Contact Details

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

February 6, 2019, Sulo Riviera Hotel, Quezon City


Good morning and warm welcome to Makatao’s Kapihan on Defending Human Rights. This is the maiden Kapihan of continuing periodic relevant forums.

I am happy to see all of you this morning, but I must admit that as I stand here before you may kirot sa puso ko. Ang dahilan: sa araw na ito, labing walong taon na ang nakaraan, ang aming pamilya ay binalot ng dalamhati at poot.

I vote “No” to House Bill No. 8858, as amended. The reduction of the threshold on the minimum age of criminal responsibility from the present 15 years of age to 12 years, instead of 9 years as originally proposed, is still anti-child for the following reasons:

I vote NO for the following overriding reasons:

1. There is no constitutional and factual bases for the extension because rebellion does not persist in Mindanao and public safety is not imperiled. Sporadic incidents of lawlessness and terrorism do not make a rebellion. The justification proffered by the Executive is a rehashed pretense and a self-serving claim.

The Charter Change embodied in Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 is an initiative that has floundered before it could take off. 

Its centerpiece agenda on the shift to federalism is a virtual centerfold because it is bare. No less President Duterte’s economic advisers have exposed it as not economically viable. 

The undue haste in shifting from the unitary to the federal system of government will further deteriorate the economy. Alacrity could spell disaster.

The President’s chief economist, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ernesto Pernia, has scored the country’s lack of preparedness for a shift to federalism.

(Presentation of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman at the Side Event Activity in the United Nations Economic and Social Council Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Midterm Review of the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development in Bangkok, Thailand on 27 November 2018)

In September 1994, 179 governments, including the Philippines, adopted the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. Almost a quarter of a century later, the ICPD is still the enviable template on reproductive health and rights, family planning and the linkage between population and development.