The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved on second reading a measure strengthening the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act 9165).

Mas mabagsik na! House OKs amendment to dangerous drugs law

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By Billy Begas

The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved on second reading a measure strengthening the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act 9165).

House Bill 7814 was approved via voice voting.

House Committee on Dangerous Drugs Chairperson and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the measure provides for a legal presumption on who is considered as the importer, financier and protector or coddler of illegal drugs.

HB 7814 also penalizes negligent lessors of properties used as clandestine laboratories. It also extends the criminal liability to the partner or officials of corporations who consents to or tolerates the use of the property of the corporation or partnership as a den, dive or resort to commit violation of the provisions of the RA 9165.

Filipino athletes, both professional and non-professional will be mandated to undergo drug testing twice a year.

The bill also limits the validity of drug test certificates issued by accredited drug testing centers to three months.

The members of the Dangerous Drugs Board will be increased to 20 from the present 17.

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House panel OKs 10-year extension requiring banks to loan funds to MSMEs

By Billy Begas

The House Committees on Appropriation and on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development have approved the measure seeking to extend for 10 years the law mandating banks to allocate 10 percent of its loanable funds to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The still unnumbered measure, authored by Deputy Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva and CIBAC Rep. Domingo Rivera seeks to amend the Magna Carta for Small Enterprises (Republic Act 6577).

Under the law, all lending institutions are mandated to set aside at least eight percent for Micro and Small Enterprises and at least two percent for Medium Enterprises their total loan portfolio. The provision lapsed in 2018.

Villanueva said based on data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, as of March 2019, banks allocate a meager 2.72 percent of their loan portfolio to micro and small enterprises and 4.19 percent to medium enterprises.

“We owe our MSME sector a great deal. This bill is for them; karapat-dapat sila. It is only apt that we invest in them by ensuring availability of access to credit and government assistance and programs. They are our economy’s unsung heroes, comprising 99% of firms in our economy,” said Villanueva.

Other significant provisions of the proposals are as follows:

– National Government shall allocate at least 10% of its procurement needs to eligible MSMEs;

– Entitlement of registered MSMEs to 20% discount on shipping, delivery fees, mailing, freight, and other similar services for products and raw materials provided by either public or private

– 20% of total rentable spaces of private malls allocated for MSMEs at a 20% discount on rental payment;

-At least one percent of the total space available in all government buildings, structures, and open areas allotted for selling area of MSMEs

-At least 0.5 percent for every 5,000 square meters in private malls, supermarkets, shopping centers, commercial selling establishments, structures, or areas allotted for selling area to MSME stores

Guevarra: DOJ prepared to probe assault vs NUPL lawyer

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday (March 4) assured that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is prepared to investigate the attack against lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen, one of the legal counsels of the petitions seeking to declare as unconstitutional the Anti-Terrorism Law before the Supreme Court (SC).

“If he has good reason to believe that it’s related to his advocacies, I will refer the matter to the AO (Administrative Order) 35 task force for appropriate action,” the secretary said.

DOJ’s AO 35 Task Force investigates extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations to the rights to life, liberty and security of persons.

At the moment, Guevarra said Guillen has yet to reach out to the DOJ to seek an investigation.

“We’ll wait for Atty. Guillen to make a statement about the incident,” Guevarra said.

Guillen, who is also the assistant vice president of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) Visayas sustained stab wounds from a screw driver after being assaulted by unidentified men in Iloilo City on Wednesday (March 3).

May kinalaman sa trabaho? Abogado survives attack in Iloilo

One of the lawyers in the petitions seeking before the Supreme Court (SC) to declare the Anti-Terrorism Law as unconstitutional has been attacked in Iloilo City Wednesday night (March 3), the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said.

NUPL Visayas vice president Rene Estopacio identified the victim as his assistant vice president Angelo Karlo Guillen who sustained stab wounds in the head and shoulder after being attacked by unidentified men.

Estopacio who condemned the attack asked authorities “to promptly and properly investigate the attempt on the life of Atty. Guillen.”

“Since June 2016, NUPL has recorded at least 54 killings of lawyers and judges that are prima facie related their work,” he lamented.

“In December 2020, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, NUPL, and various legal groups raised concerns over the increasing and alarming incidents of attacks on lawyers before the Supreme Court,” he added.

Aside from being a lawyer in the petitions opposed to the Anti-Terrorism Law, Estopacio noted that Guillen has been representing activists and human rights defenders facing trumped up charges in court.

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