16 February 2015

[LEGAL NOTES] The Historical Injustices Against the Filipino Moros and the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law as Impetus for Rectification and Peace

The conflict in Mindanao is deeply-rooted, present and harbors consequences to the daily lives of the Moro, Christians, and indigenous peoples residing in the affected areas. The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)—which was crafted for at least 17 years of negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)—seeks to address the century-old injustices against the Moros and end the decades of war and armed conflict in Mindanao.

10 February 2015

Rep. Bag-ao: Passage of Anti-Discrimination Bill is a victory for all citizens

The House of Representatives Committee on Women and Gender Equality recently approved the proposed Anti-Discrimination Bill, which seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity while providing penalties for such acts.

The bill was first filed by then Akbayan Party-List Representative and now Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales in the 11th Congress. Since then, it has been refiled and shelved by the Legislature in the midst of the growing clamor for its passage.

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, the principal author of the measure, said that "this is not only a triumph for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, but for all Filipinos because the Anti-Discrimination Bill will protect the rights of each and every citizen regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity." 

Legislating Trust in Government

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao delivered this speech in Yapak ni Jesse, a forum on good governance inspired by the brand of leadership of the late DILG Secretary and former Naga Mayor Jesse Robredo, last 10 February 2015.

Why FOI Matters: Freedom of information, in the form of legislation, provides public access to data held by the government. Such a law establishes and enables a concrete process to ensure that documents containing information that is relevant to the public can be easily obtained, given certain exceptions defined by law. 

Why FOI Matters: Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which includes the “freedom to receive and impart information.” In most parts of the world, access to information is considered to be a prerequisite for transparency and accountability in government. At least 95 countries have enacted various forms of Freedom of Information laws.

Why FOI Matters: The 1987 Constitution provides for the State to adopt and implement “a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.” Moreover, the Bill of Rights states that: “Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.”

02 February 2015

Sponsorship Speech for the Ruben Edera Ecleo, Sr. Birth Anniversary in Dinagat Islands

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao delivered this sponsorship speech during the 27 January 2015 hearing of the Committee on Revision of Laws for the initial consideration and approval of House Bill No. 4318 (An Act Declaring December 9 of each year a special non-working holiday throughout the entire province of Dinagat Islands to commemorate the birth anniversary of “Local Hero” Ruben Edera Ecleo, Sr).  

Thank you, Madam Chair. To the members of the committee, good afternoon. Siguro po marami sa atin marahil ay kilala na si Ruben Edera Ecleo, Sr. On 9 December 1934, Ruben Edera Ecleo, Sr., was born in Cabilan in the town of Dinagat in the province of Dinagat Islands.  He eventually founded the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Inc. (PBMA)—an organization of people who dedicated their lives for the service of humanity without expecting any monetary benefits, doing charitable works by serving others faithfully, and giving help voluntarily.

Sponsorship Speech for Amendments to the Family Code (Equality of Spouses)

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao delivered this sponsorship speech during the 27 January 2015 hearing of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality for the initial consideration of House Bill No. 4613 (An Act ensuring the fundamental equality of men and women, amending for the purpose Articles 14, 96, 124, 211 and 255 of Executive Order 209 otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines), which she authored with Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad.

Madam Chair, members of the committee, good afternoon.

The Family Code  or Executive Order No. 209 was enacted where it set forth the rights, duties, and obligations that will govern among family members, particularly between husband and wife. However, certain provisions in the said law do not reflect the spirit of equality between men and women, a right that is enshrined in our Constitution.

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