going against the death penalty. Those removed from their posts will be replaced by those belonging to the super majority coalition. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said last week that this is just the beginning and that there will be more purging. The moves are becoming darker, bolder and incomprehensible. It has become a mockery.
Congressmen and senators must be reminded that they represent the people. Just because they are in office and vested with legitimate powers of government does not mean they may do as they wish. They must perform their duties to the country and to the people, irrespective of party affiliations and partisan leanings. They should keep in mind that the powers they received by their election impose upon them the stern duty of an impartial and just administration of the laws.
Congress is responsible for making enabling laws to make sure the spirit of the Constitution is upheld in the country. When everything is said and done, and this august body seems to have gone wayward in the fulfillment of its mandate, then maybe it’s time the President should just altogether abolish the House.
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So, what is the latest in both houses that has disillusioned the public? The Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) earlier announced the full implementation of Republic Act 10912 by the first quarter of 2017. This law requires all licensed professionals under the regulation of the PRC to obtain Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit units from accredited CPD providers as a mandatory condition for the renewal of their Professional Identification Cards. A credit unit refers to the value of an amount of learning that can be transferred to a qualification achieved from formal learning, informal learning, non-formal learning, self-directed learning, online learning, seminars, non-degree courses, trainings, and professional work experience, among others.
Even prior to this law, the PRC issued its Resolution No. 2016-990, pursuant to the PRC Modernization Act (RA 8981), requiring licensed professionals to complete the prescribed credit units every three (3) years. Any excess credit units could not be carried over to the next compliance period except units earned for doctorate and master’s degrees or specialty trainings, which may be credited only once during the compliance period. It appears from PRC notices that this Resolution has been adopted as the implementing rules of RA 10912.
Our professional teachers are raising an issue on the required 45 credit units they have to complete every three years. While there is no debate on the intent of the law to institute measures that will continuously improve the competence of professionals, the suggestion that professional teachers have to undergo CPD activities with an accredited CPD provider every three years is unnecessarily taxing, physically and financially, if not outright absurd.
Unlike other professionals who practice on their own whims and caprices with not much professional supervision in the performance of their crafts, professional teachers are employees who must comply with exacting requirements of academic institutions in terms of post-graduate studies, trainings and other faculty development activities for professional improvement. It is inherent in the practice of the profession that teachers be updated on recent trends otherwise they would be dismissed for sheer incompetence. Since the law itself recognizes “professional work experience” as a CPD program, professional teachers actually teaching in academic institutions should be deemed as having complied with the continuing professional development requirement. Their PRC licenses must be renewed on the strength of proof of actual teaching work without having to complete the 45 credit units from an accredited provider.
I hope that the CPD Council for Professional teachers would take into consideration the fact that every teaching day in the life of a professional teacher is a continuing learning activity. By analogy, lawyers who are into teaching law for at least ten (10) years, or those who are already conducting bar review lectures, are exempted from the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) prescribed by the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court saw the wisdom of exempting lawyers in the academe from the MCLE requirement, I hope the PRC would be as considerate to our professional teachers similarly situated.
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Have you heard of the approved budget for a Space Center? Unbelievable! We cannot even have our MRT run efficiently and systematically, our airports function to international standards and our WIFI fast enough and now we have an ambitious project to develop a space center? What’s going on? Abangan!