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Pia: Make children accountable, not criminally liable

Children as young as 9 years old who come into conflict with the law should be held accountable for their actions, but not as criminal offenders. 

Thus stressed House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano, even as she agreed that the current law setting the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) at 15 years old needs to be amended to keep children away from a life of crime and being used by criminal syndicates. 

“There should be accountability for young children in conflict with law, but not criminal prosecution, especially when the child is at a tender age of 9,” she said, in a last-ditch appeal to her colleagues at the House to consider her compromise bill in plenary. 

An advocate of the family and Filipino children, Cayetano sent a letter to express her position to the House Committee on Justice which has approved the substitute bill amending the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (RA 9934) to lower the MACR from 15 to 9 years old. 

The Taguig City lawmaker said, “It would be unconscionable to hold a child criminally liable when it is clear that it is their environment, home or community that exposed them to violence and other anti-social behavior.”

“I share the frustration of the President and my colleagues at how minors known to be used by criminal syndicates continue to roam the streets with syndicates exploiting the gaps in our existing laws.”

“This is the reason why I pushed for the substitute bill that was approved last year by the sub-committee, where children in conflict with the law would be required to undergo comprehensive rehabilitation through a range of options that would bring them on the right path.”

“Our children deserve to lead a full life, one away from crimes and syndicates. They deserve to be reared in a family and a community that will support them and guide them to become responsible citizens,” she concluded. #

Photo: Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano at a recent Pinay In Action (PIA) self-defense clinic at the Marillac Center for Girls in Muntinlupa.

Pia urges better awareness on vaccination program

Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for ‘more intelligent discussions’ on the importance of government’s immunization program, which aims to protect Filipino children from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Cayetano made the call during her speech at the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines (VMLP) Academy of Presiding Officers Graduation Ceremony at the Century Park Hotel on Tuesday, December 4.

Addressing over a thousand vice mayors from across the country, the Taguig representative said there is a need for politicians to make tougher decisions in addressing difficult social issues that affect the lives of Filipinos.

“One of my challenges is to make young people know that the decisions we (public officials) make are not always easy. It’s not true that things are always in black and white. But you look at the greater good,” Cayetano said.

“The desire to look for a road that has no obstacles is human nature. But we were not put in public service para umiwas (to avoid controversial issues). We were put here to go through that difficult road,” she added.

The congresswoman particularly cited the government’s vaccination program, which she said has lost much public support since the failed immunization program involving the anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

A known advocate of women’s and children’s health and welfare, Cayetano was the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 10152, also known as the Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act.

Kahit po unpopular topic ‘yun (even if it’s an unpopular issue), I’ll talk about it. Because the danger of mothers fearing vaccination cannot be greater than their children actually having polio, smallpox, chicken pox, measles. Lahat ‘yun, kung hindi man nakakamatay (these diseases may not necessarily lead to death), but are very debilitating,” Cayetano stressed in her speech.

She also urged fellow public officials to help raise better awareness on the importance of vaccination in protecting the health of children and youth, as well as allaying the public’s fear over the negative effects of vaccines.

Sa takot ng mga tao dahil sa nangyari sa Dengvaxia, marami ngayon ang ayaw nang magpabakuna. (Because of the scare caused by Dengvaxia, parents have refused to have their children vaccinated). So it requires na i-educate ang mga nanay na, ‘Pasensya na, huwag po kayong matakot sa vaccination, kailangan ‘yan ng mga anak ninyo,” Cayetano asserted. (The situation requires that we educate mothers not to fear vaccination, because their children need it.) #

Pia bikes to Comelec to file COC

Kicking off her bid to return to national politics, Taguig City representative Pia Cayetano rode a bike on Tuesday, October 16, to file her certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator.

Cayetano, who is also Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, was joined by supporters from Taguig for the bike ride that started from Kilometer Zero in Rizal Park to the COMELEC headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.

She told reporters that riding her bike symbolizes her call for sustainable transportation, including safe bike lanes in urban centers.

The former two-term senator is known to have led some of the toughest battles to pass contentious legislation in Congress, including the country’s very first Reproductive Health Act, the Graphic Health Warning Act, and Sin Tax Reform Law.

As a member of the House, Cayetano recently helped pass the 105 Days Expanded Maternity Leave Bill, which was subsequently ratified by both chambers of Congress.

She also stood for the Foreign Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage bills which were approved by the House in a historic vote last March. Both measures remain pending in the Senate.

She vowed to continue her work for women, children, family and the marginalized sectors once elected back to the Senate.

‘In the same way that I pursued in the House what I did not finish in the Senate, I’ll continue in the Senate what I wasn’t able to get done in the House. These are a package of reform measures for women, children, and the family,” she said.

Cayetano is running under the banner of the Nacionalista Party, which has formed an alliance with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, to field common candidates in the 2019 national and local polls. #

Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano files her COC for senator with brother, former Taguig City representative and Brgy. Fort chair Lino Cayetano

Entering Intramuros on bike: Cayetano vowed to continue her advocacy for sustainable transportation, including safe bike lanes in urban centers 

Bicam approves Expanded Maternity Leave Bill!

Statement of Deputy Speaker and Taguig City 2D Representative Pia S. Cayetano

Principal author, House Bill 4113

“I have very good news because the on this day, the Senate and the House met to discuss the disagreeing provisions of our Expanded Maternity Leave Bill. We have come to our final version, which is a 105 Days Expanded Maternity Leave Bill.  All that is left to do is to bring this measure back to our respective Chambers for the members to concur with, before sending it to Malacanang for approval.”

“In a nutshell, we now have 105 days of maternity leave, and seven (7) of those days may be given to the father of the baby, since the recommendation under the ILO (International Labor Organization) is at least 98 days. So a mother has the option of giving seven days to her partner.

“In addition, we will have extended maternity leave not just for those in the public sector, or those working in government, but also the private sector, the informal sector (yung mga self-employed din basta nagbabayad kayo ng SSS – SSS will cover a fraction), and then the employers will pay for the difference. Athletes are also covered.

“We also tackled a number of other clarifications to ensure that it’s very clear that a maternity leave can be availed of anytime before giving birth or after. Some people go on leave, let’s say five days, or thirty days before (giving birth), so that would all be covered.

“After so many years, this bill will soon become a law. This was my ‘baby’ ever since I was in the Senate. My team and I wrote the original version (Senate Bill 2982, which was passed by the Senate on third reading in the 16th Congress), that’s why I’m very familiar with the provisions. And so I take the opportunity to thank my team: Those who started in the Senate, and those who are still with me now, for the work that you put in to make this pass. Thank you to those who helped push for the measure, including my colleagues and all the advocates who had been supporting this ever since. I’m so happy with the outcome of this bill.” #

Pia: World sees Metro Manila as ‘face’ of PH

House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano on Friday urged her fellow public servants in Metro Manila to set the bar for good leadership, while noting that other countries primarily look to the National Capital Region (NCR) as the ‘face’ of the nation.

Speaking before the second general assembly of the Metro Manila Councilors League held in Pasay City, the Taguig City representative said that NCR councilors play an important role in building the image of what the rest of the world sees about the Philippines.

“Everybody looks at us in Metro Manila, what we do here,” Cayetano told the assembly. ‘The country is watching us, the world is watching us, and they look to Metro Manila. Tayo po ang nasa frontline in creating our image (before the world).”

Cayetano likewise emphasized the importance of accountability and transparency for government leaders, especially in the era of social media.

“In this age of social media, the demands are very high. You, me, all of us can easily be questioned. Our decisions can be easily attacked, and so the least we can do is to be transparent,” she explained.

“If we follow fair play, then to a certain extent, they (critics) would have no reason to question our decisions. If we follow the procedures that we ourselves helped legislate, clean na tayo doon. And beyond that, the most we can do is to how to make ourselves better. This makes it easier (to do our jobs) because we become accountable to every single person.”

In ending her speech, Cayetano urged her fellow public servants, especially young and first-time elected leaders, to reflect on their purpose for joining public service, and what can they do to make a difference in the lives of their respective constituents in Metro Manila. #

Pia meets with Occidental Mindoro leaders

House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano on Thursday (September 6) addressed the assembly of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) in the province of Occidental Mindoro, where she emphasized the importance of effective leadership.

Cayetano, who also represents the second district of Taguig City, told the assembly composed of provincial board members, vice mayors, councilors, barangay chairpersons and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) youth leaders how it is important for public servants not to be just leaders of people, but leaders who can inspire change.

“There is good leadership and there is bad leadership. Someone may be considered a good leader simply because he or she has followers, or can speak well, but it does not mean that you are doing good service. You may be able to command an audience, but are you the kind of leader who can inspire people? That is the challenge,” she said.

Cayetano added that change need not come on a grand scale to be relevant. Rather, making a difference in people’s lives can be achieved in small pockets of opportunities.

PCL President and Board Member Mark Ramirez and Board Member AJ Rebong led the assembly, which gathered 100 leaders from the 11 municipalities of Occidental Mindoro province. #

 

Hugpong ng Pagbabago endorses Pia Cayetano

The regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) has endorsed House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano as one of its prospective ‘senatoriables’ for the national and local elections in 2019.

A former two-term senator and the current second district representative of Taguig City, Cayetano has consistently placed among the top preferences for senator in nationwide pre-election surveys conducted by polling firms in recent months.

At the party’s convention and mass oath-taking held in SM Lanang, Davao City last Friday, August 17, Cayetano thanked the HNP leadership for choosing to endorse her, and for firmly believing in her capabilities as a public servant.

The Taguig City lawmaker personally thanked Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte of the HNP whom she had worked with in programs for women and health when Cayetano was still a senator.

Cayetano also thanked the Davao City mayor’s father, President Rodrigo Duterte, who had been one of her mentors since she started out in politics in 2004. The President was the main guest speaker at the HNP assembly, which was attended by more than 6,000 leaders and supporters.

She said national and local officials should take inspiration from the President and the Davao City Mayor, whose vision and political will have made them into effective leaders who are respected and trusted by the people. “I am so proud to stand by our President and Mayor Sara Duterte,” Cayetano said. #

Pia: Encourage self expression among the youth

In an intimate talk with students, teachers, writers, and bloggers in Davao City, House Deputy Speaker and Taguig City Representative emphasized the importance of encouraging self-expression and developing communication skills, especially among the youth.

Cayetano met with officers and members of ‘Resurgent PH’ over the weekend, a group committed to bring out facts and truth on current issues affecting the country through social media.

She said teachers could play a crucial role to encourage self-expression in their students, so that the latter are freely able to convey their thoughts and concerns to society, including their fellow youth, elders and leaders.

To be able to do this, Cayetano said young people must find within them the passion to write or post about subject matters that are close to them, such as family, friendship, education or culture.

On the other hand, she said developing communication skills (oral and written) also empowers by giving our youth the tools they need to be able to convey their messages clearly and effectively to a wide and diverse audience.

Cayetano noted that the K-12 basic education program encourages the use of the ‘mother tounge’ to facilitate better learning, particularly for young students, including those in regions where local languages are widely used in addition to Filipino and English.

This is a good start, but she added that educators must not lose sight of our ‘natural advantage’ as a people when it comes to speaking and writing in English. She underscored how effective messaging starts from one’s passion, aided by communication skills, including the ability to communicate using the languages that are most spoken around the world. #

Pia brings message of hope to community gutted by fire

House Deputy Speaker and Taguig City Representative Pia S. Cayetano on Thursday personally visited a coastal community in Davao City where some 300 families lost their homes to separate fire incidents earlier this month.

Cayetano, who was in Davao City over the weekend to attend the convention of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) regional party, took the opportunity to visit the fire evacuees who have taken refuge at the covered court of Brgy. 76-A in Bucana, Davao City.

Two fire incidents that happened only days apart (August 7 and 9) struck separate areas in the barangay, rendering nearly 300 families there homeless.

Aside from offering emergency relief assistance to the evacuees in coordination with the office of foreign affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (the Deputy Speaker’s younger brother), Cayetano also offered her message of hope that the residents would soon be able to rebuild their homes.

“I have never experienced losing my house to a fire, and so I could never claim to know the extent of the pain that all of you are now going through. But I have experienced how it feels to lose an important part of my life, two members of my family, and so it is through conversations like these that we are able to relate with and support each other,” she told the evacuees.

“Tragedies can strike anyone, anywhere, and sometimes at the most difficult time. It is during these moments that our faith gets tested. But we just have to continue to persevere and recover, even if it means rebuilding from scratch. We do this not only for ourselves, but also for our loved ones and children,” she stressed.

The Deputy Speaker also had a surprise for the children evacuees whom she treated to ice cream.

Cayetano also thanked Barangay 76-A leaders and community volunteers whom she urged to take good care of the most vulnerable among the evacuees, including women, especially nursing mothers, young children, and the elderly. #

Cayetano addresses evacuees of Brgy 76-A in Bucana, Davao City

Kadayawan: A celebration of indigenous culture, diversity

Deputy Speaker and Taguig City Representative Pia S. Cayetano took part in the celebration of the 33rd Kadayawan Festival in Davao City over the weekend.

 

Kadayawan is an annual festival that celebrates the culture and diversity of Davao’s indigenous people’s groups or tribes. Every year, during the third week of August, local and foreign tourists troop to Davao City to experience the week-long affair which includes parades, contests, and exhibits showcasing various indigenous arts, dances, products and culture. The festival’s name comes from the Dabawenyo word, ‘Madayaw’ which means ‘good’ and ‘beautiful.’

 

Cayetano visited Dula Kadayawan at the Davao City People’s Park on Friday morning, August 17th. ‘Dula’ which means ‘game,’ refers to the test of skills and friendly games that pitted representatives from each of Davao’s 11 indigenous groups. The participants wore their traditional colorful costumes, while some brought instruments, toys, implements and weapons, as they took part in several contests that also reflected their culture and way of life.

 

The Taguig representative also met with the winners of this year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan, as well as tribal leaders, and event organizers.

 

‘Kadayawan reflects Davao’s rich and diverse indigenous culture. This indigenous groups embody our history and our soul as a people, and Kadayawan is one way of raising awareness about their contributions to our history and heritage, as well as the issues and concerns that they currently face,’ Cayetano said.

 

From People’s Park, Cayetano proceeded to nearby Barangay 76-A to bring relief assistance to hundreds of residents whose houses were gutted by two fire incidents earlier this month. She also took part in the afternoon at the oath-taking and assembly of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), a regional party organized by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. The HNP convention was attended by more than 6,000 local and national government officers, community leaders, and private supporters. #

With the Hiyas ng Kadayawan 2018 winners

With event organizers and a senior indigenous group leader