Pia files ‘Build, Build, Build for Education’ Bill

Following the economy’s gains from the government’s accelerated infrastructure program, also known as ‘Build, Build, Build,’ Senator Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for a similar initiative to fast-track the progress of quality tertiary education in the country. 

Cayetano has filed the Priority Infrastructure for Public Higher Education Institutions Act, which she called the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program for Education Bill.

The yet-to-be-numbered bill maps out a five-year priority infrastructure plan, with a fixed budget of P10 billion, for the improvement of facilities in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). 

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will be tasked to identify the priority infrastructure projects based on the needs of the 112 SUCs across the country.

Cayetano said the government has made notable strides towards giving Filipinos better access to education, especially with the passage the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act that grants free tuition to students in SUCs.

However, she lamented that while students have been accorded free tuition, a great number of SUCs in the country still “grieve for educational infrastructure.” 

“Thus, there is a need to enact a law ensuring that the facilities made available to students are well-equipped and of high quality,” said Cayetano. 

“Classrooms remain overcrowded and hallways are still being used as classrooms in many SUCs. There is also a shortage of Science and Computer laboratories. These conditions are not optimal for learning and likewise for teaching. Poor educational infrastructure impedes the intellectual growth and health of the youth,” she added. 

Cayetano said the bill was a fulfillment of her campaign promise to push for a measure that would allow Filipino graduates to be more globally competitive and job-ready. 

The bill is expected to boost the country’s efforts to ensure quality higher learning and upgrade its education facilities by 2030 under its Sustainable Development Goals. It also seeks to help the government meet its objectives under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, particularly on improving the quality of higher and technical education for global competitiveness. 

Other education measures that the senator has filed so far in the 18th Congress include the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Bill, Educational Roadmap Bill, as well as the measure providing for additional support and compensation for educators in Basic Education. 

The former chairperson of the Senate Education Committee, Cayetano authored laws in previous Congresses promoting the welfare of Filipino students, namely the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education or Unifast Act (Republic Act 10687), Iskolar ng Bayan Act (Republic Act 10648), Ladderized Education Act (RA 10647), Open Distance Learning Act (RA 10650), and Open High School System Act (RA 10665). #

File photo: Then Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano (in blue) sits down with students of Pangasinan Sate University in San Carlos City.

Pia files first 10 bills in support of PH development goals

Returning senator Pia S. Cayetano has filed her first 10 bills in the Senate with the aim of fulfilling her campaign promise to champion legislation that will help achieve the country’s development goals. 

Her proposed measures, Cayetano stressed, are anchored on the government’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN) Member-States, including the Philippines, in 2015.

The PDP 2017-2022 is the first medium-term plan launched by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) under the Duterte administration, leading to a vision known as “AmBisyon Natin 2040,” where Filipino families are seen to enjoy a “strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life” in 25 years.

The SDGs, meanwhile, are a collection of 17 global goals set by the UN General Assembly, with strategies geared towards improving health and education, reducing inequality, spurring economic growth, and addressing climate change.
In line with these goals, Cayetano filed her first batch of bills in the Senate and plans to file more measures in the coming weeks to address challenges hindering sustainable and inclusive growth for the country. 

Furthermore, she vowed to continue focusing on her long-time advocacies as a legislator, including education, health, women and family welfare, and sustainable communities.

Among Cayetano’s priority measures are:

1. Alternative Child Care Code of the Philippines 

2. Educational Roadmap Act 

3. Priority Health Infrastructure Act (Build, Build, Build for Health)

4. Priority Infrastructure for Public Higher Education Institutions Act (Build, Build, Build for Education)

5. Sustainable Cities and Communities Act

6. Sustainable Transportation Act

7. Act Recognizing the Foreign Decree of Termination of Marriage

8. Amendments to the Family Code of the Philippines (to ensure the equality of men and women under the laws of marriage and family relations) 

9. Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Act

10. Act Providing for Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education (Teachers salary increase)

“We already have a set of goals that we envision for future generations of Filipinos. What we need is a comprehensive action plan to ensure that our goals will be met,” Cayetano said.

“For my part, I will continue what I started since my first term as a legislator and push for more laws to empower Filipinos through education, proper healthcare services, children and family welfare policies, and sustainable development,” the senator concluded.#

Pia grateful to President Duterte for support

A few days before the upcoming mid-term elections on May 13, senatorial candidate Pia S. Cayetano expressed her gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his show of support for her bid to return to the Senate. 

“Napakahalaga ng endorsement ng ating Pangulo. It has a great impact and it is very personal to me,” the congresswoman said in a radio interview in Davao City on Thursday (May 9).

Cayetano shared that her close relationship with the President dates back to the first time she ran for Senate in 2003, during which she sought the support of the then Davao City Mayor, who was also friends with her late father, former Senator Rene Cayetano.

“[President Duterte] had always supported me as a senator. I also used to visit him in Davao to seek his advice on relevant issues, and he would share with me his perspective as a mayor,” Cayetano noted. 

“Kaya tuwing sinasabi niya na maayos ang trabaho ko, it really means a lot to me dahil alam kong alam niya ang aking trabaho,” she added.
President Duterte had expressed his support for Cayetano’s senatorial bid on several occasions, stressing that the lady lawmaker has legislated “so many good things for the Filipino people.”

He also said that it was Cayetano who asked him to sign into law the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Act for the benefit of working mothers. Cayetano was among the proponents of the bill in Congress.

“The President knows that I am happy with the enactment of this landmark measure. I am very grateful that he appreciates my work for Filipino women,” the Taguig representative said.

“If given the chance, I will continue to look for more solutions to address the concerns of Filipino families throughout the country,” Cayetano concluded. #

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano thanking President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for signing into law the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Act. #

Alternative to 5-6: Pia backs microlending program for informal sector

Nacionalista Party Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano is proposing to institutionalize a nationwide microlending program that would give poor Filipinos better access to capital to start or sustain their own livelihood.

Cayetano was in the province of Albay on Monday (May 6), where she attended the Bicol Agri Fiesta 2019 in Camalig, Albay.

In an interview with reporters there, the congresswoman said she wants to promote the country’s agriculture sector by providing agri-workers with better assistance and more economic opportunities.

Together with her brother, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia launched the Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program in 2013, which provides seed capital for micro businesses and members of the informal sector. 

The microlending project has so far granted low-interest loans to 218 organizations of farmers, fishermen, market vendors, PUV drivers, and small-scale workers, including three organizations in Albay.

Citing the success of PTK, Cayetano said she wants to institutionalize a similar microfinance program nationwide, which will assist various cooperatives and provide low-interest loans to their members.

“The PTK program is our way of helping more and more Filipinos become self-sufficient,” she stressed.

“Nakita namin ang tagumpay ng mga beneficiaries namin sa PTK kaya balak pa namin silang dagdagan, at nag-iisip din kami ng paraan para ma-institutionalize ito,” she added.

The senatorial candidate further noted that the program could be one way to fulfill the administration’s goal of eradicating usurious loan systems rampant in the informal sector, such as the ‘5-6’ money lending scheme.

“Sa totoo lang, napakahirap para sa ordinaryong Pilipino na umutang sa bangko. Ang oras na para sana sa kabuhayan nila ay nabubuhos pa sa pagpunta sa bangko at pag-ayos ng requirements. Sa PTK, maaari na silang dumeretso sa kanilang kooperatiba upang makakuha ng pondo at di kumapit sa sistemang 5-6,” Cayetano concluded.#

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano visits market vendors and beneficiaries of the Presyo, Trabaho, Kita (PTK) program at the Legazpi City Public Market in the province of Albay on Monday (May 6).PTK

Expanded Maternity Leave best Labor Day gift for working moms

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano on Wednesday (May 1) welcomed the full implementation of the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) Law, following the signing of the measure’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on May 1, Labor Day. 

The principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 11210 or the EML Law, Cayetano attended the Ceremonial Signing of the IRR in San Fernando, Pampanga, where she talked about the vital role of women as mothers and as members of the country’s workforce.

“Women play a dual role in our society, hindi lang trabaho sa opisina kundi trabaho sa bahay at pag-aalaga ng pamilya. Therefore, being a mother is something that we need to compensate,” the congresswoman stressed.

The ceremonial signing was part of the 117th Labor Day Celebration spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), with the theme “Pagpupugay sa Manggagawang Pilipino.”

“Magandang balita ito dahil ibig sabihin ay tuloy na tuloy na and ready to be implemented ang Expanded Maternity Leave Law. This is a great gift to working mothers this Labor Day,” Cayetano said.

On the other hand, the Taguig representative clarified that the law’s effectivity already started as early as March, 15 days following its publication in the Official Gazette.

“The good news is, hindi lang May 1 ang effectivity kung hindi noong March pa. Kaya sa lahat po ng mga nanay na nanganak simula noon, 105 days na ang maternity leave credits niyo,” Cayetano explained.

A known women’s advocate, Cayetano had been fighting for the law’s passage since her term in the Senate. 

She believes that working mothers should be allowed more than 60 days to recover from childbirth and also to take care of their newborn babies.

“Women who are given enough time to take care of their families are also more likely to be productive at work. Kaya ibigay na natin sa mga working mothers ang 105 days maternity leave para pagbalik nila ay mas makapag-focus sila sa trabaho,” she noted.#

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano (in pink) applauds the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law, of which she was the principal author and sponsor.

Let’s make our graduates job-ready – Pia

In line with this year’s celebration of Labor Day, Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano vowed to continue fighting for measures that will improve the quality of education in the country and make Filipino graduates job-ready. 

The congresswoman was in San Fernando Pampanga on Wednesday (May 1) to attend the 117th Labor Day Celebration spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

During her speech, Cayetano stressed the importance of allocating more budget for the improvement of the Philippine education system in order to prepare young Filipinos to be competitive members of the workforce.

“I will continue to fight for us to put in more budget for education because the demands that will be put on our labor force will be very high,” she said, particularly stressing Central Luzon’s great potential to be a center of economic growth in the country, owing to the region’s continued infrastructure developments.

On this note, Cayetano said the government and the private sector should work together to ensure that the youth are ready to take on the challenge of meeting the demands of booming industries.

“We already have free tertiary education. But the question is, how well does our quality of education compare to our Asian neighbors,” she noted.

“That is where my education advocacy comes in, because free education alone is not enough. It is our collective responsibility to help young people get the opportunities that they deserve,” she added.

The Taguig representative urged the Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), local government units (LGUs), and other concerned agencies to make sure that their Senior High School (SHS) Programs are really training students to be hireable.

She also pushed for the proper implementation of Republic Act 10687 or the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Act, of which she was an author.

“I am delighted that one of my laws has already been implemented, which is the UniFAST law. Through this, government can give up to P60,000 worth of financial assistance to poor and deserving students,” Cayetano said.

A known advocate of the youth sector in Congress, Cayetano authored more laws promoting the welfare of Filipino students, including the Iskolar ng Bayan Act (Republic Act 10648), Ladderized Education Act (RA 10647), Open Distance Learning Act (RA 10650), and Open High School System Act (RA 10665), among others. #

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano speaks before guests and officials present at the 117th Labor Day Celebration spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), held in San Fernando, Pampanga on Wednesday (May 1).

Pia seeks Congress oversight to assess education programs

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano on Monday (April 29) said she plans to use Congress’ oversight function to assess whether the country’s existing education programs are truly benefiting Filipino students.

“I want to make sure that every Filipino has access to education services, and that our current laws are implemented in a manner that is consistent with our legislative intent,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters in Lanao del Norte.

Among the education measures Cayetano authored was Republic Act 10687 or the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UniFAST).

The law properly allocates government resources to ensure efficient distribution of financial assistance programs for Filipino students. It provides scholarships and loans to students based on certain qualifications.

The congresswoman said she particularly wants to find out whether enough students are benefiting from the said measure. 

“There are academically gifted students that deserve our support for their education. Those are all covered by the UniFAST law,” Cayetano noted.

“Kaya hihimayin ko ang batas na ito to be sure that it is being implemented in the way it was intended,” she added.

The senatorial candidate further expressed commitment to push for more education policies that could respond to the ever changing needs of Filipino students. 

“It is very important that we are willing to adjust and make the kind of changes necessary to meet our people’s needs,” Cayetano said.

“There’s so much to be done not just in lawmaking but in pushing for policies and more budget for the proper programs, to ensure that more deserving students are able to finish their studies,” she added.#

Senatoriable Pia Cayetano gets a warm in Lanao del Norte led by Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo, 1D Rep Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo and 2D Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo.

Pia welcomes news about release of Extended Maternity Leave Act IRR

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano expressed her excitement over news that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) Law will be issued in time for this year’s Labor Day celebration.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently announced that it would be releasing the IRR of the newly enacted law on May 1. 

“I am very excited to hear that the IRR for our landmark measure will finally be released on Labor Day,” said Cayetano, who was the principal author and sponsor of the measure in Congress.

“A lot of mothers have been messaging us and asking us whether they can already avail of the maternity leave benefits provided by the law. Now, we can inform them that they can do so because we already have an IRR,” she added.

The President signed the EML or Republic Act 11210 in February, granting working mothers 105 days of paid maternity leave credits, among other specified benefits. 

A known advocate of women’s welfare, Cayetano had been fighting for the measure’s passage since her term in the Senate, when she sponsored the bill as former chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.

“Hindi naman madali sa mga babae na maging working mother. Kaya kailangan ay bigyan natin ng sapat na pagkakataon na maka-recover ang mga nanay at maalagaan ang kanilang mga baby bago sila bumalik sa pagtatrabaho,” she noted. 

With the law’s IRR now in place, Cayetano said all new and expecting mothers working in government and private offices, as well as those belonging to the informal sector, can now fully avail of the expanded maternity leave benefits, provided that they are members of SSS. 

“That’s why I am encouraging all working mothers, especially those who are self-employed like market vendors, to contribute to SSS so that your pregnancy will be covered by the law,” the congresswoman stressed.#

Pia to help promote tourism industry of Isabela

Senatorial candidate Pia S. Cayetano vowed to promote the province of Isabela as a tourism gateway for Northern Luzon, stressing that fostering the country’s tourism industry would be among her agenda should she win a Senate seat.

“It would be an honor for me to promote Isabela by making it the gateway for the provinces in the North. Kasama ‘yan sa mga nasa agenda ko,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters in the province.

The congresswoman visited the municipality of Cabatuan on Thursday (April 25) where she met with local officials, barangay health workers, and local residents to discuss her priority measures for the benefit of Filipino families. 

Cayetano expressed her excitement over personally exploring what the entire province has to offer for tourism. 

“I fully support the promotion of Isabela as a destination for local and international tourists alike,” she said. 

The largest island in Luzon in terms of land area, Isabela is known for several natural attractions including mountain ranges, valleys, white sand beaches, and also a rich cultural heritage.

The province is a good stop for tourists who are interested in seeking peace and tranquility in historical churches, one of which is the St. Matthias Church in the town of Tumauini.

The structure is one of the country’s five Baroque churches submitted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Centre.

Cayetano for her part vowed to push for more measures that would boost the growth of local tourism industries in many Philippine provinces, with the goal of ensuring that all Filipinos would benefit from the country’s tourism-oriented economy. 

“Consider me as your partner in promoting your beautiful province and the entire country,” she noted. #

Stay vigilant following Luzon, Visayas quakes

House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano is urging all Filipino families to remain vigilant amid the strong earthquakes that hit several parts of the country this week.

Following the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that hit parts of Luzon on Monday, another magnitude 6.3 earthquake rattled the Visayas region on Tuesday.
Amid fears of aftershocks, Cayetano reminded the public to always remain calm and prepared whenever calamities strike.

“Ang reminder ko sa karamihan, baka hindi kayo sa lindol masaktan kung hindi sa after-effect, which are panic and stampede,” she noted.

“That’s why we have to be very careful and calm. More importantly, let’s prepare ourselves for calamities. There’s so much information out there that we can access through technology,” she added.

The congresswoman further stressed the need to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable sectors, including children, pregnant women, the sick, the elderly, and the differently abled, during times of disasters.

Cayetano said local government units (LGUs) should integrate these sectors’ welfare in their disaster risk reduction and management programs. This way, incidents of maternal and infant sickness, deaths, as well as cases of rape, trafficking, and prostitution could be prevented.

Cayetano said Taguig City has set a good example with its timely disaster response efforts during the earthquake on Monday. 

“Ang maganda sa Taguig, agad agad may first responders na nasa labas. Meron na kaagad kaming command post na nakatayo within a matter of minutes. Sana ay lahat ng LGUs ay ganito rin kabilis ang pagresponde,” she stressed.

The Taguig representative, who is running for re-election in the upcoming senatorial polls, authored Republic Act No. 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act.

The measure provides emergency relief and protection for children before, during, and after disasters.#

Senatoriable Pia Cayetano discussing with student leaders from Pangasinan State University.