Trillanes:incarcerated but productive
When the third session of the 14th Congress opens on July 27, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV may be able to be part of it from his detention cell in Camp Crame via the modern technology of teleconferencing.
This could be the start of the realization of the mandate that the Filipino people bestowed on him when they voted for him senator despite the fact that he was in detention and a thorn in Gloria Arroyo’s neck.
But despite his incarceration, or some say because of it, he has come out to be one of the most prolific members of the Senate having authored and co-authored a total of 285 bills and 21 resolutions in the first two years of his six-year term, mostly in line with his advocacies as poverty alleviation, national defense and security, affordable and accessible health care and education, and environmental protection.
The quality of Trillanes’ bills reflects his vibrancy of his political mind. He was the principal author of the Archipelagic Baseline Law. Through the shepherding of Sen. Miriam Santiago, the final form excluded the Scarborough shoal from the main Philippine territory. The shoal, which is some 124 nautical miles from Zambalez was still part of Philippine territory but as regime of island.
That folly of not including Scarborough shoal as part of the country’s main territory, because we were afraid of China, was brought to fore last month when a Chinese submarine collided with an underwater sonar array towed by a U.S destroyer USS near the area. It’s a brazen intrusion into Philippine territory and all that the authorities could say is, it’s outside Philippine territorial waters.
His crusade for good governance has put him and his fellow Magdalo officers in jail but this has all the more strengthened his resolve for the crusade knowing that corruption in the government is directly linked to the grinding poverty in the country. He has authored “An act consolidating the laws granting rewards to informers of violations of internal revenue and customs laws” and “An Act providing for a grant of reward to informers of violations of RA 7080 (Plunder Law) and RA 1379 (Properties confiscated under the anti-graft and corrupt practices law)
He also authored “An Act increasing the penalties imposed against contractors and subcontractors who violate any material provision of contracts involving public works projects of the government, and public officials who allow such violations, amending for this purpose Presidential Decree No. 1759.”
“We should fight against the alarming propensity of this administration to punish whistleblowers of anomalous transactions instead of the perpetrators, most of whom are part of government themselves,” Trillanes said.
To minimize opportunities for corruption, he introduced the bill mandating the use of transaction windows and the creation of e-services in all government agencies.
Close to his heart, of course, are uniformed personnel who gave him electoral support (he was in the top five precincts surrounding military and police camps). He is giving back that support with bills that
help improve their lot which include increasing the combat pay of AFP officers and personnel and also that of all commissioned and non-commissioned personnel of the Philippine National Police. He has filed bills providing for additional insurance coverage and benefits of all members of the AFP and PNP who are killed, injured, or wounded in the line of duty.
Going back to basics, he filed a resolution increasing the subsistence allowance of all officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from P90 to P150 per day.
Aware of the connection between poverty and inaccessibility to education, he filed a bill to subsidize school fees in all public elementary and high schools, and another one strengthening the open learning system of higher education in the Philippines.
This one I especially applaud: An Act requiring Mandatory Computer Education in all public and private high schools.
In our barrio in Guisijan, Laua-an in the province of Antique, young people graduate in high school without having seen and touch a computer. I can just imagine their great disadvantage when they go to college and look for job. Without computer knowledge, they end up domestic helpers and laborers in sweat shops.
Concerned about the effect of brain drain in our health sector, with Filipino doctors becoming nurses in other countries, he filed a bill providing for an increase in the salary of government physicians.
He also filed a bill creating a national cancer center to be known as the Philippine National Cancer Center and another one providing for a National Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Fund.
All these efforts to improve the lives of the Filipino can be facilitated if we have a change in leadership And change is only possible with Gloria Arroyo out of Malacañang.“Any illusions of change are simply not possible under the administration of GMA,” Trillanes said.