By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading the proposed Magna Carta of the Poor.
Also approved were five other bills of national significance, including the ban on the practice of employers in posting notices of termination of employment of former employees in newspapers, social media, and other public information venues.
With 238 members voting for its approval, House Bill (H.B.) 5811 was passed anew, three years after former President Benigno C. Aquino III rejected a similar measure passed during the 15th Congress.
H.B. 5811 consolidated four different bills, including the original measure filed by Reps. Salvio Fortuno (LP, Camarines Sur) and Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list).
Fortuno, vice chairman of the House Committee on Poverty Alleviation, said the bill guarantees government prioritization of programs for the poor, including acknowledging their five fundamental rights: right to food, employment and livelihood; right to free relevant quality education and right to shelter and right to basic health services and medicines.
According to Fortuno the bill also mandates government implementing agencies to accredit development partners that will be authorized to accept donations, aids, grants in cash or in kind from duly accredited sources to meet the demands of the basic rights of the poor.
Also approved on third and final reading on Wednesday are the following:
- H.B. 691 proposing to simplify the procedure in the disposition of public agriculture lands by amending Section 24 of the Public Land Act;
- H.B. 5750 defining the offenses of discharge of firearms and indiscriminate firing of firearms and providing stiffer penalties therefor;
- H.B. 5792 institutionalizing the Balik Scientist Program
- H.B. 5799 proposing to revert to forestlands all fishponds which have remained unutilized or abandoned for a period of three years; and
- H.B. 5818 regulating the practice of employers in posting notices of termination of employment of former employees in the media.