Get to know the senators' priority bills in the 19th Congress

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Senators as early as Monday, July 4, filed their priority bills under the 19th Congress, with measures that would benefit laborers, the health and education sector, indigents and senior citizens, among other sectors.

Education

Sen. Loren Legarda was first to file her priority measures on Monday, with most of them centered on education such as the "One Tablet, One Student " bill which seeks to provide students from the public elementary, secondary, and state universities and colleges with tablet computers to help them with their online learning.

She also wants to institutionalize a magna carta for public school teachers and private school teachers to improve their living and working conditions. She and Sen. Sonny Angara also filed bills which seek to upgrade the salary grade level of public school teachers.

Sen. Koko Pimentel, on the other hand, filed a measure to mandate age-appropriate computer programming subjects in the K-12 program.

Sen. Win Gatchalian, for his part, is asking for the review of the K-12 program and identify its issues and challenges, as well as recommend strategic solutions.

Sen. Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, Sen. nancy Binay, and Gatchalian are pushing to increase teachers' salaries.

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go is also pursuing his proposed measure to advance nursing education in the Philippines.

Sen. Robin Padilla and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, both staunch allies of the Duterte administration, are seeking to revive the mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps. in the country.

Health

Angara filed bills pushing for e-health system and services, healthcare facility augmentation, and he and Padilla proposed amendments to the magna carta for health workers.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed a bill to ban hospital detention while Pimentel filed a measure to modernize the Philippine Orthopedic Center.

Go also renewed his call for the establishment of a center for disease control and prevention, as well as the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, on the other hand, wants to put up the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zubiri also filed a bill to establish specialty hospitals in regions outside the capital region.

Sen. JV Ejercito, meanwhile, wants an upgrade of health workers' salary. He is also proposing to adjust PhilHealth premium contributions.

Binay is pushing to provide free medical and dental services to indigent children.

Transport

Pimentel and Padilla have formally sought the suspension excise taxes on fuel products in one of their priority measures, amid the increase in pump prices that continue to hurt motorists and commuters. Presidential sister Sen. Imee Marcos filed a similar bill specifically granting the President the authority to enforce the suspension.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, on the other hand, filed a measure seeking fixed monthly salaries for public utility drivers and conductors.

Ejercito, a motorcycle enthusiast, also wants amendments to the "doble plaka" law.

Labor

Also among the priority measures filed by Estrada, who is set to chair the Senate Committee on Labor, are institutionalization of a magna carta for workers, enterprises, and organizations in the informal economy; and a magna carta for Filipino seafarers.

He also wants to create new agencies that would attend to jobseekers like the National Manpower Data and Placement Center and the National Employee Assistance Center of the Philippines.

Hontiveros and Villanueva also filed a bill to end illegal contractualization.

Freelancers and creatives may also soon benefit from Villanueva and Estrada's Protection to Freelancers bill and Angara's Artists' Incentives bill.

Sen. Francis Tolentino, meanwhile, is pushing for his proposed Workers' Rest bill. He has also filed a measure to provide telecommuting incentives for employees. Sen. Grace Poe is also pushing for a magna carta for workers in the informal economy.

Sen. Joel Villanueva has also filed several measures for the benefit of workers, named Trabaho Para sa Lahat ng Pilipino, Freelance Workers Protection, and the expansion of the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Program.

Villanueva also hopes the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) could get support through a ₱100-billion stimulus package.

Sen. Raffy Tulfo has also proposed a number of bills aimed at supporting and protecting Filipino workers, including discounts for poor job applicants, redefining illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate, extending the prescriptive period of labor money claims, and the creation of the Wage Theft Act.

Senior citizens

A number of measures filed by the first batch of senators also covered the welfare of senior citizens. Among Hontiveros' other bills are the Lingap Para kay Lolo at Lola — which would increase the monthly social pension of senior citizens from ₱500 to ₱1,000 — and the Free Dialysis for Senior Citizens bill.

Revilla and Pimentel are also seeking amendments to The Centenarians Act of 2016, by increasing the amount of the current ₱100,0000 cash gift to those who reach the age of 101 years.

Padilla also wants nursing homes for senior citizens.

Women and the LGBTQ+ community

Hontiveros and Padilla are pushing for the legalization of divorce as a means to dissolve marriage in the country. The latter is also pushing for civil unions.

Hontiveros also revived the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons from discrimination.

She also filed a measure to provide maternity benefit for women in the informal economy.

Crime and justice

Lawmakers are also pushing for initiatives and reforms to combat criminality in the country. Dela Rosa, who was once a Philippine National Police chief, wants to revive the death penalty for those behind large-scale illegal drug trafficking, an attempt to carry over the Duterte administration's controversial anti-drug campaign to the current presidency. He also wants to put up an anti-drug abuse council and a program promoting drug abuse prevention and treatment.

He also refiled his bill which requires and regulates the use of body cameras in police operations, , and a separate measure to institutionalize the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to end insurgency in the country.

This story will be updated.