Human rights, medical marijuana bills filed anew
These include the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act and the controversial medical marijuana bill. Also re-filed were measures allowing the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles, increasing the Social Security System pension, and providing a national minimum wage of P750.
Boy Santos
Human rights, medical marijuana bills filed anew
Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - July 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Several pieces of legislation that failed to make it in the last Congress have been re-filed.

These include the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act and the controversial medical marijuana bill. Also re-filed were measures allowing the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles, increasing the Social Security System pension, and providing a national minimum wage of P750.

At the Senate, bills seeking to increase the salaries and benefits of workers in the public sector, boosting support for students, and strengthening the government’s campaign against criminality and terrorism were among the measures filed yesterday.

The bills will be formally acted upon starting July 22 when the 18th Congress opens.

Reelected Cebu congressman Raul del Mar filed four bills led by his proposal to create a Mega Cebu Development Authority while Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman filed the Human Rights Defenders bill.

The left-wing Makabayan bloc filed 30 measures courtesy of Bayan Muna party-list, while the reelected Kabataan group also claimed to have filed 10 House bills.

Bayan Muna has also filed bills setting at P16,000 the minimum salary for government employees and offering free hemodialysis.

It also filed the no mining zone bill, the anti-Manila Bay reclamation bill, and the SOGIE bill. SOGIE stands for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression.

The militant group also filed measures seeking the repeal of the TRAIN law, renationalization of Petron, and the scrapping of VAT on oil, electricity and water.

“Bayan Muna and the Makabayan bloc hope that these measures be prioritized because these are the ones that heavily impact on the lives of the Filipino people. Addressing the poor conditions of the people should be the highlight of the 18th Congress,” they said.

The newly elected Ang Probinsiyano party-list also filed a House resolution urging the Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board, Metro Manila Council and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to suspend the proposed ban on provincial bus terminals along EDSA.

Reps. Alfred delos Santos and Ronnie Ong argued that such ban is unnecessary and that it would be better for the government to adopt “non-oppressive and less intrusive solutions that will improve traffic condition along EDSA without unduly burdening millions of probinsiyanos.”

“Banning provincial buses will have negligible effect on the traffic situation in EDSA since they only comprise a small percentage of the total vehicular traffic,” they stated in their resolution.

The medical marijuana bill, originally authored by now Isabela Gov. Rodito Albano III, has been re-filed by his congressman-brother Antonio through his policy adviser Dr. Socorro Reyes.

“The bill has been filed since 2014. So this is the fifth year, and this is the third Congress. I have with me the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society, parents and patients of those who need medical cannabis because they have been very sick,” Reyes told reporters.

“They have always looked forward to getting medical marijuana for a cure to their illnesses,” she said.

“We are very hopeful that this will be approved. It’s 2019 and we hope that this bill will be passed this time around because patients badly need it,” she added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and other Senate leaders were the first to file their respective bills.

Sotto’s first measure, Senate Bill No. 1, seeks to provide medical scholarships in state universities and colleges (SUCs) to increase the number of doctors serving in the public sector.

“The granting of scholarships to deserving medical students would aid in the increase of the number of physicians in the country,” he said.

His filing of a bill granting 14th month pay for workers in the private sector gets applause from the largest labor group.

“The bill is aptly necessary in enabling the wealth of our economic growth also benefit those who helped build and sustain such growth,” Trade Union Congress of the Philippines president Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.

“Workers must also get their fair share of the pie and this 14th month pay bill will ensure in a way that all companies must do so,” Mendoza said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto filed his “One Town, One Doctor” bill, a novel scholarship program in which government funds the schooling of one medical student from a municipality on the condition that he or she will serve the town for four years after graduation.  – Paolo Romero, Mayen Jaymalin

18TH CONGRESS HUMAN RIGHTS BILL MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL
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