Increasing the salary of public school teachers takes precedence in Senator Win Gatchalian’s list of priority bills for the 19th Congress.
While three other education-related measures are among his top 10 bills, Gatchalian is likewise bent on putting in motion the mandatory registration of all subscriber identity module (SIM) cards and a law to provide better protection to consumers and merchants engaged in internet transactions, as well as pieces of legislation for a more sustainable power sector and a more efficient waste management system.
“Kasabay ng mga kailangang pagbabago upang mapahusay natin ang kalidad ng edukasyon sa bansa ay ang pagtaas ng sahod ng ating mga guro upang maitaas natin ang kanilang moral at itaguyod ang dignidad ng kanilang hanay,” Gatchalian said.
In his proposed Teacher Salary Increase Act, the Chairperson of the Senate Basic Education, Arts and Culture Committee is seeking to adjust the salary grades of Teachers I, II, and III one grade higher than their current monthly pay.
Gatchalian introduced a resolution to review the implementation of the K to 12 Law and identify issues and challenges as well as recommend strategic solutions.
Alongside these are proposals made by Gatchalian aimed at realizing education recovery with the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act which will focus on the most essential learning competencies in Language, Mathematics, and Science. Another education priority bill — the 21st Century School Boards Act — will strengthen local governments’ involvement in improving the delivery and quality of education by broadening the responsibilities of the local school boards and expanding the use of the Special Education Fund (SEF).
Gatchalian stood as proponent in the Senate of a regulatory framework for Waste-to-Energy (WTE) technologies in the country and initiated measures that will institutionalize policies for the country’s shift from fossil-based to cleaner energy sources such as the Midstream Natural Gas Industry Development Act and the proposed Energy Transition Act.
Sixth and seventh in his list are the refiled SIM Card Registration Act and Internet Transactions Act, respectively.
Gatchalian, an original proponent of the SIM Card Registration bill, excluded mandatory social media account registration in the said bill. Under the proposed Internet Transactions Act, the senator is eyeing the creation of an E-commerce Bureau under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which is a one-stop-shop for consumer complaints. This will have primary jurisdiction over e-marketplaces, e-retailers, online merchants, and other digital platforms that sell or allow the sale or exchange of goods and provides for the rights and obligations of online consumers.
Another energy-related bill in Gatchalian’s list is the proposed Energy Advocate Act that will institutionalize an independent consumer representation in all rate-setting, rule-making, and other energy-related cases and proceedings before government agencies, including judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.