^

Headlines

House approves HR defenders bill

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
House approves HR defenders bill
House Bill 10576, authored by Rep. Edcel Lagman, received an overwhelming 200 votes from the plenary, which was approved in the past 17th Congress (July 2016 to June 2019).
Garreth Tungol / Office of ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives hit the ground running yesterday with the three-week resumption of sessions by approving on third and final reading several priority measures that included the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act.

House Bill 10576, authored by Rep. Edcel Lagman, received an overwhelming 200 votes from the plenary, which was approved in the past 17th Congress (July 2016 to June 2019).

“The enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Act will put an end to the prevailing impunity on the extrajudicial killings and extreme harassments of HRDs,” Lagman said.

A similar bill authored by detained Sen. Leila de Lima is pending in the Senate which could be approved by the upper chamber for the expeditious enactment of the pioneering legislation.

The Human Rights Defenders bill is based on the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the Model National Law on the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders drafted by the International Service for Human Rights.

Once signed into law, the bill will create a Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee chaired by a commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and would have six members who will be jointly nominated by civil society organizations.

HB 10576 defines an HRD as “any person who, individually or in association with others, acts or seeks to act to protect, promote or strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms and welfare of the people, at the local, national, regional and international levels.”

Also yesterday, the House plenary approved House Bill 10582 (Rural Financial Inclusion and Literacy Act) via a 204-0 vote, and HB 10568 that gives the elderly more discounts in their (water and power) utility bills.

The first bill seeks to uplift the lives of the marginalized sectors (small farmers, fisherfolk, informal workers) by addressing the gap in reaching financial inclusivity while the second will amend the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2020 (Republic Act 7432).

It also approved House Bill 10560 (200 affirmative votes), which expands the coverage of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) program to allow more underprivileged and academically competent students to enroll in private higher education institutions (HEIs) and technical-vocational institutions, and benefit from the TES through the voucher system.

“The expansion of the Tertiary Education Subsidy’s coverage is a step in making education accessible for more young Filipinos,” said Rep. France Castro of party-list ACT Teachers.

The House, through 197 votes, also approved on third reading House Bill 10555, which mandates all private HEIs at the undergraduate level to waive college entrance exam fees for underprivileged graduating high school students and high school graduates belonging to the top 10 percent of the graduating class who are applying for college admission.

HB 10560 states that all vouchers shall be used exclusively to help poor and academically competent students. All TES beneficiaries shall continue to receive their subsidies until they have completed their post-secondary technical-vocational course or higher education degree program, provided that they maintained their grades and residency requirements, according to the bill.

The House, through 197 votes, also approved on third reading House Bill 10555, which mandates all private HEIs at the undergraduate level to waive college entrance exam fees for underprivileged graduating high school students and high school graduates belonging to the top 10 percent of the graduating class who are applying for college admission.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS PROTECTION ACT

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with