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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

(Paper Presented by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman at the 2nd National Multi-Sectoral Policy Conference on Population and Human Development on 15 August 2007 at the Heritage Hotel, Pasay City)

Achieving sustainable and genuine human development is a long-cherished aspiration of the Filipino nation. This elusive dream will degenerate into a nightmarish failure if our policymakers and implementors fail to contain with alacrity the inordinately huge population growth rate which impacts adversely on all the indicators of human development like health, education, food security, shelter, employment and the environment.

Ranked as the “12th Most Populous Country”, the Philippines is projected to reach a citizen pool of 88.7 million this year. Young dependents belonging to age group 0 to 14 years comprise 34.28 percent of the total population. Old dependents (65 years and over) account for 4.20 percent, while 61.52 percent comprise the economically active population (15 to 64 years). Majority of the working class reside in rural areas, eking out a livelihood principally in agriculture and also in forestry, mining, fishing and other traditional non-farm enterprises. Others seek better opportunities in metropolitan areas, which results in more densely populated urban centers. An estimated nine million Filipinos have already gone overseas.

(Speech delivered by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman at the Opening Ceremonies of the Bureau of Fire Prevention’s Fire Prevention Month at the Quezon City Memorial Circle on 01 March 2008)

Since today is the kick-off of the Fire Prevention Month, it would be appropriate to begin with the story of how fire was first bestowed on humankind. In Greek mythology, fire was a sacred element that could only be used by the gods. Prometheus was the Titan who, when he saw the first humans living like animals, shivering from cold and eating raw meat, decided to do the unthinkable – he stole a spark from the eternal bonfire blazing in Olympus, the home of the gods and gave it to mankind so they can have warmth and light.

Three-day Seminar-Workshop on Enforced/Involuntary Disappearance

The first bill that sought to criminalize enforced disappearance (then called unexplained disappearance) was filed on September 4, 1990 by Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson, Jr. It was entitled

“ISANG BATAS NA NAGSUSUSOG SA ARTIKULO 235 NG BINAGONG KODIGO PENAL PARA MAIBILANG ANG IBA PANG KRIMEN SA PANGANGALAGA GAYA NG AGARANG PAGPATAY O SALVAGING AT HINDI MAIPALIWANAG NA PAGKAWALA NG MGA BILANGGO O MGA TAO NA NASA ILALIM NG PANGANGALAGA O INTEROGASYON NG MGA OPISYAL NG BAYAN, BILANG MGA KARUMALDUMAL NA KRIMEN, PAGPAPATAW NG PARUSANG KAMATAYAN DAHIL DOON AT PARA SA MGA IBA PANG MGA LAYUNIN (AN ACT AMENDING ARTICLE 235 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE SO AS TO INCLUDE OTHER COSTUDIAL CRIMES SUCH AS SALVAGING OR SUMMARY EXECUTION, UNEXPLAINED DISAPPEARANCES OF PRISONERS OR PERSONS UNDER INVESTIGATION OR CUSTODY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS AS HEINOUS CRIMES PROVIDING PENALTY THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES).

Other bills penalizing enforced disappearance were filed in the following Congresses. The House of Representatives in the 13th Congress approved the Anti-Disappearance bill on 3rd and final reading on May 29, 2006 and transmitted it to and received by the Senate on May 31, 2006. Lamentably, the Senate failed to act on it and its own counterpart versions of the measure.

Ka Popoy Lagman would have been 55 years old on March 17. But now he is ageless. He belongs to the ages as long as there are abusive capitalists and deprived workers; uncaring governments and neglected citizens; super rich few and impoverished multitudes.

There are overriding reasons why Popoy is not really dead.

(Keynote Address delivered by REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN at the 10th Congress of the Freedom from Debt Coalition at the College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City on 22 November 2007)

Last week, just outside the south wing of the House of Representatives, an explosion killed four people, including a Representative, and injured 11 others. In memory of the dead and for the recovery of the injured, I ask for a moment of silence.

The day before this lethal explosion, and right inside the Plenary Hall of the House, there was a vital implosion, but without blinding light, without deafening sound, without searing heat. No one was killed, no one was injured. Its target was not one, two, or any number of Representatives. Its target was the most numerous among the represented. Its aim was not to kill and maim, but to rectify and vitalize.