Special Report III: De Lima’s legislative accomplishments (Last of Three Parts)

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Senator Leila M. de Lima may have had limited access to important devices that she needs to properly discharge her duties as a duly elected lawmaker of the Republic, but it did not stop her from drafting relevant legislative measures and resolutions this year.

“Due to my continued unjust detention, I missed my opportunity again this year to participate in plenary sessions and important debates in the Senate, but I regularly worked on filing bills and resolutions and pushed for the passage of several bills into laws as Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development,” she said.

Passage into law of four social justice bills

Magna Carta of the Poor

A law that seeks to champion the cause of the underprivileged by ensuring their full access to basic services to help alleviate poverty, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11291 or the “Magna Carta of the Poor”, mandates the government to establish a system of progressive realization or implementation to provide the requirements, conditions, and opportunities for the full enjoyment of the fundamental rights of the poor.

De Lima is the principal sponsor and author of the “Magna Carta of the Poor” bill in the Senate whose beneficiaries include individuals whose income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority, and those who cannot afford in a sustained manner to provide their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, and housing. It was signed into law last April 12.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

When the President signed the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps)  bill, which De Lima principally authored and sponsored on the floor through former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in the Senate, last April 17, she said it was “a big step forward in the continuing journey towards attaining social justice for the most vulnerable sectors of the society.”

Institutionalizing the 4Ps as one of the government’s regular anti-poverty programs for qualified poor Filipino families, Republic Act No. 11310 provides conditional cash transfer to an estimated 4.8 million qualified indigent families for a maximum period of seven years to improve their health, nutrition and access to education. The law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations was signed last Dec. 10.

Community-Based Monitoring Act

R.A. No. 11135, also known as the Community-Based Monitoring System Act (CMBS), mandates the establishment of a monitoring system down to the barangay level where data collected shall institutionalize a nationwide databank that can be used by national government agencies and local government units in the formulation and implementation of poverty-alleviation and development programs.

Originally logged as Senate Bill No. 2172, which was referred to De Lima’s Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, as primary committee, it was authored by Senators Nancy Binay and Juan Miguel Zubiri, with the former justice secretary herself, Sen. Sonny Angara and then Sen. Loren Legarda as co-authors.

De Lima had authorized Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, to which the bill was referred as secondary committee, to conduct hearings, prepare the committee report, sponsor and defend the bill before the plenary. President Duterte signed R.A. No. 11315 last April 17.

National Commission of Senior Citizens Act

This year, De Lima, the principal sponsor and co-author of the Senior Citizen Bill in the Senate, also applauded the signing into law of Republic Act No. 11350 creating the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) which is dedicated solely in handling the concerns of the elderly last July 25.

Under the law, a NCSC will be made available not only to ensure strict implementation of laws for the elderly but also to task the Department of Social Welfare and Development to create policies and oversight programs for them.

Drafting of bills and resolutions

This 18th Congress, De Lima has authored 52 bills and 22 resolutions and co-authored three bills and five resolutions.

Some of her priority legislations include the Human Rights Defenders Bill, Anti-Extrajudicial Killing Bill, Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Bill, Comprehensive Prison Reform Bill, Criminal Investigation Bill, Magna Carta for Day Care Workers, and Qualified Reclusion Perpetua Bill, among others. (30)

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