House bills of questionable relevance: what do the people pay lawmakers for?

WTF House bills

Photo from here

For the small portion of the Philippine population that are actually curious about what kind of laws their elected government officials think of, the list in the picture above is but a sample.

While by no means are all the laws that are crafted bad, the fact that they can think up of stuff like this only makes one wonder: where do our lawmakers get their ideas from?

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House bill declaring adobo as national food
House bill requiring people to fall in line
House bill to rename EDSA as Cory Aquino Avenue
House bill to rename Batasan Hills National High School to Corazon C. Aquino National High School
House bill to rename Clark Airport after Cory Aquino

How important are symbols, really, to the development of a nation?

Putting up national symbols before any sense of national consciousness has been formed is akin to putting the cart before the horse.

Quite simply, asking for more national symbols than necessary fails the So What? test. Instead of giving the impression that our lawmakers are doing something relevant, it actually emphasizes the opposite. They are, once again, more concerned with droll, petty and irrelevant matters, than they are with the issues that count, such as decriminalizing libel, for example.

There is no shortage of calls for nationalism, patriotism among Filipinos. Yet despite all these calls and symbols, Filipinos remain utterly clannish, divided, and unable to build a community bigger than themselves.


Taken from TVTropes

Filipinos like to attach meanings to symbols; they also like to pin some sort of “hope” in them for a better future. However, the question needs to be asked: Filipinos can claim that a national symbol possesses so-and-so characteristics, but does this automatically mean that the entire Filipino people is said to possess the same? Any connection between those traits and the Filipino people is tenuous at best. The sturdiness of the Narra tree, for example, has nothing to do with its being a Philippine symbol. It is sturdy and strong regardless of whether it is the Philippine national tree. And Filipinos want to claim that sturdiness as one of their own traits.

“I see them as symbols, and I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” – George Carlin

Symbols work very well on Filipinos because the symbolism fills in the void where substance is supposed to be. Despite all the symbols Filipinos have to represent “hope for a better future”, and “inspiration”, they have yet to show that they can put their country in the right direction with such “hope”. Of course, if there is no direction, there won’t be results. Filipino society has consistently failed in coming up with both.

That bill requiring people to fall in line? You can’t legislate discipline, good manners, and right conduct in a society that: a) is not predisposed to practice it, and b) would rather reject it because it is an impediment to their “freedom”.

Finally, all these bills to attach Cory Aquino’s name to something, be it a road or building, just reek of either: a) sycophantic behavior, or b) an unwillingness to let go of a symbol of an era gone by that is no longer relevant in present times. Or both.

The symbolism and significance of EDSA is now overrated. The “democracy” and “freedom” that Filipinos claimed to have been a result of the EDSA I movement were nothing more than illusions.

Cory Aquino is dead. EDSA is dead. People Power is dead. It is time Filipinos keep it that way.

Back in 2011, fellow GRP writer Mike Portes had already written something, in particular, about the move to rename EDSA to Cory Quirino Avenue:

This House bill is a clear indication that education indeed has given nothing back. What ever happened to the appreciation for history?

How can a Congressman undermine the contributions of Epifanio Cristobal de los Santos, also known as Don Panyong, the Great among the great Filipino scholars?

If there’s one thing that Filipinos appreciate, it’s their politicians and their politics. They love their grandstanding. They love their anti-intellectualism and ignorance. They like ignoring their history and the lessons that come with it.

Filipino style commemoration has always been the same: keep remembering the event, keep forgetting the lesson.

Filipinos continue to insist on worshiping the Aquino clan – even when it has become clearer in the decades that followed EDSA that their legacy is one that has continued to keep the nation in its state of utter impoverishment.

Then again, Filipinos are not known collectively to learn from their mistakes.

Perhaps the lawmakers they choose do really reflect them. The same penchant for pettiness and politics that sticks out like a sore thumb whenever one looks hard at Filipino society.

The people have been paying for it. All of it, and not just with their taxes.

60 Replies to “House bills of questionable relevance: what do the people pay lawmakers for?”

      1. WTF!? There’s a bill to name a school for the idiot’s mother!? How inconsequential and meaningless can you get…

    1. Further evidence showing that the Philippines lives underneath a monarchy wrapped in a veneer of democracy: where dynasties get to be elected, and where their names get to be splattered on public property.

      1. Yes, but although it is satire, with big fat idiots in congress, who knows what kind of bills will they pass next.

        These lawmakers just wants them to be the talk of the town, for the 2016 elections, good or bad, it is still publicity. The ones who makes the most roars will be more likely to be the elected, this is a sad truth about our country.

  1. That is the reason why this country do not need the senate and the congress. They are just overpaid comedians. What this country needs are good managers with a high degree of honesty and integrity.

      1. Oh, they’re just around. Sometimes they run for office, too. Pinoys are just so intoxicated on what the Aquinos give them that they do not see real leaders when they come.

      1. Truly. People who are clowns in the real world but ring leaders in the circus. Mental midgets. Magicians who make your money disappear. Last but not the least the unamazing boy who became president because his mom died. Come one come all.

  2. It’s just so sad that like it or not the biggest “educational ” institution in this country is ABS CBN. Even if GMA 7 is competitive in the ratings they can’t even generate a senator unlike their rival. They already somehow instilled in their sheep that the Aquinos are royalty. Noynoy firmly believes that further setting in cement the family name will look good on him regardless of how little he has really done. Think of all the things that are of true importance that are tabled because of cotton candy like this. We truly are in a Showbiz Government, why am I supposed to be proud to be Pinoy ?

  3. What really p!sses off the cojuangco-aquino’s are all these monarchs in asia, who have continuity of status and a life of grandeur, even if not of direct rule, and that the cojuangco-aquinos are regarded internationally as low-life political opportunists with crooked money, but not from the aristocracy, and without good breeding, or any class.
    in power now, but could be back to being nobodies post 2016.
    Hence the big push to associate cory ‘ hide under the bed’ aquino as the driving force behind EDSA and to rewrite history.
    By the time it comes to 30 year anniversary and 2016 election period she will have been driving the tanks.

  4. I used to be familiar in navigating the streets of Metro Manila like the palm of my hand. Coming back about five years later I was lost in a sea of unfamiliar street names. Whatever wonderful memories I had with those old street names was gone forever. Its historical value and significance it had in the community was deleted by what you call sychopants.

  5. 1. House bill declaring adobo as national food. This is subject to debate depending on the regions/provinces involved. Why adobo? Kangkong, Chicken or pork? Lechon na lang!

    2.House bill requiring people to fall in line. Money making or just a matter of discipline?

    3.House bill to rename EDSA as Cory Aquino Avenue. Was Cory Aquino ever near EDSA during the one and only People Power Revolution? Why are they changing the truth in history to lies in favor of the yellow housewife?

    4. House bill to rename Batasan Hills National High School to Corazon C. Aquino National High School. Why will they rename the school again in the name of political expediency? Boo!

    5.House bill to rename Diosdado Macapagal Airport to after Cory Aquino. Political expediency! What did Cory do for this country? We pay our taxes so fools in congress can show their IQ and EQ deficiency? LOL!!!

    1. @Thomas Jefferson:

      (1) “Pagpag” should be the National food…

      (2) If people don’t fall in line…Jail or
      whip them? Idiotic law…

      (3) It was not a revolution; it was a transfer of power from a dictatorship, to a Feudal Oligarchy Dictatorship…

      (4) Cory Aquino did not even had a good education. She was a “tamad na mayaman”…

      (5) The Aquinos want to make Hacienda Luisita as a developed real estate. Making them filthier and richer. While most of the Filipinos remain impoverished.

      There should be a law…that anybody, that enact idiotic laws, should be confined in the National Mental Hospital…and examined by competent Psychiatrists…for observation by the people, and the Psychiatrists…

      1. 1) I disagree! It should be Sisig! The outrage!!!

        2) Kinky… :3 but I agree… what now if no one follows? I’m sure no one will and no one will enforce it should someone break this “law”… besides idiots can cry “abuse of power” and say it’s not true.

        Heck established laws like Red light = stop is NOT being followed by some idiots when they know traffic enforcers / police aren’t around so what more one that “restricts their freedom”?

        3) Yup agreed

        4) Oh? Wow… that made her even worse in my eyes O.O

        5) Yup

    2. 1. Maybe, the National Legislature will settle to generic “adobo” – a term that takes into consideration the diversity of adobo in different region in the country without being specific . . .

      . . . on the other hand, would they waste their time on codifying the national food if there other pressing matters.

      2. Formalizing such law is an evidence that Filipinos lack discipline that such law is needed to ensure filipinos fall in line.

      BTW, I bet we’ll eventually have a National Color – Aquino’s Yellow! They need to write the technical specifications, like RGB, CYMK, etc. “Hopefully”, the color specs isn’t copyrighted.

  6. Do the house has a target quota for bills passed? So they make up such nonsense just to cope up? They are supposed to be lawmakers.Is it the National Historical Commission’s job to name things?

  7. I agree with Joeld’s comments. What is needed are good managers with high degree of honesty and integrity! Last year when the pork issue came out and the first march of ordinary folks displayed at Luneta, my mind was dictating already we better dissolve our government,, that there need be no more of senators and congressmen..

  8. Our Lawmakers are afraid to craft laws that in the future will put them in prison. So put simply, they are guilty of whatever sensible laws that you and me can think of.

  9. From Spot ph web site.

    Milk Nutrition and Labelling Act
    Last August Philstar reported that Northern Samar 1st District Representative Harlin Abayon filed House Bill No 231 which prohibits the use of the label “fresh milk” in the packaging and sale of pasteurized and processed milk.
    While it is obvious that the milk we buy in groceries has undergone a process and is not literally fresh (as Representative Abayon would have it)maybe the congressman should have suggested a warning label,instead?

    1. You are missing the point. Apart from being completely nonessential, such legislation — even if they were to adopt your suggestions — will, at the very least, incur an additional cost for the industry’s manufacturing and packaging processes because of the mandated label changes. This translates to additional production costs overall and consequently an increase in price for the consumer. A higher price lessens the chance of the product being sold in an already competitive market. So instead of promoting the industry, the congressman is retarding business. That in turn translates into an overall loss for the economy.

  10. Why not name the Philippines: the Republic of the Aquinos? It is a tactic by the Aquinos to promote their political agendas. Also, a tactic of the Oligarchs to continue their hold on the economy of the Philippines. Maybe, a tactic of the NPA Mafia to continue their extortions. Making Jose Ma. Sison live in luxury as their Godfather in Neatherland.

    Anyway, Saddam Husein did that in Iraq. He built even a monument on himself in the Grand Plaza in Iraq. He also made a monument of his hands, holding a sword.

    The Aquinos did not do good, or anything good for the Philippines. Except to protect their Hacienda Luisita…Symbols are nothing. It is winning the hearts of the Filipino people, and caring for them. Having a good vision for their prosperity, that matters.

    It’s like the Pharaohs in Egypt…they built themselves huge stone monuments. Now, these stone monuments, became tourist attractions. Showing the stupidity of the Egyptian Pharaohs…

      1. Not ‘Basi?’ It’s historically significant for the uprising in 1807 against the Spanish colonial government’s expropriation of the manufacture and sale of basi, effectively banning private manufacture of the wine.

  11. That adobo stuff is gross, its a dish made with soy-sauce as it base ingredient. Soy sauce is one of theeeee most crappy things you can put in your body, GROSS! and nothing to be proud of.

      1. Sure its possible, but how many people do it?

        that adobo shit is gross. one of the most disappointing things about the country actually is the food. to get a decent steak you have to buy an Australian steak at SM, and cook it your self as the steaks in the Filipino-steakhouses(if there is one) are inedible.

        and btw, you can make ‘Marinara’ sauce without tomatoes too, but then…….

  12. If made to chose between Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda as vice-president, I’ll go for Boy Abunda. Almost anyone is better than Kris Aquino. Perhaps Joma Sison would like a whack at it too.

  13. If there’s one thing I’d support from that list of nonsensical bills. I’d support the line bill especially if it provides provisions to dispense physical violence to people who cut through lines.

  14. Another recent law filed by Roy Seneres seeks to deny passport renewal to OFWS who have no proof that they are sending remittances back to the Philippines. In other words, it’s forcing OFWs to send remittances home. This is clearly wrong and is more like a dictatorial means of controlling others’ money.

    The words of Gandalf should apply to this and the rest of the bills here.


    1. That bill is supposed to be for those OFWs who instead of supporting their family at home choose to have a “new” family and/or relationship abroad. As I understand it, it will be as a last resort if after they have exhausted all means for the erring OFW to support his family, then his passport cannot be renewed.

      This is sensible since I have known a lot of OFW sob stories who just forget their family back home.

      1. That was not clear, though. It sounded like a general one-for-all law; you’re an OFW, send remittance. It sounded that way from the Manila Standard column that opposed. Seneres’ bill should be more specific, like “OFWs with families at home they are not providing for should be made to provide for their families.” But if you ask me, sometimes forcing support may not help, especially if the family wants to forget the other person as well. This is a case where selectiveness can be applied.

        But I think a better bill should be more tax exemptions for OFWs.

        1. Why single out OFWs for tax exemptions? Why not local business owners? Lower taxes usually translates into an incentive to spend more, invest more in the economy. Why stop with one segment of society that doesn’t even contribute directly to building the local economy?

      2. Should it be the business of government to micromanage the lives of OFWs to begin with? It is unfortunate, even heartbreaking, that families break up because the family member working in another country finds that a more comfortable life without the responsibilty of a spouse and children suits them just fine. Ultimately however, this is for the OFW and their spouse/family to resolve. House Bill 3576 does nothing to address that more serious problem.

        Granting the Philippine government power to dictate how an OFW manages their money just smacks of SLAVERY. It also opens up new opportunities for abuse. I can already imagine DFA officials trading (monetary and/or sexual) favours for passport renewals.

        Most importantly, the state of affairs between OFWs and their families — the fact that we continue to rely heavily on OFW remittances — reflects the fact that successive administrations have failed to uplift the economic condition of the majority of Filipinos. The persistent poverty that stymies our befuddled, self-declared president-messiah indicates a continuing failure of the current administration to deliver on their assurance of ‘inclusive growth.’ If Congress must deliberate on critical issues, it should be about what really matters to transform society. Not overregulating and abusing people whom they have lionised as ‘bayani’ (‘heroes’).

      3. You are right ChinoF. They should make it clear that it is not a revival of the old Marcos law EO 857, forced remittance.

        @ JS

        As I have said a couple of times before, not all filipinos are hard-wired to be OFWs. What you are saying is fitting to a more mature and more sensible people whose family affairs cannot be intruded by the state. Apply it to a common pinoy OFW then we end up with a lot of dysfunctional families, broken homes which results to more dysfucntional citizens further down the road.

        Even a typical pinoy family man / woman working locally can be philandering, which only shows what kind of values we have now. If there is a bill / law that would somehow help get family values back, even if it somehow intrudes, then I’m for it.

        1. I think forcing remittances won’t bring families back, since all it does is force money from one side to another. It would need something that motivates people to stay together, say, bigger tax breaks for couples that stay together? After all, as Benign0 said, “good manners cannot be legislated.” Intrusion by law is a going to be an area of serious contention.

        2. I echo what benign0 said about good manners being impossible to be legislated above. Quite simply, Filipinos are creative, yet it seems they would rather use that creativity to get around laws, instead of working within a framework of what is acceptable within them.

          Somehow, I don’t know if adding more laws or bills is really a good thing. It makes more sense to subtract. Lessen your number of laws, keep them simple, and enforce them strictly. The “enforce them strictly” is the hard, if not impossible, part here in Pinoy society.

        3. Tax break for being an OFW and then another tax break for keeping my family together, hell, bring it on.

        4. ChinoF, joeld,

          There are dysfunctional families in even the most advanced, ‘mature’ cultures. We have at least that in common.

          I also agree that there should be some legal recourse for spouses and their families if they are abandoned by the OFW. House Bill 3576 shouldn’t be that channel. Whether or not a person can work at his/her profession shouldn’t be contingent on whether or not that person behaves in a contemptible manner.

          There are also the unintended consequences of the law which you may have overlooked. The potential for abuse was already mentioned. There is also the fact that without a passport, the OFW cannot continue working legally abroad. They’d have to return to the Philippines. That means ONE MORE MOUTH to feed in a country that has for the longest time been trying to export its shortcomings so that we do not have to deal with them at home. This is a losing proposition all around; it’s a guaranteed loss of cash and an additional burden on our already over-taxed social services.

          As you pointed out, spouses abandon their obligations even here at home. That raises another question. Why grant the spouse/family of an OFW the privilege of having an assured source of income from the OFW, while in the Philippines, spouses/families suffering the same abandonment do not automatically receive that kind of financial support? And what constitutes an appropriate amount to remit back home anyway? Instead of trying to work out what is supposed to be ‘fair’ treatment for OFW families, Congress should be working on amendments to the Family Code and add, say, ‘alimony’ provisions for ALL the aggrieved parties.

          I’ll emphasise Chino’s statement: it’s a boneheaded idea to attempt to legislate behaviour, much less values. What this does instead is to foment resentment and inspire Filipinos to come up with new ways to circumvent the law.

        5. Johnny, I agree with revising the Family Code. In fact, I believe all these things with “code” on them are in serious need of revision. If the basic laws cover more of the important things, there would be no need to file bills on things that need no unnecessary intrusion.

        6. Hold on there, Chino.

          “If the basic laws cover more of the important things, there would be no need to file bills on things that need no unnecessary intrusion.”

          I’m quite certain that was what government lawmakers were thinking about when they initially intended to craft the Cybercrime law. Look where that ended up.

          It seems like a good idea to ‘consolidate’ all these well intentioned measures under a singular piece of legislation to address a certain issue. The problem with that is NO ONE solution can ever possibly address ALL the probable iterations of that issue now and in the future. No one will ever find a formula that pleases everyone. Either the law will be insufficient or legally deficient and unconstitutional (as RA 10175 is now). Or it will be overly complex and burdensome.

          If we decide to revise the laws it should be in the direction that keeps them simpler and easily comprehensible to even laymen. Less massive legislation means less chance that there will be loopholes. And you’d reduce the need for a cadre of lawyers just to get through reading the provisions. Also, there’ll be fewer instances where the regional trial courts make decisions that will be overturned by the higher courts.

        7. Well, I believe a lot of our basic laws are obsolete and are unable to cover modern situations satisfactorily (how one defines satisfactorily is moot, though), so some need revision. Many are reactionary laws. I’m sure they need to be revised to make them less reactionary and able to think ahead to future situations without needing further legislation. Covering all the basics may make things easier. Of course, if someone with power-hungry intentions does it, yes, there’s a risk.

    2. @ Chino F:

      It’s a deliberate extortion. They may have imitated it from the “Revolutionary Taxes” of the NPA Mafia…

  15. I’m sure the next bill they will make is “Anti Freedom of Speech” law – rendering all forms of speech (online or rallies) useless.

    This is not the kind of democracy I envisioned as a kid. We pretend to live in democracy but the government is fully in control of this nation and they will make sure that it stays that way.

    This country only benefits the rich and corrupt with millions of people living in substandard conditions/declining morality despite being a Christian nation and breaking/bending the law is a norm.

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