Press Release
February 27, 2018

Sen. Bam's co-sponsorship on Reservist Employment Rights Act


Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" A. Aquino IV
17th Congress, Senate of the Philippines
Sponsorship Speech, February 27, 2017

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, good afternoon.

It is my honor and privilege to stand before you today to co-sponsor with Sen. Joel Villanueva, Senate Bill No. 1698, under Committee Report no. 242, otherwise known as the Reservist Employment Rights Act.

Mga kaibigan, mga kababayan, kakaiba na ang mga banta sa bansa natin ngayon.

Patindi ng patindi ang banta ng mga natural disasters na pumipinsala sa ating mga komunidad, tulad ng bagyo, lindol, storm surge, at iba't iba pang mga delubyo.

Malubha na rin ang banta ng terorismo sa Pilipinas. Nakita natin sa Marawi ang kakayahan ng mga teroristang wasakin ang ating mga tahanan at budburan ng bala ang ating mga eskuwelahan.

Kasindak-sindak rin po ang nagaganap sa ating mga karagatan. Pito na ang installments ng China sa West Philippine Sea at pinapangalanan na rin nila ang iilang parte ng Philippine Rise

Kakaiba na po ang mga banta sa ating bansa; kakaiba ang hamon sa mga Pilipino, lalo na po sa mga Pilipinong naglilingkod sa ating Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Now, more than ever, the AFP needs support, resources, manpower and expertise from various industries and sectors to fulfill their duty to serve and protect our country.

Now, more than ever, the AFP needs a dedicated, experienced and sophisticated reserve force - comparable to the Reserve Forces of other great nations.

Mr. President, noong pumutok ang balita noong May 2017, na gustong gawing mandatory muli ang ROTC, bumisita po ako sa mga kaibigan natin sa ARESCOM o Army Reserve Command sa Camp Riego de Dios sa Tanza, Cavite at tinanong:

"Ano po ang kailangan natin upang patibayin ang Reserve Force ng Pilipinas?"

Mula po sa mga pag-uusap namin noon at ilang workshop na aming binuo, lumabas ang mga solusyon nga ngayon ay napapaloob sa Senate Bill 1698. Ang Reservist Employment Rights Act ang sagot.

It turns out, we do not need to force Filipinos to serve their country. There are already many men and women who are willing to volunteer - to sign up, go through intensive training, and risk their lives to serve and protect their countrymen - and all with a day job!

Some of these brave and impassioned Filipinos, some of our reservists are here with us today. May we ask our reservists and our other guests to please stand up to be recognized.

Mr. President, our reservists are entrepreneurs, I.T. professionals, teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, sales agents, security guards and yes, our very own civil servants, many of whom are employed here in the Senate.

They are Filipinos who have volunteered their time, energy, capabilities and expertise to our armed forces.

These are the Filipinos that the Armed Forces need as their reinforcements.

I would also like to acknowledge the members of the military, representatives from our government agencies who contributed to this bill and threw their full support behind the Reservist Employment Rights Act

Mr. President, these are the Filipinos that we will be honoring and empowering when we pass the Reservist Employment Rights Act. Maraming salamat po sa inyong serbisyo! Mabuhay po kayo!

Mr. President, our reservists have signed up to serve Filipinos who suffer disasters and natural calamities. They have signed up to rebuild communities from ground zero. They have even signed up to enter the battle field and risk their lives. Dear friends, our reservists sign up for a lot of things... but they did not sign up to lose their jobs.

Our reservists must be valued, dignified and rewarded for the hours, days and months they spend training and on the field. Our reservists should not be asked to give up their livelihood or risk their careers.

Thus, Mr. President, we must pass the Reservist Employment Rights Act - a measure that not only ensures proper training and compensation for reservists, but also protects them from discrimination in job hiring, reintegration, promotion, or any benefit of employment. We must pass this measure to guarantee that at the end of their required military service, reservists will be reinstated to their civilian careers, and to an equivalent position without loss of seniority or decreased pay.

Furthermore, we must pass this measure to protect reservists who suffer any injury or disability during their service, ensuring their reintegration to the civilian work force, so long as they can perform the essential function of their original employment.

Our reservists chose to put their lives on the line for our safety and security. We owe it to them to professionalize the Reserve Force and assure them their employment rights. It is only in this manner that they may best support our AFP Regular Force. We owe it to our Regular Force to have a well-trained, competent and well-supported Reserve Force.

Mga kaibigan, mga kababayan, kakaiba na ang mga banta sa bansa natin ngayon. Kakaiba na rin ang hamon sa mga Pilipino, lalo na sa mga Pilipinong nagsisilbi sa ating Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Ngunit kakaiba rin ang puso at lakas ng ating armed forces. Kakaiba din ang puso at lakas ng ating mga reservist.

Bigyan po natin sila ng proteksiyon, tulong, at nauukulang suporta. Ipasa po natin ang Reservist Employment Rights Act. Maraming salamat po!

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