Monday, July 15, 2024

Senate S&T panel to tackle bills on free ‘Net access, Pagasa modernization

The Senate committee on science and technology has opened deliberations on key proposed measures aimed at improving the science and technology (S&T) sector, broadening Internet access, and upgrading state weather bureau Pagasa.

Sen. Ralph Recto, chair of the S&T committee in the Senate, leads the hearing on S&T bills during a public hearing Tuesday
Sen. Ralph Recto, chair of the S&T committee in the Senate, leads the hearing on S&T bills during a public hearing Tuesday

The proposed measures under committee consideration are:

? Senate Bill 1358 – Hazard Allowance for all S&T Personnel in the Gov’t;
? Senate Bill 539 – Science Laboratory for Basic Education Act of 2013;
? Senate Bill 2124 – ICT Education Act of 2014;
? Senate Bill 2232 -Free Metro Manila WiFi Act of 2014; and, Senate Bills 10, 158, 842, 955, 1160, 1937, 2097, 2265 and House Bill 4397 – Pagasa Modernization Act

Sen. Ralph Recto said SB 1358 seeks to increase the benefits of all S&T personnel working in government.

He said the bill proposes to maximize to 30 percent from 10 percent the mandated hazard allowance of state scientists, engineers, researchers and other S&T experts as provided under Republic Act (RA) 8439 or the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers, and other S&T Personnel in Government.

Senate Bill 539, authored by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, will make science laboratory infrastructure in all elementary and secondary education as an intrinsic part of learning, where government is called to invest in it through modern laboratory facilities.

Recto said SB 2124 and SB 2232, on the other hand, complement each other since this would mandate the state to ensure access of public students to computer and Internet education while the second measure provides for free Internet access in all public places in the National Capital Region.

“These twin measures highlight the importance of ensuring broader access to computer-based learning and Internet to bridge the digital divide,” he said.

Recto said his committee is also taking action on several measures seeking to modernize the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) and, perhaps restore “hope” for the beleaguered weather agency.

The Pagasa bills were filed by Sens. Loren Legarda, Antonio Trillanes IV, JV Ejercito, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Cynthia Villar, Francis Escudero, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Franklin Drilon.

“The Pagasa bills, when enacted into law, should result to a more modern Pagasa that has state-of-the-art equipment that are manned by happy personnel who will shun the allure of foreign employment,” Recto said.

Recto said the proposed measures should be out in the plenary soon after the respective committee reports for the bills are prepared and signed by panel members.


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