A congressman on his first day in office wants to roll up his sleeves, buckle down to business and hit the ground running.
Rep. Salvador B. Belaro Jr. of the 1-Ang Edukasyon Party-List has vowed to file on Monday 30 bills in the House of Representatives to improve the country’s education system and enhance the welfare of its stakeholders.
Belaro took his oath of office before Supreme Court Justice Jose Portugal Perez last Friday after the Commission on Elections released his Certificate of Proclamation last Thursday afternoon.
Included among the 30 bills are that for the establishment of a College Loan program which will enable all Filipinos eligible for college loans (College Education for All Act), that for the establishment of a community college for every capital town in the country (Community College Act of 2016), that for the creation of a National Center for Scholarships which will be a one-stop-shop for the granting of scholarships in the country (National Center for Scholarships Act), that for the holding of college and graduate courses in all embassies and consulates of the Philippines abroad (Overseas Education Act of 2016), that calling for the strengthening of research in the country (Research Act of 2016), that calling for the establishment of special education classes in public schools (the Special Education Act of 2016), the regulation of pre-school subjects (Pre-School Act of 2016), that for the establishment of computer and internet facilities in all public schools (Computer and Literacy Act of 2016), the granting of incentives and loans to those who want to pursue graduate studies (Graduate Studies Act) and the funding for the creation of educational databases (Online Encyclopedia Act).
Belaro is also proposing that teachers be given the option of availing of mutual funds (Educators’ Mutual Fund), that teachers and students be given accident and indemnity insurance coverage (Education Accident and Indemnity Insurance Act), that the salaries of private school teachers be standardized (Private School Teachers’ Salaries Standardization Act), that teachers be granted a minimum increase in salaries of P10,000 for the next three years, that dependents of teachers be given discounts in tuition fees (Teachers’ Dependents Act), that retired school teachers be accorded preference in availment of government facilities (Retired Teachers’ Welfare Act), that teachers assigned in far-flung areas be given additional incentives (Teachers for the Barrios Act) and that all schools in the country should have road and transportation access (School Accessibility Act).
The solon’s other bills include that calling for a Uniform Accreditation for Colleges and Universities, the establishment of a feeding program for all public schools (Students’ Nutrition Development Act of 2016), the regulation of rentals of all student facilities (Student Rent Control Act), the amendment of the Magna Carta for Teachers so as not to discriminate the admission into the faculty and studentry of single parents, members of tribal minorities and the LGBT, the amendment of the Tax Code to make grants of scholarships and research grants deductible from the computation of gross income, and the granting of educational assistance for the children of solo parents (Solo Parents Act of 2016).
Belaro is also filing a resolution calling upon the CHED to conduct a full-blast inquiry into what he calls the increasing “education gap,” the phenomenon whereby around 600,000 graduates yearly of our colleges and universities cannot find jobs that match their collegiate studies.
Asked as to why all of the bills he is filing is all about education, Rep. Belaro reasoned out that his party-list campaigned with the vision that “Ang tunay na pag-asa ay nasa edukasyon” and thus, his initial bills in Congress should reflect that promise. As to why he is filing 30 bills, he cited that he is doing so to symbolize his support for the administration of President Duterte (who is popularly identified with the meme Du30) and to complement the President’s ongoing sweeping reforms in governance.
A lawyer-educator-author for the past 20 years, Belaro is the founding dean of the St. Dominic Savio College of Law (Caloocan City) and has previously taught political science and law subjects at the University of the Philippines (Diliman and Los Baños), Ateneo de Manila University, University of Caloocan and the Entrepreneurship School of Asia. He was also a former commissioner of Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. He has written many books, including the best-seller “Legal Forms for Entrepreneurs.” Rep. Belaro obtained his BA Political Science (Cum Laude) from the University of the Philippines and his Bachelor of Laws from the UP College of Law wherein he was once elected class president. He also holds a Master of Laws degree from Cornell University (New York, USA) where he was elected Class Representative of the LLM Class of 2004.