PARTY-LIST lawmakers on Monday asked President Duterte to review the party-list system law, instead of calling for its abolition.
Party-list Rep. Gary C. Alejano of Magdalo said the Durterte administration should initiate a review of the law to strengthen it.
“It would be wise for the President to call for a review or an investigation on the Party-list System Law before having any pronouncement,” Alejano said.
Alejano made a statement after Duterte’s pronouncement on Friday calling for the abolition of the Party-list System Act.
Duterte has expressed his dissatisfaction with regard the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 7941, or The Party-List System Act.
According to Duterte, he would support the abolition of the party-list system in the proposed Constitutional reforms.
President Duterte stressed that the party-list system has been abused by the rich and the powerful.
While admitting the RA 7941 is outdated, Alejano said he does not support the abolition of the party-list system, “I agree that the party-list law should be amended to weed wealthy opportunists out of the system.”
Meanwhile, Alejano suggested studying, as part of the comprehensive review of RA 7941, the background of the different party-list groups that participated in the election, the personalities that represent these party-list organizations, as well as their performance in the previous congresses to ascertain that they have promoted the advocacies of their parties.
For his part, Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan said “not all party-list groups are bad.”
“The party-list system was instituted by framers of the 1987 Constitution to enhance proportional representation and uplift the plight of all Filipinos, including the underrepresented sectors,” the lawmaker said.
Villarin said the government should instead address the systemic causes ingrained within traditional political culture that affect the legislature’s credibility in truly representing the people.
“What the President should do is follow and implement the constitutional mandate of abolishing political dynasties. Many of them are in fact now allied with him,” the lawmaker said.
46 party-list groups
AT least 46 old and new party-list groups have represented the marginalized or underrepresented sectors or organizations in the country in the 17th Congress.
Under RA 7941, or the Party-list System Act, the party-list representatives shall constitute 20 percent of the total number of members of the House of Representatives.
Representing prolife advocates in the 17th Congress are the Buhay, with two seats, and MATA or Ang Mata’y Alagaan, with one seat.
In the last Congress the Buhay filed 37 bills focusing on senior citizens and an act repealing RA 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood, and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, while MATA has filed 12 bills.
For teachers, there are ACT Teachers (two seats), Kalinga (one seat) and A Teacher (one seat) in the 17th Congress.
During the 16th Congress, ACT Teachers filed a total of 38 principally authored bills, Kalinga field seven bills, while A Teacher filed 48 bills.
Among these bills were An Act Increasing the Minimum Monthly Salaries for Public-school Teachers to P25,000 and Nonteaching Personnel to P15,000; An Act Increasing the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance Granted to Government Employees to P4,000; and An Act Providing for a Teaching-supplies Allowance for Public-school Teachers.
At least seven groups would represent the farmers and agriculture sector in the next Congress, namely, Agri Party-list (two seats), Abono Party-list (two seats), Agap or Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (one seat), AAMBIS-OWA (one seat), Butil Party-list (one seat), Anakpawis (one seat) and Agbiag (one seat).
In the 16th Congress, these partylist groups has filed a total of 209 bills concerning the farmers and agricultural sector.
Among these measures were An Act Strengthening the National Food Authority; An Act to Institutionalize Micro-Credit Financing for the Agricultural Sector; An Act to Create an Agriculture Scholarship Fund; An Act Creating an Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in Every Province; An Act Promoting Agri-Tourism by Identifying Areas that are Viable for Development; An Act Promoting the Scientific Propagation, Processing, Utilization and Development of Philippine Native Animals and Creating the Philippine Native Animal Development Center; and An Act Instituting Genuine Agrarian Reform in the Country.
They were also included to the authors of the recently signed laws—the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the act extending the utilization period of the agricultural competitiveness enhancement fund.
THERE are also groups and individuals belonging to different left and progressive traditions in the 17th Congress.
Representing Filipino women is the Gabriela Women’s Party, which is set to occupy two seats in the next Congress.
In the previous 16th Congress, Gabriela has filed a total of 63 bills, which most focused on divorce in the Philippines, legal separation, decriminalizing premature marriages and removing classification among legitimate, illegitimate and legitimated children.
The Akbayan (one seat), which filed 70 bills, vowed to strengthen the right of citizens to information held by the government and strengthen the commission on human rights, as well as the Party-list System Act.
The Bayan Muna (one seat), meanwhile, vowed to push the bill prohibiting the establishment of political dynasties, bill lowering individual income-tax rates and measure increasing the pension under the Social Security System. In the recently concluded Congress, the group filed 170 bills.
Also, the Kabataan Party-list (one seat) said it will refile the bill establishing magna carta for students. The youth group filed a total of 119 bill in the past three years.
Groups fighting corruption and poverty are CIBAC or Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (one seat), YACAP or Youth against Corruption and Poverty (one seat), Abang Lingkod (one seat) and Sagip Party-list (one seat).
Among the bills filed by the said groups were An Act Regulating the Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues from Living Donors; An Act Providing Penalties to Parents Acting Irresponsibly and for Other Purposes, and An Act Providing for a Magna Carta of the Poor.
Pushing for private and public employees’ rights are DIWA or Dignidad sa Bawat Manggagawa (one seat), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (one seat).
The two party-list groups vowed to refile the bills mandating the creation of a typhoon code of practice in every office and establishment where employees are required to report to a place of work, an act providing for benefits to families of employees who are missing and in danger of death, an act rationalizing government interventions in labor disputes, an act to enhance the regulation on employment of foreign national and transfer of technology and an act strengthening the workers’ right to strike, amending the Labor Code of the Philippines.
The Magdalo Party-list (one seat), which represents public officials particularly, from military services, vowed to push the bill expanding and maximizing the scholarship grants extended to the family members of personnel of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
REPRESENTING the energy sector are Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association (LP-GMA) and 1-CARE or Consumer Alliance for Rural Energy.
In the 16th Congress, the two groups filed a total of 32 principally authored bills, which include the bill establishing the regulatory framework for the safe operations of the LPG industry and an act creating the Mindanao Power Corp.
Representing Bicolanos, the Ako Bicol party-list group obtained three seats in the present Congress.
During the recently concluded 16th Congress, Ako Bicol has filed 22 principally authored bills, including an act providing grants to part time and independent students, an act granting public elementary and high-school teachers nonwage benefits in the form of free tertiary education in any state college or university for one dependent child and an act establishing the Filipino identification system.
Occupying two seats for Mindanaoan is Anak Mindanao. In the past Congress the group has filed a total of 12 bills. Among these bills are an act prohibiting discrimination against persons on account of ethnic origin and or religious belief, an act declaring a national policy on peace zones and an act providing for the mandatory study of moro and indigenous peoples history, culture and identify in the curricula of all levels of schools in the country.
Representing Visayan and indigenous people are the reelected An Waray party-list with one seat and ANAC-IP with one seat.
For cooperatives, maritime and professional there are COOP-NATCCO (two seats), Angkla (one seat) and ABS or Arts Business and Science Professional (one seat), respectively.
New party-list groups
NEW groups joined the 17th Congress to represent their respective sector are athlete’s groups 1-Pacman (two seats) and PBA (two seats), Senior Citizens (two seats), Kabalikat ng Mamayan or Kabayan (two seats), Alliance of Organizations, Networks and Associations or Alona Party-list (one seat), ACTS-OFW (one seat) and Ang Kabuhayan (one seat).
Also joining the present Congress are Bagong Henerasyon (one seat), AASENSO (one seat), Serbisyo ng Bayan Party-list (one seat) 1-Ang Edukasyon (one seat), Manila Teachers (one seat), Kusug Tausug (1 seat) and Aangat Tayo (one seat).