Top billing


    TARZAN, THE congressman, is on a roll of late. No, not in the house of cards but in the House of laws, filing one bill after another. Bills far from the parochial, bills impacting on the national.

    There is House Bill No. 5287 that seeks to establish a Stem Cell Center of the Philippines to “spearhead the research and development of stem cell technology, and also serve as storage area for stem cell technology that it will develop.”

    Cong Tarzan took cognizance of the “vast potential of stem cell technology in curing fatal cancers and heart ailments” with his bill.

    “The benefits of stem cell are overwhelming to be just simply ignored by the government because many Filipinos are suffering from different diseases that could be cured by this medical breakthrough.”

    So said the solon in his explanatory note to HB 5287, invoking that it is “in line with the state’s policy to protect and uphold people’s right to life and health” pursuant to Article 13, Section 12 of the Constitution declaring that “the government shall undertake appropriate health, manpower development, and research, responsive to the country’s health needs and problems.”

    “In accordance with the provisions of the Charter, research on stem cell technology should be pursued as it can save thousands, if not millions, of Filipinos who are affected by diseases which can be cured by this modern technology,” Cong Tarzan said, noting that “many countries have started tapping stem cell’s potential in health and medical research, especially to find solutions to diseases such as cancer, heart attacks and other cardiovascular anomalies, Parkinson’s and different birth defects.”

    Then there is House Bill No. 5285 mandating for senior citizens free annual physical examinations including cardiac stress, endoscopy, ultrasound on kidneys, ureter and bladder, pulmonary function tests – all the necessary laboratory tests.

    The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 7432 or the Senior Citizens Act of 2003 “to further advance the welfare of the elderly and maximize their contribution to nation-building.”

    RA 7432 was amended in 2009 to include free medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees such as, but not limited to, x-rays, computerized tomography scans and blood tests in all government facilities.

    “As way of caring for our elderly all the more, this bill seeks to amend the aforementioned provision and include free and mandatory annual physical examination for all senior citizens, including vital laboratory examinations,” explained Cong Tarzan.

    Speaking like a true Constitutionalist anew, he cited Article 13, Section 11 stating that the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost.

    This, with the needs of the under-privileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children as priorities.

    And for added measure, Article 15, Section 4, which provides that the family has the duty to care for its elderly members but the State may also do so through just programs of social security.

    HB 5285, Cong Tarzan says, gives due recognition and respect to our elders who, during their prime, contributed greatly to the country’s growth and development.

    We cannot help but think biblical here, specifically of the Fourth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother. That which promises blessing for those who do so, and damnation to those who don’t.

    As much as the elders, the infirm and the dead deserve honor too.

    “Almost every day, we hear of complaints in the media against hospitals and other medical institutions that detain patients or even cadavers of deceased patients due to unpaid medical bills,” said Cong Tarzan.

    Then there are too funeral parlors and morgues that hold hostage cadavers for the relatives to ransom as it where, only after getting enough alms to pay for the burial services.

    House Bill 5286 seeks to write finis to all these hostaging, providing more teeth and wider scope to RA 9439 or the Patient Detention Act, specifically to cover indigent patients who are not capable of giving promissory note which according to law should be accompanied by mortgage or guarantee.

    Cong Tarzan proposes that the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System), PhilHealth and the Department of Social Welfare and Development come up with special programs to help their members who cannot afford to pay medical or funeral bills.

    Also, the amendment to expand RA 9439’s scope to funeral parlors and other institutions that “engage in such inhuman practice” of detaining cadavers.

    “This measure is to ensure that rights of all individuals, living or otherwise, are protected,” the lawmaker said.

    Violators “shall be punished by a fine of not less than P200,000 or imprisonment of two years, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the proper court. “

    And then, there is House Bill 4405 – too long in coming but nearly here — mandating the transformation of the Pampanga Agricultural College into the Diosdado Macapagal Agriculture and Science State University (DMASSU – some colonial arrogance inhering there), having been approved on third and final reading.

    As provided for in HB 4405, DMASSU “will provide advanced education, higher technological, professional instruction and training in the fields of agriculture, arts and sciences, teacher education, industrial technology and engineering, information technology, business management and accountancy, non-traditional courses and other relevant fields of study.”

    As well, DMASSU “will undertake research, extension services and production activities while providing progressive leadership in its areas of specialization.”

    Indeed, “a major victory for quality education” Cong Tarzan accomplished there.

    And then there is consolidated House Bill 2509/4736 mandating cityhood for Mabalacat already nearing approval, so Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., committee on local governments chair, himself is said to have declared.

    Cong Tarzan, but of course, stands as the legitimate father of a Mabalacat City, having sown the very seed, incubated and nurtured the embryo which is soon a-borning.

    Yes, Tarzan, the congressman, is on a roll. A steamroll towards sure re-election, not a few political leaders believe.

    Much interesting to see how Vice Gov. Yeng Guiao, a master strategist, will deal with this.


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