Senate hopefuls to push for federalism and lower electricity rates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 3) — Four Senate aspirants shared their plans for the Philippines should they be elected.

Speaking at CNN Philippines' Senatorial Forum, Agnes Escudero, Ding Generoso, Romulo Macalintal and Butch Valdes spoke about their priority bills should they get elected.

Here's what they had to say:


A licensed teacher running under the Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi, Escudero said that she will push for bills that promotes the rights of indigenous peoples.

"I'd like to enact laws about indigenous peoples, primarily to have the Department of Indigenous Peoples kasi kailangan talagang mabigyan ng attention ang iba't-ibang activities patungkol sa mga katutubo," she said.

[Translation: More attention should be given to indigenous peoples. ]

There is currently a National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, but Escudero did not say how the creation of a department would differ from the current setup.

She added that she will file a bill on cultural tourism.

"Para bigyan ng magandang patungkol ang mga natural resources ng mga tribo, at magkakaroon sila ng employment doon," Escudero said.

[Translation: The bill would highlight the beauty of the natural resources of tribes, and will help them gain employment.]


The former spokesperson of the the Consultative Committee on charter change, the group tasked to review the 1987 Constitution under orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, wants to push for federalism.

"Pagka ang ibang rehiyon outside Metro Manila ay bigyan natin ng kapangyarihan ng awtonomiya … makakalikha tayo ng ekonomiya na progresibo sa mga rehiyon," Generoso said. "Iyong regional government ay makakalikha ng ibang oportunidad sa ibang rehiyon."

[Translation: If regions outside Metro Manila will be given the power of autonomy … we will create a progressive economy in the regions … The regional government can create other opportunities in other regions.]

He also said that the measure can curb traffic woes in Manila.

READ: Two Senate bets see federalism as solution to traffic


Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal wants more protection for senior citizens.

"Ang problema namin ngayon yung mataas na halaga ng bilihin ng gamot, kaya para sa akin dapat pag dating namin ng 70 years old, yung 20 percent (discount) itaas natin yan," he said.

Macalintal wants the discount for medicine and medical services to increase by ten percent increments for every decade passed, until people at the age of 90 will get 50 percent medical discount.

He also pushed for a P100,000 allowance for centenarians, to benefit not just them but also their families or caretakers.


The proponent of the Citizen National Guard, a group supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte, wants to repeal Electronic Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

"We are paying the highest electricity rates in the world. When I get to the Senate, I will move to review, to suspend and all the way to repeal the EPIRA law," Valdes said.

He would also push indicting former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III for the Dengvaxia vaccine scandal.

READ: Electric Power Industry Reform Act

Catch the next leg of CNN Philippines' Senatorial Forum next week, and get to know four more Senate aspirants.