Senator Koko Pimentel hit the ground running when he became Senator in August 2011. His background as a lawyer who practiced his profession quickly enabled him to adjust to the formalities and subtleties not only of lawmaking but also of the 6-month impeachment trial which greeted the start of his tenure as Senator.
In less than a year in office he has caused the cleansing of the list of voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by authoring and sponsoring (together with Senator Franklin Drilon) Joint Resolution No. 17. This measure gave the ARMM the grand opportunity to reverse its reputation as the cheating capital of the Philippines. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has reported that around 300,000 voters in the ARMM have been delisted. (This accomplishment, of course, will not impress those who rely on the ARMM votes for their nefarious activities during elections.)
As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, he has authored/co-authored and sponsored before the Senate plenary four significant, non-trivial bills, two of which have become laws: (1) The Electoral Processes Accessibility Act (Republic Act No. 10366) and (2) The Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act (Republic Act No. 10367); (3) An act providing for Local Absentee Voting for Members of Media (Republic Act 10380) and (4) Senate Bill No. 3312 overhauling the Overseas Voting Act which is awaiting the President’s signature before becoming law.
The Electoral Processes Accessibility Act (Republic Act No. 10366) mandates the creation of special precincts for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens.
As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement, and Professional Sports, Senator Pimentel has one bill awaiting the President’s signature: Senate Bill No. 3322 entitled The Professional Filipino Athletes Retirement, Health Care, and Death Benefits Act of 2013.
Senator Pimentel has also co-authored the Foster Care Law (Republic Act No. 10165) because this would strengthen the mechanism of adoption, pursuant to my belief in the slogan “Adoption not abortion”.
Because of a Resolution Senator Pimentel has authored, the Civil Service Commission backtracked on its plan to impose a new form for the SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth) which, because it is too complicated for the common man, would require the filer to hire the services of both a lawyer and an accountant. This development benefitted the not less than 1.3 million government employees.
As Senator, he was able to organize six Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Regional Summits as his contribution to spreading the “good news of disaster preparedness” all over our country, to wit: Mindanao-wide summit in Feb. 2012, West Visayas Summit in March 2012, Bicol Summit in May 2012, Ilocos Summit in July 2012, Cordillera Summit in July 2012, and Southern Tagalog Summit in December 2012.
Senator Koko Pimentel’s Pending Ideas Which He Will Pursue
Senator Koko Pimentel also filed or sponsored other significant bills which because of lack of time in the 15thCongress, would have to be pursued in the next Congress should he be given a new and complete six-year term by the people, to wit:
(1) BIGGER PIE, BIGGER SLICE BILL: redefines the source(s) of funds which the national government shares with the local governments, leading to bigger amounts to be given to all local government units, from the provinces, cities, municipalities, all the way to the smallest barangays, to be called “SNT” or share in the national tax;
(2) Bill making criminal the intentional withholding of travel documents and other government-issued identification documents for the purpose of getting money or some other form of benefit. This is meant to protect our Overseas Filipino Workers and OFW-applicants;
(3) Philippine Boxers Welfare Bill: meant to protect our boxers so we can continue producing world champions by forcing the adoption of world-class safety standards in boxing as well as providing incentives and benefits to the boxers;
(4) The Cordillera Autonomous Region Bill;
(5) Bill providing for The Boy Scouts of the Philippines Charter;
(6) The Social Housing Development and Finance Corporation Bill;
(7) Amusement Industry Safety Board Bill;
(8) Bill requiring Mandatory Training in the Identification of Dead Bodies for Local Health Officers;
Other legislative ideas, among many others, which I plan to pursue in the next Congress are:
(9) Anti-Chamber Practice Law;
(10) Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Law;
(11) Amendments to the Speedy Trial Act;
(12) Amendments to our system of taxation, specifically income taxation;
(13) Additional benefits for senior citizens, and Incentives for the continued employment or re-employment of senior citizens;
(14) Strengthening of Math and Science Education;
(15) Strengthening of Government Scholarship Program;
(16) Party-list Reform Law;
(17) Amendments to the Consumer Code, Securities Act, etc., designed to prevent many forms of cheating the public;
(18) Review of the Nature and Purpose of PAGCOR;
(19) Continuing review of all our election laws and processes;
(20) Logging Ban;
(21) Basic Law for the Mindanao Peace Framework;